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Management Rewired: Why Feedback Doesn't Work and Other Surprising Lessons fromthe Latest Brain Science Hardcover – May 14, 2009


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Management Rewired: Why Feedback Doesn't Work and Other Surprising Lessons fromthe Latest Brain Science + Get Rid of the Performance Review!: How Companies Can Stop Intimidating, Start Managing--and Focus on What Really Matters (Business Plus)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Portfolio Hardcover (May 14, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159184262X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591842620
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.9 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,036,971 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Jacobs, founder of the Amherst Consulting Group and managing partner of One Eighty Partners, debunks management myths in this provocative, counterintuitive volume, demonstrating how relying on emotions—rather than logic—leads to better business decisions. Jacobs draws on the latest research showing that positive and negative reinforcement don't improve performance, quantifiable objectives cause workers to fixate on the short term and sacrifice long-term focus and certain common management practices produce the opposite of the intended effect. He examines the limitations of current organizational strategy in light of brain science, using layman's language to map out how the brain interprets experience and responds to feedback, reward and punishment. He asserts that organizations that are able to apply brain science to their businesses will have a decided advantage over the competition, and he shows how his findings can enhance performance at every level of a company. Well argued and substantiated, this book turns prevalent management theory on its head and will have lasting impact on how it is taught in business schools and implemented in organizations. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Jacobs suggests that the latest developments in brain science transform our understanding of the way people think and behave, contending that emotions rather than logic lead to better business decisions. Each of us sees the world differently, with a wide range of views about everything, and hence direct actions do not create the desired results sought from employees. We learn “the management revolution is about no longer forcing people to do things but encouraging them.” Stories affect change and the transformational leader creates a story about the kind of change necessary to align the needs of employees with those of the organization. With that story, individuals understand that the changes are necessary to meet their personal desire to be part of something bigger than themselves and realize their fullest potential. Not everyone will agree with Jacobs, but he presents thought-provoking insight from new developments in brain research combined with his broad experience as a consultant to major corporations. It is a must-read for managers and aspiring managers. --Mary Whaley

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Customer Reviews

Overall, the book is engaging, thought-provoking, and well presented.
Andrew Everett
When I first saw heard about the book, Management Rewired: Why Feedback Doesn't Work and Other Surprising Lessons from the Latest Brain Science, I got excited.
Walter H. Bock
Charlie Jacobs has researched and written a terrific book that makes cognitive neuroscience accessible to non-scientists.
Jan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

130 of 138 people found the following review helpful By Walter H. Bock on July 8, 2009
Format: Hardcover
When I first saw heard about the book, Management Rewired: Why Feedback Doesn't Work and Other Surprising Lessons from the Latest Brain Science, I got excited. There's been a lot of research in the last decade about how we perceive the world and how our sensory systems and brains work. I expected the book to be about what we've learned.

The subtitle and publicity material make some very provocative claims. We're told that "feedback doesn't work" and that "setting measureable objectives often backfires on managers" to name two. I expected the book to support those assertions.

But this book doesn't do either of those things. Instead it's filled with selectively chosen research that is more from the last century than the latest brain research.

The author claims that "feedback doesn't work." The way he supports that assertion seems characteristic of the book.

To quote the book:"a landmark study at General Electric found that the company's performance appraisal system didn't work, it produced results that were virtually the opposite of what was intended."

First, it's not a "landmark study" within any common meaning of the term. The article is cited only six times in scholarly literature

The researchers did not study feedback. They studied the performance appraisal system in place at GE. Their comments on feedback were about feedback as delivered in an annual performance appraisal and a system where it was common that the annual appraisal was the only time a worker received feedback. GE has since changed this procedure in several ways.

The study (named "Split Roles in Performance Appraisal") was based on the analysis of less than one hundred questionnaires. Not a real big or broad sample.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Valyst on August 13, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have read several books by some of the authors that Jacobs cites (Dawkins, Dennett, Cialdini). I do applaud Jacobs for being well-read. And I do congratulate him on writing a book...to which many of us aspire to do. Beyond that, Jacobs as a consultant does a poor job as Jacobs as a scientist. The title and subtitle of this book make bold claims; the body of the book doesn't reveal any surprising lessons as most of the data/knowledge is stuff we have already learned. The sub-headings in each of the chapters were distracting and didn't necessarily tie into cohesive agruments of the chapter. The linking of brain science to Jacobs' claims and examples were weak, at best. I'm not a big fan of linking fiction to science. Jacobs consistently talks about Odysseus and Shakespearean characters like Henry V. To Jacobs credit, he does acknowledge that fiction isn't scientific, yet he continues to use fictional characters throughout his book as examples.

I am also reading Daniel Kahneman's latest book "Thinking, Fast & Slow". You will get a ton more insights about how to manage from Kahneman's book than this painful read by Jacobs.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By S. Moulton on June 12, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Interesting ideas and concepts of neuroscience applied to management and leadership. Lacks significant referenceing for further research.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Donald H. Sabathier on February 11, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I, as did several other reviewers, thought this book might be a little deeper in its discussion regarding management and its workings. It can be a little tough to read in some sections. At first I was disappointed with what was presented. However, after I finished the book I began to realize that I actually had started to think defferently about management and how it was to be practiced. It did not give me many case studies and examples as I might have liked, but it does sow enough seeds to get you thinking. The Author even said near the end that these seeds were planted and now it was time for the Reader to find the best way to water and nuture the seeds. It also reinforces that idea that there is no one best way to manage, but there is a preferred methodology of thinking about how to manage.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By C. Kollars on December 14, 2009
Format: Hardcover
"Management Rewired" is about making business organizations leverage actual human behavior rather than fight it, written by a management consultant. It strikes what I find a nice balance between practice and theory. It's not just a collection of war stories with no clear connection and no organization. Neither is it one of those "this should work, because our theory predicts it" tracts. It's much more meaty than many "new management" volumes. It doesn't come across as hopelessly starry-eyed, and it doesn't read like the product of a "motivational speaker".

Another way to describe what this book is is to describe what it isn't: If you're looking for a sweeping and comprehensive overview of the last decade of neuroscience, look elsewhere. If you're looking for neuroscience to be the "prime mover/principal motivation" behind everything, look elsewhere. If you're looking for detailed descriptions of experiments including their results, look elsewhere.

One of the book's themes is defined well by the dedication(!): To Jonas, the teacher who taught me the value of ideas, and to my daughters, Julia and Emma, who will only listen to stories. In other words: just marry great ideas to compelling stories, and detailed behaviors will take care of themselves. Another theme is that the competition reacts to us, it doesn't just roll around purposelessly and predictably like a billiard ball. For example if we drop our price, our competition is likely to drop their price too. Yet another theme is the author's thorough trashing of Frederick Winslow Taylor's "scientific management" ("Taylorism"). It badly mis-matches the way humans actually think and behave. Its probable origin from a military analogy was always dubious.
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