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Rip-Off! The Scandalous Inside Story of the Management Consulting Money Machine Paperback – April 15, 2005

3.8 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Original Book Co (April 15, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1872188060
  • ISBN-13: 978-1872188065
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,494,921 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Reviewer: A reader from United Kingdom

Wish I'd had this a few years back. Press officers need to be as cynical as the journalists they work with, and working in this role with blue-chip companies there's plenty to be cynical about. I witnessed first hand some of the tactics in Mr Craig's book, particularly the management fads, first hand. I watched as companies' people were faced with, and confused and demotivated by, complete tosh whilst customers were left floundering. I hid, literally, from consultants who said that a company's PR people were its 'most important' and that they would be 'spending lots of time with me' (they say that to all the girls). I was angered most by the management that soaked up this rubbish (the MBAs being the biggest culprits, a subject also covered in 'Rip-off') and accused freethinkers of being negative whilst we tried to keep their businesses going. Where were you when we needed you most Mr Craig?
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Argh! Why do some authors think they have to use hyperbole to entice a prospective reader to buy their book? Is this book really about consultants "lying, falsifying results, plagiarism, incompetence, tax evasion, greed manipulation, over-charging, expenses fraud, sex and alcohol abuse..." (from the back cover)? No, it is a sometimes funny, sometimes sad account of one consultant's journey through various consulting companies. It is clear that the author describes 2nd and 3rd rated consulting firms, but never worked for the A-league. Many of the things described including the foul language are not common among the best players in the industry.

The author also puts a negative spin on everything even if things make perfect sense and are in the best interest of the clients. For example, Craig describes and complaints that consultants, during the first 6-8 weeks of any study, perform any analysis together with the client. For him, this is all about enlisting managers to support the follow-up project and to learn about the organization for a better sale pitch and therefore against the client's interest. But this is not the case at all - for any consultant it is imperative to learn about the organization and finetune the engagement goals and methods together with the client during the first few weeks. There is nothing nefarious about it. Moreover, clients are corporations managed by more or less competent people, selling projects is not about stealing handbags from old ladies.

Now, why is the book still interesting? Unlike many similar books of the "consultants are crooks" genre, the author really knows what he is talking about. His stories are credible, the description of how consultants operate directionally correct (though not necessarily to be viewed as negatively as Craig does).
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Format: Paperback
After nearly 20 years in the field, David Craig has penned this expose on management consulting. As is evident by the title, he is not a big fan of his former profession. Is he projecting some sour grapes as a result of being thanklessly dumped from multiple consulting jobs by a bunch of incompetent boobs? Possibly. Regardless, he does put together a fairly compelling case.

Craig maintains that a very small percentage of consulting engagements (including his own), actually provide value to clients. If true, why is it that companies continue to shell out millions for consulting services that don't help? According to Craig, it's because those that purchase the services are not that bright. In fact, it's the poorest management teams that become so heavily dependent on consultants. They don't know how to effectively manage, so they look to the outside for assistance. Fortunately, for the myriad of consultants, there are plenty of such management teams in existence.

Craig goes into detail explaining the “art” of consulting, enumerating the dubious practices involved in: Winning a deal, staffing it, delivering it, selling add on business, maximizing profit, and even exiting gracefully when engagements fail miserably. He references many of his own experiences to illustrate.

If you've been in consulting for a while, you won't find many surprises. You will get a few chuckles. David writes with an irreverent style and does not hold back. Despite the laughs, if you have a conscience, you'll probably experience a bit of remorse for your past deeds as well.

For those that are buyers or potential buyers of consulting services, it would be a good idea to check this book out. It will help you decide if future engagements are warranted. If so, it will help you select the appropriate vendor, and manage the engagements effectively. Caveat Emptor!

--Nick McCormick, Author, "Lead Well and Prosper"
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Format: Paperback
Great - I laughed and winced at the same time. It's all too horribly true. Buyers of consultancy are spending shareholders' and taxpayers' money, not their own. They have a duty to make sure that they are getting value from it. Often, they are not. As quoted from the FT, "No company or government department should let a management consultant through the door until they have read this book from cover to cover. Twice."
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Format: Paperback
The book provides some interesting insights into the consultancy business. It highlights some shortcomings about the services that consultants provide. The book is well written in simple and easy to follow language and style. Readers who have had experience working with consultants are likely to relate to some shortcomings highlighted in the book.

The book should be of interest to a wide readership including consultants, companies wishing to engage consultants, academics in the field and analysts as well as any reader wishing to be acquainted with the workings of consultants. Good consultants would no doubt be happy to guard against the failures highlighted in the book, of failing to provide practical workable advice and guidance to clients at reasonable fees. Managers in organizations would learn about more pragmatic ways to manage the relationship with consultants and ensure that they get value for their money. Students of the profession will learn some of the shortcomings that they need to avoid if they are to establish a trusting and mutually beneficial relationship with clients.

For the unethical consultants, well, the secrets of your tricks have been revealed, so it is time to change and avoid shaming a good and worthwhile profession.

I should also say that I have witnessed some excellent consultants that have done a wonderful job of turning some organizations around and saving the livelihoods of thousands of employees. At the end of the day, we have to appreciate that consultants give advice to change or improve a situation but have no direct control over the implementation.
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