Customer Reviews: Strategic Planning for Public and Nonprofit Organizations: A Guide to Strengthening and Sustaining Organizational Achievement
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on May 20, 2012
This textbook is terribly done. There has been a Harvard project on the same topic that describes the planning process for nonprofits in three stages - Bryson uses eight. There is also a Herrington Bryce textbook that has been praised and that is readily available.

If you are considering this text for your use, I would strongly recommend one of the others; if your professor has assigned this, beg him or her to choose another. This is an overcomplicated repetitive mess of a manifesto on Bryson's self-important and overcomplicated view of what should be a straightforward topic. And it is sheer pain to read.

- Bryson is verbose and overcomplicates everything - He would cite five sources to tell you the sun has risen, just so you would know that he is well-read . . . he never uses 50 words when he can use 500 or better yet 1,000. That makes this a really tough read. Bryson never heard that brevity is the soul of wit.

- This book is incredibly repetitive - he seemingly does not have a lot of faith in his reader, so he says everything five times. His lack of respect for the reader goes so far as to tell you how to set up a room for a meeting, how to cover use a dry erase board and easel paper, and just to be helpful he even includes a template of an oval for you to use in making ovals to post during your meeting. A blank page in the book with a black outline of an oval. I wish I were kidding. Bryson doesn't have a lot of respect for the rest of us.

- He is a terrible writer. His paragraphs are lengthy and disjointed. His constant citing of sources is ludicrous. He is one of those people in the world who can't just say what he has to say, he has to make everyone think he's smarter than they are. But if he were somewhat smarter, he'd have had the insight to make this book actually readable.

- Bryson seems to be a classic example of a consultant with no real-world experience. He barely covers leadership, a pretty important topic, but in addition to his helpful advice on ovals and easel paper, he does discuss the uses of dishonesty and selective disclosure in the planning process, but in such a throw away manner that all you can get is how clever he wants you to think he is.

- He proselytizes incessantly. Bryson spends a lot of effort on his view of how one should achieve transcendence (really! - you can't make this up!) while making numerous and repetitive political statements against conservatives, corporate interests and a variety of others.

I realize that most of you will be buying this book because you have to, as it will have been selected for you by your professor. Beg your professor to choose another text. There are several much better ones out there. Plead. Do whatever it takes. This is the one of the worst books I have ever encountered. It is truly terrible and extremely frustrating.
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on August 22, 2012
The third edition of this book was a required reading for one of the my classes in graduate school and I found it to be a helpful resource for understanding the strategic planning process. Dr. Bryson presents complex concepts in a way that is accessible to non-academics. The fourth edition examines all new cases and includes a section on the use of the web and social media in the strategic planning process which I found very interesting.

I also found the citations to be quite helpful. I only mention this because I read an Amazon review that really seemed to take issue with the amount of citations in this book. Citations, in any work of non-fiction, are a great resource. If you want to know about something discussed in book you simply look up the citation. Furthermore, it's not as if citations somehow affected the flow of a book. If I don't want to look up a citation I just move on to the next sentence, usually with remarkable ease.

All and all I heartily recommend this book. It is ideal for anyone who is new the strategic planning process or someone who is looking for a more in depth understanding of the process.
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on January 9, 2016
I've only had this book for 3 days and read the first two chapters, but it is a godawful tedious mess.

The author speaks in first person and talks a lot about his personal life, which is odd enough. Like other reviewers have noted, he drones on and on with endless lists and takes pages upon pages to explain concepts that you could summarize in a few paragraphs, which not only is boring but makes the concepts so much more difficult to understand. It makes it difficult to follow the points of the text, and by the time I get to the end of a section I can honestly say I have to go back and re-read some sections to figure out what the heck the message was.

The actual information, when you can pick it out, is very useful - the author just makes it extremely and unnecessarily difficult to get out of the text. Just pay attention to the figures and read the summaries at the end of the chapters, and use the glossary in the back to find anything specific you need for your assignments if you are using this for a college or graduate level class. That's my best advice to make good use of this 500+ page book.
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on September 1, 2015
Seriously agonizing to read. Made it to page 15 before I had to put it down. I don't want to read about how strategic planning is a benefit because it improves your decision making for pages and pages. Of course it does, because when you prepare things tend to go more smoothly! It's common sense.
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on June 18, 2016
There have to be better tests out there. This was painfully dry to read. Perhaps the information was good, but if good information cannot be gleaned through the reading difficulties it is overall useless. I was very disappointed.
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on March 18, 2015
I was in the middle of reading a chapter when I was compelled to read what others have said about this book. I had to purchase this book for my strategic planning class, so being the good student that I am I began by reading the book word for word. After the 2nd chapter I skipped over sections, paragraphs, and ultimately pages.

It is the most boring, repetitive, superfluous, and the most unnecessarily verbose text I have ever read in my college years. I am midway through the course and I cannot read each chapter without skipping sections and taking cat naps. I have to agree with another commenter chapter 2 is the best, but after that it is too much. I am going to tell my professor not torture any of her future students, ironically she seems so simplistic but yet had us purchase this book.
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on June 27, 2015
This was a book that had to be read for a graduate level course. While the information was good, it was extremely too long and drawn out. It could have been condensed, and it would have been a better read.
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on February 17, 2015
This textbook is pretty much typical among university/graduate studies. It is over 500 pages thick, filled with excessively complex diagrams and flowcharts, vast chapters, and detailed citations for further reading. Like most textbook authors, Bryson drones on about nothing in particular, taking hundreds of pages to say what could have been described simply in a few pages. Strategic planning is little more than thinking about what problems face your organization, coming up with solutions, and finding ways to test and apply them.

Unfortunately, even though I just summed up the book for you, this is a textbook and if you're searching for it it is likely required reading for a graduate course. Get it as cheaply as possible, or borrow it if you can.
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on September 18, 2014
This. Book. Is. Awful. It was a textbook for my Masters degree, and it is utterly painful to read. I've never read a textbook in the first person before, and it's just...awkward. It's set up more like a never-ending novel than a textbook. Very difficult read.
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on February 8, 2014
Professional and academic writing should be concise and rich with meaning. This author said less in 10 pages than other authors say in one page. Waste of time and money. Author used a lot of exhaustively unnecessary lists, synonyms strings, and elaborated the obvious. Like hearing Forrest Gump talk about shrimp dishes.
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