Top critical review
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there are several much better texts - this one is agonizing
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.