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The Wall Street Journal Essential Guide to Management: Lasting Lessons from the Best Leadership Minds of Our Time Paperback – Bargain Price, August 10, 2010
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I bought this book after reading a recent related article by Murray in the WSJ. "Essential Guide to management" reduces a whole library of books into a very quick read by distilling the most important concepts from Peters & Waterman to Michael Porter to Clayton Christensen. Topics covered include everything from Leadership, to Strategy, to Financial Literacy to Managing Yourself. Each chapter is a concise (~10 pg) summary of the essential leading thought on the topic, wrapped up with bullets and recommended reading at the end.
Although I might have summarized a few details on a few topics slightly differently myself, overall the key points are largely bang on with what I also understood to be the original writer's intent. In my opinion, the only thing missing was that the Financial Literacy could have used a dose of Buffet regarding understanding value-based management - something I wish more managers understood.
So, if you don't know what to read on management, read this first, then dig deeper in a reference. If you already know a lot, it's a nice refresher.
I found it to be just an average intro because
a) Mr. Murray can't seem to make up his mind whether this is a book for any "knowledge worker," mid-level managers, or CEOs. Various chapters appear to be targeted at different audiences.
b) The book appears to be a paean to the Wall Street Journal. Many of the stories and anecdotes shared by the author are based on WSJ articles. The author could have found better examples and stories in a myriad of other journals, magazines, and newspapers to make his points (e.g, Fast Company is an excellent resource for great management/leadership ideas).
c) Despite the chapter on Globalization, the book is entirely focused on Western management thinking. It would have been strengthened by adding management ideas from any of the rising economic powers. (e.g., Nilekani's Imagining India)
d) Mr. Murray largely omits the impact of technology and social media on management.
e) And finally, the book focuses on a rather narrow list of management classics. Mr. Murray had a difficult task of distilling 50 years of management thinking into a couple of hundred pages, but the book would have been better if he had mentioned or suggested reading a broader array of management classics (e.g., any book by Peter Block).
So if you need a primer on management or a quick review of standard topics, this is not a bad book. If you are looking to take your management skills to a new level, best to look elsewhere.
Readers looking for new ideas concerning these issues will be disappointed as that is not the purpose of this book. It really is a primer for people about the major ideas and themes in management. Murray does a good job of going through a combination of thinkers like Porter, Pfeiffer and executives like Bossidy and others to give a landscape overview of the practice.
Murray incorporates stories that help illustrate major ideas and concepts. Students of management will recognize just about all of the stories and some are presented in a rather simplistic but effective way for a first time reader. The book also has a logical order and do cover the essentials of management in the following chapters:
The book is challenged in a few areas. The book gives you the impression that technology has little to no role in management - except as the source of a stock market crash. Given the role of technology in shaping strategy, competition and our future, this is a serious omission. The ideas and strategies in the book are comprehensive up to about the mid 1990's.Read more ›
The book has twelve chapters that each focus on one area of management. These include: management, leadership, motivation, people, strategy, execution, teams, change, financial literacy, going global, ethics, and managing yourself. There is also a short conclusion that wraps things up well.
What I really liked about this book was how Murry discusses both good and bad about certain leaders and companies, and what can be learned from both. For instance, Jack Welch's leadership at the helm of General Electric is looked at, and both good and bad about Welch is pointed out. I also like that he brought up Peter Drucker's view of business ethics in that he didn't believe in them because he thought the phrase suggested those in business should live by different rules than everyone else. Drucker wrote that executives should not cheat, steal, lie, bribe, or take bribes. But nor should anyone else. These are just two small examples out of many, where Murry shares the wisdom and lessons from some of the best leadership minds of our time. It really is a well researched book.
This book is aimed at those in corporate management positions.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I've been in leadership positions for many years and have come across many different experiences and types of people. Read morePublished on November 25, 2012 by Ian Suttle
Thoroughly enjoyed this book. It synthesizes and examines some of the best ideas from some of the best management books out there, creating a "best practices" type book on... Read morePublished on June 23, 2011 by General Consumer
For those of us without an MBA or formal business training, this book is a must read. The book in itself was useful, and it also proved a great way to build a reading list to dive... Read morePublished on April 30, 2011 by PO
We are using this book as a Management & Leadership Book Club for our managers and supervisors and leads. They are able to have meaningful discussions about the techniques. Read morePublished on February 28, 2011 by Linda S. Training Specialist
Murray's overview of essential management provides future leaders with practical skills necessary to effective management. Read morePublished on October 6, 2010 by Ezra A. Adams
Among the very best leadership/management books I've read. Combines the principles of management with the traits and characteristics of military leadership. Read morePublished on September 5, 2010 by D. Gaudet