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TRUE PROFESSIONALISM : The Courage to Care About Your People, Your Clients, and Your Career Paperback – May 18, 2000

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TRUE PROFESSIONALISM : The Courage to Care About Your People, Your Clients, and Your Career + The Trusted Advisor + Managing The Professional Service Firm
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 210 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press; 1 edition (May 18, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684840049
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684840048
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 6.6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #85,590 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Maister sets out to help professionals align their real-world actions with their true (espoused) values. His frame of reference throughout the book is the professional firm--law firms and others in the service sector. He tells us that successful firms are clearly differentiated by a strict adherence to values and professionalism and that doing the right thing is good business. Professionalism is not a set of competencies but predominantly an attitude; a real professional is a technician who cares. To emphasize the importance of true values in our chaotic marketplace, we learn that the noble path does win, but only if we are prepared to make the investment to act professionally over a long period of time. This is a challenge in today's short-term view of most aspects of business activity. The book addresses the individual professional's values, the firm's responsibilities in the realm of values, and how a firm should deal with its client base in terms of quality and excellence. In addition, the author offers a thought-provoking suggestion for guaranteeing satisfaction. Mary Whaley --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Thomas J. Tierney Worldwide Managing Director, Bain & Company Insightful, entertaining and useful! Maister's work bridges the gap between theory and practice; grounded in conceptual bedrock, it offers practical 'Monday morning' advice for anyone involved in managing a professional service firm.

John Harvey Chairman, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Australia David Maister is the guru of professional services. A routine reading of Maister?s lessons is good religion for all practice managers.

James M. Kouzes Coauthor of The Leadership Challenge and Credibility True Professionalism is pure gold. You?ll be able to mine this rich vein for your entire career and always discover another nugget.

Adrian Martin Managing Partner, BDO Stoy Hayward UK Maister is not for the fainthearted. If you are not prepared to ask the tough questions about your business, don?t open this book! ?

Tom Watson Vice Chairman, Omnicom Group, Inc. Maister?s ideas are applicable in a wide range of professional businesses and are equally valid for small firms or large. This book speaks to the professional in all of us.

Martin Sorrell Chairman, WPP Group plc Provocative, controversial and stimulating, Maister challenges traditional thinking and provides new insights on a wide range of important issues.

A. W. (Pete) Smith, Jr. President & CEO, Watson Wyatt Worldwide David Maister has a keen awareness of what creates success in professional service firms and a clear way of communicating ideas that truly make a difference.

John M. Westcott, Jr. Assistant Managing Partner, Hale & Dorr, Boston Maister in print, like Maister in person, is animated, entertaining and insightful. He always leaves the reader with food for further thought.

Robert M. Heller Kramer, Levin, Naftalis & Frankel David Maister is a walking oxymoron, a practical visionary whose thoughtful analysis of the professional service firm is must-reading for anyone trying to lead, manage or survive in one. If you need help getting your prima donnas to sing like a chorus, read this book -- better yet, ask them to.

Fergus Ryan Managing Partner, Arthur Andersen, Australia David Maister?s knowledge of professional services is second to none.

More About the Author

David H. Maister, one of the world's leading authorities on the management of professional service firms, is the author of several successful books, including Managing the Professional Service Firm, True Professionalism, and Practice What You Preach, and coauthor of The Trusted Advisor.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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See all 23 customer reviews
This book is great for anyone in management.
Romeo Richards
Maister is simply the best in this niche...and this book, once again, demonstrates that.
Bill Wiersma
Got this book for my husband to read while deployed.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Ellen Ostrow on May 25, 2002
Format: Paperback
"True Professionalism" expresses Maister's core message: do work
you love with people you like and everything else will come
with ease. Few of the lawyers I coach have heard this message
before. If they'd read Maister they'd realize that business
development isn't about selling, with all of its worst connotations -- it's about helping people you respect and whose problems are meaningful to you.
Maister encourages the reader to consider the "radical" idea that work should be enjoyable and that if it is, then success will come from doing it well and with sincere caring. I agree with him and enjoy being reminded each time I re-read this wonderful book.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Charlyn Gee VINE VOICE on February 1, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I thought that this book would extend the concept of professionalism out of its traditional realm and into the world of business. But I was dismayed to find that professionalism as Maister thinks of it doesn't apply to me... because I work for a corporation. Maister sees a "professional" as someone who provides a service to a client, and who could work as a sole practitioner. His book seems to be mostly geared towards lawyers and consultants, and more specifically law firms or consulting firms.

Also, it often seems like, because I work for a corporation, with no real expectation of autonomy, I already by default have the skills he claims professionals so badly need - like the ability to work as part of a team or to accept management.

Half of the book is spent implying that professionals (or possibly people overall) are unable to be internally motivated to excellence, and repeatedly insisting that the only way to make them perform at a high level is to have an external force demand that they do so, and strictly enforce those demands. He describes such a policy as "intolerant" and uses this word A LOT. He further suggests that professionals should want and accept this, because they too should realize that they can't achieve excellence on their own.
It is a little offensive, and I would imagine that such a firm taking such a faithless approach would have great success among the average, but would drive away the best.

The other half of the book, strangely, implies that actually you can't change people that much, and should adjust your firm to contain only people who share the same standards and values.
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22 of 29 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 11, 1999
Format: Hardcover
You're a consultant, lawyer, accountant or some other professional in a practice which needs to sell to survive.
This book gives good, simple, guidelines to succeed. Follow them and you'll do well.
Don't worry that your competition will do the same because many of the recommendations will get lost in the "Too Hard" basket. For example, Maister's treatment of unchargeable time is simple and cuts right to the chase: how is non-chargeable time measured? What is the RoI of this time? Is there a schedule or a programme for what is essential investment in the future?
The logic is impeccable, but it will lead to little action precisely because unchargeable time by definition doesn't contribute to the bottom line immediately.
It is a book which seeks out many of the sloppy, unimaginative practices prevalent in professional firms and provides practical remedies. It is a book that will be much recommended but too hard to use, and the reason why is best illustrated by Maister's recommendation on guarantees:
"Guarantee your work to the complete satisfaction of the client. If the client is not completely satisfied, accept that portion of the fee that reflects the client's level of satisfaction".
This stuff is just too scary. To trust clients and staff that much is asking a lot. To force a firm to live up to its marketing claims is, for most, a risk not worth taking.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Joyce A. Ogirri on April 21, 2004
Format: Paperback
David Maister does a great job of explaining the fundamentals essential to anyone that has a job or is looking for a job in consulting. Splitting the book into three sections made it flow well and easy to follow and comprehend. Furthermore, Maister really focuses on the things that you should look for within yourself as well as the firm and clients. He makes you think about what one should really focus on in your career and the benefits you can receive from your job. This book also guides an employee in explaining situations that will probably occur at some point in their working career. David Maister gives you the tools that you need to be successful; all the person has to do is apply it to their everyday life.
The principles that Maister discussed in his book showed me that there is a balance between the client, the firm, and yourself. This balance is important because it dictates how successful you will become. It is also important to value your client as well as engage with them so that you really know who the client is and what their needs and wants are. Even though you must achieve your goals, you should help others to do the same by establishing a relationship, which in turn will make the working environment healthy and successful.
There is so much information you take a way from this book that will help you in your career as well as your life. I advise everyone to buy this book, because it is very beneficial to the success of anyone's career. Through the use of catchy phrases and clear, practical explanations, I feel that anyone can read this book and take something from it to apply to their career.
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