Industrial-Sized Deals TextBTS15 Shop Women's Handbags Learn more nav_sap_SWP_6M_fly_beacon Beach House $5 Off Fire TV Stick Subscribe & Save Shop Popular Services pivdl pivdl pivdl  Amazon Echo Starting at $99 Kindle Voyage Nintendo Digital Games Shop Now Deal of the Day
The Age of Heretics: A History of the Radical Thinkers Wh... and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Buy Used
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: While this book has been loved by someone else, they left it in great condition. Hurry and buy it before someone else does and take advantage of our FREE Super Saver Shipping!!!
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

The Age of Heretics Hardcover – March 1, 1988

20 customer reviews

See all 5 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
"Please retry"
Hardcover, March 1, 1988
$0.82 $0.01

Best Books of the Year So Far
Best Books of the Year So Far
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for 2015's Best Books of the Year So Far in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.

Editorial Reviews Review

Radical behavior is rarely acknowledged as a characteristic of the corporate world, where status quo is generally king and revolutionary thought usually banished to the fringes. In The Age of Heretics, however, journalist Art Kleiner shows that a powerful group of progressive thinkers really did exist within the realm of traditional business during the tumultuous 1960s. These figures actually helped transform that environment just as their better-known antiestablishment allies were reshaping other institutions throughout society.

From Publishers Weekly

Kleiner's freewheeling portrait gallery focuses on corporate mavericks of the 1950s, '60s and '70s who pioneered self-managing work teams, responsiveness to customers, grassroots organizing and other ways to imbue corporations with a sense of the value of human relationships. Starting with British management scientist Eric Trist, whose experiments in industrial democracy in the 1940s laid the groundwork for U.S. managerial innovations of the 1980s, Kleiner afterward profiles General Foods manager Lyman Ketchum, who launched the work-team concept at a Topeka pet-food plant in the early 1970s; he then discusses how Royal Dutch/Shell in England switched from rigid numbers-based forecasting to "scenario planning," a method of predicting alternative patterns of global energy demand. Also spotlighted are MIT computer scientist Jay Forrester's design of the "Limits of Growth" model of the world's economic future; community/labor organizer Saul Alinsky's drive to change Kodak's hiring policies; and Stanford Research Institute engineer Willis Harman's parapsychology experiments and his campaign urging the federal government to adopt an ecological ethic. Kleiner, a freelance business reporter who has edited The Whole Earth Catalog, serves up a smorgasbord of status quo-changing ideas.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

See all Editorial Reviews

Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday Business; 1st edition (March 1, 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385415761
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385415767
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 6.8 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,154,590 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan Lehrich on January 15, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Never judge a book by its cover - particularly its blurb. On first glance, The Age of Heretics seems askew, a tract on business revolution for "corporate leaders" interested in anything but. It purportedly chronicles the "recreation" of institutions, an eccentric term when left unhyphenated. It's described in alarming code words, such as "magisterial" (read, "long"). Why would anyone bother with a book like this?
Because it's terrific. And because the bland façade is disguising a remarkable reality. The Age of Heretics offers one of the few compelling, intelligent, thoroughly researched histories of the field of organizational development. Focusing largely on the 1960s and 1970s, Art Kleiner details the origins of T-Groups, Theory X and Theory Y, scenario planning, systems thinking, and much more. He proves particularly adept at summarizing an approach or technique succinctly, as if in passing, and all the while in the context of corporate change movements. Perhaps Kleiner errs on the side of the Great Man Theory of History ("there was one man who could do it, and his name was ..."), but he does demonstrate how OD can prove revolutionary to the modern corporation. And we all know what fate befalls the revolutionary.
For that is part of Kleiner's history: how the OD early adopters so often sowed the seeds of their own downfall. Perhaps they evolved from enthusiastic to monomaniacal. Perhaps they exacerbated their cultish image by experimenting with LSD. Perhaps they merely stepped on the wrong toes. Whatever the reason, the drugs or the shoes, they blew their own trumpets, then whimpered the blues.
As the title suggests, Kleiner dubs these forerunners "heretics," and even adopts a framework of comparisons to medieval knights, millenarians, Pelagians, and the like.
Read more ›
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By R. Michael Bokeno on May 23, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This book should remind anyone of an age to be in a position of significant and high-level corporate change responsibility of opportunity lost. In a societal post-culture where it's stylish to be outlandish, different, revolutionary and heretical, Kleiner illustrates for us the substantive difficulties faced by substantive revolutionary thinkers (and doers!) in developing the plans for socially responsible corporate transformation.
The Age of Heretics is almost unfairly engrossing (I read it in a single sitting). Its superb and nuanced documentation at times reads almost like an additional narrative. And Kleiner's wonderfully accessible writing makes this intellectual history of organizational development speak to those otherwise put off by the cerebral work.
Oddly, those most in need of a recovery of revolutionary spirit or heretical passion - contemporary OD/MD/HR executives- won't read it. After all, even though interesting history, it is still history and those folks are now too busy figuring out what happy face button everyone can wear for the fiscal quarter. On my read, this is the lesson of Kleiner's history; that is, abandoning the revolutionary, hopeful,Pelagian spirit and resignation to work within the system enables the system to eat you.
Also oddly, Kleiner's history will likely be dismissed by socially conscious and critically-minded business/organization/management Marxist academics, as just not explicitly critical enough of the "one-dimensionality," technocracy and precipitous consumerism of the capitalist system, which is of course what identifies the work of McGregor, Lewin and the early NTL'ers as heresy.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 18, 1996
Format: Hardcover
The heroes of Kleiner's book are concerned with reducing the psychic costs of work by
better aligning the personal hopes and dreams of employees and the corporations they
work for through organizational development (OD). Kleiner's subject matter ties in
well with those, such as Margaret Blair, who emphasize the contribution to wealth
creation of firm specific human capital. While Blair appears primarily concerned
with enhancing the ability of corporations to create wealth, Kleiner acknowledges
they are already good at that task; the issues he raises are in some way more can we reorganize corporate systems so that they reinforce
democracy and other cherished human values?

For students of OD, or anyone who has been a process facilitator, the book is full
of fascinating insights into the people we have tried to emulate...people like
Douglas McGregor, Kurt Lewin, Chris Argyris, Saul Alinsky and Warren Bennis. I
learned, for example that Charlie Krone's leaks to David Jenkins for the book Job
Power resulted in Charlie's virtual "house arrest" at Procter and Gamble and I
learned the semi-autonomous work groups didn't really have as much authority as
Jenkins reported. Kleiner's heroes recognized that institutions, such as
corporations, are social constructs. They became masters in group dynamics and
building trust so that more effective communication took place, especially around
team building. These heroic figures helped many corporations go through a process of
fundamental reexamination... leading to a shift away from the bureaucratic military
model to the more dynamic matrix, self-managed, and participatory models of today.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews