Most helpful critical review
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A Summary Review of all fables written by Patrick
on October 31, 2006
The 2 stars is the average I give to all the fable books written by Patrick.
The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: 5 stars
Obviously, it is the best one. (you can see it from the sales record in Amazon). It was the first Patrick's book I read. I have finished reading the whole book in one setting and couldn't wait and jump to look for his other books. The book has a reasonable length, setting up a bit simplified, but not over-simplified, and still reasonable fable-like setting to illustrate all important team dysfunctions and team building skills. The whole book is tight and coherent and an easy but enlightening read. Highly recommended!
Death by Meeting: A Leadership Fable 4 stars
It is a good one but not as great as the five team dysfunctions. A very good explanation of all kinds of meetings and how to use each of them. I recommend you buy one, read it and keep it as a reference. One drawback is the author tried to spicy up the book so one of the main characters will occassionally scream out some rude comments if he didn't take his pills. I never work with such an unusual person and I prefer less dramatic in a management fable. (not something like in "Desperate Housewife", the neighbor besides you was a serial killer and the housewife across the street did her gardener and used her Chinese maid to bear her baby.)
I should have stopped here and never rush to read his other books..
The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive: 2 stars
This is the one made me begin to feel betrayed. If the five dysfunctions have been crafted for months, this one seems to be done within weeks. The fable setting needs more polishing works. Although the four obsessions have been presented with reasonable clariy, reading this book makes you feel that the author thinks you are an idiot. Scenarios like how the VP HR plots to damage the trust seem to be more suitable for a toddler fable rather than something for teenagers, not mentioning for managers. The rough plot affects the whole four points--though four very good points. I will recommend you to skim the whole book in less than 20 minutes by standing in a bookstore.
Five temptations of CEO 1 star?
It is the one makes me begin to feel angry. Again, if the five dysfunctions have been crafted for months, this one seems to be done within hours. The major story (95% of the book) happened in a dark train, where a poor CEO was taught about these five temptations by some ghost-like old men, who turned out later to be the previous CEOs in the SAME company! Again the five temptations are all great and worthwhile points. It is the plot that made me sick. If you have a chance, skim the whole book in less than FIVE minutes.
Silos, Politics and Turf Wars NEGATIVE 1 star
The worst one. Negative 1 star is because it wasted my time. I thought the five temptation one was the worst until I read this one. Patrick spends most of the book to illustrate the silo problems rather than provide any solution. And he even spends many pages about the main character's struggle in balancing his work and his wife's pregnancy, which I believe, should belong to another fable about personal life balance, given how many pages the author devoted to this. From other fables, more or less, you can at least learn something. But not from this one. Forget it!