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The Project 50 (Reinventing Work): Fifty Ways to Transform Every "Task" into a Project That Matters! Hardcover – September 21, 1999


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The Project 50 (Reinventing Work): Fifty Ways to Transform Every "Task" into a Project That Matters! + The Brand You 50 : Or : Fifty Ways to Transform Yourself from an 'Employee' into a Brand That Shouts Distinction, Commitment, and Passion!
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Product Details

  • Series: Reinventing Work
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf; 1 edition (September 21, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375407731
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375407734
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 4.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,004,854 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Does your work matter? Do you transform mundane tasks into "WOW Projects!"? And, most important, do you consider projects "dynamic, stimulating, a major bond builder with co-workers, a source of buzz among end-users, and ... inspiring, exhausting, hot, cool, sexy, where everyone else wants to be"? If not, consider reading this enthusiastic project primer, which joins The Brand You50 and The Professional Service Firm50 in Tom Peters's list-filled Reinventing Work series.

Stressing the importance of following a project from start to finish, Peters breaks the WOW Project (also known as the "Way Cool" project, by the way) into four stages--create, sell, implement, and exit--and 50 lists. No. 24 (titled "Work on BUZZ ... all the time!") recommends making a stir about the "WOW-worthy project," showing off your team's success with buttons, mugs, and T-shirts. Shameless? Perhaps. But if the project is truly worthy, then "parading your team's spunk is a matchless sales/marketing--not to mention morale-building--ploy."

Peters--who communicates in lists, one-word sentences, bold, capitalized, and half-tone text, parenthetical asides with jumpy punctuation, and more than a few interjections of "WOW!" and "Way cool!"--is not for everyone. Mellow readers may want, instead, to check out Eric Verzuh's The Fast Forward MBA in Project Management. But project managers seeking to shake up mundane assignments will find plenty of original, easy-to-implement ideas in this guide to getting things done. --Rob McDonald

From the Inside Flap

The common denominator/bottom line for both the professional service firm/PSF and the individual/Brand You is: the project. And for the cool individual in the cool professional service firm there is only one answer: the cool project.
A seminar participant said: "Reward excellent failures. Punish mediocre successes." So, how many of you are at work -- right now -- on "mediocre successes"? At work on projects that won't be recalled, let alone recalled with fondness and glee, a year from now?

We don't study professional service firms. (Mistake.) And we don't study WOW Projects. (Worse mistake.) There is, of course, a project management literature. But it's awful. Or, at least, misleading. It focuses almost exclusively on the details of planning and tracking progress and totally ignores the important stuff like: Is it cool? Is it beautiful? Will it make a difference? My No.1 epithet: "On time . . . on budget . . . who cares?" I.e., does it matter? Will you be bragging about it two--or ten--years from now? Is it a WOW project?

So, then: Step #1 . . .the organization . . .the professional service firm/PSF 1.0. Step 2 . . .the individual . . .the pursuit of distinction/Brand You. And: Step #3 . . . the work itself . . . the memorable project/WOW Projects.

The Project50 is a simple and handy guide that provides 50 easy steps to help the modern businessperson choose the right project, find the right team, develop strategies for success, and ultimately know when it's time to move on.


See also the other 50List titles in the Reinventing Work series by Tom Peters -- The Brand You50 and The Professional Service Firm50 -- for additional information on how to make an impact in the professional world.

More About the Author

Tom Peters is co-author of In Search of Excellence--the book that changed the way the world does business, and often tagged as the best business book ever. Sixteen books and almost thirty years later, he's still at the forefront of the "management guru industry" he single-handedly invented. What's new? A lot. As CNN said, "While most business gurus milk the same mantra for all its worth, the one-man brand called Tom Peters is still reinventing himself." His most recent effort, released in March 2010: The Little BIG Things: 163 Ways to Pursue Excellence. Tom's bedrock belief: "Execution is strategy--it's all about the people and the doing, not the talking and the theory." (Keep up with Tom at tompeters.com, ranked #9 among "The Top 150 Management and Leadership Blogs.")

Customer Reviews

Thanks for sending copies to me, Tom Peters!
Donald Mitchell
Although the book is small and consists of only 200 pages, the book is not that simple to read due to its format and structure.
Gerard Kroese
This is a must have if you ever hope to manage people or get a half-way decent job.
James V. Pritchert

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Gerard Kroese on January 6, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Tom Peters is an ex-McKinsey & Co. consultant, who become a management guru by being the co-author of business super-bestseller 'In Search of Excellence' (1982). He has written several books after that huge success, but nothing has come close in quality. This (little) book is part of his 'Reinventing Work' series.
The aim of this book is to make us "believe that work can be cool. That the work matters." The reason? "Work - yours and mine - as we know it today will be reinvented in the next ten years." Perhaps you believe this, but I do not. Yes, we can make work and, in this case, projects more interesting. Tom Peters comes up with a list of 50 ways how to do this. The list is split up in four parts: (1) Create; (2) Sell; (3) Implement; and (4) Exit. Each of the 50 ways raised consists of a short introduction, the main point ("the nub"), the impact, and some examples and quotes. Most of the 50 ways are quite interesting, but they could have been cut down to some 25.
I always feel disappointed when I have to write a negative review, but this time I have no choice. Tom Peters is a famous management guru and an excellent motivational speaker. I feel that he tries to bring his famous energy from his seminars across by using plenty of capitals, wild colors, abbreviations, and exclamation marks. But it just does not work (for me). There are some interesting points, but he would have been better by producing a video of his seminars or writing a proper book - like 'In Search of Excellence' (1982) - on projects. For people interested in projects and project management there is plenty of choice elsewhere. Although the book is small and consists of only 200 pages, the book is not that simple to read due to its format and structure.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By David E. Rogers on January 23, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a multimedia software writer/producer, I thought my projects were pretty hot stuff. That might be true, but reading "The Project 50" sent me on a quest for the fabled "way cool" moniker for every project I do.
In this practical and outrageously optimistic book, Peters makes a clarion call for work that matters, that takes your breath away--that, in short, WOWs not only your clients/customers but everyone who sees what you do.
With 50 suggestions (each with a number of action items) for creating WOW projects, Peters stirs a divine dissatisfaction for business-as-usual. "Good enough" work no longer is--and will soon be the death knell of its practitioners.
With characteristic bullets, colors, UPPER CASE PHRASES, and underlines, Peters confronts us with the challenge of the near-future: Making the most of the new millennium will require nothing else than producing WOW projects--whether they be spread sheets or theme parks.
This book reinvigorated me and recast my vision for the future--so much so that I bought copies for my fellow writer/producers. Read it and you'll see why.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 28, 1999
Format: Hardcover
WOW! Buy it. Read it, no ABSORB it. But put it to work BEFORE you finish the book. So many parts of this book struck a cord. I took rapid prototyping to heart and used existing tools to completely revamp a process. Project Time - 2 1/2 hours, time savings - 2 hours per day x 3 employees! Approval and buy in took a week. (Our normal process would have taken months). If you try to read this and then put the principals in practice you will be overwhelmed. Practice as you go along. Tom is cutting straight to the meat with his "50" series books. You NEED these books.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 2, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This book is the Pilgrim's Progress for those who head up projects (which will be more and more people as organizations downsize and outsource). I liked the way that Tom Peters shows that everyone can make every project meaningful and a valuable, worthwhile contribution. This is a wonderful gift, and one that all can benefit from. Tom, when you redo this book (and with your theory of fast prototyping, I assume that this will come out next month), I think you missed a big opportunity -- helping people pick the project to work on that will make the most difference. If you subscribe to the 80/20 rule, then 20 percent of the projects will make 80 percent of the difference. By picking the right areas to work on, you can multiply your influence by more than 20 times than if you pick the low-potential areas. That is like getting to live 20 times over in one lifetime. Wow! I agree that high potential projects often come disguised as unimportant ones. A good companion book for this one is The Fifth Discipline, to help you understand systems thinking so that you can pick the areas to work on that will influence everything else. The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook and the Dance of Change also have very valuable ideas for running projects. Having spent my working career running projects, I especially subscribe to his notion that projects should have a stealthy beginning, so that you can have the freedom to create what is really needed. Too much publicity and money too soon are killers. I found the advice to closely parallel my own experiences and those of best practice cases that I study. This is a very valuable book for anyone who wants to make a difference. I also recommend the other two books in the series, Brand You 50 and Professional Service Firm 50. Thanks for sending copies to me, Tom Peters!
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