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The Secrets of Consulting: A Guide to Giving and Getting Advice Successfully Paperback – January, 1986

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The Secrets of Consulting: A Guide to Giving and Getting Advice Successfully + Becoming a Technical Leader: An Organic Problem-Solving Approach + More Secrets of Consulting: The Consultant's Tool Kit
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 228 pages
  • Publisher: Dorset House Publishing; 1st edition (January 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0932633013
  • ISBN-13: 978-0932633019
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #57,121 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Besides, this book is just plain fun to read.
Esther Schindler
The only regret I have about reading this book is that I haven't done it 5 years ago.
Elad Sofer
This is an easy book to read, with lots of good advice very humorously presented.
Andrew Johnston

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Esther Schindler TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 25, 2002
Format: Paperback
I'm having to order another copy of Secrets of Consulting because I lent the last one to a friend, and it's never come back home. There's a reason for that. This is the kind of book that people borrow, but never want to part with again.
A lot of consulting books are filled with fluff, common sense advice that you already know, or only ONE good thought in 250 pages. In 17 years of consulting, however, I've never found a better guide to solving the REAL business problems that you'll encounter. (And it's useful for more than just consultants, too.) Weinberg gets his message across in simple, memorable anecdotes that I can recite perfectly, fifteen years after I first read the book: The Orange Juice Rule, Rudy's Rutabaga Rule.
Here's one fer-instance. A client says that he wants something special done in a project you've already budgeted and possibly already started. Do you tell her "no way!" and lose the business? Do you do the extra work, grumbling about it (and maybe losing money on the deal)? Or do you apply the Orange Juice Rule? (You don't think I'll give away the answer, do ya?) I can't tell you how often I've applied the Orange Juice Rule and saved my business relationship as well as my own budget.
Besides, this book is just plain fun to read. It's light enough to be entertaining, but his advice will help you run your business better... for several years.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Johnston on March 9, 2004
Format: Paperback
This is a little book with some big messages. As the subtitle says, it's a book not only for those who give, or sell, their advice, but it's also for those who are taking or buying it. It's a book both for those who help to manage change, and for those undergoing change themselves. Many people should read it.
That said, the main focus of the book is on those who produce the advice and ideas. If you are a consultant as I am, this may be one of the most important books in your collection. I have read it cover to cover twice, and parts of it many other times.
The book is written with a light, humorous touch, illustrated both with many funny stories and some very apt cartoons and quotations. From each discussion he abstracts multiple "laws" and reminders, which on their own should prompt you to remember the key points he discusses.
Weinberg doesn't pull any of his punches. Consulting is hard, and the secrets are guides to improving your success and survival rate, not any set of "magic wands". He addresses ways in which you can fail just as much as ways to succeed.
In successive chapters, the book deals with the nature of consulting and the problems it can address, and how to develop your own mind so that your can see the problems and come up with possible solutions to them.
Throughout, Weinberg teaches us to focus on the "people" problems: cultural, political and psychological, which tend to be at the heart of any issue, assuming that, as he says, "it's always a people problem". If you can solve the people problems, the practical problems should be easy by comparison.
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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Erik Gfesser VINE VOICE on November 13, 2003
Format: Paperback
What exactly is consulting? And how does one consult successfully? This informative book attempts to answer these questions in a humorous, easy-to-read style. Throughout this book, Weinberg introduces and explains dozens of consulting laws, rules, and principles - and right from the start, with his laws of consulting laid out, you will be captivated by Weinberg's philosophy:

The First Law of Consulting: In spite of what your client may tell you, there's always a problem.
The Second Law of Consulting: No matter how it looks at first, it's always a people problem.
The Third Law of Consulting: Never forget they're paying you by the hour, not by the solution.
The Fourth Law of Consulting: If they didn't hire you, don't solve their problem.

Some of my many favorite laws, rules, and principles:

The Bolden Rule: If you can't fix it, feature it.
The Lone Ranger Fantasy: When the clients don't show their appreciation, pretend that they're stunned by your performance - but never forget that it's your fantasy, not theirs.
Marvin's Second Great Secret: Repeatedly curing a system that can cure itself will eventually create a system that can't.

Have you seen the new poster that reads "Consulting: If you're not a part of the solution, there's good money to be made in prolonging the problem."? Weinberg would not agree with this statement - his Sixth Law of Pricing says that if they don't like your work, don't take their money. An alternative to these types of posters? Blow up the cartoon illustrations in this book and hang them in your office.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Charles Ashbacher HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 22, 2001
Format: Paperback
Whether you are an independent, or officially classed as an employee, you are a consultant. No matter what your role in the development process is, what you think, know and do matters in the final outcome. The keys are to know how to express your beliefs as well as how to receive the beliefs of others. Much of the advice given in this book can be applied across all areas of the spectrum, both in job classification and function.
However, the main focus is on the unattached person who wishes to earn a living giving advice to those who may not want to receive it, much less pay a living wage for it. That is a hard task, but fortunately, Weinberg knows this arena very well. He dispenses invaluable advice in the form of simple, folkish sayings that you should post on the wall and repeat several times a day. For example, "The Hard Law: If you can't accept failure, you'll never succeed as a consultant" and "The Law of Raspberry Jam: The wider you spread it, the thinner it gets." The best advice often has a homespun flavor, and these consulting aids, sometimes complex only in their simplicity, will help you plot a path to a successful business as a consultant.
However, it is only advice and not a bible, so the hard part is up to you. If you want to know what makes a consultant work, either because you want to use one or be one, then this is the book you must read. By seeing the view from both sides of the fence, you can plot a successful strategy, independent of whether you are the giver or receiver of the advice.
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