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The Seven-Day Weekend: Changing the Way Work Works [Kindle Edition]

Ricardo Semler
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $12.79
Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC

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Book Description

Ricardo Semler thinks that companies ought to put employee freedom and satisfaction ahead of corporate goals.
Imagine a company where employees set their own hours; where there are no offices, no job titles, no business plans; where employees get to endorse or veto any new venture; where kids are encouraged to run the halls; and where the CEO lets other people make nearly all the decisions. This company—Semco—actually exists, and despite a seeming recipe for chaos, its revenues have grown from $35 million to $160 million in the last six years. It has virtually no staff turnover, and there are no signs that its growth will stop any time soon.
How did Semco become wildly successful despite breaking many of the commonly accepted laws of business? In The Seven-Day Weekend, Ricardo Semler shows that for those willing to take a chance, there is a better way to run a workplace. He explains how the technology that was supposed to make life easier—laptops, cell phones, e-mail, pagers—has in fact stolen free time and destroyed the traditional nine-to-five workday. But this can be a good thing—if you have the freedom to get your job done on your own terms and to blend your work life and personal life with enthusiasm and creative energy. Smart bosses will eventually realize that you might be most productive if you work on Sunday afternoon, play golf on Monday morning, go to a movie on Tuesday afternoon, and watch your child play soccer on Thursday.
This is a radical book that will challenge the business world to make the seven-day weekend a reality.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Semler, the Brazil-based CEO of Semco, believes corporations and employees can become successful by bucking tradition and thinking wildly outside the box. He attempts to explain Semco’s success (a company with $212 million in annual revenue and "no official structure… no organizational chart… no business plan or company strategy") and how its principles can be applied in other companies to make working environments more appealing and opportunities for growth and achievement limitless. Nine chapters (one for each day of the week, as well as one for "Any Day" and one for "Every Day") explore the ways in which the traditional workweek stifles creativity and fosters distaste for working days. But Semler also looks at how to shake things up. The Wednesday chapter leads off with the following to-do list: attend a board of director’s meeting; dump a deal rather than pay a bribe; tell the company it sucks. While Semler’s ideas often seem counter-intuitive, the idea is not to provide specific guidelines but rather to encourage readers to view their organization and professional lives in a new way. The book’s premise is promising, but the actual steps to achieving a seven-day weekend still seem unattainable.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


"Ricardo Semler tells how Semco uses a revolutionary way of working to run a profit making company with a work force who love their jobs" The Sunday Times "The Seven-Day Weekend will certainly encourage managers to look very carefully at their management practices" -- Rocco Forte Management Today "Ricardo Semler is our kind of capitalist" The Guardian

Product Details

  • File Size: 338 KB
  • Print Length: 268 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1591840260
  • Publisher: Portfolio (May 3, 2004)
  • Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #184,080 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A New Way to Work that Works March 15, 2007
Semco, Ricardo Semler's privately held Brazilian company is hard to describe, mostly because it looks and acts so different from what we expect a company to be. That's why Semler devotes the first chapter of Seven Day Weekend to telling us what Semco is and does and what makes it a different place to work. At the end of the chapter, he says this:

"Although I still can't definitely answer the question about what Semco does do, I can say we've changed the way work works and improved the quality of our lives - and so can you."

After reading Seven Day Weekend, I still can't tell you exactly what it's about. But I can say that it will change the way you think about work and open up new possibilities for you.

There's a lot of talk these days about changing the workplace and making it more democratic and self-organizing and participative. We've seen pieces of this at places like WL Gore and, more recently at Best Buy. We've read the business press articles and pundit opinions.

But the fact is that if we are going to see significant workplace change on a large scale, there will need to be more companies that act like Semco. The owners of those companies will have to try things out and show us. That's what Ricardo Semler has done.

If you want to see how the wisdom of crowds works out in a company, it's in here. If you want to see how democratic principles work out in management, that's here, too. And if you want to see things about self-organizing and self-managing work groups and chaos theory, that's here too.

But Seven Day Weekend is not a how-to manual. You won't come out of it with a bunch of checklists or bulleted lists of sure-fire techniques.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good! Thought provoking. Less than Maverick though March 8, 2008
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Seven-Day weekend is the second (English) book by Richardo Semler, the CEO of Semco. Semco is a weird Brazilian company known for it's modern HR practices. The history of Semco and Ricardo Semler was explained well in his first English book: Maverick.

The author makes a point that the workweek has invaded the weekend via internet and email. Now it's time to abandon the standard week/weekend thinking and have weekend whenever we want and have week whenever we want. So we'll have a seven day workweek AND a seven day weekend.

The book is a collection of stories and opinions by Richardo which are organized according to the days of the week. Every day a couple of stories, mostly about Semco but also about other activities in which Richardo was involved in.

Some of the more interesting points and stories are, for example, where the author is questioning the need to always grow. In business it seems to be the purpose of the business to grow bigger. Richardo questions this purpose and asks why this is. Cannot companies stay small and then still be successful?

Seven-day weekend is certainly worth reading. It's a small book it takes maybe a day to read it. Its well written, it keeps you awake and the stories are interesting. Though, I personally found it less interesting than Maverick (which I had read first). If you need to chose between the seven day weekend or Maverick, I'd go for Maverick. If, after Maverick, you still do not have enough of Semler, then the seven-day weekend is for you.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Radicalism that is fun - and works February 23, 2005
Written with engaging enthusiasm and frankness, the 14 essays in this book have titles like 'Let the Followers Lead', 'Do it your Way - See if I Care', 'Too Much Talent is as Bad as Too Little'.

Collectively they demonstrate the enormous business success - over 20 years - of a philosophy, culture and practices that are totally radical in comparison with 'conventional' business.

Yet they are based on the commonsense principles of democracy, trust, transparency, a shared search for new opportunities and better ways of doing things, and guardianship by the community of a shared set of values, beliefs and principles.

In the process of explaining how these principles work in practice, Semler blows apart just about every piece of conventional wisdom underpinning the behaviour of large public companies - Semler's Semco remains privately owned. It is reasonable to question to what extent it could operate as it does if it were a public company - and whether it could be as successful as it is. Is the classic joint stock form becoming a 'dead hand', rather than a driver of progress?
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars work and life balance May 29, 2004
Semler has downloaded from the brains of so many successful entrepeneurs the key to balancing life and work. People live and people work. People do not need to loathe work or be treated like idiots to operate in the work place. Treat people like adults and afford them adult decision oportunities and they will shine and make you money.
Corporate America has alot to learn and Semler is ready and eager to teach. Start down the road to learning who you are as a successful business person and person by reading "The Seven -Day Weekend." People in control of their lives will self-create, self-improve and self-manage.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Business, the way it should be? November 24, 2007
I really enjoyed this book because it seems to be the antithesis of so many standard biz books out there. No ex-consultant in-depth research of "best of breed" or new "growth paradigm" dreamed up by a college professor - just musings from a man who has created just what might be the best case scenario for the future of work.

The book is based upon is Semco, a diversified Brazilian company where Semler is the CEO and whose revenue has grown from $4 million in 1982 to $212 million in 2003. His basic theme is that in order harness the full power and talents of your workers they have to be truly engaged and this means they have the power to pretty much do what they want when the want - as long as it focuses on generating results for the company.

While many of the practices he implements might not work so well in your workplace, they will get you thinking of what might be possible and what we may hopefully be heading towards. Overall his approach is similar to Industrial Democracy whereby workers are involved in making decisions, sharing responsibility, and have equal authority in the company.

Below are just a few of my favorite quips from the book...

- Once you define the business you're in you create boundaries for your employees, you restrict their thinking, and you give them a reason to pass up on opportunities.
- Semco has no official structure, no CFO, no HR, no mission statement, no job descriptions, etc. it is a place where people are just considered adults and get their job done.
- Semco cares about the core of what an employee does for the company, not the boarding school behaviors like what time they came in. But it is sooo hard to give up control. People should be involved to the point they shout "yes"!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Incredible new way to manage a company based on democracy and employee participation.
Published 1 month ago by ANDY
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A must read for any manager.
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Avant-garde leadership in an Industrialist, old guard world.
Ricardo Semler blazes a trail for those with courage, compassion and a desire to avoid irrelevance. I highly recommend this book.
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars This was a very good book, describing a way of managing your...
This was a very good book, describing a way of managing your company/organization in a democratic way. Read more
Published 7 months ago by David Tillemans
5.0 out of 5 stars A how-to that gets you an innovative culture.
An eye opening approach to creating a business culture that enables people to put their best problem-solving, and innovative abilities to work for the business.
Published 9 months ago by Bill B.
5.0 out of 5 stars A new work order
It is a new vision to work as a career. Why not change the path you are on? Really inspiring
Published 12 months ago by arbano
5.0 out of 5 stars exellent
This is the best business book. Ever. If you want to have a more stress free life, follow his advice and give up control.
Published 13 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars a vision come true in one case
Semler is a Person with a Vision. Whoever is interested in developping workplaces according to human Needs (not vice versa like it is today in most places) must read one of the two... Read more
Published 22 months ago by Gaby Belz
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book
Semler's perspective is impressive. He's taken knowledge from all areas of decentralized structures and built a functioning business. Read more
Published on March 2, 2013 by Mike
4.0 out of 5 stars Thinking outside the box
Actually the headline should be: how can you think outside the box when there's not even a box?!
This is what Ricardo Semler brilliantly brings us with his mind-blowing story... Read more
Published on November 13, 2012 by rkiperman
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