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The Seven-Day Weekend: Changing the Way Work Works Hardcover – April 12, 2004


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Portfolio Hardcover (April 12, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591840260
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591840268
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.8 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #277,976 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

Review

"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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 27 customer reviews
It's a small book it takes maybe a day to read it.
Bas Vodde
The bottom line is that you should read this book because it will give you a window into a very different way of working and organizing a business.
Walter H. Bock
"Treat them as responsible and well informed adults" is the powerful and controversial principle at the basis of Semco unique reality.
Paterni Riccardo

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Walter H. Bock on March 15, 2007
Format: Hardcover
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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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Bas Vodde on 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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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Bill Godfrey on February 23, 2005
Format: Hardcover
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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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By jeff horn on May 29, 2004
Format: Hardcover
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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan Licis on November 24, 2007
Format: Hardcover
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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