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The Three Ways of Getting Things Done Paperback – International Edition, May 15, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-0955008139 ISBN-10: 0955008131 Edition: Int

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 140 pages
  • Publisher: Triarchy Press Ltd; Int edition (May 15, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0955008131
  • ISBN-13: 978-0955008139
  • Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 0.3 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,121,377 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Imagine a company without bosses. Impossible? I would be inclined to agree, but Gerard Fairtlough... begs to differ and, the more I listen to his arguments, the more I believe he is on to something." Richard Donkin, writing in the Financial Times "Why is working in large organizations often so unrewarding? Why does it seem so purposeless, apart from the pay packet? Work takes up most of our waking lives for the best part of our lives, yet in many cases, work does not really work. What a waste!...Gerard Fairtlough addresses this big dilemma." Peter Day, BBC Radio 4 "...an elegant and concise exploration of contemporary theory and practice in the governance or organizations. It convincingly challenges the assumption that hierarchy is the inevitable default. Clearly written by a scientist and former CEO, it is superior to (and far more readable than) most management books". Walter Truett Anderson, World Academy of Art and Science "...a thoughtful book that every management consultant should read to assist and inform him or her when interacting with clients and assessing the prevailing culture climate in that organization". Alan Beckley, Managing Editor, Professional Consultancy"

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Philippe Vandenbroeck VINE VOICE on September 2, 2007
This slim booklet packs an unusually rich harvest of useful ideas between its covers. My copy has 110 pages (it's the original 2005 edition), including notes, an index and a glossary. So, the argument unfolds on just over 70 pages. However, given the profusion of bloated business books on the market, I consider this kind of modesty on the part of the author a huge advantage for the time-constrained reader.

There are three key messages in this book: first, that there are three, and only three ways "to get things done", i.e. to coordinate an organisation. These are conceptualised as "hierarchy", "heterarchy" and "responsible autonomy". Second, hierarchy has been the most commonly used way of combining system, culture, leadership and power - the four key features of any organisation. Alas, because it is so common, hierarchy is often thought of as the only way. Fairtlough's third message is that the time is ripe for change. In order to thrive we need to get rid of our addiction to hierarchy, based in our genes and reinforced by a long cultural tradition, and we need to move to more cooperative, smart and accountable ways of organising. Therefore, depending on its purpose and size, organisations will need to blend in various degrees of heterarchy and responsible autonomy in its hierarch-dominated matrix.

There are many levers we can pull to move away from hierarchy. Individual skills, reward systems and more participatory governance systems are just some of the more important ones surveyed in the book.

In a final chapter, the author asks "what is to be done?".
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