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Thriving on Chaos: Handbook for a Management Revolution Paperback – August 2, 1991


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Thriving on Chaos: Handbook for a Management Revolution + In Search of Excellence: Lessons from America's Best-Run Companies + Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap...And Others Don't
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 736 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (August 2, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060971843
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060971847
  • Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 5.3 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #249,240 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Addressing American industry's continuing decline in foreign and domestic markets, Peters (In Pursuit of Excellence) here offers a detailed plan for unstructured business activity in which some readers will see not only chaos but anarchy. Nevertheless, the author's perception of high quality as a determining consumer motivation and his radical recipe for achieving it are persuasive. Noting that smaller service-oriented businesses like Federal Express prosper while mammoth GE and GM falter, Peters would largely eliminate top-heavy management superstructures in favor of creative worker involvement and customer participation, with supervisors on hand to encourage. This textbook cites dozens of specific business situations and person-to-person responses in support of its step-by-step instructions for turning a failing enterprise aroundif those involved can act fast. 150,000 first printing; Fortune Book Club main selection.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

In contrast to the mass of oversimplified business survival manuals, this one justifies itself. After demonstrating in his previous books ( In Search of Excellence , with Robert Waterman, and A Passion for Excellence ) what he calls the "nice-to-do" in order for an organization to achieve success, Peters now proposes the "must-do" to survive in explosively changing times. His 45 "prescriptions" for survival boil down to enlightened leadership through innovation and flexibility in management style and organizational structure. Essential. A.J. Anderson, G . S.L . I . S . , Simmons Coll., Boston
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Versteeg, Marcel on July 21, 2000
Format: Paperback
Tom Peters, with Passion for Excellence, has been a great inspiration for me to start all kinds of innovations in customer service (quite some years later I still got positive responses out of the market) and my organization back in the 80s. You could say he was my "guru". So, when Thriving on Chaos was published, I immediately purchased it and start reading it with high expectations. How unfortunate .... as I became quickly very disappointed (I was never able to finish it in total). It was too much of the same as in Passion for Excellence. Just different words to many of the same topics. A professional writer who wants to get more money out of you while not providing you with more knowledge. I stopped buying more books from Tom Peters and was for some time very hesitant buying other management books. Now, many years later, I sometimes go back to the book without all these emotions I had when I bought it. I have to admit there are many inspiring subjects in it, some of them better described than in Passion for Excellence. So my conclusion is that the book can be very helpful for people who need inspiration for change and innovation, even though it is already quite some years old and has nothing in it about todays subjects like the Web. But as I have started with Passion for Excellence, I will probably never be able to rate Thriving on Chaos as high as Passion for Excellence (five stars).
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Jay Friedman on February 6, 2003
Format: Paperback
I just read this and two things stand out. First, there are some things that really never change, and as a result, Peters makes a huge impact here.
On the other hand, this was written before the net, much of the new automation inventions and much of the new technology as well. So, you just have to adjust his words to fit today's business environment.
Now, for the book. What he says is common sense to many workers and managers alike, but is looked at in horror by upper management and CEOs. So many CEOs believe that if they don't have total control over everything, then they're "out of control" and thus, running a bad organization.
NOT TRUE. As Peters indicates, if you hire competent people and give them the tools they need to do their work, you'll likely be pleasantly surprised with the quality of work that comes from them. In other words, drive down the decision making and create an autonomous environment for employees and your organizational flexibility increases, your profits will rise and with the right measures, you will succeed.
This is a kind-of-classic that all business leaders should at least have read. However, I think books such as Built To Last and First, Break All The Rules are more up to date and have since developed newer, more relevant theories that apply to all industries.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Edward J. Barton TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 14, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Twenty years into a managerial career, and I finally reread this book. I read it many years ago, and found Tom Peters to be a motivational, inspirational and enlightened thinker - certainly in the early 90's. I have spent the last 20 years in management, with the most recent 10 years in "C" Level (CFO, COO, CEO) positions. On a whim, and in reflection of my earlier affinity for Peters', I repurchased this book to reread. Let me tell you, the prospective buyer and reader, that he is SPOT ON.

Many of the approaches advocated by Peters in this 700 page tome I have adopted in my own approach to organizational management. It works. His approach is one of honesty, openness, transparency, innovation, education and empowerment. These principles work - and work well. If anything, the maxims outlined by Peters in 1987 are even more applicable with today's worker and complex business organization.

What are those maxims? The book centers around an applicable and specific set of tasks to achieve "enlightened management". Peters uses the themes of:

*Customer Focus
*Innovation
*Empowering People
*Leadership
*Systems

To lay a groundwork for change within any organization. Each of these themes are covered in some detail in the book, and Peters breaks them down into 5-10 tasks, with a "To Do List" for each. The blueprint is right here, in the book. Just pick it up, make the list, apply it to your organization, and you are off and running.

The edition I have (second) also has a bit of a retrospective written a few years later, and emphasizing the lessons learned by Peters since the initial authoring of the book.

All in all, a MUST READ for anyone working for me. And it probably should be a must read for any manager and above - at a minimum. Peters knows his stuff, his stiff works, and there is nothing better than the succinct and actionable format that you will find in this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By John Hogan VINE VOICE on January 7, 2010
Format: Paperback
Having read almost all of Peter's works, I find this to be one of his best. As we all navigate through challenging times globally now, his attacks on status quo serve as timely reminders of the need for constant improvement."

Feedback is always welcomeAs always, feedback or comments are welcome

Dr. John Hogan CHA CHE
HoganHospitality
HospitalityEducators com
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