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What Management Is Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press; 1 edition (May 13, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743203186
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743203180
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 6.5 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #825,886 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

What Management Is, by former Harvard Business Review editors Joan Magretta and Nan Stone, identifies management as the driving force behind key innovations of the past century and presents a jargon-free look at the way its core principles work. Designed to promote "managerial literacy" up and down the business food chain, as well as among those who simply "want better communities and a better world for our children," the book uses concrete examples to explain fundamental concepts and practices like value creation, the 80-20 rule, and decision analysis in a way that sheds light on them for the uninitiated while providing needed perspective for the more experienced. "Think of this book as everything you wanted to know about management but were afraid to ask," Magretta and Stone write. A comprehensive exploration of the overall process rather than a traditional how-to, in its first section What Management Is examines why and how people work together; the second section shows how ideas are translated into action. With case studies ranging from Old Economy stalwarts like Ford to New Economy upstarts like Dell, along with pioneering nonprofits such as the Nature Conservancy and India's Aravind Eye Hospital, the authors explicitly lay out the basics along with a framework for employing them in a wide variety of situations. --Howard Rothman

From Publishers Weekly

Before they can treat patients, physicians must attend medical school. Before trying cases, attorneys need to pass the bar. But businessmen and managers can work without ever going to business school. It's no wonder they are often lost or unsure when it comes to fundamental management principles. Former management consultant Magretta, with Stone's help, provides these wanderers with a map. In simple, engaging prose, Magretta and Stone, contributor and editor-in-chief, respectively, of the Harvard Business Review, offer an explanation of what a manager does. They logically begin with a description of what's required to be a manager, then explain, generally, how to do it. Along the way, they draw on the lessons of management authorities from Michael E. Porter ("the essence of strategy is choosing what not to do") to Peter F. Drucker ("results are obtained by exploiting opportunities, not by solving problems"), and also quote more tangential gurus, such as Albert Einstein ("not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted"). The authors do not discuss specifically how to manage people, prepare a budget or deal with shareholders, but that's not their intent. Magretta and Stone set out to provide the overall framework for thinking about how to be a manager, and in that, they succeed. The book also has a useful appendix listing related readings.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

I would recommend this to business students as a must read text.
Sandra Johnson-Brown
I found the style of the book to be easy to read and understand the concepts for management and non-management readers.
M. Karakus
I should have spent the money elsewhere, but it was a quick read, so it did pass the time well.
Greg Rosinski

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Patrick Merlevede on July 7, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This book, written by 2 former editors of Harvard Business Review, isn't a "how to" book on management, but rather a book giving the "big picture": clearly describing the rules and concepts that underlie the discipline of management. Written in easy language, this book fully "compatible" with what I've been "preaching" over the last 7 years, but that also means there weren't many new things I learned from it (which explains my 4 star rating). I think that most experienced managers won't learn too much from this book (at least that's what I hope, but maybe I'm too optimistic, especially given that books as "The Dilbert Principle" seem to be a "fair" presentation of the reality of management in some organizations).
That said, let me give you an overview of what you'll get:
The first part, entitled "design", discusses business issues such as value creation, business models, strategy and organization. This is clearly a book from after the dot.com era, stressing that it's not technology people want to by, but a product that fulfills a real need, and that this consideration of real added value should drive the business plan (something that many dot.com entrepreneurs seemed to have forgotten). Once you have your business model, your strategy will make the difference in the marketplace, where you have to face all sorts of competition, and try to outperform them. Organization, then, is about figuring out how you will structure your company for reaching your strategic goals: what will you do yourself? What will you outsource, how will the organizational chart and command structures look like?
Where the first section makes clear that good management means having a clear idea of your business, the second part is about making it happen, and thus is called "executing".
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Maxim Masiutin on March 15, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book is about the management basics that aren't always obvious. It offers a concise synthesis of important ideas and practices:
- value creation
- business models
- competitive strategy
- the 80-20 rule
- performance metrics
- decision analysis.
With various remarkable examples it shows that the value creation is the managers' chief responsibility in the modern world. It also shows that the managers shouldn't overlook the rest of practices to be successful.
The book is amazingly friendly and jargon-free.
I would also recommend "How to Survive the E-Business Downturn" by Colin Barrow and "Leading the Revolution" by Gary Hamel in addition to this book.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Robert Morris HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 26, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Hundreds (thousands?) of books have already been published on the general subject of "management" so it is reasonable to ask: Why another? What Magretta offers (with the substantial assistance of Nan Stone) is, in my opinion, the best single-volume introduction to what Magretta refers to as "the discipline of management," a subject which is relatively new (i.e. mid-19th century) and, until Drucker's The Practice of Management (1954), not generally understood. According to Magretta, it is "one of the transforming innovations of modern civilization." I agree with her that management's "real genius is transforming complexity and specialization into performance." (This precisely what Bossidy and Charan had in mind while writing Execution: The Discipline of Getting Results.) Magretta's goal is to "present a coherent view of the whole, of the work known as [in italics] general management." Her purpose is to explain "the underlying [in italics] why of both the theory and practice of management....Our mission is to see the forests for the tees, and present what can be complex ideas simply, but not simplistically. We will present a sense of how management thinking has evolved and how the big ideas relate to one another."
Magretta and Stone succeed brilliantly. They carefully consider various subjects which include value creation, business models, "the logic of superior performance," organizational parameters, "which numbers matter and why" (the real bottom line), innovation amidst uncertainty, using focus to achieve results, and those values which are most effective when managing others. I think this volume will be especially valuable to relatively inexperienced executives.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By M. Karakus on August 22, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This is a great book for managers and non-managers. It gives enough background for all readers to get a fell of management as well as historical knowledge to remind manager why they are managers. The introduction to the book was to the point and attractive enough to purchase the book. Actually her note that the greatest management leaders were the ones to stop the momentum of managers was a chuckle.

The author broke this book into two parts: (1) Design and (2) Execution.
The first part (Design), broken into 4 chapters described value creation, business models, strategy and organization. Each chapter describes how design works tactically, then when thought about can be understood how they integrate together. This part focuses on how to set-up your organization which then properly gets into the second part of execution, where the wheels meet the road.

The second part (Execution), broken into 5 chapters writes about how you can measure and manage the success of your organization. Examples are concrete for most industries. Although I found the end of the book rushed and not as focused as the previous part.

I found the style of the book to be easy to read and understand the concepts for management and non-management readers. At the end of each chapter were examples from profit and non-profit organizations of the chapter concepts, which enables the reader to understand the ideas being used in various environments.
Have fun understanding how management can be so easy.
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