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What Matters Now: How to Win in a World of Relentless Change, Ferocious Competition, and Unstoppable Innovation Hardcover – Bookmark Calendar, February 1, 2012

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Editorial Reviews Review

Guest review by Marc Benioff, Chairman and CEO,

Marc Benioff
The world is changing faster than ever. The "Social Revolution" is changing everything in business. The social, mobile and cloud technologies that are being rapidly adopted not only provide amazing new opportunities to engage with customers, but they fundamentally change the way we need to manage our companies. In his new book, What Matters Now, Gary Hamel outlines how tomorrow's successful companies must completely rethink management.

Gary Hamel, one of the world's pre-eminent business thinkers, demonstrates why last century's management theories-- developed more than a hundred years ago during the Industrial Revolution--are entirely wrong for managing today's successful organizations. He shows how yesterday's top-down bureaucratic management models designed to keep employees under control no longer work and how one-way, top-down communications are over.

We've seen how social networks like Twitter and Facebook enable wired citizens to rally crowds, gain global attention, and topple established political systems. We've seen the world change with the Arab Spring. If we don't find a better way to create more transparent, authentic and meaningful relationships with customers and employees, a Corporate Spring and a CEO Spring will be next.

Now, organizations of all sizes can access Gary's innovative ideas to bring business management into the future. Through case studies of forward-thinking companies like W.L. Gore, the company that makes Gore-Tex fabrics, Hamel illustrates the power of principles that center around autonomy and freedom, instead of command-and-control. Hamel illuminates how bold new models that encourage meritocracy--and identify the individual contributors who are actually driving innovations within an organization--will be the norm for successful companies moving forward.

This is a must-read for anyone who wants to succeed in today's world. Many fear change--after all, change is hard--but the world always spins forward and we must embrace change or the world will move on without us. Most of all, we have an incredible opportunity--as well as a responsibility-to redefine management for the next generation and transform our businesses into social enterprises that will be more competitive, more innovative and more successful than ever before possible.

Q&A with Author Gary Hamel
Author Gary Hamel

This book is different than previous books you have done. Why this book – why now?
There are a variety of unprecedented changes in the business environment, change continues to accelerate, trust is shaken, and competition is fierce: there is a raft of new competitors.

Organizations are not up to challenges ahead. There are many. The right thing to do was to NOT write a book about one thing – but instead offer 5 levers – and one person's point of view of how to work those levers.

What did you find surprising in writing this book?
Maybe not surprising – but a little shocking – was that despite magnitude of challenges that organizations face, including a dismal economy, most organizations are still fiddling at the margins.

A typical business book looks at companies doing something right at the moment…or companies that screw up. In times of environmental stress and change you have to challenge not only practices but principles. You must challenge fundamental assumptions about how organizations work. Frankly, I don't know of any organizations that are up to the challenges that lie ahead. This book is for people who want to get out in front; it is an agenda for people who want to lead.

Who has most influenced your thinking in the past ten to fifteen years?
Kevin Kelly and his book Out of Control (it came out in 1995.) He helped us understand how social life forms on the web and how that will, and has, affected us all.

Chris Rufer, President of Morningstar, is in the book. His company has demonstrated that you can run complex organizations without any hierarchical structure. I had believed it could be true …but now know it is true.

Out of every critical issue out there now for leaders/managers/workers to focus on what is the one most people should start with?
Values. Every CEO will tell you that they want to an organization that builds superior results. But is values that will get you there. Values need to be transcendental rather than venal. Look at Apple: beauty, ease of use… versus the investment banks and their short term monetary gain for a few. People are rightfully calling capitalism to account. I understand the anger people have. I laugh when a CEO says he wants a "values driven organization" because the organization already is! The question is what values are in the driver's seat already.

What do you hope readers ultimately "get" out of this book?
The responsibility of any business author is to be profound and practical. I want to read things that challenge my convention…my mental models. I also like to spend time talking with CEOs and managers. Ultimately you have to build a bridge between new ideas and the everyday realities. That is my goal.


An impassioned plea to reinvent management as we know it. (, March 2012)

The book is bang up to date highlights recent crises and what we can learn from them (CPO Agenda, April 2012)

A thought provoking and relevant book for our time that should inspire change, even if it doesn t prescribe it. (, April 2012)

An interesting and thought provoking read for HR and finance directors. (HR Magazine, April 2012)

Plenty to feed those with an appetite for change. (CA Magazine, April 2012)

A rarity among business books, What Matters Now has an entertaining, anecdotal style that does nothing to diminish the visionary authority with which Hamel speaks . (I: Global Intelligence for the CIO, April 2012)

The book is bang up to date highlights recent crises and what we can learn from them. (CPO Agenda, April 2012)

'Probably one of the most important books you could read this year an invitation to rethink the fundamental assumptions we have about capitalism. (Leadership Now, May 2012)


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (February 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1118120825
  • ISBN-13: 978-1118120828
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #82,273 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Gary Hamel is a founder and chairman of Strategos, and Visiting Professorof Strategic and International Management at the London Business School. He is the co-author of the international bestseller, Competing for the Future.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan Gifford on April 20, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Gary Hamels' latest book, What Matters Now, is pretty much what it says on the dustcover: `an impassioned plea' for the development of both an entirely new way of running organisations and for a new corporate ideology, based on `freedom and self-determination'. Along the way, Hamel calls for a better calibre of stewardship, which puts the long-term interests of corporations and their communities before personal gain, and rewards the organisations' members by contribution rather than power. It's a radical agenda. This is a book that anyone interested in organisational behaviour should (and almost certainly will) read, and the quibbles that I have with it are minor. But I might as well tell you further down the page what those quibbles are.

Following on from the themes that he aired in The Future of Management, Hamel argues again that we are clinging too long to a model of management that was designed for the manufacturing revolution started by people like Henry Ford; a revolution that depended on standardisation, efficiency and control. The problem, argues Hamel, is that the efficiency that these great and hugely successful machines require rubs against the grain of what humans do best. Reminding us of the remarkable fact that in 1890 in America, nine out of ten white males worked for themselves, Hamel points out that the inevitable result of industrialisation was that `unruly and independent-minded farmers, artisans and day-labourers had to be transformed into rule-following, forelock-tugging employees.' And we are still at it today, `working hard to strap rancorous and free-thinking human beings into the straightjacket of corporate obedience, conformity and discipline.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Gary Hamel's new book What Matters Now is a different type of business, leadership and management book. Where most offer single dimensional prescriptive recipes for success, Hamel has provided a thoughtful, deep and readily accessible look at the current state of business, management, capitalism and society.

What Matters Now treats the reader as an intelligent, concerned and reflective professional rather than a mindless consumer of business advice. The result is a book that is as refreshing as it is provocative.

Highly recommended, not as a path to success, but as a guide for personal reflection on the state of business, leadership and what can be possible if only we decide to make it so.

Hamel covers a wide range of subjects in 25 tightly written chapters from morality of business leaders and their failure in the financial crisis to new views on innovation, management, participation and the impact of technology on the way we work. The book is divided into four sections:

Section 1: Values Matter Now addressing the failure of values and its consequences coming out of the global financial crisis.

Section 2: Innovation Matters Now covering the need for greater innovation, focus on design and recognizing the personal challenges and rewards for innovation. Chapter 2.4 on turning innovation duffers into pros offers the most realistic view on why innovation is hard that I have read in a long time.

Section 3: Adaptability Matters Now provides a view of the nature of change, the forces driving it and the rewards associated with creating more adaptable and engaging organizations.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Justin M on January 2, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Overview: What Matters Now provides a blueprint for how businesses can succeed in the 21st century by focusing on having the right values, being product-focused, creating cultures where innovation can thrive, becoming adaptable, and being passionate and ideological. These are critically important concepts, but the lack of facts/research/data, the manner of presentation, and the (not particularly detailed) insights behind how to achieve each of those broader suggestions has led me to NOT recommend this book. I purchased the Kindle and the Audiobook. His speech was clear. In the case that you’re A.D.D. – the book, at least, is not boring.

To start, I want to note that Hamel is not just a crazy populist off the street – he was a visiting professor at HBS/London Business School, writes for the WSJ, started Strategios (a mediocre management consulting firm) and has been highly regarded by Forbes. I am, personally, a Theory-Y proponent (albeit not as radical as him). Between Hamel’s background and the strong support for this book on Amazon, I was expecting a great book. I was very disappointed, and I am really shocked that this author was a professor at Harvard. Overall, Hamel does provide useful high-level advice and a decent framework, but his advice is clouded in dogmatic ideological opinions and not fleshed out well. He spends most of the book on his ideological high-horse chastising current management structures and very little time arguing with data/research or showing detailed implementations of his ideas. Many of his statements that were made to be factual could be challenged or were just wrong. (e.g.
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