Customer Review

31 of 39 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A 10-chapter book squeezed into just 1 poorly constructed chapter, & the topic deserved something more than conversational text., March 4, 2010
This review is from: Get Rid of the Performance Review!: How Companies Can Stop Intimidating, Start Managing--and Focus on What Really Matters (Hardcover)
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It was OK. I didn't particularly like it. But I didn't dislike it. I liked the title and was hoping for a well-written and well-organized tome that would justify the elimination of Job Performance Reviews in all or most companies that have subordinate employees. Unfortunately the book was more a rant than a researched and logical treatise on why America's workforce would be better off if they didn't have to be subjected to annual performance reviews.

The book is not all that long considering the line spacing was not single and the font size was larger than I am used to reading in a business book. It has 10 chapters and I would list them here if I thought that would help you understand what the book was about. But I'm not going to list them. The meat of the book is found in Chapter 7 entitled "There has to be a better way. And there is." The 12 gripes the author has with performance reviews are listed there as follows:

1. Performance reviews focus on finding faults and placing blame.
2. Performance reviews focus on deviations from some ideal as weaknesses.
3. Performance reviews are about comparing employees.
4. Performance reviews create a competition between boss and subordinate.
5. Performance reviews are one-side-accountable and boss-dominated monologues.
6. Performance reviews are thunderbolt from on high, with the boss speaking for the company.
7. Performance reviews mean that if the subordinate screws up, then the subordinate suffers.
8. Performance reviews allow the big boss to go on autopilot.
9. The performance review is a scheduled event.
10. Performance reviews give HR people too much power.
11. Performance reviews don't lead to anything of substance.
12. Performance reviews are hated, and managers and subordinates avoid doing them until they have to.

Some of these things I agree with. But some of them I don't. But that is not really the issue. What bothered me was that the substance of the book was squeezed into Chapter 7 and the other chapters really didn't add much to the topic. Chapter 7 taken alone just did not support the price of the book. In fact, Chapter 7 could have been laid out a whole lot better, and it wasn't.

I got the feeling that the author got a lousy job performance review recently, and by writing this book he was able to deal with that review. When I was going through grade school and middle school in my youth the superintendant of schools for my school district did not believe kids should get grades on their report cards. So I got Ss and Ns for "satisfactory" and "needs improvement." What a shock high school was when I all of a sudden had to get grades on my report cards. As I read the instant book I felt as though the author was as wacky as my old superintendent of schools. Progress reviews might not be the greatest thing since sliced bread. But they do have their purposes. And often times they are needed. And HR people are supposed to have leadership roles in organizations - not merely be subordinates like the author suggests. 3 stars!
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Aug 1, 2010 8:56:51 PM PDT
Ajivani says:
TL;DR. Sentence fragments. Can be difficult to parse and sometimes make. Reviews really hard to read. May I suggest a Bedford Manual?

Posted on Mar 2, 2011 5:03:52 AM PST
Chloe says:
This review is more whine than review. The reviewer faults the author conjecturing the author wrote it out of unresolved issues with a bad review. I think this reviewer would get bad reviews because his whining makes him less likeable by employees and bosses alike. Also, people who put spoilers in their review by definition basically steal from the author. If this is a bad book, then just say so. To say its bad but then taking possession of its salient points as the reviewers own not only steals the authors thunder (as well as thought and time) but negates the validity of the reviewers review.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 2, 2011 6:44:48 AM PST
@Chloe. The last time I checked "book spoilers" was a term unique to fiction. The instant book being reviewed was of the nonfiction variety. And reviews of nonfiction books are supposed to analyze salient points therein included. Maybe the review was more whine than review? However, it has been deemed by the masses as a helpful review. By just saying the book was a bad book I would not be writing a review. Instead I would be merely posting a testimonial. And testimonials are worthless (and usually frauds).

Posted on Mar 15, 2011 7:33:07 AM PDT
M. Kinney says:
HR people are supposed to be leaders in organizations??!! The only place that really believes that are master's degree programs in HR. In every real company, HR is really just management's union that doesn't do much except enforce rules. Occasionally they do good by working out a troublesome situation around one's benefits or come up with a new benefit package, but mostly, they seem to be the enforcer of management's rules. Don't know anything about this book as I have not read it, and the reviewer might be correct about it, but I had to comment on the person's view of HR departments. Thanks for the review and I look forward to reading the book at some point.
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Location: Princeton, NJ USA

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