- Hardcover: 184 pages
- Publisher: Warner Business; First Edition edition (March 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0446523216
- ISBN-13: 978-0446523219
- Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.7 x 0.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 7 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #263,745 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Extreme Management: What They Teach You at Harvard Business School's Advanced Management Program Hardcover – March, 2001
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From Publishers Weekly
Originally created to provide the U.S. government with industrial managers who could address the business side of military logistics during WWII, Harvard's intensive nine-week curriculum for senior managers focuses on decision making, global competition, corporate finance, organizational competence and teamwork. Here, marketing consultant Stevens (King Icahn; Sudden Death: The Rise and Fall of E.F. Hutton) aims to distill the program's lessons, drawing on anecdotes from corporate executives who have completed the program and some faculty members (the school did not authorize this book). For example, one sales executive, a former military man, learned to change his authoritarian, micromanaging style to one that allows him to act as a source of experience and information, resulting in his subordinates more actively following his lead and working harder for him. Another learned that he is not always the expert; faced with employees trying to unionize, he reflected on the lessons of the Harvard course and rather than firing the union supporters, which would have been both incendiary and illegal he hired an accomplished labor lawyer. While it may appeal to executives accustomed to self-analysis and who have sought additional professional training, the book falls predictably short of its goal to recreate the Harvard experience for the reader.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
The program summarizes what's taught at the renowned management school, which was started during WWII and flourishes today as a rite of passage for top corporate executives. After framing the program's inception as a response to Hitler and then using Truman's decision to bomb Japan as an example of management resolve, the military emphasis diminishes, but not much. The writing is combative, even for today's take-no-prisoners corporations, and the reader needlessly exaggerates this. The program covers a lot of ground so quickly that the ideas sound like platitudes or clichés. This and the wordiness of the writing make it hard to tolerate despite the basic soundness of the management lessons. T.W. © AudioFile 2001, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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The book offers a small collection bullet lists of lessons learned by several program participants from 1996. Material also includes simple and inconclusive Q&A interviews with program staff and students from the same timeframe. Even when originally published in 2001, the material was very dated. A book with this tag line should produce an executive summary of the now eight week, $60,000 program, and provide insight to future participants what to expect from their participation.
Publisher's Weekly had it right when they said that "the book falls predictably short..." I also agree with the AudioFile reviewer who pointed out the "writing is combative... the ideas sound like platitudes or clichés...this and the wordiness of the writing make it hard to tolerate..."
My views might not have been so extreme had the book and its description not promised so much. Clearly, the book doesn't cover the curriculum of the Advanced Management Program. For the most part, it is a poorly organized summary of some of the author's interviews with a sampling of some the people who attended the Harvard program over the years. Extreme Management is extremely lacking to say the least. I would add that the name of the book and its cover are an embarrassingly transparent attempt to make money off the Harvard name.
In my view it is a good book considering the price i paid, reading time, breadth of topics, simplicity and few good examples of how high level concepts could be translated into actions. I felt like spending few hours in the company of professors and executives, what they shared made sense to me and made me collect their words as jewels. Where else could one find synthesized knowledge from people like Michael Porter, Fruhan and other renowned scholars within 190/200 pages? I liked the simple manner in which DuPont and other fundamental financial management concepts are explained. I wouldn't mind recommending it to anyone for casual reading during a 3hr flight. Indeed it is not a text book, should not be taken seriously and may not be permanent part of your collection. The book is NOT for technical person who likes to live in details, nor for one who tends to seek ready-made solutions, nor for one who is interested in structured learning or pursuing graduate degree in management. One finds elements of inspiration and motivation to act, hallmark of good books. The stuff about Harvard or text on cover is more of marketing gimmick but nowhere author claims school endorses his book. There is a clear statement to that fact so don't know what caused the confusion written in other reviews. What matters is that the interviews, wisdom and thought process shared by people is original and real.... writer did not make up those 7 OFP points or market competition strategies. Don't expect a book could make you good manager or reveal secrets of success - there is no formula book.
Bottomline, professors who are Harvard's brain and their executive students from Fortune500/Global2000, .....talk to you in this book. It does not matter whether the book is endorsed by the school or if the writer himself attended the AMP program.....knowledge shouldn't have strings attached to it.
Here's the quick scoop:
1. I checked with Harvard and they did NOT authorize this book.
2. The author did NOT attend the classes he wrote about.
3. The writing style is very reminiscent of pre-canned smoke-and-mirrors business-speak...much verbosity, little content.
4. The author sounds positively angry about something.
5. I was angry, too, only because I wasted a dollar on this junk.
I agree with the jist of almost every reviewer on this page, especially Publisher's Weekly and AudioFile. I should have read the reviews on this site first. Oh well, it was only a buck.