- Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: Financal Times Management; 2nd edition (December 10, 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0273659073
- ISBN-13: 978-0273659075
- Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5 x 7.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,071,369 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Funky Business: Talent Makes Capital Dance 2nd Edition
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Oh dear. A book called Funky Business by two Swedish academics. At first glance, it has all the allure of Benny and Bjorn's (from Abba) sadly never-released concept album about life as a middle manger in a multinational conglomerate. There is something earnestly hip about the way Kjell Nordström and Jonas Ridderstråle of the Stockholm School of Economics present themselves. "They do gigs not seminars. These gigs sell out. They have shaved heads and wear black," says the blurb.
But that's what makes Funky Business worth reading. It's not so much the novelty of the authors' argument, which boils down to the notion that in an oversupplied world, ideas are what separate successful companies and individuals from failures. Rather, it's the vitality of their argument and the rhythm of their language that make their ideas so compelling. "Traditional roles, jobs, skills, ways of doing things, insights, strategies, aspirations, fears, and expectations no longer count. In this environment, we cannot have business as usual. We need business as unusual. We need different business. We need innovative business. We need unpredictable business. We need surprising business. We need funky business."
The book, which is almost a virtuoso display of rhetoric and intellectual power, bursts at the seams with the force of its argument and the weight of its colorful evidence. Sources quoted range from the pope to the British band the Prodigy. Funky, Inc., they say, "isn't like any other company. It is not a dull, old conglomerate. It is not a rigid bureaucracy. It is an organization that actually thrives on the changing circumstances and unpredictability of our times."
This is great entertainment. But the slick veneer does not invalidate the way the book pulls together many existing strands of thought about how business is developing and evokes a coherent and intriguing vision of a future whose main feature will be incoherence.
This really is one for the whole family. Or at least those old enough to have a job. --Alex Benady --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
It is, first, well-formatted and easy to read (albeit with some awkward grammar here and there, or so I thought). The fluid, slightly stylized narrative works for the book's subject matter, as does the wit and personality inhabiting the text. Also, the supplementary pictures are a nice touch, without being gimmicky or in bad taste. From a purely literary perspective, 'Funky Business' is, in my opinion, quite above-average in its writing, as to be a refreshing departure from your typical business book.
Content-wise, the book is equally satisfying, and on several levels. In its overt capacity, as an introductory guidebook to an emerging paradigm shift in global business practices, 'Funky' is a solid, well-rounded read; the authors make many good, valid points, then provide compelling arguments and evidence in support, followed by reasonable conclusions. I can't say I was in total agreement with everything the book promotes, but whatever disagreement I had was on minor points; as a whole, the text is, in my opinion, logically sound (and, when applicable, morally and spiritually, too). What's more, the book reads well today, not feeling at all feel dated, despite being published in 2000 (or, at least, my copy was; I see that there is a later, circa-2007 edition available); such freshness is, for me, a hallmark of valuable, intrinsic wisdom, as opposed to opinion or transitory fads.
However, 'Funky' also contains a subtler dimension, written between its lines, and it is this subtext which was, for me, its most attractive feature. Namely, the book emphasizes the profoundly cerebral nature of business, from the viewpoints of both buyer and seller. Along these lines, the authors do a fine job of exploring this deeper, often ignored aspect of the business transaction, in which the subjective perceptions and other psychological elements of the participants are as relevant and consequential as any fact or figure. Thus, besides offering some good practical knowledge in business's emotional components, the book presents a similarly powerful human study, touching on everything from the mental to the cultural to the philosophical -- much food for thought here, as it were. (If the book has one takeaway in this respect, it's that assumptions are the enemy of any functional enterprise, financial and human alike.)
All in all, there's a lot to learn in 'Funky Business,' as much from a broadly existential standpoint as from that of a vocational commentary. I came away from the read feeling rather enriched (plus somewhat entertained -- bald, witty, leather-wearing, Swedish business professors?!?).
Much thanks to this book's authors, subjects, and publisher. I am grateful for, and have benefited from, your work and service.
The "funky" corporation advocated by the authors bears some resemblance to the "visionary company" described in Built To Last (Collins and Porras 1994), notably in the necessity of firms having a core ideology, encouraging innovation and tapping the creativity of its employees. Otherwise, the model "funky" corporation is "narrow, focused on one or just a handful of core businesses" (p. 132), designed to leverage the accumulated knowledge of its workforce and partners, consistently innovative, and organized to contain "many hierarchies of different kinds" (p. 168). To create such organizations, managers must offer "meaningful leadership" that welcomes experimentation, promotes continuous learning, hires from diverse "tribes" of people, and creates value by building upon the "economies of soul."
Overall, this is an annoying and intellectually sloppy book that presents no original research and adds little to our understanding of how organizations need to adjust to the realities of the network society.
Move it fast.
Move it faster.
Move it now.
These are the words, which summarize all the 245 pages of the book and energize them. Although casual in style and easy-to-understand in language, Funky Business is yet a profound and philosophical survey of the recent shift of basic values in social and business structures of the global society. Those, who understand the spirit and emotions of Mission Impossible II or Swordfish - Password Accepted, will definitely appreciate both the style and the message. For the `businessmen', who love ACID Jazz the message of the book is also easy to catch. The other guys may miss it out.
True, none of the business concepts, exposed in the book is new to the business community. But the authors created the brand new vision of the modern business through hy-phe-nation (as they describe the phenomenon themselves) of the latest ideas. Only such a weird combination of ideas helped them to produce the most beautiful (and harmonious?) description of a competitive advantage I ever learnt: "Competitive advantages weigh no more than the dreams of a butterfly". I understood the vitality of this phrase when I heard one of businessman in Russia (not oil, timber or caviar tycoon) telling, that he is "dedicated to the quality of idea in his business, because the highest quality of idea is the only thing impossible to be replicated immediately". And this gives him a competitive advantage. Once again: it was asserted not from the sends of California, but from the woods of Russia. What else should be said or done to prove the unambiguous victory of Forces of Funk throughout the world?
But above all, this is not the book to read, to learn and to forget. This is the ACTION book. It wakes up those who haven't yet understood that Future Just Happened. And it puts more pressure on those who are already awoken in order to move faster. My judgement is that Funky Business is a must-read for everyone in business: from an intern to the CEO. We already did it in our office. Every newcomer MUST read Funky Business in a bid to speak with his peers and bosses (very few, really) in the same language.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Considering this book is written 20 years ago, I may not be evaluating it in the right context. And the world back then seems too remote to me.Read more