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House of Lies: How Management Consultants Steal Your Watch and Then Tell You the Time Paperback – March 8, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
Complete with an appendix of terms like "brain dump," "pulse check" and "swag" (an acronym for "smart wild-assed guess"), this somewhat disjointed, highly intelligent and deeply funny debut memoir skewers a segment of the economy that nearly every white-collar worker has learned to fear and loathe: consultancies. Kihn, who has been nominated for an Emmy as a comedy writer, went to Columbia Business School and has spent the last few years working as a consultant; he writes the "Consultant Debunking Unit" column for Fast Company. Kihn argues that many consultants know little or nothing about the firms they're hired to help; furthermore, he contends, they often offer companies information that companies already have. For him, the consulting industry is a shell game, imparting an air of authority and expertise rather than actual authority and expertise. To achieve the illusion, Kihn says, consultants use mechanisms ranging from legions of Harvard MBAs in Oxford shirts to reams of incomprehensible blather presented as winning corporate wisdom. His reconstructed dialogue from within his (unnamed) firm and from his time serving clients is alone worth the price of admission, as is his relentless taunting (by name) of McKinsey, Deloitte & Touche and others.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
With sharp wit, consultant Kihn tears down myths surrounding the highly profitable and revered management-consulting industry. Presenting stories from his own career in a large management-consulting firm, this tell-all book sketches a picture of a consulting firm with teams of brilliant professionals who are hired by companies that pay millions of dollars in fees for an analysis of their organization and its processes. The author contends that consultants merely provide information the client already knows, and he offers insight into the effect consultants have on the company's employees and their culture. Language plays an enormous role in dealings both within and outside the firm, and the inclusion of a dictionary of important words for management consultants is revealing and entertaining. No activity avoids Kihn's scathing pen, including his highly critical analysis of business books. This will be popular among those engaged in consulting as well as clients who pay dearly for their advice. Mary Whaley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Should have hired some consultants to set the marketing plan straight before publishing the book. It deserves 5 stars all the way.
Like any great comedy - it has a lot of deep dark thoughts, it is provocative and clever and everything else that discriminating person could expect from such a comedy/drama.
That's why I can only give this book 4 stars. Martin's writing is hilarious. I enjoyed the stories, the references, and the fake book-within-a-book he crafted as he went along. But the essential thing I was looking for is missing: how big consulting firms get clients. That happens off stage. Martin speaks from the analyst's point of view, not the rainmaker's.
Everything else was entertaining and face-smackingly raw and honest. It's a book I will recommend to other business owners.