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More Secrets of Consulting: The Consultant's Tool Kit Paperback – December 15, 2001

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Editorial Reviews


"Gerald Weinberg's two secrets books ... are valuable on every computing professional's book shelf." -- Conrad Weisert, Idinews.com

"You'll find this book a delightful introduction to the man and his work." -- Richard Mateosian, IEEE Micro Review

About the Author

One of the best-known names in the computing industry, Gerald M. Weinberg is the author of numerous books covering every phase of the software project life cycle. In addition to The Secrets of Consulting, some of Weinberg’s most popular books include The Psychology of Computer Programming: Silver Anniversary Edition, Exploring Requirements (with Donald C. Gause), and the Quality Software Management four-volume series. Recipient of the J.-D. Warnier Prize and of The Stevens Award, Weinberg has worked for IBM, Ethnotech, and Project Mercury, and has served on the faculty of Columbia University and the University of Nebraska, Lincoln.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Dorset House Publishing Company, Incorporated; 1st edition (December 15, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0932633528
  • ISBN-13: 978-0932633521
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 6.5 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,259,607 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Anthony Barker on December 9, 2002
Format: Paperback
Weinberg is the master of condensing useful tidbits and advice culled from other sources into readable books. So when I saw this new consulting book I immediately wanted to read it. Unfortunately he has stepped beyond the technical or managerial material that he wrote previously. The book is full of EQ (Emotional IQ) info that is better told by others, confusing acronyms, and ceaseless self promotion.
The book is a hodge-podge of self-management (EQ) and other consulting principles such as time management and contract negotiations. If you are a well-balanced individual and know yourself you may not find much new here. If you aren't - the material only scratches the surface - you'll be better off reading somethink like Dr. Phil's book, "Self Matter" and "7 Habits of Highly Effective People" combined with some NLP books.
Weinberg has given up on his "Wisdom of the Sufi's" approach to imparting advice. The previous book was full of ridiculous stories that somehow rang true. By taking himself more seriously the acronyms that he invents for the description of consulting principles eg "the yes/no medallion" come across as confusing, annoying, and pompous.
I really enjoyed weinberg's previous consulting book and was looking forward to this one. And while there is good stuff in this book - I found the blatant self-promotion a bit over the top. In every chapter he references previous books or seminars - giving away only enough information to peak the reader interest in an additional purchase. Why pay for what is essentially a thinly veiled ad?
Miscellaneous tidbits that I found useful:
Money - "the Wisdom box":
I would like to learn something new - but what I know pays too well.
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Format: Paperback
The original "Secrets of Consulting" is probably one of the most important books in my collection, and I had great expectations of this follow-up volume. However, where the first book focuses outwards, largely on what a consultant does, the second book focuses in, much more on what a consultant is, and to my mind makes much less comfortable reading.
Don't get me wrong. This is not in any way a bad book: it's still as well written and humorous as Weinberg's other books, and chock full of amusing stories and "laws" derived from them. Anyone involved in consulting of any sort will still get a great deal out of it. But if, like many men, you're uncomfortable talking and reading about "feelings" you may find this less easy to read.
The "Consultant's Tool Kit" of the subtitle is actually a complex metaphor. Each component of the toolkit is a metaphor for a certain aspect of your personality and personal capabilities. For example, the wishing wand is a metaphor for understanding, and being able to ask for, what you want from a professional relationship. The chapter around this metaphor first explores why most people either don't know what they want or are unable to express it, and suggests ways to make your wishes clearer. It places this in a professional context, contract negotiation, and emphasises how the personal ability to express and value your wishes will help you negotiate more successfully.
In a similar way other chapters focus on developing wisdom and new knowledge, managing time and information, being courageous with your decisions, learning how to say yes and no, understanding why you and others are in the current situation, and keeping yourself in balance, avoiding burnout and other self-destructive conditions.
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Format: Paperback
If you've ever had problems in an engagement, and you've already read Secrets, read this too. Weinberg includes numerous know-yourself ideas to become a better consultant.
A common consulting mistake is to spend time on work that shouldn't be done at all, or that the the client doesn't want or doesn't value. But, it's sometimes difficult to detect those problems. Two of the tools, the Wisdom Box and the Mirror can help you address these problems.
The WIsdom Box helps you determine when you shouldn't bother doing the work. As Weinberg says, "Anything I shouldn't be doing, I shouldn't be doing. Period." Easier said than done sometimes. Weinberg helps you detect when your Wisdom Box is telling you something that you otherwise can't hear -- when you're entering a situation you shouldn't even start.
Sometimes, clients engage us to perform work they don't value. In that case, the Mirror is an asset. I used the mirror once when I was working with a management team who didn't value testing, but knew that the parent company would ask them about the testing. Instead of taking on testing for the project, I committed to help with project planning, set up testing, and look for a permanent test manager who could work the day-to-day issues. If they couldn't commit to the planning and setup work, they wouldn't actually hire anyone, but my consulting job would be complete.
With the Mirror, you completely commit to part of the project, and provide feedback to the company. You have a chance to see how the project proceeds, and if either you or the client doesn't like where you're going, you stop.
I found the patterns of consultant reactions and Weinberg's tools and suggestions for dealing with those reactions helpful. You will too.
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