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The Puritan Gift: Triumph, Collapse and Revival of an American Dream Hardcover – April 15, 2007

4.8 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Kenneth Hopper is certainly one of the most eloquent, and credible voices being raised on this issue."--Robert Hayes, Harvard University
 
"A goldmine of information."--Myron Tribus, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
 
Stephen Evans, as presenter of BBC Business Daily, has selected this book as a 'must read of the year' for 2007.

"A very thought-provoking and readable book."--Linda Hesselman, Management Studies Centre, University College, London
 
"A stunning triumph . . . An important new contribution to the academic study of management." --Professor Peter Kawalek, Manchester Business School
 
"The best thing about The Puritan Gift is that it is a real book, full of fascinating insights, intellectual rigour and challenging, authoritative arguments that remind us that there is nothing new about the responsibilities of management." - Richard Donkin, Financial Times

‘In The Puritan Gift, published last year, the septuagenarian Scottish brothers William and Kenneth Hopper, respectively a banker and an engineer-turned-industrial consultant, argued that for 200 years the puritan foundations of America kept its businesses intact, emphasising craft, financial responsibility and the sublimation of  private interest to the group.’  - Andrew Billen, TIMES, 9th March 2009

About the Author

Kenneth Hopper has been active for 50 years as a writer on industrial affairs and a consultant in both the U.S. and Europe. William Hopper has spent his career in investment banking in New York and London.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: I. B. Tauris (April 15, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1850434190
  • ISBN-13: 978-1850434191
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,288,186 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By David Howard on May 16, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The future reform of western management will in no small part be dependent upon how carefully business leaders and academics study this remarkable book by the co-authors brothers Hopper - a unique teaming of engineering and financial minds that understand (and so ably communicate) the socio-technical forces that have shaped our commercialized society. The combined insights and experience of a life-long professional engineer and a still practicing investment banker combine in this book to cast a powerful analytical spotlight on the history of western management practice over the past 350 years. While the locus of the book is on American management cultures, the fundamental messages revealed are shown to be applicable to any culture intent on real wealth creation as opposed to mere financial engineering.

As the title suggests, this story - for this is no dry text destined for those soulless time-serving senior managers and executives intent on seeking the latest snake oil with which to lubricate their legitimized theft of shareholder funds - traces the origins of contemporary management back to the strict disciplines of the Puritan Migrants of the 1630s and their flight to America. The authors list the four abiding aspects of Puritanism which infused the managerial culture established by the descendents of those early settlers as being: 1) the purpose of life was to establish the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth; 2) an aptitude for mechanical skills; 3) a moral outlook that subordinates the interest of the individual to the group; and, 4) an ability to gather, galvanize and marshal financial, material and human resources to a single purpose at whatever scale. More briefly put : Rectitude, Pragmatism, Teamwork and Leadership.
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Format: Paperback
This is a great book. Whether you agree with all of it or not -- and when was the last time a thinking person agreed 100% with any book? -- it will make you think.

All the greatness of American (and world) business has been around for ages, and we just need to get back to basics, back to the roots. Any study of the great businesses and entrepreneurs teaches this lesson. The Hoppers do an excellent job of raising this idea, with plenty of great stories to support it.

It is surprising that the publishers do not get this book into bigtime US circulation. While written by Brits, it is after all a book about the rise and fall of American business and economic prestige. It should be on the "hot" table in all the US bookstores. But in order to get it quickly you have to go to amazon UK. What gives?
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Format: Hardcover
The Hoppers' book should be a page-turner for people interested in 20th century business. From his personal experience, Ken Hopper, an industrial consultant, has culled thousands of facts and distilled them into a package of wit and wisdom that many academics would envy. Virtually every page in the first half of the book has some new insight into how American manufacturing came to lead the world, to transform Japan (and through it, much of Asia), and go astray. While other publications have made use of his comments on salary ratios, this reviewer found his focus on the role of shop-floor leaders and problem-solvers to be an important contribution to the literature. The critique of the "B-school" mentality, while common these days, was prescient in the late 20th century. Finally, while not ignoring W E Deming's work, Hopper brings into focus the important contributions of the other engineers on the CCS team that worked under General MacArthur: Sarasohn, Protzman, and Polkinghorn. The second half of the book blends in material drawing on the in-depth experience of William Hopper, an investment banker. From this reviewer's perspective as a college instructor and retired business person, the brothers Hopper contribute a lucid, humanistic overview of American business's successes and challenges which should be of interest to the general reader as well as the specialist.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
From colonial roots to banking collapse, Hopper catalogs the evolution of American organizational management. With unflinching analysis, we learn how our advanced managerial methods emerged and were taught to the very economies that now threaten many of our markets. Recovering the truths in this book may help America preserve a legacy of innovative and ennobling industry.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The book details the events in US history that lead to the economic success of the nation.
A tale of how old world traditions developed a culture of performance based management and advancement in the manufacturing work place.
Numerous examples illustrate how the loss of this system and the invention of the MBA (an interchangeable manager that may be placed anywhere to manage anything) ushered in an era of economic stagnation. While this same system when exported to another nation created similar success.
An interesting read that is wonderful mix of US history and management history.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
After reading this book I came away with a very healthy respect for my team in the company. This book puts in perspective the swaggering MBAs vs the hardworking employees. Read this book and you will do yourself a big favor - especially if you are running a business or planning to run one. Obviously, this book stresses the good old way of building companies to last, not building them to flip. The principles are brilliantly summarized for easy assimilation. Highly recommended.
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