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Re-Imagine!: Business Excellence in a Disruptive Age Paperback

3.6 out of 5 stars 88 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

After decades with Knopf, influential management guru Peters switches to DK in an effort to "reinvent the business book," and while the results don't quite live up to the hyperbole, the new publisher allows for a looser design strategy that complements the author's increasingly stream-of-consciousness writing. Gray dotted lines lead from the main text to sidebars topped with category-identifying icons, and words' size, color and even typeface refuse to stay stable within a single sentence. (Design is clearly on his mind; one of the book's best passages is a rant against the poor ergonomics of the desk chairs in hotel suites.) The book's themes are mostly the same ones Peters has been developing since 1997's The Circle of Innovation and its follow-ups: small professional service firms are the wave of the future, successful companies sell dreams instead of products, and so on. Some of his ideas, like the unlimited potential of the Internet, have begun to wear a bit thin, while others need overhauling thanks to the recession. There are strong chapters on the spending power of women and the need to restructure the American education system, but not all the new twists are as satisfying. He takes on the 9/11 attacks in two business analogies: while the first interpretation of 9/11-small improvisational teams succeed against bloated infrastructures-rings true, many readers may find the second conclusion ("the Age of Large Numbers of Human Beings Crammed into Tall Towers is over") a bit tactless. But give Peters credit for being willing to stick his neck out, and expect loyal readers to follow him down this path once again.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Management Today "thought provoking and enjoyable Mind Your Own Business every page has something interesting to say. This book could end up defying the noughties , and not just in a business context. The Economist a book for dipping into for five minutes at a time in search of nuggets of wisdom, a sort of daily reader for followers of Mr Peter's brand of religion. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: DK ADULT
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0028N72W6
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (88 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,489,337 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By David E. Rogers on January 8, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Before we take a step further, I have to come clean:

While managing my career, I have placed bets on Tom Peters.

There. I feel much better. And (Pete Rose's overdue confession aside) it's completely true. I have indeed gambled on Tom Peters. Not on Peters himself, but on his ideas and his advice.

His three little books from 1999--"The Brand You 50," "The Professional Service Firm 50" and "The Project 50"--played a powerful role in my decision to leave a truly dead-end job in 2000 and become a free agent. My career and my life are immeasurably richer today, thanks in part to Peters' passionate and sometimes bombastic ideas.

Given that, you'd be right to guess that I snapped up his latest work, "Re-Imagine! Business Excellence in a Disruptive Age" in the blink of an eye. I'm glad I did, though I'm not saying that Re-Imagine! is flawless. It's not. But it is eminently worthy of your time and especially so if you have never read Peters before.

Let's start with the book itself--not its contents, but its design. In jumping from his longtime publisher Knopf to design-driven DK (Dorling Kindersley), Peters takes a big chug of his own medicine. In previous books (and continuing in Re-Imagine), he has argued that design is critical to success. And this book's design is indeed a departure from "traditional" business books. It doesn't look like management book nor act like a management book. It's chockful of vivid photos, bold colors (especially Peters' trademark red), icons and imaginative screening. Marginal callouts are not fluff, but vital expressions of the soul of the book, linked to corresponding paragraphs by soft-colored swoops and lines.

It's a great experiment. I'm just not sure it how well it works.
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Format: Hardcover
If you have never read any of Tom Peters' books, you can skip the earlier ones and just read this one.
If you have read all of his earlier books, you can skip this one.
If you have read some of the earlier books, you can just read the topics in this one that are skipped in the earlier ones you have read. I suspect that that won't be too many.
Tom Peters is our most passionate management guru. He explodes all over his audience in anger, annoyance, passion and rapture. It's a marvelous show . . . and I highly recommend it.
He's also open to new ideas. This book, for instance, gratefully acknowledges contributions from dozens of other authors, CEOs, business thinkers and members of his own family (especially his wife). If you don't read very many business books, I was impressed to see that he cited a very high percentage of the best management books of the last dozen years or so. So if you have read very little on the subject, this book will serve you well.
As intriguing as the book is, it has important limitations. First, the format can be all but impossible to read (especially where text is printed over grey images) in places.
Second, he has blind spots in several areas that make the advice come out somewhat jaundiced. For instance, he hates anything to do with eliminating errors (such as the quality movement and Six Sigma) as though using those methods destroy any chance for innovation in any other area. In my research, I've seen innovation in every dimension of a company exist just fine side-by-side with efforts to eliminate errors and improve quality, whenever different people worked on different aspects of innovation from those working on quality improvement and error elimination.
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By A Customer on October 23, 2003
Format: Hardcover
The layout of this book is irritating. Colors, pictures, full pages with one sentence hopeful sound bites - the only thing missing was the crayon.
I wouldn't have minded the layout so much if the material were fresh or even well presented. If you read the following you can skip the book: "Smell the dream." "The internet will change everything." "Honor roll students will be working for the kids who didn't make the honor roll." "Companies have to re-imagine or reinvent themselves." "Women are wired differently than men because they would design washing machines on the second floor of homes near the kids room (perhaps because they do the laundry - Mr. Peters - an insight they'd trade for less drudgery and better pay any day)." "Women buy everything (unsupported by hard statistics for luxury automobiles, SUVs, other autos, VCR's, flat screen televisions, computers, and more)." "Incrementalism is bad; make big changes - followed by 'twenty women as head of Fortune 500 companies by 2020' (there are now eight)." "Harley Davidson doesn't sell motorcycles; it sells a lifestyle."
There you have it, old material with all of its consistencies. There is good work being done at major graduate business schools on this topic, but this isn't it.
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Format: Paperback
I love Tom Peters. I love his enthusiasm, his positive outlook, and his motivating ideas on how to excel in our dynamic, ever changing workplace.

This book is pure Tom, wonderfully insightful and covering most of his current themes. Once you get into (or past) his slightly frantic magazine-like format you'll be well rewarded as he hip-hops from topic to topic covering everything White-Collar Cataclysm (and how to survive it) to bringing Weird and Wow to the workplace.

If you're going to be in the workplace for the next 10+ years, I strongly recommend you pick it up!

Some of my favorite quips from the book:

* Innovation comes from pissed off people.
* Embrace failure! We avoid failures but we must embrace it. We must glory in the murk and muss that yields true innovation.
* It's easier to kill then change. It's easier to make Walmart then change Sears.
* "Good" management was the most powerful reason that leading firms failed to stay atop their industries.
* For 2 decades we have outsourced blue-collar jobs, now comes white-collar jobs.
* Culture isn't just 1 aspect of the game - it is the game! (Lou Gerstner)
* Design is the #1 determinant on whether a product-service-experience stands out, or not.
* Engage your folks. Make things that are cool and that work. Stick your neck out.
* No body gives you power. You just take it. Obeying the rules is obeying their rules. Astonish me. Build something great. Make it immortal.
* Getting Things done is ultimately not about power or rank. It's about passion and imagination and persistence.
* Never accept an assignment as it is given. You are never so powerful as when you're "powerless".
* Every "small" project contains the DNA of the entire enterprise.
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