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The Secrets of Consulting: A Guide to Giving and Getting Advice Successfully Paperback – January, 1986
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That said, the main focus of the book is on those who produce the advice and ideas. If you are a consultant as I am, this may be one of the most important books in your collection. I have read it cover to cover twice, and parts of it many other times.
The book is written with a light, humorous touch, illustrated both with many funny stories and some very apt cartoons and quotations. From each discussion he abstracts multiple "laws" and reminders, which on their own should prompt you to remember the key points he discusses.
Weinberg doesn't pull any of his punches. Consulting is hard, and the secrets are guides to improving your success and survival rate, not any set of "magic wands". He addresses ways in which you can fail just as much as ways to succeed.
In successive chapters, the book deals with the nature of consulting and the problems it can address, and how to develop your own mind so that your can see the problems and come up with possible solutions to them.
Throughout, Weinberg teaches us to focus on the "people" problems: cultural, political and psychological, which tend to be at the heart of any issue, assuming that, as he says, "it's always a people problem". If you can solve the people problems, the practical problems should be easy by comparison.Read more ›
A lot of consulting books are filled with fluff, common sense advice that you already know, or only ONE good thought in 250 pages. In 17 years of consulting, however, I've never found a better guide to solving the REAL business problems that you'll encounter. (And it's useful for more than just consultants, too.) Weinberg gets his message across in simple, memorable anecdotes that I can recite perfectly, fifteen years after I first read the book: The Orange Juice Rule, Rudy's Rutabaga Rule.
Here's one fer-instance. A client says that he wants something special done in a project you've already budgeted and possibly already started. Do you tell her "no way!" and lose the business? Do you do the extra work, grumbling about it (and maybe losing money on the deal)? Or do you apply the Orange Juice Rule? (You don't think I'll give away the answer, do ya?) I can't tell you how often I've applied the Orange Juice Rule and saved my business relationship as well as my own budget.
Besides, this book is just plain fun to read. It's light enough to be entertaining, but his advice will help you run your business better... for several years.
The First Law of Consulting: In spite of what your client may tell you, there's always a problem.
The Second Law of Consulting: No matter how it looks at first, it's always a people problem.
The Third Law of Consulting: Never forget they're paying you by the hour, not by the solution.
The Fourth Law of Consulting: If they didn't hire you, don't solve their problem.
Some of my many favorite laws, rules, and principles:
The Bolden Rule: If you can't fix it, feature it.
The Lone Ranger Fantasy: When the clients don't show their appreciation, pretend that they're stunned by your performance - but never forget that it's your fantasy, not theirs.
Marvin's Second Great Secret: Repeatedly curing a system that can cure itself will eventually create a system that can't.
Have you seen the new poster that reads "Consulting: If you're not a part of the solution, there's good money to be made in prolonging the problem."? Weinberg would not agree with this statement - his Sixth Law of Pricing says that if they don't like your work, don't take their money. An alternative to these types of posters? Blow up the cartoon illustrations in this book and hang them in your office.
Being a successful consultant, according to Weinberg, essentially means learning to deal with a couple of inescapable elements of every business: irrationality and change.
Consulting is hard because clients are not acting rationally. They will have a problem but will never admit it, and the problem is always a people problem, no matter how technical it might seem at first. These two facts are so well established that Weinberg labels them as The First - and respectively, The Second - Law of Consulting.
This is one of the features of the book: lots of hard-learned facts are distilled into succinct - and at times pithy - laws, principles and rules. In order to make it easy to remember them, they are given fanciful names like Rudy's Rutabaga Rule or The Titanic Effect.
Weinberg's advice is not to try to be rational at all costs, and don't force clients to admit their problems and fears. Consultants should be reasonable rather rational, cultivate a paradoxical frame of mind and help clients solve their problems by themselves.
Consulting is also mainly about change: A consultant will be called in either to foster or to prevent change. Clients will typically be stuck in a troublesome situation and will need someone to jiggle them in order to become unstuck. A good consultant will need to learn how to amplify his own impact in order to act effectively on a client's organization, which is much bigger than him and with much more inertia.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A good book that provides good solid, reliable information about consulting. A number of errors in layout, I am guessing because of OCR issues, btu you can read past that. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
It was a very good book but you would think with all at the 5 star reviews that this book is a life changer. Well, it's not. There is good information but I expected more. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Robert Kirk
The Secrets of Consulting by Gerald Weinberg is a book about the learning and wisdom of Weinberg's consulting career. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Du Nguyen
This is a must-read (like all of his books, really) for anyone who does consulting or freelancing. I have several copies lying around that I lend to people who are getting started.Published 5 months ago by John V. Hedtke
Fantastic overview of the secrets of consulting.
I can give you the book in a nutshell--"all problems are people problems". Read more
The book deserves a 5-star rating. However, the Kindle adaptation suffers from numerous OCR errors. It seems quite likely to me that no human actually read the result, as many of... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Timothy Knox
I had very similar experiences before reading the book, so I know it's the real deal. Too bad, I read the book after, but I still learned a great deal about experiences that have... Read morePublished 10 months ago by A. ALMALEH
I've just about highlighted the whole text, there are so many valuable tips here. Definitely a book I'll be referring back to throughout my career.Published 11 months ago by Kim
Worst title for one of the funniest most enjoyable reads. I am not a self help book guy, and this is not a self help book. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Jacob Stoesz