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The Wall Street Journal Essential Guide to Management: Lasting Lessons from the Best Leadership Minds of Our Time Paperback – Bargain Price, August 10, 2010

4.7 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Here's a business book that knows what it is: A beautifully constructed guide for the would-be manager or veteran. Murray, deputy managing editor of the Wall Street Journal and sophisticated business guru, is remarkably able to engage the reader and clarify subjects that are often discussed but seldom understood. Murray's common sense is easy to absorb. Great leaders "exhibit a paradoxical mix or arrogance and humility"; business survivors are the "ones who kept their heads." With intriguing anecdotal tales of top managers and execs, a focus on the importance of diversity and its impact on global business, the need to speak "truth to power" and maintain across-the-board measurability, Murray's message is an encouraging call for all concerned to realize the essence of strategic thinking. A brief but enlightening chapter deals with business in China; another addresses the basics of financial literacy and begins, "Don't skip this chapter." Other highlights include frequent references to the advice of avowed business experts and helpful "further reading" lists at the end of each chapter. A winner.

From Booklist

The point of this well-written handbook is readily identifiable: how to be a good manager. What is found here are readable ideas from the deputy managing editor of the Wall Street Journal, winner—not surprisingly, once you’ve entered into the book’s pages—of several awards for his own writing. It’s a big topic, obviously, and one that is not easily defined. People are promoted to the managerial level in droves every day, few with any guidance in good management, “as if the airlines chose their pilots from among their passengers.” Where to turn for such help? Hopefully, to this book, wherein Murray lays out in helpful order and understandable prose what he considers the best practices for a good manager to follow; especially instructive are his discussions of “six different styles that leaders use to motivate others.” Not only does his own experience stand behind the book, but he also draws on what he calls the “best from the existing body of knowledge, research, and practice.” For serious consideration for any library business collection. --Brad Hooper

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Product Details

  • Series: Wall Street Journal
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Paperbacks; 1 edition (August 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061840335
  • ASIN: B004Z4M3RU
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,794,348 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I guess many of us called upon "Cliff's Notes" in our youth to get the gist of a book before we read it ;-) I would charecterize Alan Murray's "Essential Guide to Management" as the "Cliff's Notes" summary of most of the important literature in management over the last 30+ years.

I bought this book after reading a recent related article by Murray in the WSJ. "Essential Guide to management" reduces a whole library of books into a very quick read by distilling the most important concepts from Peters & Waterman to Michael Porter to Clayton Christensen. Topics covered include everything from Leadership, to Strategy, to Financial Literacy to Managing Yourself. Each chapter is a concise (~10 pg) summary of the essential leading thought on the topic, wrapped up with bullets and recommended reading at the end.

Although I might have summarized a few details on a few topics slightly differently myself, overall the key points are largely bang on with what I also understood to be the original writer's intent. In my opinion, the only thing missing was that the Financial Literacy could have used a dose of Buffet regarding understanding value-based management - something I wish more managers understood.

So, if you don't know what to read on management, read this first, then dig deeper in a reference. If you already know a lot, it's a nice refresher.
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Format: Paperback
Despite the 3-star rating, I recommend the book for those new to management and those who wish to read a cogent primer on Western management concepts: the book is well written, easy to understand, and provides a decent overview of management/leadership ideas. Those who have given the book 4- and 5-star ratings have highlighted the strengths of the book.

I found it to be just an average intro because
a) Mr. Murray can't seem to make up his mind whether this is a book for any "knowledge worker," mid-level managers, or CEOs. Various chapters appear to be targeted at different audiences.
b) The book appears to be a paean to the Wall Street Journal. Many of the stories and anecdotes shared by the author are based on WSJ articles. The author could have found better examples and stories in a myriad of other journals, magazines, and newspapers to make his points (e.g, Fast Company is an excellent resource for great management/leadership ideas).
c) Despite the chapter on Globalization, the book is entirely focused on Western management thinking. It would have been strengthened by adding management ideas from any of the rising economic powers. (e.g., Nilekani's Imagining India)
d) Mr. Murray largely omits the impact of technology and social media on management.
e) And finally, the book focuses on a rather narrow list of management classics. Mr. Murray had a difficult task of distilling 50 years of management thinking into a couple of hundred pages, but the book would have been better if he had mentioned or suggested reading a broader array of management classics (e.g., any book by Peter Block).

So if you need a primer on management or a quick review of standard topics, this is not a bad book. If you are looking to take your management skills to a new level, best to look elsewhere.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Wall Street Journal Essential Guide to Management is part management overview, personal commentary and case study. The book written by Alan Murray offers an introductory review of key elements of management, leadership, strategy and execution. It is a Management 101 book written in a well paced and easy to read format. Recommended for those who are new to management or you want to have your team come up to speed with management and executive ideas and terms, then this book is recommended.

Readers looking for new ideas concerning these issues will be disappointed as that is not the purpose of this book. It really is a primer for people about the major ideas and themes in management. Murray does a good job of going through a combination of thinkers like Porter, Pfeiffer and executives like Bossidy and others to give a landscape overview of the practice.

Murray incorporates stories that help illustrate major ideas and concepts. Students of management will recognize just about all of the stories and some are presented in a rather simplistic but effective way for a first time reader. The book also has a logical order and do cover the essentials of management in the following chapters:

Financial Literacy
Going Global
Managing Yourself

The book is challenged in a few areas. The book gives you the impression that technology has little to no role in management - except as the source of a stock market crash. Given the role of technology in shaping strategy, competition and our future, this is a serious omission. The ideas and strategies in the book are comprehensive up to about the mid 1990's.
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Format: Paperback
Alan Murray, Deputy Managing Editor of "The Wall Street Journal" has written an excellent guide to management ideas and practices with his book "The Wall Street Journal Essential Guide to Management." What makes this book so good is the research Murray put into it. The guide contains some of the best and brightest ideas and strategies from many different sources, as well as case study examples from recent times and what can be learned from them. It is an easy read, full of clear and useful knowledge for anyone in the management field.

The book has twelve chapters that each focus on one area of management. These include: management, leadership, motivation, people, strategy, execution, teams, change, financial literacy, going global, ethics, and managing yourself. There is also a short conclusion that wraps things up well.

What I really liked about this book was how Murry discusses both good and bad about certain leaders and companies, and what can be learned from both. For instance, Jack Welch's leadership at the helm of General Electric is looked at, and both good and bad about Welch is pointed out. I also like that he brought up Peter Drucker's view of business ethics in that he didn't believe in them because he thought the phrase suggested those in business should live by different rules than everyone else. Drucker wrote that executives should not cheat, steal, lie, bribe, or take bribes. But nor should anyone else. These are just two small examples out of many, where Murry shares the wisdom and lessons from some of the best leadership minds of our time. It really is a well researched book.

This book is aimed at those in corporate management positions.
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