- Hardcover: 204 pages
- Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf; 1st edition (March 30, 1970)
- Language: English
- ASIN: B000CSMZW6
- Package Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.9 x 0.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #32,250 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Up the Organization: How to Stop the Organization from Stifling People and Strangling Profits Hardcover – March 30, 1970
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Hardcover: 204 pages Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf; 1st edition (March 30, 1970) Language: English ASIN: B000CSMZW6 Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.9 x 0.9 inches Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
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Top Customer Reviews
Townsend writes in the 1960s, after having turned around first the credit card division of American Express and then the whole company Avis Rent-a-Car, as in "We're No. 2 -- We Try Harder." If you were around then, you remember that Avis was the Rodney Dangerfield of service companies ("I can't get no respect") that turned into a giant-killer eating Hertz's lunch (to mix at least two metaphors) under Townsend's skillful direction.
The book contains several handfuls of short vignettes -- prescriptions on a number of topics, from a few sentences to a few pages long, for what he thinks you should do if you run your own company, and why. Taken together, they describe a vision of corporate life lived honorably and joyfully, to the benefit of all -- stockholders, customers, employees and the community at large. And it all sounds so simple! You read what he says about the photocopier, for example (did you know that the most important job in doing a late night deal may be running the photocopier, which is why the CEO will do it if there's no one else available?), or about locating your headquarters (Mars?, not quite, but there's an influence there!), and you say, "hey, *I* could do that if I were running a company, and it sure would make things better!" From how to create advertising (Avis had only half the resources of Hertz, so they figured they had to buy advertising with more than twice the impact in order to beat their competition) to how *not* to structure the executive committee, Townsend writes brilliantly funny exposes of how corporations usually work and of the obvious alternatives that, once pointed out, sound convincing and empowering. And he's not just guessing; he did all these things, and Wall Street rewarded the corporations that winningly hired him to do so.
If you're feeling down, disheartened, or unsure that work life will ever make you proud or happy, then Townsend's humorously-told stories of an insightful pruning of overweight corporations into trim fighting firms -- firms which actually respect people, both without and within -- may make your year.
Can't recommend it highly enough. Deserves to be on every well-intentioned leader's bookshelf.