- Hardcover: 241 pages
- Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press (July 10, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1422103129
- ISBN-13: 978-1422103128
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 19 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #728,898 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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What Were They Thinking?: Unconventional Wisdom About Management
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There is much to laud about the objective perspective that Stanford professor and author Pfeffer brings to business. First and foremost, he calls em as he sees em, showcasing common management errors and building on four years as a Business 2.0 columnist. Trimming employees' compensation and benefits packages? Nothing is gained from that immediate cost savings, except plummeting morale and retention issuesas the airline and auto industries have learned. Thinking about a merger or acquisition? Think again, he urges; it's an easier strategy than fixing operationsbut one that more often than not fails. No function or goal of corporate America is left unscrutinized, from strategy to human resources. Yet he softens his radical and common-sense opinions by offering a range of solutions and companies that practice them well. Pfeffer points to Whole Foods, to Larry Culp at Danaher, and to CEO Gary Loveman of Harrah's as leaders who have managed to set corporate priorities and agendas that succeed. Short chapters with clear-cut messages and examples allow time to contemplate and copy. Jacobs, Barbara
There is much to laud about the objective perspective that Stanford professor and author Pfeffer brings to business. --BookList, June 15, 2007
"Pfeffer talks a lot of sense. [He]provides a kind of alternative MBA in how not to run a business." --The Financial Times, July 17, 2007
The topics are diverse, from how companies get smarter to what to do about executive pay... --The Globe and Mail, October 24, 2007
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This is just one of dozens of nuggets in Pfeffer's fast-reading book. No wonder Jim Collins describes him as "one of the sparkling gems in the field of management."
Pfeffer packs a punch in each of his 28 short chapters. He applauds "noisy complainers" who point out errors so the systemic problems will get fixed. He champions IDEO's belief that "failing early and failing often is better than failing once, failing at the end, and failing big." He writes, "The principle is simple--learn and fail on a small scale."
Pfeffer's chapter on New York's Orpheus Chamber Orchestra will rattle your notion of leadership: there's no leader, nor conductor! And you'll reach for the Maalox when you read that "most people bring only about 20 percent of their talent and energy to their jobs." Buy the book. He has some ideas for all of us.
If someone is looking for a book full of advices how to deal with people, I suggest „How to win friends and influence people.“ by Dale Carnegie.
I will give 5 stars if the Kindle version can be re-made. It's definitely a book that you cannot miss if you care about making the right management decision.