Save Big On Open-Box & Used Products: Buy "Work the System: The Simple Mechanics of Making Mo...” from Amazon Open-Box & Used and save 31% off the $25.00 list price. Product is eligible for Amazon's 30-day returns policy and Prime or FREE Shipping. See all offers from Amazon Open-Box & Used.
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
Work the System: The Simple Mechanics of Making More and Working Less (Revised 4th edition, 2017) Hardcover – October 1, 2011
Featured business titles
Sponsored by McGraw-Hill Learn more.
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Special offers and product promotions
''Sam Carpenter has brought all the main principles that will lead to success in your work and life together in one book. Some books will change your mind this book will change your life if you apply what it teaches. The author shows that our entire world operates based on systems, from nature to the human body to successful businesses.''
--Steve Burns, Amazon Top 1000 reviewer
''Better than Good to Great, the next Best Seller Business Book.''
--GLR, Amazon Top 1000 Reviewer. 5 stars
''Very vivid details captivates this reader. Well done indeed!''
--G.W., Amazon Top 500 Reviewer. 5 stars
''This book will be a life-saver. Highly recommended.''
--SHA, Amazon Top 500 Reviewer. 5 stars
From the Author
There will be a mechanical adjustment in the way you see your world, and when this profound shift occurs, systems Methodology will make irrefutable sense, and your work and life will never be the same. I like to call this mini-awakening getting it, and I describe what it is and how to achieve it in Part One.
The Nutshell Premise? Your life is a collection of individual systems.
To whom is this book intended? It's for anyone who runs a business, from the founder of a brand new mom-and-pop start-up to the seasoned CEO of a multinational. At either extreme and in-between, the tenets apply uniformly because life's fundamental mechanics work the same, all the time, everywhere. This is about acquiring a better view of reality's universal simple mechanics; to viewing the machinations of your world with more precision.
Browse award-winning titles. See more
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top Customer Reviews
Wait, I say "meat of the book"? I meant "a pamphlet-sized amount of interesting content inflated into another 100+ pages."
Let's be clear: I thought "The Checklist Manifesto" was amazing, I could barely put it down. Tim Ferriss' book took me longer and was denser, but any two chapters in it were more useful than the entirety of "Work the System." It's not that I hate books like this, or that I have no interest in the topics.
But if *you* already know anything in this area, do yourself a favor: skip this book.
If you're interested in business and lifestyle design, buy Tim Ferriss' "The Four-Hour Workweek." If you're looking for more of a page-turner, or you're interested in improving your personal and team performance, go for "The Checklist Manifesto." In either case, this book simply isn't worth your time and money.
But if you're looking for dynamite employee-improvement tips like "do drug testing, rigorously enforce 35,000+-word HR manuals and make sure to log all internet activity", this book may be for you! Also, having a great work environment clearly attracts the best people!
Because of this book, now every time I find myself putting out a fire or reacting to a painful situation... being confronted by an unhappy customer about a ball that's been dropped... I ask, "What broken or non-existent system allowed this to happen?"
The most persuasive part of this book is the contrast between Carpenter's frenetic life before vs. the serenity after. And the efficiency.
Temperamentally, I'm not the type of person who is going to spend hours and hours perfecting logistical details and documenting things. I am a creative person, a visionary and an alchemist. But it still must be done. What that means for me is that *I* of all people need to craft the core manifestos, the guiding documents that comprise Sam Carpenter's system. Then I can see to it that the more methodical people on my team are in fact working the system.
Most business owners don't fully appreciate how many of their employees will, so to speak, mount the toilet paper roll with the front side facing back until the very end of time. Stupidly and unthinkingly. UNLESS AND UNTIL SOMEONE MAKES THEM DO IT RIGHT. Most employees will stumble and bumble through broken systems and it will never, ever occur to them to stop and fix them, let alone create new ones.
Only an enlightened owner will ever see to it that that happens. Carpenter does what so few other books had ever done, which was SELL ME on the benefits of giving this my attention.
Carpenter also expresses the proper philosophy of an engineer, which is that everything in the world is operating exactly as it was designed to operate, with 100% efficiency... so if you don't like how it's operating, change the design. What a rare attitude.
Now the question I'm asking myself is:
"What broken or non-existent system, once repaired and fully in place, will relieve me from having to suffer with my other broken and non-existent systems?"
The author starts out by talking about how his general views on the universe have shifted from a "we're all one" free-love view to an understanding that the world generally operates in predictable ways. The author worked 100+ hour weeks for an extended period of time, and in a time of desperation realizes that he must systematize his business. This takes sixty pages to develop.
Next, he explains the process of how to create principles, vision statement, and working procedures for a company from scratch were well laid out and clear. I liked the fact that the operating rules that he set out are open for revision at any time by any employee, and generally immediately revised. It lent a feeling of continuous improvement to the process that he laid out.
He discusses figuring out when you work best and work then on second quadrant items (of the Covey sense.)
The author continually cites Occam's Razor, but uses it in a very loose sense. You will hear of "fire-killing" and the "Work The System method" and being "outside and slightly elevated" probably about a hundred times each throughout the book.
Very little attention is paid to lifestyle design throughout the book. I thought it might contain a little more based on the jacket summary.
One of the irritating things was that the book focused only on one business, the author's business. It is a call center business, one that has a well-established business model and client interaction pattern. There does not seem to be a whole lot of creativity on the part of the employees, so it seems like it lends itself especially well to systemization. The author's main problem seems to be how hard it is to find drug-free employees that show up to work. Other businesses would have fewer clearly definable working procedures. Nonetheless, I feel like I did get a good feel for how certain aspects of any business (billing, payroll, etc.) could be more formalized, and what the benefits were (fewer mistakes, less time spent overall.)
Perhaps it's an age/generation gap, but some things seemed really out of touch or strange. The author preaches about removing alcohol and caffeine, and getting exercise and good nutrition a bit too much. I agree with these things, and I guess he's saying the body is a system like anything else. But it's repetitive.
There are some terrible examples, like seeing the way that toilet paper can be placed on the roller. He says: "it is a nearly 50-50 split with a slight advantage to those who chose 'top.' This means most people don't think one way or the other about the insertion of the roll in the dispenser. (Or, implausibly, one-half of the population is adamant that the roll be inserted one way and the other half of the population the other way.)...The important point is that it illustrates the lack of innate systems thinking by the vast majority of people." To me, there seem to be several fallacies here. Why could it not be that some have considered the problem, others have strong opinions, and others still don't care about it one way or another? What is the ROI of the roll orientation?
Generally, there's a bit too much pep talk and repetition for my liking.
I don't feel like I learned much that I didn't understand from common sense. Perhaps it's my science/engineering background that leads me to think that many of the "insights" were trivial. Overall, I would recommend reading a different book to learn more about systems thinking. Hope this helps someone thinking about getting this book.
Edit: 2014-03-05 - changed review from two to three stars. In retrospect I think I was overly harsh when reviewing. Also toned down the title a little. Left the body as it was for context and since I have since given away the book.