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The Age of Heretics: A History of the Radical Thinkers Who Reinvented Corporate Management (J-B Warren Bennis Series) [Hardcover]

Warren Bennis , Steven Wheeler , Walt McFarland , Art Kleiner
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
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Price: 17.53 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

8 Aug 2008 J-B Warren Bennis Series (Book 160)
In this second edition of his bestselling book, author Art Kleiner explores the nature of effective leadership in times of change and defines its importance to the corporation of the future. He describes a heretic as a visionary who creates change in large–scale companies, balancing the contrary truths they can’t deny against their loyalty to their organizations. The Age of Heretics reveals how managers can get stuck in counterproductive ways of doing things and shows why it takes a heretical point of view to get past the deadlock and move forward.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons; 2nd Edition edition (8 Aug 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470190701
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470190708
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 16 x 4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 231,043 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

"An inspiring and enlightening reading for any business person who fears their ideas may face initial rejection." ( The Midwest Book Review , October 2008) Voted a "Best Business Book of 2008" by the Miami Herald

From the Inside Flap

The Age of Heretics When the first edition of The Age of Heretics was published to wide critical acclaim in 1996, it was considered the definitive account of the revolution in management from the 1940s to the current time. In this second edition of his bestselling book, author Art Kleiner explores the nature of effective leadership in times of change and defines its importance to the corporation of the future. He describes a heretic as a visionary who creates change in large–scale companies, balancing the contrary truths they can′t deny against their loyalty to their organizations. The Age of Heretics reveals how managers can get stuck in counterproductive ways of doing things and shows why it takes a heretical point of view to get past the deadlock and move forward. This engrossing history lesson for business change agents and reformers is filled with groundbreaking management thought and compelling stories of the heretics of our time. Some of the figures, such as W. Edwards Deming, Kurt Lewin, Amory Lovins, and Saul Alinsky, are familiar to many, while others may be less widely known but influential behind the scenes. While these heretics were underappreciated in their time—and often demoted for their radical ideas—the ideals they fought for live on in the everchanging American corporation. For today′s leaders, The Age of Heretics reveals how to make transformative strategic changes while simultaneously running a company. This new edition explores the roots of today′s most prevalent management ideas: lean production, organization development, the balanced scorecard, and reengineering, as well as other key areas of change such as group dynamics, scenario planning, shareholder activism, sociotechnical systems, and corporate environmentalism. This is the guidebook for progressive thinkers who want to transform their corporations and the entire business landscape.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The waves and undertows of corporate tsunamis 4 Aug 2008
By Robert Morris TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Long ago, Voltaire suggested that we cherish those who seek the truth but beware of those who find it. Throughout human history, there have been those who challenged what James O'Toole so aptly describes as "the ideology of comfort and the tyranny of custom." Some were executed, others were forced to recant their beliefs, and still others were at first ignored and then ridiculed as cranks, troublemakers, mavericks, misfits, etc. Ironically, many heresies eventually became orthodoxies, usually long after their advocates have died or been silenced. The search for truth continues as newly embraced orthodoxies are questioned and then challenged by other secular "heretics."

What we have in this long overdue, substantially revised and updated Second Edition of Art Kleiner's classic, first published in 1996, is a sweeping and penetrating analysis of various "heroes, outlaws, and the forerunners of corporate change" who struggled (with mixed results) to transform mainstream organizations and even entire cultures throughout a process of multi-dimensional evolution whose can be traced back almost 2,000 years to the monasteries of the early Christian church and continues forward through the Reformation, the establishment of the great European ecclesiastical universities, royal chartering of mercantile stock companies and then state chartering of companies after thirteen colonies won their independence from England, the emergence of nascent entrepreneurs, and the domination of commercial corporations in major industries (e.g. steel, oil, and railroad) from the end of the 19th century until after World War Two.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Kleiners book tells the history of a number of key management ideas - particularly those related to organization development, culture change and change management - in a way which is eminently readable and interesting. This in itself is no mean achievement, and would merit the book's recommendation. However, Kleiner also sheds new light onto the people, institutions and relationships involved as these ideas which have affected the working lives of many in the First World developed. There is a lot here that standard texts on the subjects have overlooked. This book is, despite its readability (!), a serious piece of scholarship.
My criticism it is that the book is managerialist in outlook; I personally would have liked to see it be less accepting of the benefits of the ideas discovered, and more open to examing the malevolent side of corporate America. But you can't have everything, and its a good book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Hard to read but is worth it 26 Sep 2013
By Jazeps
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Bought this book when I was working for a big company and somewhere on the Internet it was recommended as the book to help surviving big companies. Put this book down after reading 40 pages because it was too hard to read and then left the company because it was too hard to bear it. Now as part of my new plan to finish things that I have started I read this book till the end and I wish I had read it before I left my previous job. Would have fought on!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Corporations are not here to remake the world 16 Jan 2006
By Luc REYNAERT TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
This book makes the false assumption that corporations 'are here to remake the world.'
The fundamental goal of corporations is profit growth. If that needs a remake of the world, they will do it, otherwise not.
By the way, this is also the aim of consultancy firms and one of the reasons why responsible officers are so suspicious of them, seeing the huge fees involved.
These officers need them if they want to implement their own policies, but need to present them as necessary measures proposed by outsiders.
The author has also no problem with an amoral market: 'selling grain overseas for a better price ... while people in the village were hungry ... You gave up your loyalty to the village for loyalty to an impersonal exchange that ... would better everyone in the long run.'
He forgets that in the short run people in the village (could) starve.
This book treats on the same level, consumer activist Ralph Nader, oil planner Pierre Wack, nonrationalist and LSD-mysticist Willis Harman, futurist Herman Kahn, social psychologist Kurt Lewin, 'kundabuffer' Ivan Gurdjieff, the developers of the 'Managerial Grid' and F-groups or the authors of the Report of the Club of Rome; all this under the superficial dressing of some Middle Age philosophies.
Some ideas developed in this book are important: democratic leadership based on dialogue, group dynamics, the importance of listening and respect, community and self-organized teams, shareholder activism or Jay Forrester's model about the interrelationship between population and economic growth, environment, technology and human aspirations.
It exposes also Herman Kahn's optimistic future where everyone would be affluent and have the chance to be educated.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Art Kliner has brought together a beautiful collection of images, stories and insights about the development of organisational and community development and change. The antecedents of the Learning Organisation, TQM, Business Process Re-engineering and many other attempts to make organisations and communities effective are touched on. The Age of Heretics is a necessary read for those in the fields of facilitation, organisational development and management of change.
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