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The Management Myth: Why the Experts Keep Getting it Wrong Hardcover – 11 Sep 2009

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; First Printing First Edition edition (11 Sept. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393065537
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393065534
  • Product Dimensions: 16.8 x 3.3 x 24.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 296,842 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"At last, a book that knocks the Kings of Consulting off their thrones. The Management Myth is a rare and often very humorous expose on the shenanigans behind the corporate empire that has catapulted us down the current road to economic turmoil." -- John Perkins, best-selling author of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man and The Secret History of the American Empire

About the Author

Matthew Stewart is the author of Nature's God: The Heretical Origins of the American Republic, The Courtier and the Heretic: Leibniz, Spinoza, and the Fate of God in the Modern World and The Management Myth: Debunking the Modern Philosophy of Business. He lives in Boston, Massachusetts.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By AK TOP 500 REVIEWER on 14 Dec. 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a management consultant, I was intrigued when I read the review of the book in the Wall Street Journal - it certainly promised amusement. That it delivered in spades, although it is not meant as only a personal account in the sense that Liar's Poker (Hodder Great Reads) or Bombardiers are. It mixes the author's personal experiences with his view on the consulting and management practices more broadly in alternating chapters, which largely reads well but is occasionally slightly annoying.

The author is surprisingly well read for a management consultant and very honest - his descriptions of the industry, its shortcomings and the driving forces behind it all ring true. The exposes of Taylor and Mayo and their complete fabrication of facts supporting their theories came as a bit of a surprise - we were certainly still taught that their word was gospel in my management education. As for the other gurus he criticises (from Drucker, Porter, Peters, Collins), he is also pretty much spot on but there I found less of a surprise, having been through the issues with some of their work before. He is pretty even handed overall - commending some of the authors' work (like Drucker's Managing For Results (Drucker series)) but pointing out the methodological, as well as practical shortcommings of most other of their work, which often reads as a nice fable, where one should not look to closely, lest the mirage be destroyed by ugly reality.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By The Flying Dutchman on 17 Oct. 2010
Format: Paperback
I am one of those Management Consultant who often came across similar experiences in his career as those that Matthew Stewart so aptly describes in his brilliant book.

I also took the time and effort of getting an MBA half-way through my career. I was then motivated, as much now, by trying to find a deeper understanding and a 'system' behind all the practical chaos of everyday management challenges. I must say I got then what I was looking for, or so I thought... For one, I did get to understand much of that management blurb I was coming across in my work, and became skilled enough to produce quite some good one of my own.
Nevertheless, the deeper understanding that I had thought I had achieved continued to clash against my day-to-day experience - the chasm between the 'as is' and 'to be' just seemed to get greater for as much effort I was putting in to try to close it.

Perhaps I should have read this book (had it been written) just after my conclusion of my studies. The greatest insight of this book for me is that most management theory, purported as scientific, is actually based on so little factual evidence and more often than not on outright fabrications. Stewart carefully deconstructs many of the theories of great management gurus of the 20th century, from Taylor to Mayo, from Peters to Porter to show what is factual (very little) and what is wishful thinking disguised as scientific theory (very much). He does so by keeping a fairly balanced and fact-based account, quoting published research as well as his own.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Tippmark on 10 Dec. 2010
Format: Paperback
I thought I was the only person who was suspicious that an MBA qualification might not confer business infallibility on a manager. I have suffered under their misguided and failed strategies and thereafter observed them adeptly avoid taking responsibility and hiding behind those 3 letters after their name.( one commentator calls them; Mediocre But Arrogant!!)Enough! this is not an attack on all MBA holders.
Stewart deconstructs the myth of some of the best known management theories. He acknowledges correctly the randomness of the world we live in; he questions the standard business education and the motives of some of the institutions providing the curriculum.
He tells his own story in alternating chapters and the only criticism I would have of this book is that at times, I wanted to skip a chapter to follow his own unfolding drama!
There is a good argument that our "elite" by their self serving application of "strategies" and blind trust in their flawed judgement have contributed greatly to the current global economic crisis.
This is a really good read, thorough and thought provoking.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Roger Thornton Brown on 18 Oct. 2009
Format: Hardcover
Matthew Stewart has certainly ruffled a few feathers with this book. It is an easy read, each chapter alternating between a potted history of management consulting according the the author and an account of his personal experiences in the field.

It is largely about management consulting in the financial services sector and, taken as such, does offer a glimpse into why that sector combined to lead the whole world into a global credit crunch, perhaps also offering a glimpse of why that sector remains unbloodied and unbowed.

Many consultants have taken it as a personal attack on their profession, which perhaps speaks more about their current lack of security in their own tenure than anything contained in the book does.

Matthew Stewart makes a good case for managers needing to learn how to manage themselves by studying philosophy and applying a little common sense but I doubt it will stem the tide of MBA knocking at corporate doors. People want to believe there is a science of management and maybe there is, but it is still a science in its infancy as Stewart exposes.
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