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The Peter Principle [Hardcover]

Laurence J. Peter , Raymond Hull
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Feb 1993
In a hierarchy, every employee tends to rise to his own level of incompetence. This dangerously simple maxim of organisational dysfunction, first spelt out more than thirty-three years ago, has wormed its way into everyday managerial vocabulary. The Peter Principle is rife wherever hierarchies exist - multinational companies, local government, the Civil Service, hospital management, the groves of academe and public transport. There is no escape: promotion, like the paths of glory, leads but to the grave of over-promotion. 'The Peter Principle' is required reading for all those now setting their feet on the first rung of the promotional ladder, their starry-eyed gaze fixed on the heights above them. Do they realy want to scale a peak from which their fate can only be a dismal shunting into oblivion? But all is not lost. Those who shrink from the horror of the Final Placement may seek salvation in a deviously cunning strategy. It will demand diligence and a talent for dissembling, but it may just avert the unwanted, ultimate promotion.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 179 pages
  • Publisher: Buccaneer Books (Feb 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1568491611
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568491615
  • Product Dimensions: 22.3 x 14.6 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,993,770 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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"It's almost 40 years old, but the Peter Principle is still as relevant now
as ever." -- 'The Guardian' --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
'A satirical review' it says in the review. Sure. And one of the most successfull endeavours at that ever undertaken. The theory of incompetence (we all tend to reach a level where we are ineffective and stay there in whatever we do) is so compelling that to me, after zillions of management books it still stands out for its clarity and power. Even the illustrations in the version I have are to the point and funny. Enjoy!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny because its true... 4 Oct 2009
The central tenet of this book is that individuals rise to their level of incompetence. They could be perfectly happy, competent and skillfully fufilling their tasks but the push and pull of management and/or other organisational factors will propell them upwards until they meet with challenges which really are unassailable. They then get stuck at that point. Like the blurb on the back of the edition I have says "Ever wondered how that bunch of idiots got control of your office/factory/shop? They, as we all know, could not organise a booze-up in a brewery, but what we did not know was how they got to the top. The answer is supplied in The Peter Principle".

What I totally loved about this book was the wry and understated humour, it has been criticised for being too expansive on a single funny observation, however its a brilliant almost satirical analysis and to be honest its also a parody of a lot of management text books. This was clear to me from the outset with the blurb's promises of enlightenment, I felt that was a nice parody of a lot of big tent speaker style books which promise their readers all sorts of insights as a sales pitch. The author doesnt stop there, the book is repleat with lots of management jargon, some of the authors own invention, there's a glossary of key terminology provided also which I felt added to the comic effect. The book is also illustrated throughout, mainly with cartoons of a retro, victorian, "punch magazine" style. I have an older edition of the book and finding at the back a list of books available from the same publisher on effective business management and leadership was a cause for further, I'm sure unintentional, humour.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent theory you'll never forget! 11 Jan 2002
By A Customer
This book shows conclusively that "In a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence". Many a true word is spoken in jest...
Luckily, the book also explains how to avoid being promoted into a job you are incapable of doing well. Follow the advice and have a long and happy working career!
An often-quoted all-time classic.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining 18 April 2010
The Peter Principle is the theory that people are generally promoted to their level of incompetence - and its described throughout with a wry sense of humour.

It's one of those common sense type books - easy to read, and with plenty of anecdotes with scenarios people will recognise, including those who are at either end of the competence spread, and get fired for being overly incompetent, or overly good at their job.

I wasn't as impressed with the Victorian cartoons. While they are funny - they are too small in this version, and much of the detail is lost in "dark blob". But that is a minor niggle. On the whole, the book is entertaining, and will give a few cynical laughs, particularly after a stressful week at the office!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Nothing to do with Murphey's Law 17 April 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Very profound insights presented in an often humorous way. The concepts are revolutionary and the book is really easy reading.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic read 12 Oct 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Looks of - oh yes- moments in this great little book that helps you realise it's not just you who thinks some of your superiors shouldn't be in charge of a broom , let alone you
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4.0 out of 5 stars Peter Principle 28 Aug 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Any employee of a large corporation should read. Also recommend the dogbert principle as a slightly more up to date but relevant to anyone in a large especially American company.
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5.0 out of 5 stars So true 4 Feb 2013
By Rich
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Very good book which shows how some people get where they do in life.

Certainly made me giggle whilst reading !!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Not to de used often
Soon lost interest
Published 1 month ago by Gordon Cotter
5.0 out of 5 stars Good fun with a serious twist
Look at the categories of persons who make up the hierarchiologist's cast of characters in the employed world. Which one are you?
Published 20 months ago by K E Hambleton
5.0 out of 5 stars passing on wisdom
I was given a copy of this book when I was a young man and it heled be throughout my career. I bought this book to pass on to another young man who I feel will benefit from its... Read more
Published 20 months ago by Thomas Ruth
5.0 out of 5 stars The Peter Principle
This isn't a new publication and I actually bought this copy for a friend, having read it myself some years ago. Read more
Published on 9 Mar 2012 by Coxy
5.0 out of 5 stars book
very useful and informative. an essential for those wishing to progress on the promotion ladder with an insight into the pitfalls and progress.
Published on 7 Sep 2011 by Mr. George V. Judd
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Humorous Read
Anyone who reads the "Peter Principle" is sure to relate to the content. Although a serious matter I found the book to be written in a light hearted manner which raised many a... Read more
Published on 19 April 2011 by avid reader
5.0 out of 5 stars Some things never change
Amazing to see how despite the number of years that have passed since this was first published, nothing has really changed in the work place... Read more
Published on 27 Oct 2010 by djiffou
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, Amusing, and Quite Worrying Really
Talks about the incompetent bungling that is rife in every walk of life. Well written and amusing. Worrying that all these sort of things are going on in real life. Read more
Published on 28 April 2010 by Scott Whiskeye
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