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Stephen Parry "Author of Sense and Respond" (London)

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Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers
Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers
by Alexander Osterwalder
Edition: Paperback
Price: £16.31

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure Genius, 3 Mar. 2011
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Outstanding, a work of pure genius to make this complex problem so simple to deal with and accessible to the proverbial man in the street. Its one of those books you just wish you could have written.
Entrepreneurs don't start business without this, Corporate Executives, You can get real focus at last.


The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark
The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark
by Carl Sagan
Edition: Paperback

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The mind growing up, 4 July 2010
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I am coming late to the writings of Carl Sagan and I have found a candle in the dark. I work in organisational change and teach critical thinking, this book is now standard pre-reading for all my clients that's how seriously I take this book.

I am trying to eradicate pseudo-management ideas and fads (modern superstitions for organisations) from the organisations I work with, that is a very tough task, I need to acquire skills like those of Carl Sagan, who has become my role-model for leadership.


The Human Side of Enterprise, Annotated Edition
The Human Side of Enterprise, Annotated Edition
by Douglas Mcgregor
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.09

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The greatest waste in organisations today is the waste in human potential., 3 July 2010
The Human side of enterprise is a forgotten landmark in the history of management-research and thinking, which is very surprising considering it clearly provides an explanation for the pitiful state we find within many organisations today. Maybe it's been ignored because it shines a clear light on the fallacious assumptions many organisational designers and developers have about human beings? Maybe it has been ignored because people in influential positions feel threatened by the perceived loss of power and control any change of assumption might bring?

Whatever the reason we are left feeling that the greatest waste in organisations today is the waste in human potential, and this, McGregor points out, is a result of the wrong-headed and unscientific assumptions management have about encouraging the best from people.

McGregor's system and research demonstrates clearly that systems designed to control people certainly provide control but we must ask, what type of control and at what cost? - the cost to productivity, innovation, enterprise, society and human fulfilment?

It is no mistake the book is called `The Human side of enterprise' and not - The Human side of THE enterprise. We are talking here about the enterprise of humans as a natural instinct, not the organisational enterprise which is an unnatural construct.

Traditional management systems are an invention to maintain control over power and resources in an effort to maintain compliance. This creates organisations where everything is forbidden unless permitted and limits the enterprise and potential of human beings.

Traditional organisations trying maintain control narrows focus and closes down possibilities hence the need for extrinsic rewards and punishments to make people do what they would not otherwise do. However, enabling the human side of enterprise opens possibilities by designing organisations around assumptions that people will respond to purpose, autonomy and intrinsic rewards because the ends and means are rewards in themselves.

This book has been wonderfully brought back into the sunshine and placed in the modern setting by Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld, Senior Research Scientist in MIT's Sloan School of Management.

Creating an enterprise where everything is permitted unless forbidden encourages human enterprise and creates healthier societies.


SHAM: How the Gurus of the Self-help Movement Make Us Helpless
SHAM: How the Gurus of the Self-help Movement Make Us Helpless
by Steve Salerno
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and powerful point of view, 13 Sept. 2009
This should be compulsory reading for all readers and sellers of Self Help books. It provides a critical view of the tactics and methods used by many of the established self help gurus in the world today.

The Author tried to present his point of view as unbiased, but it clearly is when you look closely at his arguments which often are simply an attack on the person using selective third hand anecdotal sources rather than sticking to the evidence. I feel he has the right message but instead of sticking to the facts has adopted a journalistic approach that has both simplified the subject to a low level then used the same simplifications to generalise about the whole movement, this leaves his good arguments open to attack and provides his self help opponents with an easy escape route.

The idea of the book is sound and I think his criticism is probably sound, but because of the style of the book is designed to appeal to the general reader without evidence he commits the very sin he is accusing the self help movement of committing namely providing platitudes with no evidence.

None the less, this type of book is badly needed and should be read, however, we need more like it with better researched arguments if we are to put the charlatans and snake oil merchants out of business.

Good Read, a Great start and I do recommend it.


Managers Not MBAs: A Hard Look at the Soft Practice of Managing and Management Development
Managers Not MBAs: A Hard Look at the Soft Practice of Managing and Management Development
by Henry Mintzberg
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good analysis of the current state, 13 Sept. 2009
Excellent description covering all that is wrong with current management thinking and the education system that produces it. He does offer a different education approach which makes logical sense, but we are not dealing with a world that thinks logically only functionally.

The unanswered question for me is simply this, what do we do while we wait for the better educated manager to arrive on the scene? - the book is not designed to answer this question but it does provide hope that one-day a new cadre of management will arrive but it will not be any time soon. In the meantime those of us who already think the way Mintzberg does have to continue to fight the good fight. Perhaps we need to wait another generation or more before the old world thinkers die out and leave the field to the new thinkers.

This book at least holds out the hope that new managers will not follow their predecessors and will possess a systems thinking approach, demonstrate high critical thinking skills and apply scientific thinking instead of management fads and dogmas.


The Road Less Travelled (Arrow New-Age)
The Road Less Travelled (Arrow New-Age)
by M. Scott Peck
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.59

5.0 out of 5 stars The road often travelled, 8 Aug. 2009
This is one of the first psychology books I read many years ago, It was very influential in forming my thinking about human behaviour providing insight into how we respond in difficult life situations. Since this book I have studied psychology in much greater depth, but at times of crisis and difficulty I find myself re-reading this book. It is the only one that is able to speak to me directly about the human condition in a crisis. Life is difficult (Peck)I have travelled through this book many times, every occasion reunites me with my earlier insights while gathering new ones.


Real Lean: Understanding the Lean Management System (Volume One): 1
Real Lean: Understanding the Lean Management System (Volume One): 1
by Bob Emiliani
Edition: Paperback
Price: £15.13

5.0 out of 5 stars Lean - What the CEO needs to know, 20 Jun. 2009
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The point of the book is very clear. This is a must have book because it brings everyone back to the purpose of Lean... its a management system not a set of tools, it berates the linkage with Six Sigma and provides sound arguments on why they should not be seen in the same way. This book should be given to every CEO, as an instruction book about what it means to develop an organisation based on Lean Management Principles. This is not a how to do it manual, its a 'why should we do Lean book' and 'what it takes from management to BE Lean'

I recommend every practitioner of Lean take many of the examples from the book and educate their management teams and CEO's. Then give them this book to read, they can read it on 45 min and it will save a lifetime of heartache, disappointment and money trying to implement what is described in the book as 'Fake-Lean' ( A non Lean Improvement programme masquerading as a Lean Programme)

Excellent.


The Oxford Book of Modern Science Writing
The Oxford Book of Modern Science Writing
by Richard Dawkins
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £20.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Science and pure wonder, 11 Jun. 2009
This selection by Richard Dawkins is full of wonder and magnificent prose. It also conveys the great sense of awe, excitement and sheer pleasure you encounter when exploring how the world works.

As a way of thinking the scientific method is probably the greatest invention of mankind. This collection of science papers makes me proud to be human and proud to be part of our never ending quest for knowledge.


Flawed Advice and the Management Trap: How Managers Can Know When They're Getting Good Advice and When They're Not
Flawed Advice and the Management Trap: How Managers Can Know When They're Getting Good Advice and When They're Not
by Chris Argyris
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £23.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Advice is in the eye of the beholder, 5 Feb. 2009
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Let me start by saying this book is much needed by the management community, whether the world of management realises it or not is another question.

The book describes a method for the application of scepticism to management claims and theories, it provides a structure which exposes the logical fallacies inherent in much of what I call pseudo-management ideas.

As a critical thinking primer it works very well, but it will take quite a bit of study and practice to master the ideas to a level which can be applied ad-hoc at management meetings. That said it is something which should become a basic skill for all managers. I suspect managers who like to think about 'why' they think the way they do will readily warm to these ideas.

Chris Argyris realises that the management school of 'Command and Control' has created a climate which does not foster critical thinking (for lots of reasons too long to go into here) ... learning to think clearly is ultimately what this book is all about, often better thinking, leads to better decisions and better organisations.

So where is the flaw in this book about Flaws? it assumes managers want to deconstruct command and control structures to allow them more freedom to think and criticise the status-quo, Alas too many are contented with the way it is. For those managers who want to change this is a great book. The Flaws are only flaws if you want to change.

Highly recommend this book.


The Assault on Reason: How the Politics of Blind Faith Subvert Wise Decision-making
The Assault on Reason: How the Politics of Blind Faith Subvert Wise Decision-making
by Al Gore
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

5.0 out of 5 stars The USA's Darkest Hour, 9 Jan. 2009
If you come from Europe and understand its political history you will find it shocking to find that the USA has not learned from our history and is repeating the same mistakes. That is staying silent when wrong things are being done in our name.

The insidious erosion of the mechanisms of safe government cloaked in moral superiority and political correctness has allowed the Bush administration to do the unthinkable while the majority of the electorate either don't care or cannot conceive of a modern government being so anti democratic.

Al outlines what he believes are the causes of this lack of outrage amongst the electorate and the actions needed to redress the balance. The press come in for a great deal of justified criticism, they have let the people down, out of fear, intimidation, money interests... does this remind you of Europe in the 20th Century?

As I read this book I found myself shouting out loud 'how on earth are they getting away with the erosions of democracy and assault on liberty?' I love America and what it stands for, It is an extension of what free thinking Europeans aspire to. But the Bush administration has perverted the course of history and the aspirations of its people. To paraphrase a great leader... 'If the USA should last a Thousand years, these will be its darkest hours' I hope the USA will find its way again, the rest of the world depends on it.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 28, 2011 4:48 PM GMT


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