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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ideas for the new world of work, 10 Nov 2010
Patricia Lustig (Cirencester UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Hacking Work: Breaking Stupid Rules for Smart Results (Paperback)
Bill Jensen and Josh Klein have written a book about how to get things done in organisations that are not designed for the work we have to do today. How do you actually achieve anything when it seems like an organisation's processes work against you? You will find some answers here.

We know that things change very quickly these days yet that organisations change slowly. The definition of a 'hack' is to manage to do something positive, benevolent and good for the organisation while not (potentially) following ALL of the rules. I used to work for an organisation where we were encouraged to 'ask forgiveness, not permission'. This is what they are advocating and it is a joy to see this encouraged. The only way we will get our organisations to change is if WE change them. And often the only way we can feel positive about our working environment is when we find 'work arounds' that work.

Like Bill's earlier work (The Simplicity Handbook), this book is clear, and well written, simple enough, but not too simple. However, actually doing it (hacking work) is by no means easy - they encourage you to be quite clear about what your values are and how you work to them and uphold them while still achieving the needful for your day to day work.

It is a book that is written for the American market so there aren't many European examples in the many case studies they present. But it will still work here. They have based the book on many interviews with people who are already 'hacking' work and these ought to be sufficient to give you ideas of what you can do in your situation.

Best of all, they connect with their readers via their Hacking Work website. What I like best about the book is that they help us to see how to get our power back, where it belongs, and take responsibility for using it wisely.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clever rallying cry beckons workers to circumvent the restrictions of their workplaces, 11 July 2011
Rolf Dobelli "getAbstract" (Switzerland) - See all my reviews
This lively book is not a manual or a how-to guide; it's a rallying cry for the community of "benevolent hackers" and an attitude adjustment for those who want to join. Bill Jensen, CEO of the Jensen Group, and Josh Klein, a skilled hacker, offer an enthusiastic spirit and an all-embracing outlook - at times to make up for being reserved about specificity, so as not to enable bad hackers - that clearly deliver their message: Courage and flexibility matter much more than technical expertise when it comes to changing oppressive work conditions. The authors walk a tightrope: They imply that you can alter software, networks and processes, but they never demonstrate how outright, and they advocate hacking only within ethical limits. Their obvious joy at circumventing restrictive or idiotic corporate practices, and their welcome conversational tone, makes this a tremendously fun read - one that will open some readers' eyes to possibilities they might not have considered. getAbstract suggests this gleeful tome to those who feel that work procedures are dampening their productivity and creativity, and to anyone who likes to tweak the nose of authority.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The power and impact of benevolent hacking in the workplace, 27 Oct 2010
Robert Morris (Dallas, Texas) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Hacking Work: Breaking Stupid Rules for Smart Results (Paperback)
To what does the title of this book refer? According to the co-authors, Bill Jensen and Josh Klein, "Today's top performers are taking matters into their own hands. They are bypassing sacred structures and breaking all sorts of rules just to get their work done...Every day in every workplace, benevolent rule breakers like these are ensuring that business succeeds despite itself. They are reinventing how to approach productivity and how to consistently achieve morebetterfaster results." Jensen and Klein urge their reader to start hacking: "Start taking the usual ways of doing things and work around them to produce improved results. Bend the rules for the good of all. That's what benevolent hackers do."

In his book Iconoclast, Gregory Berns explains, "The overarching theme of this book is that iconoclasts are able to do things that others say can't be done, because iconoclasts perceive things differently than other people." Berns goes on to explain that the difference in perception "plays out in the initial stages of an idea. It plays out in how their manage their fears, and it manifests in how they pitch their ideas to the masses of noniconoclasts. It is an exceedingly rare individual who possesses all three of these traits." In her article "How to Walk on the Leading Edge without Falling off the Cliff," Judith A. Neal calls these bold and principled people "Edgewalkers" whose dominant characteristics include visionary consciousness (they have a sense of mission about something greater than themselves), multicultural responsiveness (they can understand the nuances of different worlds or cultures), intuitive sensitivity (they are natural futurists who constantly integrate ideas and information from a variety of sources, risk-taking confidence (they have a strong sense of adventure and experimentation), and self-awareness (they understand and appreciate that each person is a unique microcosm of the whole). Benevolent hackers, values-driven iconoclasts, and Edgewalkers are kindred spirits.

Throughout their narrative, Jensen and Klein explain how to determine what to hack, how to hack effectively with benevolence, how to obtain the resources needed, how to sustain support of change initiatives, and how to support others' hacking. They provide "A Short History of Hacking's Journey from Good to Bad to Good" (Pages 15-16), discuss "Top Five Hacks That We'd Recommend That Everyone Do" (Pages 47-48) and how to proceed with each (Pages 53-54), they identify and discuss Hacking's "Ten Commandments" (Pages 59-65), then identify and discuss "Four Emerging Forces Where Hackers Will Influence the Outcomes" (Pages 88-113), then "Five Big Ideas" for a Boss to consider (Pages 132-255), and explain how and why a hacker must work differently (Pages 164-171) and lead differently (Pages 172-181).

All of the information, insights, and recommendations are based on more than 4,000 "benevolent hacking case studies." The material is anchored in real-world situations that suggest practical applications of key concepts. Jensen and Klein should also be commended on their brilliant use of reader-friendly devices such as Sidetrips (supplementary digressions), Smartstarts (key takeaways and recommended action steps), and Fasthacks (real-world examples that illustrate key points). As I read this book, I reflected back on all the organizations and on all the leaders with which I have been associated. When doing so, I realized that Jensen and Klein wrote the book for supervisors as well as for those for whom they are responsible.

In the ideal workplace, supervisors and their direct reports either hack or support those who do. However, more often than not, aspiring hackers are in fact inept politicians and supervisors who remain hostage to -- and are perhaps zealous defenders of -- what James O'Toole so aptly characterizes as "the ideology of comfort and the tyranny of custom." Here in a single volume is just about everything aspiring benevolent hackers and their supervisors need to know in order to co-create answers to their organization's most important business questions and co-create solutions to its most serious problems. Congratulations to Bill Jensen and Josh Klein on a brilliant achievement. Bravo!
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Hacking Work: Breaking Stupid Rules for Smart Results
Hacking Work: Breaking Stupid Rules for Smart Results by Josh Klein (Paperback - 28 Oct 2010)
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