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4.8 out of 5 stars55
4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 9 October 2004
As a management consultant I found this book very useful indeed - much of it is directly applicable to shop-floor and pressure-politics situations - the 20-page cartoon "rulebook" at the end is more than worth the price of the book itself - buy it! And if you have the courage, apply what it says, too: It's been known for some time that organizations are designed according to "command and control" principles that very poorly match how humans are really built to behave. More complex self-ordering behavior is always observed when any lack of hierarchy exists, and the hierarchies that do emerge tend to be more effective than those that were designed by managers with experience in previous eras. Semler just chose to trust it more than, say, Tom Peters. Prof. Nicholson, head of London Business School recently wrote (in the Harvard Business Review) that Semler's model was the only one to really respect "stone age nature" of human behavior (the many insights from evolutionary psychology that tell us that we're far more often feeling our way through decisions than thinking our way through).
Semlers assessment of Human Resource Management (HRM) practice is truly radical but built on a foundation of good management practice and a healthy dose of common sense. HRM managers and departments confuse traditional and successful hierarchies and should be the first thing to be axed if any organisation is serious about survival in the 21st Century.
Excellent book and guide, highly practical and an enjoyable read.
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on 15 March 2004
It's almost unbelievable - an experiment in culture change that worked wonders. This inspiring tale of Ricardo Semler's successful 'quest' to run his company in the interest of all it's stakeholders is tremendous. It may well be easier to influence the direction of a business when you're the owner (as per Semler), but this great read helped me look at and adapt my own management style in an entirely new way (even within a large organisation). I only put it down in order to start implementing many of the ideas it contains. Well written and thought provoking.
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on 1 September 2002
You might have read lots of management & leadership books before written by has-beens and academic 'experts'. This book and the organisation it chronicles probably defies the vast majority of them (though John Maxwell & Julian Richer are from a similar ilk - though not so radical!)

I really couldn't believe that some of the procedures & practices this organisation implements could work. But they do - spectacularly! Has some very challenging repercussions for the way I do things in my own little sphere. Have I got the guts & conviction to carry them out?!

Minor grumble - books with spelling & grammar mistakes are a real bug-bear of mine. They're basically faulty goods. Hence it loses a star!
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on 2 July 2002
I've read a lot of success story business books - many of them are full of motivational phrases which mean very little; many of them are badly written (just because someone is successful in business doesn't make them a great writer!).
This book is different. You can really feel the author's vision through his writing. As well as talking about his philosophy he gives concrete examples of how he implemented his ideas. Also, he tells us all his mistakes and how he learnt from them. I found this inspiring as I've realised you don't have to be perfect from the start to create something amazing.
You must read this!
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on 17 December 2002
I love this book. It doesn't read read like a business book at all but is more like a fascinating biography. I would recommend it to anyone not just people with an interest in business. I am slightly embarrassed to admit that I've probably bought around 50 copies of this book (over the years) for friends and colleagues.
Wonderful you must read it.
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on 26 September 2001
I can't believe I am the first to review this. Maverick is essential reading. Not only does it present some radical ideas but Semlers style is highly entertaining. If you are running a business, this will seriously challenge your thinking. If you are a student of business, this will make you think very hard about the lessons you have learned...Buy it
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on 10 January 2002
A very enlightening book, and an inspiration for managers committed to breaking open the way their colleagues, superiors and associates think. While Semler's strategies are clearly going to work best in the smaller companies, the book can work well on a departmental level too, if that department has enough autonomy. Just reading it brightened up my day, and its the kind of book you will want to pass on to your colleagues - so buy two..
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on 10 December 2001
Truly remarkable autobiographical account that demonstrates how a company can be run with all its staff behind it. It refreshingly shattered all of the assumptions of how a modern successful business must operate in order to succeed, by challenging every assumption at every opportunity.
A lighthouse that stands to guide business men, if they only care to notice it!
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on 22 October 2001
Ricardo Semler has produced an account of his bravery in introducing a entrepreneurial spirit into the traditions of the corporate arena.
The book takes you into the journey of the Semco Company under the leadership of Ricardo Semler and it makes superb reading and is most thought provoking for those wishing to think outside of the box. Read it with a highlighter, as it will be a constant reference companion.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 16 February 2013
This book is a very interesting read and could change the way we think about running business.

The main points is to have a work place based on trust, democracy and openness.

The author fired three quarters of the management and let people be their own boss, when a boss is needed they are called Coordinators who are not necessary better payed or higher ranking than the people they organize. Also Coordinators cannot hire/fire workers. Each worker decides their own working hours and pay.

Workers vote on such topics as who gets to be their Coordinators and hiring/firing. There has been research into how people behave in groups and it has been found that democratic groups get better creativity and are more happy than authoritarian run groups.

The author states that only source of power in an organization is information, and withholding, filtering, or retaining information only serves those who want to accumulate power through hoarding.
Once a month Semco holds open meetings for the employees of each unit, where all the numbers in the business are presented for open examination and debate. The company also offers courses to help employees better understand financial reports such as balance sheets, Profit-and-loss reports, and cash flow statements.

The author recommends businesses are deliberately kept small ( not more than 150?) so that people feel their opinion still makes a difference. He feels the economies of scale that big business have is over rated and actually creates many opportunities for wastefulness.

25% of the profits are given to the workers as bonuses with everybody getting the same bonus. This is to help motivate and rewards workers even tho it's a big drain on the businesses profits. The author states "I rather own the tail of a elephant than a entire ant".

The author makes note of the importance of behaving ethically in business even if that means losing money.

What this book recommends is a big shift in the normally authoritarian military ways businesses usually work.I am not a expert on business set up but what this book recommends is actually nothing new in fact it sounds like a workers co-op (workers control and own business) but without workers owning the business.

The book got a sequel called "The Seven-Day Weekend" I think this original is the better of the two but get both anyway because the sequel does add a few good ideals not in the original.

It's good to see businesses like this thrive and it shows a business can have happy workers, be ethical and still do well.
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