Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop Cyber Monday Deals Week in Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Amazon Fire TV Shop now DIYED Shop now Shop Fire Kids Edition Shop Kindle Voyage Listen in Prime Shop now Shop now

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars36
4.4 out of 5 stars
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item

There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Those who have benefited from the capitalist explosion have found like King Midas an abundance of dreams fulfilled, but a nagging problem remains, firslty these volk need to be worshipped as having status, secondly they need to inhabit environments where they are reminded of their status.

This book unpicks the relentless will to power, by returning back to "The Sane Society" Erich Fromm 1955 to retracethe steps of the capital human crunching machine. Initiative, ideas, innovation have been smashed as Weber predicted within the monolithic bureaucracies, people reduced to cyphers and water carriers.

The result is, as Marx predicted, work alienation, a theme relentlessly pursued by Fromm. Now the capitalist puritans have recognised their grand folly and retraced their way backwards by promoting a future. Nothing about the Frankfurt School, Mar or Weber in here though. All based on management erasure of the past and recreate the present. The book has ideas for change- the trouble is- like many of these books-

Capitalism requires a relentless autistic personality type to aspire and manipulate objects to create rapacity and enact the killer instinct. Wanting a more humane capitalist approach is needed to save us all from extinction and the revolution has to be personal rather than economic. There fore this book swings in the balance between polarities. Rather than chastise its shortcomings I will promote its vision and give it five.

However my past experience of the care sector, NHS and Charity tells me initiative is the last thing that is needed within the current construct. However these practices need to be transcended and this book is another bullet in the breach of the gun that blasts down the wall of inertia, bullying, humiliation and un pretty vacancy.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 15 July 2012
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
For those unaware, Gary Hamel is on a mission to overhaul management as we know it, and that is certainly mirrored in this book. For some in Management and Human Resource Management will see it as a threat to established structure. So be it.
As a prescription for change, Gary Hamel advocates small, low cost experimentation around themes he calls `moonshots'. The language used throughout the book is almost therapeutic equivalence in his narrative. This book is probably not for the lay person rather for people in HRM and the broader management structure.

All in all an easy read, pleasant casual style, invoking more thought on higher purpose, values, and passion in the subject at hand.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I am a serial entrepreneur, a University lecturer in both Russia and the USA and an international business and peak performance consultant. As such I am used to reading a plethora of business, motivational, peak performance, coaching, team building psychology type of books. In fact I have enough books at home, on these subjects, to sink several ships. So my comments on this poor book are based upon real and theoretical business experience.

This is quite a thick tomb and in my experience this does not necessarily result in great content. The author, Gary Hamel puts forward his ideas on how businesses can win in a World of Relentless Change. He looks at core areas such as how to be more ethical, the need to innovate, how to be more adaptable, the need to engage and empower employees, so becoming more passionate about their work and the TQM idea of less top-down pyramid management structure. The author examines numerous real life examples of how his ideas have been implemented to help the reader to assimilate the ideas into practical steps.

The ideas put forward are nothing new. There is no "revolutionary approach" that cannot be found in other books. Having read the book, the best I can say about it is this, the ideas and premise put forward are solid and if implemented will help an organisation to WIN. The issue I have is this, if you already practice TQM, you already have empowerment structures in place that work, if you already implement KAIZEN....then you will find very little in this book that you are not already doing. This does not make it a bad book, but there is very little new information in this book that cannot be gained elsewhere in an easier to understand form.

The book has solid information and uses good examples, but there is very little new or cutting edge type of analysis in it. This is not a bad book, but it is a far cry from a blaze trailing management book. Many companies will already have parts of what he suggests in place, so for many there little or nothing new in this book. It's worth reading just for the examples, but it is a thick book and in places a complex read. I do feel there are better books on the market.

0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
TOP 500 REVIEWERon 26 July 2012
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
What matters according to Hamel are: values, innovation, adaptability, passion and ideology. Hamel considers each of these in a separate section of his book. Hamel is not the first to consider these (for example Michael H. Hugos (Business Agility: Sustainable Prosperity in a Relentlessly Competitive World (Microsoft Executive Leadership Series)) and the late CK Prahalad (The New Age of Innovation: Driving Cocreated Value Through Global Networks) have both written books arguing that innovation matters more as efficiency and supply chains become less of a differentiator). However, Hamel has done a fine job of integrating these key ideas into one book.

What Matters Now is very motivating and thought provoking, and there is much to admire and be inspired by. However, there are a few niggles with this book, and I nearly cast it aside a few times - but on reflection I'm very glad I didn't. For me, Hamel's passion sometimes comes across as a tirade rather than a rational assessment of evidence. There are a few case studies, but not nearly enough, and Hamel only offers scarce consideration of other authors and published research that supports his ideas. Also, Hamel's passion shines thorough, but sometimes at the expense of reasoned argument. For example, citing support for his observation that people are happiest when innovating, he states: "From Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi to Tal Ben-Shahar, the experts agree...", which, no matter how you slice it, is just a listing of two. One final criticism, Hamel sometimes sounds like he is trying too hard to be hip, which grated after a while -- for example the book is scattered with sentences that begin "Kinda like" or "Problem is".

These minor criticisms aside, I found this to be a very good book that puts forward inspiring ideas for managers. Definitely one I would recommend.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The modern world is (in our eyes at least) very different from any time in written history. Governments have gone bankrupt before. Paradigms have changed before. Fashions for clothes, ways of working, culture have all changed before. But never (so far as we are aware) so fast, so all-at-the-same-time, so globally.
Gary Hamel jumps into the middle of all of this upheaval with "What Matters Now". It's about recognising what is going, what's coming, and what's a priority. It's about putting aside assumptions - we may have always done that, but it may be about to disappear, to stop being relevant.
At a personal level: What about my life is worth keeping, and what about my life is not a priority and I should be prepared to discard?
My career - hmm, I used to have one, and now I'm only as good as the last thing I do. My family - they are with me for life, so why do I neglect them.
At a corporate level: what makes us stand out from the crowd? Is it something we are proud of? What's the best way to do it, regardless of how we've done it so far? What aren't we the best at? And who can we work with, where we might have been sworn enemies before?
At a national level: what makes a British person British? And what is just ritual, not important to being British?
You'd be forgiven for thinking you could use this as a minute by minute guide to decision-making. It is a book about principles, about ways to approach the opportunity of modern life, not a guide or checklists. And I love it!
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
VINE VOICEon 10 April 2012
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This book has the appearance of a pop culture book with its attendant promise of how to achieve a quick fix. However after an initial seduction into the writers mindset it goes on to become far meatier than this first impression had conveyed. The quality of writing is outstanding and the author has an immense breadth of knowledge about the subject of business management, which he conveys in a highly convincing academic style which necessitated consultation of the OED on more than one occasion. There is in his writing a political element that borders on evangelical fervour at times; this style would not be to everyone's taste but from my perspective I respect anyone who is sufficiently passionate about their subject to convey it with such zeal.
The whole idea of making management more efficient is unbelievably timely. The current danger of old style management is highlighted by the author and the options for a change agenda offered in a way that give the alternative outline clearly and effectively. In my opinion if I wanted to get to grip with implementing the message of this brilliant book but only had a limited time to read anything, I would suggest the chapters from 5.2 onwards. Chapter 5.2 offers the idea of 'Managing without Hierarchy' and leads the reader onward through 5.3, 'Escaping the Management Tax', through 5.4 'Inverting the Pyramid', to conclude in 5.5, 'Aiming Higher'. These final four chapters offer a way forward for modern businesses in trying times, and are both visionary and practical.
I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in reading about management and its future within any organisation; it is also of interest to anyone who enjoys good, well researched writing as the author is in my opinion a veritable wordsmith.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
VINE VOICEon 25 March 2012
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Gary Hamel is one of the world authorities on management practice so any new book by him is going to get serious attention. And like his other works, this is a book of undoubted authority. Every politician and CEO in the Western world could benefit from reading chapter 1. For that reason, I have given it a five-star rating, but there are also serious limitations. Here are its strengths: it makes a powerful critique of of the ideology that has driven business culture around the world and argues for a different set of values, beliefs and practices. He wants to see companies more innovative, passionate and successful. In the first instance, he believes that corporations worldwide, and particularly perhaps in America, need to reinstate the importance of specific values related to stewardship: fealty, charity, prudence, accountability and equity. Stated baldly like this, and they do appear on pages 1 and two, that might seem a bit optimistic, but that is the tone of this book and he makes a strong case for it. Indeed the strength of this book lies in the power of its rhetoric. Millions of customers and people working in business around the world will say hallelujah.

The text is littered with wise advice and descriptions. A selection at random: He says that great design evokes an almost visceral reaction because it is utterly unexpected, amazingly competent, aesthetically exquisite, and conspicuously conscientious. Each of these is briefly described with examples. It is full of anecdotal examples, more extended case vignettes (e.g. Bank of New Zealand and Apple) and some key case studies, particularly of Morning Star and W L Gore & Associates.

Here is the essence of what he is proposing:
corporate leaders need to reinstate values of stewardship: he provided a brilliant set of measures or questions that a leader can ask himself or herself
the basis of success is innovation and innovation depends on design and this depends on a culture that requires a fertile focus on better products
the present design of organizations emphasizes control in a dysfunctional way. Management is the technology of human accomplishment. But we need to learn a better technology.
This better technology would be focused on realizing the full set of human capabilities, which requires initiative, creativity and passion.
This requires a more participative approach to managing companies, as illustrated by his Morning Star and Gore examples.

He also tells us that he has launched an initiative to develop this methodology.

What is lacking is the detailed how-to for his ideas. There are plenty of good ideas, but not a system. There are decades of scientific work that have developed the bureaucratic model of management, so that leaders wanting to run hierarchical organizations have a precise set of methodologies to achieve this. This is not the case with the more bottom-up, participative and relationally designed organization that is here proposed. It is clear that there are alternatives, as have been instanced by a whole sequence of thinkers before and since Tom Peters, and Gary Hamel duly adds today's examples. In the UK we might add the John Lewis partnership. But this is largely a work of rhetoric not of science. I think a lot of the scientific tools exist in systems thinking, cybernetics and complexity theory. There are four example parallels between the work of Geoffrey Vickers, Watzlawick, Trist and others in Hamel's thinking, but they need to be reintegrated and harnessed to the new objectives and discoveries. For example, I think the book would have benefited from a consideration of the constructal law. We have descriptions here of specific companies and their practices but the lack of rigorous second-order and third order thinking and learning means that we are a long way short of a clear set of principles that can also then be adapted for each company. The danger is that people end up copying some feature or features of the selected examples and then wonder why they do not work as well in their company.

By the way, this is a book well worth reading in conjunction with Who's in the Room?: How Great Leaders Structure and Manage the Teams Around Them by Bob Frisch, which I have also just reviewed. The contrast is quite stark. The latter text takes as axiomatic a bureaucratic/hierarchical approach to managing companies, it is focused on the CEO and assumes that the CEO makes strategic decisions and the rest of the company is there to manage doability. It is exactly an example of a very well worked out methodology for running the business based on the classic set of beliefs that is still missing from Hamel's What Matters Now.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
VINE VOICEon 17 November 2012
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I gave 'What Matters Now' to my son starting our in his own business and he has added the wealth of information and suggestions in this book to his dossier of advice as he battles with that 'ferocious competition' out there in the real world. Gary Hamel has contributed his expertise to the multitude of books encouraging and advising people in the workplace on how to deal with the ruthless world of business, and this volume is a useful addition.

The content addresses the issues realistically and doesn't beat about the bush. His remit is to reinvent management and show how innovation and adaptability are keys to the future of business. He stresses that passion and determination are as important as business acumen, and that insight and inspiration are necessary to defeat the 'commoditisation' of corporate ambitions.

Gary Hamel is a well-respected writer on every aspect of business management and a leading expert on business strategy. This book should be on every aspiring businessman's desk or bookshelf.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The book didn't start promisingly. In the third sentence that I read, the book says: "Instead, its a multi-faceted agenda." The book used "its" instead of of "it's". The book also used "breech" as a verb rather than "breach". On another page, a sentence reads: "The assumption: people want to do the right thing, but need a lot information" - missing out "a lot OF information". I could go on.

I know that may seem picky, but I found it intensely irritating and distracting that the book had so many typos and grammatical errors in it! I hope the editor of the book reads this review and takes action!

Onto the content of the book though, I found Hamel's arguments well-made. He argues that organisations need to be more ethical (putting more emphasis on values), need to innovate more, need to be more adaptable, need to encourage employees to be more passionate about their work, and need to rely less on top-down command-and-control styles of management. All of these arguments make sense and Hamel gives examples of organisations where this has happened and helped those organisations to also do better than their competitors.

The book is quite dense and full of management language so I didn't find it easy to read in one sitting. However, I'm glad I read it as it has given me a lot of food for thought in how I can run my team more effectively.

I would say that this book is aimed squarely at fairly senior managers within organisations if not the CEO and other executives. The book isn't of much help to people who don't have a lot of sway and influence within their organisations.
11 commentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
VINE VOICEon 10 June 2012
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Gary Hamel is a man with a conscience. Why does that sound unusual for a book about commerce, marketing and the changes many are facing, and indeed resisting regards capitalism? Probably because the traditional modus operandi in the free market we more or less face in the developed world, doesn't necessarily ensconce mindfullness and/or thoughtfullness as an option.

I could wax lyrical in great detail about this book, but its best for all marketing and sociologically progressive entrepreneurial types to check this out for themselves. It's rich in detailed analysis without boring you with minutae. the only reason ive knocked a star off, is because it's not necessarily a book you'd want to read in one continuous marathon. It's best to tackle it in chunks, which i believe the author wanted the reader to do, in any case.

A great book, and essential for those who want to remain in the axiom of change and growth, in the post global-fiscal-setback age.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.