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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Quiet Revolutionary, 8 Jun 2003
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This review is from: The Seven Day Weekend: Feeding Ducks and Making Millions (Hardcover)
Ricardo Semler's latest book is probably bound to be another bestseller. Drawing heavily on his practical experience of running the Semco corporation in Brazil, he argues strongly and convincingly for a more democratic workplace. One where staff are encouraged to manage themselves and co-operate with each other, rather than following the dictates of superiors and predetermined business plans. Thus the rigid distinction between the working week and the weekend is transcended and we all enjoy the seven-day weekend.
He is at his most persuasive when recounting personal examples and anecdotes of how Semco actually works. He displays huge amounts of charisma, commitment to real worker empowerment and belief that this is the route to business success. And also a charming amount of modesty and humility about his own role in his business's growth.
The weakest parts are when he digresses into more general discussions about the business world and whether this is capitalism or socialism. These verge on the trite and simplistic Third Way homilies that we in the UK are all too familiar with from the philosophising of New Labour. He also never fully addresses the potential downside of the blurring of our personal and professional lives - the seven-day working week as opposed to the seven-day weekend - that can all too easily happen in the hands of business leaders less scrupulous than himself.
But it's difficult to find fault with one of his beautifully pithy observations - if we know how to answer work emails on a Sunday evening, why don't we know how to watch a movie on a Monday afternoon?!
All in all, thought-provoking material for managers tired of the hierarchical/military model and looking for a more democratic and human alternative.
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