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4.5 stars - would have benefited from a further reading entry for each idea,
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This review is from: 50 Management Ideas You Really Need to Know (50 Ideas You Really Need to Know series) (Hardcover)
Books that claim to list invariably 50 ideas of anything that you "need to know" can often disappoint. This series appears to be an exception though. Certainly the "Management" edition is well written, lists pretty much the top 50 business ideas of recent years, and while sometimes slave to its structure in general is perfect to both dip into as a reference book but not too bland to be read cover to cover, although the listing of the ideas in alphabetical order rather than by either chronology or theme suggests that the writer intends the former approach rather than the start at the beginning and end at the end approach. What I particularly liked was the inherent recognition that many of the ideas are themselves "products" of management consultancies and therefore have their own product life cycles. Russell-Walling manages to give due weight and recognition to the ideas as well as an acknowledgment that some have past their sell by date or have been somewhat misinterpreted.
The works of the major business thinkers - Drucker, Porter, Levitt, Senge, Moss Kanter etc, are all here and as a refresher to my management studies it was really helpful. It would have been nice to have a list of two or three "further reading" suggestions though to allow follow up of the major works. Admittedly some are referred to, but in light of the brief coverage (four pages per idea which is slavishly adhered to) this might have allowed more in depth exploration.
Each "idea" is given a time line which should be more of a help than it is. In fact, it's rather misleading as it implies links that often aren't there. Each idea also has a sidebar box of varying levels of interest - sometimes the author seems short of ideas of what to put here so puts a precis of a major thinker - at others it gives real world examples, with the latter being more interesting. For me, the focus should be on the ideas - 50 great management writers you need to know is a different book altogether.
It's interesting to see how some ideas have really stood the test of time while others have fallen away. Also interesting is the impact of Japanese thinking at a time when all was rosy in the land of the rising sun's economy. Rather less interesting today though. Presumably the next raft of ideas will come out of China?
The ideas include staples like the four Ps, the five forces of competition, core competencies, and marketing myopia labeled here as "what business are you really in?". All the buzz ideas of recent years - balanced scorecards, TQM, customer relationship management and benchmarking get an outing so that you can at least understand what people are supposed to be talking about even if they have misinterpreted the ideas!
Of course something is lost in the brevity of the coverage but it's a heck of a lot better than most books that try to do the same thing. If it had had a "further reading" for each idea, it would have merited a full five stars from me.