Customer Review

8 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not for modern readers, 6 Oct. 2007
This review is from: The Age of Unreason: New Thinking For A New World (Paperback)
I have been a manager for around 10 years. I have done my fair share of management courses - nowadays they tend to be called leadership courses - and it was in one of these that I first came across Charles Handy.

I heard the quote which was along the lines "I once facitiously described a typical british group as a rowing eight, a group of people going backwards, steered by the one person too small to see where they are going". This stuck with me and I have used it many times in coaching my own teams about leadership.

I had high hopes for The Age of Unreason. The other reviews all speak highly of it and remark on the foresight. Well, I agree. The foresight is remarkable and Handy should be commended for it. But, the reviews are around 10 years old, as is the book. Foresight aside, the book is dreadfully dull and there is very little of the useable quotes and insights that I was hoping for. There is a wealth of more relevant and appropriate management models in other places.

I like reading and read all sorts of things. Some for pleasure and some for background reading to support my own personal development. I hoped Handy would be the latter, perhaps I just picked the wrong book. Sue Knight's book on NLP was much better, Heinz Guderain's "Panzer Leader" was an interesting insight despite not being a text book.

I am suggesting you look elsewhere. This was probably really good then, isn't very good now.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 25 Aug 2010 16:45:06 BDT
Graham illustrates what's wrong with many modern managers.

Firstly, modern managers are just that - modernists, looking for the "latest thing". Sadly, we live in a post-modern world and modernism, although surviving, is doomed - the Age of Unreason isn't past - it's yet to come - soon... In the meantime we have to put up with the neo -Taylorism of many so-called "managers"

Secondly, like much of modernist management theory, he is inconsistent. Handy is presented as old-hat, whereas Guderian (writing generations earlier) is recommended as a role-model. I will not comment on the fact that Guderian, for all his leadership skills, chose to use them in the service of a murderous and megalomaniac dictator for far too long.

Thirdly, like many a modern manager, he is ignorant. If you are going to use words like facetious, have the decency to learn how to spell them.

Not impressed by the review.

Recommend the book as very germane to 2010

In reply to an earlier post on 21 May 2012 10:58:53 BDT
I first read 'The Age of Unreason' in 1997 and found it useful as reference to the course that I was doing.
It is still relative these days (as long as the individuals are open-minded), and the 'boiling frog' syndrome is definitely in vogue!!
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