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Customer Review

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Two Key Points -- No BS, 2 Jun. 2011
This review is from: On Bullshit (Hardcover)
This book has serious points to make, although the reader may wander through a few pages before becoming confident that it is not attempting a self-parody. Stay with it and glean at least two key concepts.

First, BS is not lying. A liar knows the truth and carefully crafts an alternative to it to further some agenda. The BSer operates without regard for--perhaps even knowledge of--the truth. The BS is created to achieve an effect, to please the ego or ear, or perhaps just to fill some conversational space the speaker feels unable to neglect with silence. To the BSer, the offered BS even has some non-zero chance of being true--if it were only worth the bother to check.

The second insight is that certain organizational roles create pressure to engage in BS more than others. The author points to leaders who have frequent opportunities or demands to speak about their organizations' accomplishments without being very involved in the planning, production or evaluation of said accomplishments. Much of what these leaders say will be BS, to the sorrow and pain of those who must live with the consequences.

I'll close with a recommendation and a plea. I recommend that you buy a copy of this book for your own intellectual and moral development. It is brief, readable and encourages us to think seriously about both the truth and consequences of what we claim to know. Satisfied readers will also value an encounter with the author's related book, On Truth.

I then plead with you to purchase a second copy and mail it anonymously to the Federal Executive Institute in Charlottesville, Virginia where Senior Executives for the Federal government are trained. Only good can come from some of them reading it. Members of the Senior Executive Service are selected based on general leadership ability and assigned jobs under the theory that specific technical program knowledge is far less important than this general ability. These conditions make them particularly likely to become chronic BSers. Let's try to help them--and ourselves.
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Review Details

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Reviewer

John M. Ford
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   

Location: near DC, MD USA

Top Reviewer Ranking: 654