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Maverick!: The Success Story Behind the World's Most Unusual Workplace Paperback – 6 Sep 2001

4.8 out of 5 stars 55 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Business; Reissue edition (6 Sept. 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0712678867
  • ISBN-13: 978-0712678865
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.1 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 12,815 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"The way that Ricardo Semler runs his company is impossible; except th at it works, and works splendidly for everyone. I relish this book. It revived my faith in human beings and my hope for business everywhere" (Charles Handy)

"In this book, Ricardo Semler tells how Semco, Latin America's fastest growing company, uses a revolutionary way of working to run a profit-making company with a work force who love their jobs." (The Sunday Times)

"Are there real-life lessons to be learned? The answer is yes...Pragmatic, inspirational and intriguing advice." (The Times)

"Ricardo Semler is our kind of capitalist" (Guardian)

"Semco takes workplace democracy to previously unimagined frontiers" (The Times)

Book Description

The international bestseller that tells how Ricardo Semler created one of the most successful and inspirational companies in the world. Con tains a new introduction by the author

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
As a management consultant I found this book very useful indeed - much of it is directly applicable to shop-floor and pressure-politics situations - the 20-page cartoon "rulebook" at the end is more than worth the price of the book itself - buy it! And if you have the courage, apply what it says, too: It's been known for some time that organizations are designed according to "command and control" principles that very poorly match how humans are really built to behave. More complex self-ordering behavior is always observed when any lack of hierarchy exists, and the hierarchies that do emerge tend to be more effective than those that were designed by managers with experience in previous eras. Semler just chose to trust it more than, say, Tom Peters. Prof. Nicholson, head of London Business School recently wrote (in the Harvard Business Review) that Semler's model was the only one to really respect "stone age nature" of human behavior (the many insights from evolutionary psychology that tell us that we're far more often feeling our way through decisions than thinking our way through).
Semlers assessment of Human Resource Management (HRM) practice is truly radical but built on a foundation of good management practice and a healthy dose of common sense. HRM managers and departments confuse traditional and successful hierarchies and should be the first thing to be axed if any organisation is serious about survival in the 21st Century.
Excellent book and guide, highly practical and an enjoyable read.
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Format: Paperback
I love this book. It doesn't read read like a business book at all but is more like a fascinating biography. I would recommend it to anyone not just people with an interest in business. I am slightly embarrassed to admit that I've probably bought around 50 copies of this book (over the years) for friends and colleagues.
Wonderful you must read it.
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By A Customer on 2 July 2002
Format: Paperback
I've read a lot of success story business books - many of them are full of motivational phrases which mean very little; many of them are badly written (just because someone is successful in business doesn't make them a great writer!).
This book is different. You can really feel the author's vision through his writing. As well as talking about his philosophy he gives concrete examples of how he implemented his ideas. Also, he tells us all his mistakes and how he learnt from them. I found this inspiring as I've realised you don't have to be perfect from the start to create something amazing.
You must read this!
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By Charles TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 16 Feb. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is a very interesting read and could change the way we think about running business.

The main points is to have a work place based on trust, democracy and openness.

Trust:
The author fired three quarters of the management and let people be their own boss, when a boss is needed they are called Coordinators who are not necessary better payed or higher ranking than the people they organize. Also Coordinators cannot hire/fire workers. Each worker decides their own working hours and pay.

Democracy:
Workers vote on such topics as who gets to be their Coordinators and hiring/firing. There has been research into how people behave in groups and it has been found that democratic groups get better creativity and are more happy than authoritarian run groups.

Openness:
The author states that only source of power in an organization is information, and withholding, filtering, or retaining information only serves those who want to accumulate power through hoarding.
Once a month Semco holds open meetings for the employees of each unit, where all the numbers in the business are presented for open examination and debate. The company also offers courses to help employees better understand financial reports such as balance sheets, Profit-and-loss reports, and cash flow statements.

The author recommends businesses are deliberately kept small ( not more than 150?) so that people feel their opinion still makes a difference. He feels the economies of scale that big business have is over rated and actually creates many opportunities for wastefulness.

25% of the profits are given to the workers as bonuses with everybody getting the same bonus.
Read more ›
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
You might have read lots of management & leadership books before written by has-beens and academic 'experts'. This book and the organisation it chronicles probably defies the vast majority of them (though John Maxwell & Julian Richer are from a similar ilk - though not so radical!)

I really couldn't believe that some of the procedures & practices this organisation implements could work. But they do - spectacularly! Has some very challenging repercussions for the way I do things in my own little sphere. Have I got the guts & conviction to carry them out?!

Minor grumble - books with spelling & grammar mistakes are a real bug-bear of mine. They're basically faulty goods. Hence it loses a star!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Any endorsement on a back cover by Charles Handy is going to get my vote but this book exceeded my expectations. Written in an almost exhausting machine gun style, Ricardo Semler turns most business philosophy upside down with back-to-back breathtaking anecdotes that might seem effortless in narrative, yet surely belies the obvious challenges and effort needed. At times you have to remember who is actually presenting the narrative as it often sounds like a diehard, hard pressed cynic railing at archaic authoritarian corporate structures, not the Chief Executive of his own company!

Are we brave enough to emulate Ricardo? I don't know - but I would love to try!
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