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Work the System: The Simple Mechanics of Making More & Working Less -- 3rd Edition Hardcover – 1 Oct 2011
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About the Author
Sam Carpenter is a telecommunications professional and business owner, has a background in engineering, management, publishing, and journalism. He lives in Bend, Oregon, with his wife, Linda.
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As part of a response to a sudden burst of enthusiasm for really organising my micro team at my small business, I read this book finally.
I think its central message (of really getting a systems mentality) is very strong. Many of the nuts and bolts illustrated are also very helpful. Above all, it is written by a man who has both hit the wall by working chaotically and destructively hard (100 work weeks) and also come out the other side.
The only criticisms I’d have are: that it repeats itself too much; and that it’s rather heavy handed in the end in its obsession with the subject.
It’s a strong book but I can’t help feeling it would have been a truly excellent book if it had been rescued by ⅓ or even ½.
That criticism aside, I do feel genuinely inspired. It’s 100% clear that The author is a man on a deeply felt mission to turn chaos into order. And that passion is contagious.
Given that he dropped from 80 hour weeks to 2 hours a week, I’ll be happy to learn from this man.
However, I found myself struggling to read this book through. I found that a lot of the material was repetitive and long-winded and overall didn't contribute much in terms of knowledge or insight for the time invested in reading it. Although the author makes no apologies for being repetitive in his attempt to "drill it home" I found that the book would have been better off if it was a bit more concise and to the point, a short summary at the end of each chapter or section would've earned this book another star alone. Otherwise it does seem to be one mans ramblings on the same epiphany over and over and the important points and messages seems to get lost in the fray.
I had almost given up on the rest of the book until I reached about halfway when the author decides to tell you his method of creating systems which I have found to be a particularly helpful starting point for system creation.
It is at this point I realise that the main focus of this book is "Operational Excellence" (see Discipline of Market Leaders by Treacy & Wiersema). Owing to the nature of his business is not unreasonable to see why Operational excellence would have been a great leveraged advancement for his business (and his life).
Overall there is a good selection of topics in this book and would be really helpful to anybody that feels that they need to create a more systematic way of doing things. The book itself provides a good blueprint of how to identify the symptoms of procedural shortcomings and provides a methodology of sorts in how to rectify the problem. The only major problem is trying to get through it and teasing out all the important points.
I have already started to implement much of what is proposed and early signs are positive.