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Customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
48
The Peter Principle: Why Things Always Go Wrong
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on 7 August 2017
Quite funny, and easy to see examples in real life.

Sometimes it does feel very dated, and possibly even very American-centric. If it is intended as a serious scientific study and exposition of the matter, then it is probably only worth 3 stars, as the application of proper scientific method seems a bit shaky in places. As a humorous look at a problem that most people will recognise, it is worth the fourth star.
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on 16 October 2017
Fantastic book. Really enjoyed open reading about the management under bonus incentified world and raging inequality.
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on 28 June 2017
As expected
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on 27 September 2017
The Peter Principle is a book everyone should read, it would make us all mentally richer.
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on 28 August 2017
Hilarious - I could see so much of others (& occasionally myself) in this book!
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on 26 November 2000
'A satirical review' it says in the review. Sure. And one of the most successfull endeavours at that ever undertaken. The theory of incompetence (we all tend to reach a level where we are ineffective and stay there in whatever we do) is so compelling that to me, after zillions of management books it still stands out for its clarity and power. Even the illustrations in the version I have are to the point and funny. Enjoy!
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 4 October 2009
The central tenet of this book is that individuals rise to their level of incompetence. They could be perfectly happy, competent and skillfully fufilling their tasks but the push and pull of management and/or other organisational factors will propell them upwards until they meet with challenges which really are unassailable. They then get stuck at that point. Like the blurb on the back of the edition I have says "Ever wondered how that bunch of idiots got control of your office/factory/shop? They, as we all know, could not organise a booze-up in a brewery, but what we did not know was how they got to the top. The answer is supplied in The Peter Principle".

What I totally loved about this book was the wry and understated humour, it has been criticised for being too expansive on a single funny observation, however its a brilliant almost satirical analysis and to be honest its also a parody of a lot of management text books. This was clear to me from the outset with the blurb's promises of enlightenment, I felt that was a nice parody of a lot of big tent speaker style books which promise their readers all sorts of insights as a sales pitch. The author doesnt stop there, the book is repleat with lots of management jargon, some of the authors own invention, there's a glossary of key terminology provided also which I felt added to the comic effect. The book is also illustrated throughout, mainly with cartoons of a retro, victorian, "punch magazine" style. I have an older edition of the book and finding at the back a list of books available from the same publisher on effective business management and leadership was a cause for further, I'm sure unintentional, humour.

There's no index in this book and the chapters proceed as follows The Peter Principle; The Principle in Action; Apparent Exceptions; Pull and Promotion; Push and Promotion; Followers and Leaders; Hierachiology and Politics; Hints and Foreshadowings; The Psychology of Hierarchiology; Peter's Spiral; The Pathology of Success; Non-Medical Indices of Final Placement; Health and Happiness at Zero PQ - Possibility or Pipe Dream?; Creative Incompetence; The Darwinian Extension.

I wish I'd had this book years ago, I'd recommend it to the general reader or student and academic alike, it makes about as much sense as a lot of management or sociological gurus and it provides some wry humour and laughs along the way. I'm sure that everyone will find something in the book with which they can relate or identify, it is a book which is applicable far beyond the realm of the workplace and I suspect that the Peter Principle relates to some peoples dating, socialising or other habits, organising transport to the gig, even cooking or holding a dinner party.

Tell your friends, I was lucky enough to read about this on the website of one of my favourite bloggers, otherwise I wouldnt have known about it. Great book.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 21 August 2012
This book explains one of the major problems with any attempt at success in any enterprise, most of the rest of the problems being covered by 'Systemantics'. In fact this book with its emphasis on the rewards of ineptitude and inertia might be the handbokk for the Civil Service and the basis for the concept of Yes Minister. The real tragedy here is we recognise the thruth and find it funny insetad of getting angry.
So the country is not perfectly absolutely skint despite the best efforts of those in charge. The unanswered question is "What keeps it going?
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VINE VOICEon 18 April 2010
The Peter Principle is the theory that people are generally promoted to their level of incompetence - and its described throughout with a wry sense of humour.

It's one of those common sense type books - easy to read, and with plenty of anecdotes with scenarios people will recognise, including those who are at either end of the competence spread, and get fired for being overly incompetent, or overly good at their job.

I wasn't as impressed with the Victorian cartoons. While they are funny - they are too small in this version, and much of the detail is lost in "dark blob". But that is a minor niggle. On the whole, the book is entertaining, and will give a few cynical laughs, particularly after a stressful week at the office!
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on 11 January 2002
This book shows conclusively that "In a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence". Many a true word is spoken in jest...
Luckily, the book also explains how to avoid being promoted into a job you are incapable of doing well. Follow the advice and have a long and happy working career!
An often-quoted all-time classic.
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