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on 13 May 2005
"Buyers of consultancy are spending shareholders' and taxpayers' money, not their own. They have a duty to make sure that they are getting value from it. Often, they are not. No company or government department should let a management consultant through the door until they have read this book from cover to cover. Twice." Financial Times 11/05/05
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on 23 May 2005
Wish I'd had this a few years back. Press officers need to be as cynical as the journalists they work with, and working in this role with blue-chip companies there's plenty to be cynical about. I witnessed first hand some of the tactics in Mr Craig's book, particularly the management fads, first hand. I watched as companies' people were faced with, and confused and demotivated by, complete tosh whilst customers were left floundering. I hid, literally, from consultants who said that a company's PR people were its 'most important' and that they would be 'spending lots of time with me' (they say that to all the girls). I was angered most by the management that soaked up this rubbish (the MBAs being the biggest culprits, a subject also covered in 'Rip-off') and accused freethinkers of being negative whilst we tried to keep their businesses going. Where were you when we needed you most Mr Craig?
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on 18 July 2005
This book portrays the consulting business simply for what (most of )it really is: merchants of product called advice. They push this product in exactly the same way as physical products are pushed and marketed: through reinventing, repackaging, over-the-top promises andother hard-selling techniques. The real underlying problem is their aura of and dubious claims to professionalism. This book stands out as a more popular illustration of much that is taught in the recent (refreshing and sobering)academic stream of so-called critical consulting studies (see for instance, Clark and Fincham, Critical Consulting, 2002 for an excellent collection of papers). As for Block: he has written the more conventional type of consulting cookbook which is, however, NORMATIVE in nature. It doesn't really inform the serious student as to what is actually going on and at stake. Craig's book does and he should be commended for it. I will refer to it in my academic course on change and consulting and I am sure students will love it (although not necessarily for the right reason ;-)).
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VINE VOICEon 2 November 2005
The author has some good stories to tell, and as a consultant myself I recognise the ring of truth in the sharp practices which he describes, and the many self-fulfiing prophecies, ego games, and related practices.
Unfortunately his writing style is so bad that the book makes for very jerky reading. He uses commas like the grammatical equivalent of crowd control barriers; he also has a strange habit of writing - for example - h-ll when he means hell. I gather that he self-published the book; a good copy editor would have stopped his unfortunate style from interfering with a good story.
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on 23 March 2006
Fantastic read. Very funny and so true, even if you're not a consultant, if you work in a large company with several strategies etc. Couldn't put it down on holiday.
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on 25 November 2005
Wonderful. I ran away from what was then Andersen Consulting 10 years ago and it all has the the ring of truth to it. As a freelancer I still decline to work for the likes of IBM or Accenture due to the antics described in the book.
Having read the other reviews I was expecting to have a bit of difficulty reading the book. I personally did not have as many problems as was suggested but it must be said that those searching for an example from the more poetic end of the spectrum of literature should look elsewhere.
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on 30 May 2014
A wonderfully funny account of the author's time in the world of management consultancy, this provides a warts and all guide to way in which these companies make a huge amount of money for often providing little more than common sense. I've read nearly all of Mr Craig's books and this is a personal favourite. The important point to remember is that a huge proportion of consultants business in the UK comes from the public sector (in other words the tax payer) this book and the excellent follow up (Plundering the Public Sector) really highlight how huge fees spent on consulting is literally pouring tax revenues down the drain. Sadly, Mr Craig really is a prophet without honour in his own land.
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on 24 October 2006
At last a management consultant who comes clean about what he does. I picked this up on a trip as a contracting consultant and boy did it ring true. It is incredibly detailed about the methods employed by consultants to pad their own pockets. That David Craig decided to blow the whistle on this practice is commendable. That he is a poacher turned gamekeeper in this regard is not really relevant - he understands the industry, and came clean on it; a majority of consultants continue to delude themselves about what they are really doing - ripping customers off.
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on 10 June 2005
Just finished this book (bought off Amazon, from review in FT). What a tour de force. I laughed and winced at the same time. The book is a service to shareholders and the taxpayer: thanks for writing it. I'd like to believe that if had been published a few years earlier, the government would have wasted less on NHS & revenue IT systems. But the human nature the book so eloquently describes means the result might not have been much different.
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on 20 February 2006
I’d say this is more a corporate autobiography than an industry exposé. It does lift the lid on some of the more dubious practices of management consultants, but only by documenting Craig’s career from consultancy bottom feeders through to Big Four prestige assignments.
He never reveals the names of his employers, or his clients, but with a little detective work it’s usually easy to figure out. Believing his ex-colleagues would all be reading his book, I found myself being annoyed by his need to periodically state “and if you’re thinking of suing me, I have the recordings/memos/files to prove it”. Like another reviewer, I also found his habit of inserting a single dash into a swear word to ‘clean it up’ offputting. I think the audience for this book is grown up enough to handle some bad language.
There are some shocking stories here, but then anyone could write some stuff about the company they work for – just read Scott Adams’ Dilbert Newsletter. It’s only because Craig has worked for some dodgy employers in a ‘smoke and mirrors’ industry, with a wide variety of clients, that he’s got enough material to fill a book.
It’s an interesting read purely for curiosity value, not for uncovering the inner workings of the more respected consultancies (and he was never in very senior roles). And don’t expect anything useful on the tools and techniques used by good consultants to improve performance.
Now a book from a Partner…..that would make for a good read.
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