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4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
The Bluffer's Guide to Management (Bluffer's Guides)
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 19 October 2013
The premise of the writers of this book is that management itself is about bluffing others that you know more than they do - this book is a guide to that but also a satirical look at the theory and practice of the management art.

As someone who has a management job, I recognised what the authors described from the beginning. They really know what it is like to manage in a company and they give you their observations with a knowing wit. I recognised so much of what I see on a day to day basis described here and the authors also pointed out other management absurdities which i have seen but not previously labelled. I was amused to see their idea of meeting bingo where you write down the buzz words you expect to hear and then mark them off as people say them - I have (I admit sadly) actually done this in the past and I recommend it as a way to get through some of the more boring meetings that managers have to endure. A lasting legacy of this book is the fact that you will look very closely at your management practice to make sure that you are actually managing and not bluffing !

What wins this book the fifth star is the glossary of management terms - this is an absolute hoot and I have taken to quoting the definitions to colleagues(for example - "Flowcharts - An effective method of showing simple activities in an unnecessarily complex way" A perfect description of some of the stuff that passes over my desk.)

I was given this book free in exchange for a review.
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VINE VOICEon 22 March 2008
An excellent source of quotations for business presentations - often, but not always, to set up a "straw man". To give a flavour of what I mean, consider the paragraph on appraisal:

"...avoid it like the plague...good people take their merits for granted...average people can be demotivated by being reminded how average they are...below average people can be hopelessly damaged by being told about faults they do not have the brains or personality to surmount."

Mr Courtis is a chartered accountant, but an expert in presenting the view of the plain-speaking, old fashioned, "man(ager) on the Clapham omnibus". If you can get a hold if it, this book is well worth having - but don't let it be the only management book on your bookshelf, for goodness sake!
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on 9 November 2015
An ideal tongue-in-cheek stocking filler for your flatmate who just won't shut up about having now landed that Big Promotion. Management is all about bluster and blagging, if the Bluffer's Guide is anything to go by and while humourous in tone, the book is an accurate look at the job title inflation (never an Assistant, always an Executive or an Officer) and HR trends have come and gone in the last 15-20 years in the workplace. It's a great read if you're currently frustrated at work and know you could be doing a better job than the person 'in charge' and would make for an excellent passive aggressive sign in the office you're onto your slacker manager if you take to whipping it out of your bag during lunch breaks.

Think of the book as a kind of manual for navigating the post-Dilbert office world. The glossary and tone is amusing but all-too familiar. Much recommended.
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I found this latest version (2103) of the Bluffer's Guide to Management a provocative read although I suspect many readers will use it to dip in and out of rather than read it cover to cover. The printed version is produced in a neat, pocketable format.

I think the philosophy of this short book of 100 pages or so is summed up in one quote on page 26 which states " It cannot be stressed enough that the appearance of knowledge is more important than knowledge itself". Whilst I don't necessarily agree with this view in certain fields - for example, medicine etc. in some general management cultures that may, to a limited extent, hold true and the book has to be judged in terms of its intent e.g. it is a "Bluffer's Guide". The text covers a range of issues such as "The Secret of Management", "Working Titles" (covering issues like the difference between a chairman and CEO etc.), "Demands of Leadership", "Style", "Management Skill Sets", "Tools of the Trade", "Outside the Box", "Gurus and Theories", "Deadly Sins" plus it features a comprehensive jargon and glossary section with space for your own notes.

What I like about this book is that because of its brief, punchy style it provokes a lot of thought about what is being said, and, in my experience, there's some truth in what is said. The brevity also challenges you to think about how you'd approach particular aspects of management or what you'd add to what is being said, so, again, it is thought provoking in an unexpected way. The style of this book is much more informative and less frivolous than I expected. I love some of the terms used, for example, one of the "Sins of Management" is listed as "MSU" - the Malady of Spurious Urgency - haven't we all come across that one before? and what an apt label! I also think the section on "Gurus and Theories" plus the glossary will help to enhance a novice manager's credibility, plus, hopefully, will stimulate them to research further into the substance behind some of the brief mentions the gurus receive here.

I think this little book offers more than you'd expect, plus, it provokes thought about management issues - if you are an experienced manager either by provoking you to think of the issues in more detail, or, to question the statements made. Also, it is inevitable that you will sometimes smile to yourself when you acknowledge that there's more than a grain of truth in what's said in this Bluffer's Guide. It's no substitute for an MBA, but for an aspirant manager it might be much more useful than one might initially think. Recommended in the context set out above.
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on 2 July 2015
What a very cool series of books. I remember the brand from the 80, and it's had quite a makeover.

I was attracted to the cover design initially and didnt expect much in way of content but was very pleasantly surprised. Thought provoking, entertaining and pragmatic, I'd recommend it as the perfect stocking filler or in lieu of the usual bottle of wine for a dinner party. Full of those scenes of instant recognition. I actually gifted this one paired with 'Wine' and 'James Bond' bluffers guides, which made for a neat little pack.
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on 9 December 2004
I received this recently as a present and was pleasantly surprised. It's well written, informative and easy to follow. If you're a manager, you MUST read this book. If you're not a manager, you should read it - Within hours you'll be baffling, waffling and BS'ing your manager, your peers and your subordinates. I'm sure it must be ESSENTIAL reading for Harvard MBA's - (10 out of 10, 100%, Number 1, Etc. Etc.)
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on 20 July 2015
A classic that will make the less competent manager squirm if they ever get to read it.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 29 September 2013
I never particularly aspired to a H&F position so maybe this is not the book for me because I found it very generalised and lacking in any real facts. The subject doesn't really lend itself to specific detail like other books in this popular series. Wine, Opera, Cricket, Bond and the others are no doubt full of names, dates, places but Management, least in the majority of these pages, is just theory. The last few pages did interest me though, here I read about several management gurus: Peter Drucker; Tom Peters; John Kotter; Laurence Peter and even Shepherd Mead gets a mention for writing 'How to succeed in business without really trying.' The seven pages of Jargon and Glossary was worth a browse too.

Fortunately the book is a handy size to slip into the inside pocket of your Brioni jacket or lab coat if you are reading it at one of those interminable management meetings and right at the end there are twenty-three lined blank pages called Bluffing Notes so you can fill in your own thoughts on the management you have to deal with on a daily basis.
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