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Customer Review

on 11 June 2001
Brilliantly written, very funny and at the same time very instructive about the ways of bureaucratic institutions. Although this humorous classic was originally a series of articles for "The Economist" and other magazines, it actually reads like a book rather than a selection of essays. There are chapters which explain: The famous Parkinson's Law i.e. How Government Departments expand irrespective of the amount of work (if any) they do. How Cabinets with more than 21 Ministers become ineffective, and that the optimum may be 8 - as this is the single number not in use. How Committees work - i.e. the more expensive the item, the less time will be spent discussing it. How clever Politicians can manipulate the votes of their colleagues who are idle, weak willed, hung over, asleep.... Continuing in the same vein, there are chapters on Personnel Selection, Diplomatic Parties, Success in Asia, Moribund Institutions and Retirement Age. What I most like about this book is the way it tells unpalatable truths about the way large Institutions work in a highly amusing and interesting way. Although Professor Parkinson wrote this some time ago, it reads as if it was only yesterday, nothing seems to have changed!
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