|The Halo Effect: ... and the Eight Other Business Delusions That Deceive Managers
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Much of our business thinking is shaped by delusions -- errors of logic and flawed judgments that distort our understanding of the real reasons for a company's performance. In a brilliant and unconventional book, Phil Rosenzweig unmasks the delusions that are commonly found in the corporate world. These delusions affect the business press and academic research, as well as many bestselling books that promise to reveal the secrets of success or the path to greatness. Such books claim to be based on rigorous thinking, but operate mainly at the level of storytelling. They provide comfort and inspiration, but deceive managers about the true nature of business success. The most pervasive delusion is the Halo Effect. When a company's sales and profits are up, people often conclude that it has a brilliant strategy, a visionary leader, capable employees, and a superb corporate culture. When performance falters, they conclude that the strategy was wrong, the leader became arrogant, the people were complacent, and the culture was stagnant. In fact, little may have changed -- company performance creates a Halo that shapes the way we perceive strategy, leadership, people, culture, and more. Drawing on examples from leading companies including Cisco Systems, IBM, Nokia, and ABB, Rosenzweig shows how the Halo Effect is widespread, undermining the usefulness of business bestsellers from In Search of Excellence to Built to Last and Good to Great. Rosenzweig identifies nine popular business delusions. Among them: The Delusion of Absolute Performance: Company performance is relative to competition, not absolute, which is why following a formula can never guarantee results. Success comes from doing things better than rivals, which means that managers have to take risks. The Delusion of Rigorous Research: Many bestselling authors praise themselves for the vast amount of data they have gathered, but forget that if the data aren't valid, it doesn't matter how much was gathered or how sophisticated the research methods appear to be. They trick the reader by substituting sizzle for substance. The Delusion of Single Explanations: Many studies show that a particular factor, such as corporate culture or social responsibility or customer focus, leads to improved performance. But since many of these factors are highly correlated, the effect of each one is usually less than suggested. In what promises to be a landmark book, The Halo Effect replaces mistaken thinking with a sharper understanding of what drives business success and failure. The Halo Effect is a guide for the thinking manager, a way to detect errors in business research and to reach a clearer understanding of what drives business success and failure. Skeptical, brilliant, iconoclastic, and mercifully free of business jargon, Rosenzweig's book is nevertheless dead serious, making his arguments about important issues in an unsparing and direct way that will appeal to a broad business audience. For managers who want to separate fact from fiction in the world of business, The Halo Effect is essential reading -- witty, often funny, and sharply argued, it's an antidote to so much of the conventional thinking that clutters business bookshelves.
- Felt like a really important class taught by a really dry professor
This is a short book; it only seemed long. Useful, thought-provoking, and (in spite of the dry writing) very persuasive. Started and finished strong. The middle chapters droned on and on without really saying anything. Read chapters 1, 9 & 10. Skim chapters 2-8. You won't miss anything but filler added to keep book from being a really good paper....more info
- What REALLY Works..umm..well, sort of..!
Is there a secret sauce for corporate success?
The Halo Effect is a cognitive bias whereby the perception of a particular trait (for example, of an individual) is influenced by a general impression (of that individual). This effect was first postulated by Edward L. Thorndike, an American psychologist who conducted research into how World War I soldiers were appraised by their superiors. He found high cross-correlation between all positive and all negative traits - in plainspeak, that means that soldiers who were found to be good on one or two traits were rated as good on all other traits as well, while those who were seen to be bad on one or two traits were rated poorly on all other traits as well.
Lest we think that this is an affliction confined to senior World War I army officers, it isn't. Pretty much all human beings suffer from this bias - apparently it is a mechanism used by the human brain to manage the complexity of the world. This, for example, is why celebrity endorsement of products works, even when it is fairly apparent that the celebrity has no credentials - or credibility - to endorse those products.
Most of us also seem to intuitively realize the existence of this effect - for example, this is why people go to extraordinary lengths to put on their best behavior in the presence of somebody in authority.
Now, a book called The Halo Effect ... and the Eight Other Business Delusions that Deceive Managers, published in February 2007 by Free Press, sets out show how this effect may color our perceptions of company performance. At first glance, this is the book the business world was waiting for, and didn't know it. It's a good, down-to-earth look at the various studies, scholarly and otherwise, that have claimed over the years to uncover the secret sauce that drives great companies. This is a book full of solid horse sense - the most refreshing book in years in a genre notorious for pompous claims and buzzphrases.
It dedicates itself to debunking simplistic "theories" that purport to answer the core question of what really determines corporate performance. The core argument of the Halo Effect is that when a company performs well, we shower high ratings on every one of it's management traits such as leadership, culture, strategy, execution, et al. When the company performs poorly, we promptly buckle over to the other extreme, demonizing the very same leadership, culture, etc.*!
Along the way, it unveils eight other "delusions" that frequently afflict attempts to answer this question. In buttressing its arguments, the book quotes from authorities as varied as George Bernard Shaw and the legendary Nobel Laureate Richard Feynman. Personally, perhaps the best takeaway from this book was the exhortation that one should not select a sample for study based on the dependent variable - for example, if you want to study if a new technque for teaching mathematics to children works, you should study how kids who were taught using that technique fared, but you should also look at children who weren't taught that technique! **
The book comes with cast-iron credentials - the author is Prof. Phil Rozenzweig, who is a PhD from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, and has taught at Harvard Business School and IMD, Switzerland. His candor is incredibly refreshing, and the fact that most of the "authorities" on this subject that he takes on are people of his own - business school professors - shows admirable boldness.
One criticism that may be leveled at the book is that is sometimes too quick to assume that the data used by various studies were "contaminated" by halos; it seems to me that this is too facile, and perhaps unfair, a conclusion. We should probably credit the authors of those studies, the references they consulted, and the subjects they interviewed with a greater degree of discretion and diligence than that. Another thing I found myself wishing the author would refrain from is the extent to which he bases evidence for the delusions on news reports in the business press, such as BusinessWeek, Fortune and The Wall Street Journal. These are written by reporters under stifling deadlines, often under pressure to sensationalize the mundane - a fact that does not escape most discerning readers. There can be a smattering of these, but the author would probably have done better to focus his considerable energies on well-funded studies done over a long period of time, with purport of scholarly rigor, and papers and books*** based on such studies. The readers of such reports, papers and books are typically asked to suspend common sense and prior experience, and submit to scholarly authority derived from apparent academic rigor, and it is these for which the greatest disapprobation should be reserved.
So, what does work, according to the author? Well, he concludes, somewhat disappointingly, that it's the right strategic choice, and good execution!
But this is not to take away from the otherwise excellent content of the book. It's job is not to give us formulas. It's purport is to caution us that business performance is far more complex, and far less amenable to simplistic analysis than we tend to think, and it achieves that goal with admirable panache!
* I have referred to this "binary" thinking as the Extreme Tendency elsewhere, albeit in a somewhat different context - that of foreseeing the prospects of emerging technologies!
** Later in the book Rozenzweig shows that even observing this precept doesn't help much in uncovering what drives corporate success, but it's a very important principle to keep in mind nonetheless.
*** That, without openly claiming anything of the kind, actually intend to expand the fame of their authors as management Gurus, not to say anything of their pockets!...more info
- No Easy Answers Here
If you want guided solutions to performance excellence, or are looking for the keys to business success, do not "Search Inside" - or, for that matter, look in any other popular business book or management works, according to Dr. Rosenzweig! In this well argued challenge to popular business press answers on performance excellence, the author promises to help managers think for themselves, rather than accept the numerous and often conflicting claims made by both academics and management gurus alike. Following the theme of the book's title, Professor Rosenzweig argues that the halo effect and/or eight other fatal flaws that find their way into the research reduce most business books to `stories books' that provide coherent explanations of complex events and appeal to our need for fairytale like outcomes.
Interestingly, the author is not necessarily arguing that the offerings are wrong; in fact he believes many of them are good basic principles. Rather, he argues they often are not substantiated by sound research, and when offered as the solution, they lead not to useful insights, but they divert our attention, cause us to lose focus on the details of running our businesses better than the competition, or they let us confuse actions and outcomes. In short, if they do not help us think, they are dangerous. There are no five (or eight or whatever number) keys to sustaining excellent performance. Even the two critical success factors offered by the author - strategic choice, and execution - are fraught with risk and uncertainty. To quote from the book, "The answer to the question, What really work? is simple: Nothing really works, at least not all the time." This book is highly recommended for managers in all business or social sectors. Dennis DeWilde, author of The Performance Connection
- A Throw Down
Agree with him or not, this book calls into question the piles and piles of business books sittting in offices and homes all across the USA. Its Big Idea: these books are little more than useless self help books, telling inspiring stories but little more. No one is spared, including Jim Collins. Why? The books are generic, not taking into account the uncertainity and unpredicitability of business. The generic books always reverse engineer---a company makes a lot of money and thus what it did is smart and should be adapted by all. Not so says Rosenzweig, who preaches that one size does not fit all. His zen take:"success is not random but it is fleeting." We learn nothing from a company doing well or poorly because a company's expereince in the market place is unique to that company and its competitiors and its own business eco-system. It is short and compelling. ...more info
- A Book That Will Change How You Read All Other Business Books
I have just finished reading what I consider to be one of the most valuable business books in a long time. Maybe a long, long time. Written by Phil Rosenzweig, a professor at IMD in Lausanne, Switzerland, The Halo Effect ... and the Eight Other Business Delusions That Deceive Managers claims that most business books contain errors of logic and flawed judgments that distort our understanding for a company's performance.
The_halo_effect Moreover, Rosenzweig argues that media is no less error-prone in divining the reasons for a company's performance than gurus who write books on company performance.
He uses two prominent case histories to support the latter claim. Cisco and ABB. He recalls for readers how before the dotcom bubble collapse Cisco's John Chambers was widely regarded as the world's best manager and Cisco itself as without surpass in its organizational structure and corporate culture. Beyond that, according to the common view expressed in media, no company operated with greater customer centricity.
Within months of the dotcom collapse the same media that had virtually canonized Chambers were ripping his reputation as a great CEO to shreds. Cisco's was criticized for lack of attention to customer needs. This was alleged to have played a major role in its downturn in revenues and consequent precipitous loss in stock value. Writers told how the company's organization was fragmented and its culture grossly defective.
Rosenzweig tells a similar story of the Swiss-Swedish power company ABB. From being one of Europe's most highly regarded company to being a favorite whipping boy in media within not very many months, ABB turned out to be another example of what Rosenzweig calls the Halo Effect.
As Rosenzweig explains it, the Halo Effect refers to the aura surrounding a company and its leadership that promotes gross generalizations about its nature. When a company is outperforming, most everyone assumes everything about the company is exemplary. When the same company is underperforming, most everyone assumes everything about the company is defective.
Rosenzweig reminds us that externalities accounted mainly for Cisco's and ABB's decline in fortune. Cisco's downturn for example was inextricably linked to its Internet customers who flamed out in droves when the dotcom bubble burst. No amount of executive brilliance could have stayed the fiscal injury inflected by the dotcom bust.
Rosenzweig takes on the business book genre with lethal dispatch. While observing that some of the principles presented in Tom Peters and Bob Waterman's classic, In Search of Excellent, have wonderfully withstood the test of time, he say Peters and Waterman's prose is filled with extractions from corporate halos. However, he ruthlessly guts Jim Collins' two books, Built to Last and Good to Great for their errors of logic and flawed judgments. Rosenzweig avers that Collins' and most other writers of business books usually ignore external influences on a company's performance over which a company has no control
I do have some problems with Rosenzweig's total dismissal of the Halo Effect. A Halo Effect can have positive value to a company. When employees bask in the iridescent glow of the admiration and love flowing from customers, suppliers, the community, investors and employees themselves, it serves to boost performance to even higher levels.
What does it matter that under a cold, clinical light their company has warts - isn't perfect? Perhaps unlike any other time in human history, we desperately need things - companies, people, institutions, ideas - in which we can believe. We have maybe grown to prone to demand perfection. A Halo Effect - like that cast by New Jersey-based Commerce Bank's philosophy of WOW! can be a wonderful, comforting good thing.
Notwithstanding some nits here and there with The Halo Effect, it is for me one of the most thought-provoking books on business in some years. Writer Nassim Nicholas Taleb calls The Halo Effect, "One of the most important management books of all time."
Whether Nassim is right or not, I suspect that you will never read another book on business the same after being exposed to Rosenzweig's diligent analysis of how we are so often taken in by writers offering us their silver bullets for achieving sure-fire success for our companies.
- From Halo To Hell
Forcing myself to find SOMETHING to read in the generic selection my local library offers, I picked up the most insightful looking book I could find: The Halo Effect
It's funny, how simple an idea it exposes. Simple and wonderful. The other "Business Delusions" really just support the Halo Effect. It also impedes our learning, which is the real purpose behind the book. Once you understand the Halo Effect ( you will in a moment ), you begin to see that it is proliferated in most business writing and research.
I will give you an example of the Halo effect. Which internet company is best known for:
* great technological advances
* being the best place to work
* new strategies/processes that are different but great
* a true focus on what customers what
Google! Your right. In fact, you would have to live in a box not to have ready an articles praising how Larry and Sergey tie their shoes in the morning. Here is the problem: Research and journalism at large will not call ANYTHING Google Inc. is doing wrong. They are making a generalizing, based on how much money they net. So now, we are left with a distorted model on how to run our companies.
The halo effect infects most every level of journalism and research. So if we take an employee survey, and ask Googlians if they are treated well, or if their company has an unusually strong focus on customers, the results are predictably positive. Phil systematically shows how companies that are making a lot money have these generalizations made about every part of the company, and the same thing happens in the negative when the company does poorly.
I have know acknowledged the existence of Halos, which will aid me from this point on evaluate research with much more discernment. In fact, just the other day I heard a author interviewed on PBS state that Starbucks is loosing profit because they have lost their once great focus on the customer. Really? My usual iced green tea tastes great, and is delivered by smiling, competent employees. I would like to hear the proof that they have lost their "customer focus".
To sum it up, it's a great short read that I recommend.
- A clearly written myth-buster
In "The Halo Effect...," Mr. Rosenzweig does a fabulous job applying good old common sense,and a little bit of statistics, to dispel the numerous 'five (or four or twelve) steps to build a successful company' myths. This book offered clear examples of flawed logic and made a strong case that a) there is no secret recipe for corporate success and b) success is fleeting.
Mr. Rosenzweig does not, unfortunately, provide any positive statement to close. This leaves the reader knowing what doesn't work, but no clearer picture of what does.
Well written and certainly worth a read. ...more info
- Compulsory Reading for ALL Managers
This is an important book berating the media fixation of attributing success characteristics to business leaders when there is little or no supporting evidence.
Rozenzeig, methodically takes apart both the media commentators and business book authors who talk-up certain 'great' features of successful leaders and then quote the very same features as bad if those leaders encounter a downturn in fortune.
The litmus test Rozenzweig applies is simple, Do these same writers PREDICT either the success or failure of important business leaders? The evidence shows they do not, they simply create a story to explain the rise or demise of leaders in an effort to have SOMETHING to say about it in order to maintain their 'expert' status.
Rozwenzweig clearly demonstrates that all experts can be fooled by randomness especially when its driven by the need to produce a plausible story for a publication deadline or justify a new consulting method to create sales.
This book has serious implications for all business media writers and business book authors, but more importantly for the rest of us who read the statements telling us what happened, we must now take what they say with a bucket of salt and look beyond the story for the evidence.
The book is well written,informative and logical. Every MBA student needs to study this. This book is now compulsory reading for all my staff...more info
- Must Read Business Book
A skeptical look at the world of business books and the faulty research that goes into them. Good to Great is shredded because of Jim Collins' poor understanding of the data he collected. Rosenzweig makes you realize what really makes a business and a manager successful... what Black Swan was for the world of finance, The Halo Effect is for the world of nanagement....more info
- Polemical; Sound
This is an excellent book and expose on the issues with many business books and case studies in general. The general premise around a Halo is that we use seemingly objective and empirical data (e.g., financial performance) to ascribe attributes around things that are ambiguous or difficult to measure (e.g., culture, leadership, values, etc.). In the case of a company, high performers are often described in effusive terms by the press and its managers (while they are successful), while if the same team has lower performance six months later then the same ambiguous attributes are often described as wrong, culpable, and misguided.
The author also points out some key issues with teasing out cause-and-effect. The emblematic example is the myth that employee satisfaction predicts high performance, whereas the opposite has been shown to be true (via a methodologically sound longitudinal study) - the latter better predicts the former - employees get their bonuses, raises, promotions, etc.
I've read all of the one, two and three star reviews. It seems that the biggest issue people have with this book is that it's somewhat dour, it could be shorter, and the author is somewhat smug in "knocking" down some other business authors and books. I would agree that you could probably understand the Halo concept and some examples via an article, but you would miss out on the richness of some of the examples and exposition. For those who believe in a 5-step recipe for business success, I could see how the book could help to "burst a bubble" in terms of a simple success formula. In terms of providing recommendations, I think the author is pretty clear on valuing the following:
X scenario planning,
X sensitivity analysis,
X longitudinal studies,
X independence between predictor and outcome variables,
X relative vs. absolute performance
X and good critical thinking skills.
If you're looking for a traditional business book around the n-things to success, this is not the book. If you want to be a better critical thinker around business research and decision making, you can't go wrong with reading this book.
- Important debunking of business research. Rosenzweig suggests we might have to *gasp* think
"The Halo Effect" may be the last business book you read. Not because it has answers, but because it shows you the answers just aren't there. For you who want Truth about business, this book's for you. If, on the other hand, you find comfort in a good fairy-tale, whose magical "Drink Me" formula takes your business to the Wonderland of business success, you'll find no Magic Mushrooms here.
If you've read many business best-sellers, you may have noticed they all sound the same. And jeez, are they trite. Focus. Treat people well. Be flexible, yet focused. Blah, blah blah. Nice generalities, slightly too vague to mean anything, yet specific enough to sound meaningful. And why are they all the same? Thank The Halo Effect that gives the book its title. The Halo Effect observes that when you ask people about a successful company (or successful leaders) after the success is known, they always give the same explanation: we had great culture, teamwork, focus, flexibility, and people. Thus, after-the-fact interviews are useless in understanding what really makes a business successful, since you can predict in advance what people will say. And they aren't saying it because it's true, they're saying it because of The Halo Effect.
The Halo Effect is the first of the "Business Delusions that Deceive Managers." Actually, the delusions chronicled deceive business _researchers_. Rosensweig travels from In Search of Excellence through Good to Great, mercilessly showing how each book's research is faulty. Very faulty. The books produce $60,000 speaking fees for the authors, but their business advice is dicey at best.
Some Delusions can be fixed by careful researchers. The Halo Effect vanishes when researchers look only at measurable data, rather than subjective reports. Or consider The Delusion of Connecting the Winning Dots. Any study of the excellent must contrast against the not-excellent to get good results. Imagine surveying 50 Billionaires who all say, "I ate cereal for breakfast growing up." Unless we find that non-Billionaires didn't eat cereal for breakfast, we can't say that eating cereal leads to wealth. Many business best-sellers only study the winning companies (indeed, the losers aren't around to study). But a study like Good to Great conquers this Delusion by contrasting successes with non-successes.
Sadly, other Delusions can't be fixed. The Delusion of Absolute Performance says that businesses operate in industries with competition that's changing all the time. There's no universal set of rules that work, because competitors change what they do, and in the new landscape, old habits may no longer lead to success. Even a perfect study design can't know the future of competition, and can't guarantee that results will work in the future.(*)
The Halo Effect and the Delusions took up almost the whole book. In the last two chapters, the author offers some glimmers of hope. While there are no simplistic Five Steps, Rosenzweig says careful attention to strategic decision making and excellent execution can lead to success. Learning to evaluate probabilities, think in terms of strategic choices, and execute superbly can help businesses do well at any given moment.
As a book, the Halo Effect was less than perfect. The pacing was off. It spent way too much time on the stories and the Delusions. By page 120, I felt like I'd gotten the point. The Halo Effect is Bad, and pervasive in research. As the book started delving into the other Delusions, they seemed almost an afterthought (and many weren't even given as much as their own chapter). A better devision would give each Delusion equal treatment, and spend much more time delving into Rosenzweig's keys to greater success: strategic decision-making and execution. In many ways, the book read more as a warning to future business researchers than a useful book for managers.
That said, it was a good read. And despairingly, the Delusions are real enough that you remember. Even when you want to suspend disbelief and revel in a Cinderella story of Fairy Godperson CEOs, it's hard. I attended a book launch reception the night I finished The Halo Effect. Instead of Oohing and Aahing, I munched hors d'oeuvres and tallied fallacies in the book's assumptions and methodology. As everyone else lined up for the author's autograph, I donned my jacket and vanished into the night, feeling like I'd just witnessed the birth of another useless fad.
When it comes to running a business, it pays to be fact-based. This book will help you separate the fact from fiction. But if you want Cinderella stories of Fair Godperson CEOs and the Magical Five Steps, books with large type about Moving Cheese are the way to go.
(*) Halfway through the book I invented my own unfixable delusion: the Delusion of Ethical Business. If UnethicalCo is winning in the marketplace by publishing fraudulent advertisement and engaging in restraint of trade, will its employees report that to researchers? Hardly! They'll say, "our visionary CEO leads us to success." Yet in her book Value Shift, Lynn Payne cites surveys where 1 in 3 people say their company engages in unethical or illegal business practice.
- Good To Great or The Hallo Effect? U can only choose one.
This is a great book, and change the way you see BUSINESS SUCCESS. Now here is the kick: You either LOVE "Good To Great" and believe in it, or you LOVE THIS BOOK and think that "Good To Great" is FOOLISH. Take your pick. For Good To Great Lover, this is a difficult question. You love both, but both can;t be right, since the ideas are opposing. I agree that Both are GOOD BOOKS of Merit, but one must be wrong if you think one must be right. It is "EITHER OR" situation.
This book is bound to be controversial, and i just heard that this book being discusses is a famous MBA program! Yah, time to RETHINK our belief.
In short, the book said that you have to be careful with your CASUALTY and CORRELATION when you think about what cause success.
I can't stop smiling when I read this, and this is an easy read, that you can finish in a day or two. Yet it will make you change the way you see what MAKE SOMETHING SUCCESSFUL.
The story of Cargo Cult Scince Story (page 16) has become part of my short stories when I do seminar now, warning people to understand fully before doing someting that will probably look like bringing you success.
The Halo Effect will prominently become a wake up call for people who want to learn what create success ( " WHAT LEADS TO HIGH PERFORMANCE? ") and try to empirically take samples, and derive your own regression and find holy grail.
And if you love this book, read FOOLED BY RANDOMENSS and THE BLACK SWAN, you will be taken farther south and change the way you see life completely. Thank You Phil.
- Myth Buster
Ever read one of those business books that touts the greatness of certain companies only to find that the same great companies are in the toilet a couple of years after the published date? The Built to Last companies were seemingly not built to last after all, and the companies that went from Good to Great have slid to mediocrity. Phil Rosenzweig explains that the research commonly done in these widely lauded books is invalid. It is based on people's opinions (i.e. business writers, company managers, etc.). These opinions are all clouded by the Halo Effect, and the fact that there are truckloads of information collected does not change that fact. Wikipedia defines the halo effect as a cognitive bias whereby the perception of a particular trait is influenced by the perception of the former traits in a sequence of interpretations. So, when a company is doing well, people will tend to believe that it has great leadership, there is a focused strategy, there is wonderful teamwork, etc. In other words, all aspects of the company are blanketed in the glow of the success trait. Once the company performance turns for the worse, the opposite is true.
We are great at explaining causality after the fact, and no matter how things turn out, we can provide reasons in the sound bites that people crave. If a company is doing well, it's because their diversification strategy is brilliant. If it's not, the same strategy that was praised for its brilliance is vilified for straying from the core business. The leader that was praised for vision is then chastised for addiction to foolish acquisitions.
Why is it that we continue to get this wrong? One of the main reasons is it's difficult to do controlled scientific studies on businesses. There are so many variables that can impact the direction of a business and it's very difficult to isolate any particular one. It's much easier to rely on the stories and interpretations of others.
Rosenzweig does mention certain legitimate studies, but they don't reveal the clear cut, silver bullet explanations that we desire. He also offers up his explanation for what does indeed lead to higher performance - Strategy and Execution. "If a company makes strategic choices that are shrewd, works hard to operate effectively, and is favored by Lady Luck, it may put some distance between itself and rivals, at least for a time. Success at one moment doesn't ensure success in the next because success invites new challenges, some willing to take greater risks than incumbents... There is simply no formula that can generate success."
Although the Halo Effect is the concentration of the book, as the title mentions, Rosenzweig does tend to eight other delusions as well. It's important for managers to be aware of each in order to get to the truth.
Nick McCormick - Author, Lead Well and Prosper: 15 Successful Strategies for Becoming a Good Manager...more info
- Long overdue - and well worth the wait!
Do not worry about what the Nine Delusions are that the author uses to develop his thesis - they largely overlap and interlock and as you read the book will be seen as a powerful continuum. Why you should read this book is because bottom dollar like me you will have read one of the prior highly successful tomes that is one of the key targets for his thesis.
Whether it is "In search of excellence", "Built to Last" or "Good to great", by the end of this book you will I reckon have a more questioning attitude to such works (if not 100% cycnical) because this book challenges many preconceptions and makes you think and look afresh at how one will ever achieve success in business management.
The theme is not just "cutting tall poppies" down to size, but more basically that nothing is as simple or easy as many have claimed in writing such books. His chapter on why "strategy" and "execution" are actually so hard to do well, is alone worth the price of the book for me.
The core argument of the "delusions" being based on too much retropsective story telling is bought full circle by the three examples at the end of companies and business leaders who have in the authors opinion sought to face reality and do not underestimate the uncertainty that faces everyone.
A highly recommended book since it makes its points thoroughly and cogently and as such comes over as thoughtful and provoking of fresh views - as such it is a welcome change from too many of the best selling tirade type books that have come to represent both business but also political and history bestsellers recently. Definitely a book that is long overdue and one hopes will be successful plus lead to more realism in such future writing....more info
- An incisive hypothesis used to cut through the clutter
If you read this book, you will gain a definite advantage over your colleagues, to get right to the point. Rosenzweig has written a book that has a strong hypothesis and uses this to explain the cognitive dissonance experienced when reading guides to best business practices. By focusing on the ubiquitous flaws underpinning these guru-driven tomes, he shows that business actually is, as we assumed, about risk, ideas, being in the right place at the right time, and giving people what they need. Superstar companies are few and far between, strong companies focused on basic goods are enduring and reliable, and no company is an island. If only other business tomes were this thoughtful, honest, and insightful . . ....more info