Sunday, December 30, 2007

Why aren't more people talking about "The Future of Management"?

Nobody could accuse this blog of ignoring the new Gary Hamel book. It could be argued that I've beaten the poor book to death. But apparently I'm in the minority of business book readers. In today's New York Times business section, William Holstein's glowing review of "The Future of Management" states that

As insightful as Mr. Hamel’s book is, it’s surprising that it has attracted so little attention since being published in October.

Why is that? Holstein blames the business-school orthodoxy, the conventional wisdom of which the book attacks so persuasively.

But I think something else is at work. The prescriptions from "The Future of Management" are difficult to implement, even for those who believe in them passionately. They are not simple bromides or six-step lessons. They require changes in culture, philosophy and mental models--very hard challenges that take years--if not decades--to make happen. Many old-school companies will never be able to make these changes.

It's also not a high-concept business book like "The No Asshole Rule" or "Made to Stick." Those books are brief, their lessons easily digested. "To be a successful business, don't hire assholes."

My belief is that "The Future of Management" will be read and its lessons put into practice long after people begin hiring you-know-whats again.

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