A welcome update of a business classic.
In 1996, Wooldridge (God Is Back: How the Global Revival of Faith is Changing the World, 2010, etc.) co-authored The Witch Doctors, a brilliant analysis of the cult and culture of business management. The various global meltdowns of the 21st-century have necessitated a wholly updated edition, and this revised incarnation should overtake its predecessor as the most bracing and relevant discussion of the world created by MBAs. Today, the author is largely concerned with the ways in which a group of management mavericks—trained at some of the world’s most elite institution—have been given free reign to shape the economy. While Wooldridge concedes the many positive contributions management “gurus” have had on American enterprise, he is ultimately damning. He calls the industry to task for its lack of intellectual rigor; love of novelty for novelty’s sake; propensity to obfuscate through meaningless neologisms; and refusal to acknowledge criticism. In sharp, direct prose, he looks at examples in which entire industries have been reshaped—often with catastrophic results—by this coterie’s theoretical whims. In an increasingly volatile world in which the public demands more for less and resources that were once plentiful have become more and more scarce, CEOs and politicians have made themselves easy targets for millionaire prophets promising salvation.
Simultaneously smart, insightful, terrifying and humorous.