THRIVING ON CHAOS: Handbook for a Management Revolution by Tom Peters

THRIVING ON CHAOS: Handbook for a Management Revolution

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Disregard previous fortune cookies: on his own, the co-author of In Search of Excellence (1982) and A Passion for Excellence (1985) has determined that ""There are no excellent companies."" The fast-moving, turbulent, high-tech times, he now argues, demand corporate executives who can anticipate as well as respond to accelerating change in the marketplace and elsewhere. In this mildly apocalyptic context, the apostate author offers a lengthy manual chock full of trendy short-take prescriptions for what ails the floundering organization. Deliberately formatted to facilitate browsing, the six-section text features 40-odd specific suggestions complete with anecdotal evidence. As main concerns, Peters focuses on customer service, innovation, productive personnel policies, and leadership (invariably introduced under hyped-up headings like ""Learning to Love Change""). In many cases, his adaptive, keep-it-simple advisories are unexceptional. Emphasizing measures that can enhance revenues rather than cost-containment programs makes, well, excellent sense. In whole and part, however, the author's by-the-numbers approach seems unduly regimented, even impracticable: e.g., ""Eventually, spend no less than 50 percent of your time, visibly and directly, on your top priority."" Similarly, without apparent irony, he counsels success-minded managers to ""reduce manuals by 50 to 75 percent this year (and then do the same next year)."" The bottom line: As in his previous collaborative guides, Peters broaches a welter of ideas without ever managing to be genuinely thoughtful.

Pub Date: Oct. 19th, 1987
Publisher: Knopf