The Age of Heretics: A History of the Radical Thinkers Who Reinvented Corporate Management, 2nd Edition (Warren Bennis Signature Series) / Edition 2

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Overview

The Age of Heretics

When the first edition of The Age of Heretics waspublished to wide critical acclaim in 1996, it was considered thedefinitive account of the revolution in management from the 1940sto the current time.

In this second edition of his bestselling book, author ArtKleiner explores the nature of effective leadership in times ofchange and defines its importance to the corporation of the future.He describes a heretic as a visionary who creates change inlarge-scale companies, balancing the contrary truths they can'tdeny against their loyalty to their organizations. The Age ofHeretics reveals how managers can get stuck in counterproductiveways of doing things and shows why it takes a heretical point ofview to get past the deadlock and move forward.

This engrossing history lesson for business change agents andreformers is filled with groundbreaking management thought andcompelling stories of the heretics of our time. Some of thefigures, such as W. Edwards Deming, Kurt Lewin, Amory Lovins, andSaul Alinsky, are familiar to many, while others may be less widelyknown but influential behind the scenes. While these heretics wereunderappreciated in their time—and often demoted for theirradical ideas—the ideals they fought for live on in theeverchanging American corporation.

For today's leaders, The Age of Heretics reveals how tomake transformative strategic changes while simultaneously runninga company. This new edition explores the roots of today's mostprevalent management ideas: lean production, organizationdevelopment, the balanced scorecard, and reengineering, as well asother key areas of change such as group dynamics, scenarioplanning, shareholder activism, sociotechnical systems, andcorporate environmentalism. This is the guidebook for progressivethinkers who want to transform their corporations and the entirebusiness landscape.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"An inspiring and enlightening reading for any business person who fears their ideas may face initial rejection." (The Midwest Book Review, October 2008)

Voted a "Best Business Book of 2008" by the Miami Herald

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780470190708
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 7/28/2008
  • Series: J-B Warren Bennis Series, #160
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 1,126,382
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Art Kleiner is the editor-in-chief of the quarterly magazine strategy+business (http://www.strategy-business.com). He is the author or coauthor of several acclaimed business books, and is a faculty member at New York University's Interactive Telecommunications Program. His articles have been published in a variety of places, including Wired, Fast Company, Harvard Business Review, and The New York Times Magazine.

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Table of Contents

Foreword by Warren Bennis.

Preface by Steven Wheeler and Walter McFarland.

To the Reader.

1. Monastics: Corporate Culture and Its Discontents, 1945 toToday.

2. Pelagians: National Training Laboratories,1947–1962.

3. Reformists: Workplace Redesign at Procter & Gamble andthe Gaines Dog Food Plant in Topeka, 1961–1973.

4. Protesters: Saul Alinsky, FIGHTON, Campaign GM, and theShareholder Activism Movement, 1964–1971.

5. Mystics: Royal Dutch/Shell’s Scenario Planners,1967–1973.

6. Lovers of Faith and Reason: Heretical Engineers at StanfordResearch Institute and MIT, 1955–1971.

7. Parzival’s Dilemma: Edie Seashore, Chris Argyris, andWarren Bennis, 1959–1979.

8. Millenarians: Erewhon, the SRI Futures Group, Herman Kahn,Royal Dutch/Shell, and Amory Lovins, 1968–1979.

9. The Rapids: Hayes and Abernathy, Tom Peters, W. EdwardsDeming, the Creators of GE Work-Out, and Other Synthesizers ofManagement Change, 1974–1982.

Bibliography.

Notes.

Acknowledgments.

About the Author.

Index.

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Customer Reviews

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  • Posted April 27, 2009

    This book answers the question "Why"

    Students or first-level managers may not relate much to the book, but it sent shock waves through me. This book is about the people who changed how corporate leaders view and manage big corporations. The "heretics" discussed are the same people that authored some of my textbooks while I was getting an MBA; the same people who authored other business books that I've read since then; and the forefathers of modern finance, strategic planning, modern management consulting, and futurist thinking. It's placed my whole career as a manager and consultant in a proper historical perspective. For example, this book answered questions for me like, "Beyond just the supporting experiential evidence, why do concepts like 'participative management' and 'systems thinking' resonate so much with me?"

    During my MBA program, I learned the "what" of concepts and tools such as organizational development, operations research, team-building, and growth-share matrix. During my consulting and line management career, I learned the "how" of strategic management, activity-based costing and management, and process re-engineering. This book answers the question "why".

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Best book on the evolution of corporate culture

    I thoroughly enjoyed Art Kleiner¿s The Age of Heretics. It¿s the best book I¿ve read on the evolution of corporate culture. I highly recommend it to anyone with a serious interest in organizational development and leadership.<BR/><BR/>Here¿s why I enjoyed the book so much.<BR/><BR/>The Age of Heretics provides a detailed account and an excellent synthesis of the evolution of organizational cultures from ¿vernacular¿ (or community-minded) cultures to ¿numbers cultures,¿ and to the ¿sensing cultures¿ that are still emerging today. <BR/><BR/>The book recounts fascinating stories of corporate ¿heretics,¿ lively and visionary individuals who, beginning in the 1950s, recognized that corporate cultures were casting aside human values and idolizing management by the numbers, to the detriment of employees, corporate performance and society as a whole. The heretics Kleiner chronicles include names you probably know such as Kurt Lewin, Douglas McGregor, W. Edwards Deming, Warren Bennis and Tom Peters, as well as unsung heroes such as the academic Eric Trist, Charlie Krone of Procter & Gamble, Edie Seashore of the National Training Labs, and Lyman Ketchum and Ed Dulworth of General Foods. Each heretic¿s story is both interesting to read and valuable for its lessons about how to bring about change in organizations.<BR/><BR/>Another compelling benefit that comes from reading The Age of Heretics is that the book presents important insights and practices related to corporate culture that emerged since the 1950s. Some of my favorites were Kurt Lewin¿s freezing process for organizational learning, National Training Labs¿ T-Groups, Chris Argyris¿ Action Theory, Procter and Gamble¿s high performance technician systems, Royal Dutch/Shell¿s scenario planning, and GE¿s Work Out. <BR/><BR/>To move forward, it¿s important to understand how we¿ve gotten to where we are today. In the field of organizational development, no book does that better than The Age of Heretics.

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