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Praise for The Age of Heretics
"A remarkable job of showing how revolutionary change in management originated. These are no mere 'currents of change,' but rather a thundering waterfall of intellectual and moral forces reshaping business."
—Peter Senge, author, The Fifth Discipline and coauthor, The Necessary Revolution
"Any twenty-first-century leader interested in creating the organizations of the future will find this book compelling. Art Kleiner lays out the evolution of the most significant management tools, theories, and concepts in a very accessible manner."
—Ram Charan, advisor to CEOs and author, Leaders at All Levels and The Game Changer
"The extensively revised and updated edition of The Age of Heretics is long overdue. Kleiner offers a brilliant synthesis of business history, thought leadership, and power politics."
—Robert Morris, management consultant and business book reviewer for Amazon, Borders, and others
"Art Kleiner has uncovered a kind of secret history that links the medieval monastic orders, the counterculture of the sixties, and the key agents of corporate change in the modern world. I think it's a landmark for people inside and outside the most influential institution of the modern age—the corporation."
—Howard Rheingold, author, Virtual Reality, Virtual Communities, and Tools for Thought
"Corporate change continues to accelerate these days unaware of its own history. Art Kleiner's lucid account shows how the revolution began in the ideas and passions of a handful of revolutionaries."
—Stewart Brand, founder, Whole Earth Catalog and Long Now Foundation
"The Age of Heretics is a primer of great interest, one that will move people within organizations to widen their sense of the possible."
—Doug Carlston, founder of Broderbund Software and chairman, Public Radio International
Foreword by Warren Bennis.
Preface by Steven Wheeler and Walter McFarland.
To the Reader.
1. Monastics: Corporate Culture and Its Discontents, 1945 to Today.
2. Pelagians: National Training Laboratories, 1947–1962.
3. Reformists: Workplace Redesign at Procter & Gamble and the Gaines Dog Food Plant in Topeka, 1961–1973.
4. Protesters: Saul Alinsky, FIGHTON, Campaign GM, and the Shareholder Activism Movement, 1964–1971.
5. Mystics: Royal Dutch/Shell’s Scenario Planners, 1967–1973.
6. Lovers of Faith and Reason: Heretical Engineers at Stanford Research Institute and MIT, 1955–1971.
7. Parzival’s Dilemma: Edie Seashore, Chris Argyris, and Warren 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. Edwards Deming, the Creators of GE Work-Out, and Other Synthesizers of Management Change, 1974–1982.
About the Author.
Posted April 27, 2009
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".
Posted December 9, 2008
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.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.