"A gold mine of information."
At a large Florida medical center, a cross-trained duo--a nurse and a lab technician--can perform for a patient 80% of all necessary services. At Cable News Network, a 30-minute, nine-bureau online meeting determines each coming day's program. These and 50 other flexible, innovative companies--Ingersoll-Rand, Electronic Data Systems, Chiat/Day/Mojo, Random House--provide the case studies for Peters's ( In Search of Excellence ) punchy, freewheeling primer. ``Fashionable'' products tailored to customers' ever narrower-gauge needs will define the marketplace of the 1990s, asserts Peters. Companies that respond to this environment, he predicts, may fissure into small, autonomous units; such ``brain-based'' firms will recognize the value of letting project teams and empowered employees have access to all of the firm's information. Part pep talk, part grab-bag of business strategies, this energizing, idea-rich handbook will shake up traditional managers and rank-and-file workers alike. 250,000 first printing; BOMC main selection. (Nov.)
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Unlike his best sellers In Search of Excellence (with Robert Waterman , LJ 2/15/83) and A Passion for Excellence (with Nancy Austin , LJ 6/15/85), this latest book by management guru Peters doesn't have the benefit of an official coauthor, and it shows. While chock-full of important case studies (from Ingersoll Rand, CNN, the Body Shop, and others), the book is so dense, with Peters equivocating a bit too much on word choice, that few will read it cover to cover. Still, Peters's main argument--that companies have to be flexible enough to readjust to the quick changes of a ``fashion''-driven marketplace--seems on the mark and should bring him a large readership. For all management/business collections. BOMC main selection; previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 6/15/92.-- Judy Quinn, formerly with ``Library Journal''
This is the book Peters has been practicing for. Here he updates, rethinks, and substantially adds to the ideas he popularized in "In Search of Excellence" (1982), "A Passion for Excellence" (1985), and "Thriving on Chaos" (1987). The core of his earlier messages is still the same. He realizes now, though, that none of the changes that are required for companies to improve will take place unless companies radically reorganize or actually, as Peters sees it, dis-organize. His message can be summed up by explaining his title. We need to be "liberated" from the constricting, initiative-strifling hierarchical organizational structures of the doomed corporate behemoths of the past. We need to eliminate middle management and establish networks of project teams that work directly with the customer or consumer. And, finally, we need to be ready to adapt continuously and instantaneously to changing needs and demands. Even though this book is a massive 900-plus pages, Peters illustrates his thesis with catchy, sound-bite messages and a flashy barrage of examples served up with MTV flair. "Liberation Management" may well become for the first part of the next century what Peter Drucker's "Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices" (1973) was for most of the last quarter of this one.
Apparently bent on doing for management science what Timothy Leary did for psychology, Peters here extends the cheerfully anarchic precepts advanced in Thriving on Chaos (1987)which in turn represented a sharp departure from the more conventional wisdom of the two coauthored works (In Search of Excellence and A Passion for Excellence) that helped make him an archguru in the first place. In the brave new on-line real-time world of the near future, Peters asserts, traditional (i.e., hierarchical and bureaucratic) corporations will have ceased to exist, victims of the ongoing fragmentation in global markets. By his account, the commercial dinosaurs will be replaced by pro-tem networks of project-oriented teams able to take immediate advantage of fleeting opportunities for dernier-cri goods and services. In this demanding if Delphian context, Peters offers a lengthy name-dropping manual chock full of anecdotal advisories on how latter-day executives might adapt themselves and their enterprises, entrepreneurial or otherwise, to tomorrow's unruly economy. Evidently formatted to facilitate browsing, the six-section guide has nearly 50 chapters, more than a few of which boast cheeky titlese.g., "Glow! Tingle! Wow! (Yuck!)." While Peters focuses on (among other major concerns) what he characterizes as necessary disorganization, hustle, information technology, innovation through deconstruction, and fashion, those who read straight through the text will be struck by his reliance on shock valueat one point, he does a riff on quantum mechanics to stress the absurdist aspects of what's in store for business. When (by his own admission) words fail him, Peters goes withcoinagese.g., "customerization"; "faith in the unexpected"; "marketizing," etc. Nor does he shrink from ambiguity and paradox. As in his previous outings, here again, in the final analysis, Peters broaches a wealth of ideas without ever managing to be genuinely thoughtfulthough you wouldn't know it from the 250,000- copy first printing. (Book-of-the-Month Dual Selection for January)