Orbiting the Giant Hairball: A Corporate Fool's Guide to Surviving with Grace

Orbiting the Giant Hairball: A Corporate Fool's Guide to Surviving with Grace

by Gordon MacKenzie
4.4 9


$16.12 $25.00 Save 36% Current price is $16.12, Original price is $25. You Save 36%.
View All Available Formats & Editions
Eligible for FREE SHIPPING
  • Get it by Thursday, August 24 , Order now and choose Expedited Delivery during checkout.


Orbiting the Giant Hairball: A Corporate Fool's Guide to Surviving with Grace by Gordon MacKenzie

Creativity is crucial to business success. But too often, even the most innovative organization quickly becomes a "giant hairball"—a tangled, impenetrable mass of rules, traditions, and systems, all based on what worked in the past—that exercises an inexorable pull into mediocrity. Gordon McKenzie worked at Hallmark Cards for thirty years, many of which he spent inspiring his colleagues to slip the bonds of Corporate Normalcy and rise to orbit—to a mode of dreaming, daring and doing above and beyond the rubber-stamp confines of the administrative mind-set. In his deeply funny book, exuberantly illustrated in full color, he shares the story of his own professional evolution, together with lessons on awakening and fostering creative genius.

Originally self-published and already a business "cult classic", this personally empowering and entertaining look at the intersection between human creativity and the bottom line is now widely available to bookstores. It will be a must-read for any manager looking for new ways to invigorate employees, and any professional who wants to achieve his or her best, most self-expressive, most creative and fulfilling work.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780670879830
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/28/1998
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 89,851
Product dimensions: 7.34(w) x 5.12(h) x 0.77(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Orbiting the Giant Hairball 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is a must read for all of us who find ourself in leadership roles and are not quite sure how we got there. I bought it one evening when I needed a break from the hotel room while preparing to talk to some graduate students about leadership the following day. The title and cover intrigued me. Not only did I glean some gems for the class, daily I find myself thinking about my role in the many hairballs of business life. Tonight I am buying copies to give away to friends this Holiday season.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think this book should replace the textbooks in Organizational Management courses in every b-school in the nation! Save us all from the giant hairball, and please, show us how to launch into orbit! I've known managers and administrators who got sucked into the hairball and lost their zest and their joy in their work. I've also known a lot of wild hairs that refused to get tangled into the hairball but they usually weren't able to maintain effectivness. I really liked the concepts of using the hairball as a cocoon, but then going into orbit to maintain personal creativity. Great illustrations, too. Anyway, I think this is well worth the read, and should become my favorite book so far this year...
Guest More than 1 year ago
What a great way to 'Orbit the Giant (Corporate) Hairball'! Reading this book is a stimulating experience as it defends the innovative genius in all of us, which is all too often stiffled by corporate politics and foolishness. On the same topic, I greatly enjoyed reading about the struggles encountered by innovators in high-tech R&D industry in the hilarious, workplace satire, 'MANAGEMENT BY VICE' (by C.B. Don). Like this 'Giant Hairball', there is much wit and candor -- and many lessons for innovators and managers -- to be found within the side-splitting fun of comic illustrations and the easy-to-read episodes. I will always have both these books at hand when dealing with corporate fools and battling to salvage the innovative spirit! After all, humor is the best medicine!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Orbiting the Giant Hairball deserves more than five stars for the potential benefits it brings to all who read and apply it. Although I have read many excellent books about nurturing creativity and working creatively in companies, this is the first book I have read where the author has been someone who has done that repeatedly and in a variety of ways. That perspective is uniquely valuable both to those who want to have more creative jobs and those who would like to encourage creativity. Although the analogies seem far-fetched at first (orbiting the giant hairball means taking a creative tangent and refocusing it to have relevance for the company's purpose), they serve to open your mind to thinking differently about creativity and organizations. Although the author's key points are not summarized anywhere in the book, you will begin to get a sense of how the ideas connect together. That's useful, because otherwise why should he try to teach us so much? Except in the chapter that deals with them, any of the key observations would have been enough for a whole book on the subject. The overall theme is that our minds are subject to being too quickly anesthetized, rather than stimulated to ground-breaking insights. You'll love the story about hypnotizing hens where he introduces that concept. One of my favorite stories in the book described when the author was asked to create an introductory course on creativity. The first session was wildly successful. The author then analyzed why it worked and created a more organized version of this course (called Grope). That sesssion didn't work as well. Then he went back to being unstructured (operating at the edge of chaos), and the course worked again. He learned from this the delicate connection between groping and rote. You need more of the former and less of the latter. Another of my favorite stories related to the joy he experienced when he first started parachuting. But within six months, it was getting to be boring. He could only make it more exciting by taking the parachute off, but that would be suicide. On the other hand, if he never tried something new, he would be vegatating. So we want to stay somewhere between suicide and vegetation for the most effective results. You will enjoy reading this book because it presents a fresh perspective that will stay with you. The successful point of entry is a story about children. When the author shows children about making sculpture from sheets of steel, he asks them if they are creative. All first graders raise their hands. By sixth grade, no one will say that they are creative. The pressure to be like everyone else makes the creative people want to hide. It just gets worse from there. Everyone who reads that story will remember experiences from childhood where their creativity was actively discouraged by teachers, parents, neighbors and classmates. Such a pity! Each story is imaginatively illustrated to help you get a sense of a different reality. It also makes the material more accessible to people of all ages. In addition to reading and changing your own behavior, this book should be shared with young people to reinfor
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book made me think about things i have never thought about and made me look at everything in a new perspective. I wish I could meet Gordon Mackenzie because he seems like a dynamic, intellegent, interesting man. He is a wonderful writer and reading about his ideas was a delight.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
doctawanda More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoyed this quirky book. It creatively brings together Mackenzie's ideas on the heady subjects of complexity theory and systems theory in terms that anybody can understand. His motivational stories were entertaining and instructive. An easy read with substance, useful for your own staff meetings or student groups. I plan to read it again and again.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
AnnieSD More than 1 year ago
What a fabulous style of writing. The book grabs you right from the beginning with its quirky art and off-the-wall pictures. I have retired from Corporate life and only wish I had been lucky enough to work with Gordon MacKenzkie, or, at the very least, been exposed to him or his book while in the workforce. Inspirational and funny stories make every situation described in the book come to life. I am going to give this book to my brothers, sisters, nieces, and nephews who are still entangled in the giant hairball of corporate life. What a great Christmas gift! Thank you Gordon MacKenzie.