Synopses & Reviews
An original, contrarian philosophy that challenges today's leaders to look past the quick fix and deal thoughtfully with the real complexities of managing people.
In organizations, as in life, human behavior is often irrational -- and problems do not easily lend themselves to the simplistic answers and gimmickry offered in the myriad business "self-help" books and management training programs available today. In Management of the Absurd, Richard Farson zeros in on the paradoxes of communication, the politics of management, and the dilemmas of change, exploring relationships within organizations and offering a unique perspective on the challenges managers face.
Fortune If you are willing to look at your life, your career, and your company from an entirely fresh angle, this book may provide more surprises and insights than you will find in any ten other management tomes that appear this year.
Robert Kuttner Economics columnist, Business Week A succinct and charming book on the nuances of leadership. Stands out from the usual homilies about how to be a manager -- a work of humanity and wisdom.
The San Diego Union-Tribune Every once in a while, someone writes a management book that throws all current thought on the subject out the window. Such is the case with Management of the Absurd. Well-written and easy to absorb.
Tom Peters This may be the best book on leadership I've ever read.
Chicago Tribune Lively...compelling...perfectly suited for a world bursting with absurdity and paradox.
A "Business Week" bestseller, this original, contrarian philosophy challenges today's leaders to look past the quick fix and deal thoughtfully with the real complexities of managing people.
About the Author
Richard Farson, a psychologist, educator, and former CEO, is president of the International Design Conference in Aspen. He lives in La Jolla, California.
Table of Contents
Foreword by Michael Crichton
Introduction: Embracing Paradox and Absurdity
A Different Way of thinking
1. The Opposite of a Profound Truth Is Also True
2. Nothing Is as Invisible as the Obvious
The "Technology" of Human Relation
3. The More Important a Relationship, the Less Skill Matters
4. Once You Find a Management Technique That Works, Give It Up
5. Effective Managers Are Not in Control
6. Most Problems That People Have Are Not Problems
7. Technology Creates the Opposite of Its Intended Purpose
8. We Think We Invent Technology, but Technology Also Invents Us
The Paradoxes of Communication
9. The More We Communicate, the Less We Communicate
10. In Communication, Form Is More Important Than Content
11. Listening Is More Difficult Than Talking
12. Praising People Does Not Motivate Them
The Politics of Management
13. Every Act Is a Political Act
14. The Best Resource for the Solution of Any Problem Is the Person or Group That Presents the Problem
15. Organizations That Need Help Most Will Benefit from It Least
16. Individuals Are Almost Indestructible, but Organizations Are Very Fragile
17. The Better Things Are, the Worse They Feel
Dilemmas of Change
18. We Think We Want Creativity or Change, but We Really Don't
19. We Want for Ourselves Not What We Are Missing, but More of What We Already Have
20. Big Changes Are Easier to Make Than Small Ones
21. We Learn Not from Our Failures but from Our Successes -- and the Failures of Others
22. Everything We Try Works, and Nothing Works
23. Planning Is an Ineffective Way to Bring About Change
24. Organizations Change Most by Surviving Calamities
25. People We Think Need Changing Are Pretty Good the Way They Are
The Aesthetics of Leadership
26. Every Great Strength Is a Great Weakness
27. Morale Is Unrelated to Productivity
28. There Are No Leaders, There Is Only Leadership
29. The More Experienced the Managers, the More They Trust Simple Intuition
30. Leaders Cannot Be Trained, but They Can Be Educated
31. In Management, to Be a Professional One Must Be an Amateur
Avoiding the Future
32. Lost Causes Are the Only Ones Worth Fighting For
33. My Advice Is Don't Take My Advice