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Alfred A. Knopf Thriving On Chaos: Handbook For A Management Revolution [Paperback]

Tom Peters
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars An Oldie but a Goodie Feb. 6 2003
Format:Paperback
I just read this and two things stand out. First, there are some things that really never change, and as a result, Peters makes a huge impact here.
On the other hand, this was written before the net, much of the new automation inventions and much of the new technology as well. So, you just have to adjust his words to fit today's business environment.
Now, for the book. What he says is common sense to many workers and managers alike, but is looked at in horror by upper management and CEOs. So many CEOs believe that if they don't have total control over everything, then they're "out of control" and thus, running a bad organization.
NOT TRUE. As Peters indicates, if you hire competent people and give them the tools they need to do their work, you'll likely be pleasantly surprised with the quality of work that comes from them. In other words, drive down the decision making and create an autonomous environment for employees and your organizational flexibility increases, your profits will rise and with the right measures, you will succeed.
This is a kind-of-classic that all business leaders should at least have read. However, I think books such as Built To Last and First, Break All The Rules are more up to date and have since developed newer, more relevant theories that apply to all industries.
Was this review helpful to you?
Format:Paperback
Tom Peters, with Passion for Excellence, has been a great inspiration for me to start all kinds of innovations in customer service (quite some years later I still got positive responses out of the market) and my organization back in the 80s. You could say he was my "guru". So, when Thriving on Chaos was published, I immediately purchased it and start reading it with high expectations. How unfortunate .... as I became quickly very disappointed (I was never able to finish it in total). It was too much of the same as in Passion for Excellence. Just different words to many of the same topics. A professional writer who wants to get more money out of you while not providing you with more knowledge. I stopped buying more books from Tom Peters and was for some time very hesitant buying other management books. Now, many years later, I sometimes go back to the book without all these emotions I had when I bought it. I have to admit there are many inspiring subjects in it, some of them better described than in Passion for Excellence. So my conclusion is that the book can be very helpful for people who need inspiration for change and innovation, even though it is already quite some years old and has nothing in it about todays subjects like the Web. But as I have started with Passion for Excellence, I will probably never be able to rate Thriving on Chaos as high as Passion for Excellence (five stars).
Was this review helpful to you?
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This book presents a strategy for meeting the uncertainty of the current competitive markets through creating customer responsiveness, pursuing fast-paced innovation, achieving flexibility by empowering people, learning to work in an environment of change, abandoning conventional wisdom, and the reconceiving of organizational systems. This is a fascinating book that has the distinct and unmistakable quality of Tom Peters' exuberant, jazzy style. Reviewed by Gerry Stern, author of Stern's SourceFinder Master Directory to HR and Management Information and Stern's CyberSpace SourceFinder.
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars The best text on thinking "outside of the box" March 17 1997
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
This is easily TP's best work to date. The concrete examples are terrific and energy exudes from each page. The book is structured in a way for easy reading - it's hard to put down
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Probably great if you haven't read Passion for Excellence July 21 2000
By Versteeg, Marcel - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Tom Peters, with Passion for Excellence, has been a great inspiration for me to start all kinds of innovations in customer service (quite some years later I still got positive responses out of the market) and my organization back in the 80s. You could say he was my "guru". So, when Thriving on Chaos was published, I immediately purchased it and start reading it with high expectations. How unfortunate .... as I became quickly very disappointed (I was never able to finish it in total). It was too much of the same as in Passion for Excellence. Just different words to many of the same topics. A professional writer who wants to get more money out of you while not providing you with more knowledge. I stopped buying more books from Tom Peters and was for some time very hesitant buying other management books. Now, many years later, I sometimes go back to the book without all these emotions I had when I bought it. I have to admit there are many inspiring subjects in it, some of them better described than in Passion for Excellence. So my conclusion is that the book can be very helpful for people who need inspiration for change and innovation, even though it is already quite some years old and has nothing in it about todays subjects like the Web. But as I have started with Passion for Excellence, I will probably never be able to rate Thriving on Chaos as high as Passion for Excellence (five stars).
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Oldie but a Goodie Feb. 6 2003
By Jay Friedman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I just read this and two things stand out. First, there are some things that really never change, and as a result, Peters makes a huge impact here.
On the other hand, this was written before the net, much of the new automation inventions and much of the new technology as well. So, you just have to adjust his words to fit today's business environment.
Now, for the book. What he says is common sense to many workers and managers alike, but is looked at in horror by upper management and CEOs. So many CEOs believe that if they don't have total control over everything, then they're "out of control" and thus, running a bad organization.
NOT TRUE. As Peters indicates, if you hire competent people and give them the tools they need to do their work, you'll likely be pleasantly surprised with the quality of work that comes from them. In other words, drive down the decision making and create an autonomous environment for employees and your organizational flexibility increases, your profits will rise and with the right measures, you will succeed.
This is a kind-of-classic that all business leaders should at least have read. However, I think books such as Built To Last and First, Break All The Rules are more up to date and have since developed newer, more relevant theories that apply to all industries.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read - Still - 25 Years Later June 14 2013
By Edward J. Barton - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Twenty years into a managerial career, and I finally reread this book. I read it many years ago, and found Tom Peters to be a motivational, inspirational and enlightened thinker - certainly in the early 90's. I have spent the last 20 years in management, with the most recent 10 years in "C" Level (CFO, COO, CEO) positions. On a whim, and in reflection of my earlier affinity for Peters', I repurchased this book to reread. Let me tell you, the prospective buyer and reader, that he is SPOT ON.

Many of the approaches advocated by Peters in this 700 page tome I have adopted in my own approach to organizational management. It works. His approach is one of honesty, openness, transparency, innovation, education and empowerment. These principles work - and work well. If anything, the maxims outlined by Peters in 1987 are even more applicable with today's worker and complex business organization.

What are those maxims? The book centers around an applicable and specific set of tasks to achieve "enlightened management". Peters uses the themes of:

*Customer Focus
*Innovation
*Empowering People
*Leadership
*Systems

To lay a groundwork for change within any organization. Each of these themes are covered in some detail in the book, and Peters breaks them down into 5-10 tasks, with a "To Do List" for each. The blueprint is right here, in the book. Just pick it up, make the list, apply it to your organization, and you are off and running.

The edition I have (second) also has a bit of a retrospective written a few years later, and emphasizing the lessons learned by Peters since the initial authoring of the book.

All in all, a MUST READ for anyone working for me. And it probably should be a must read for any manager and above - at a minimum. Peters knows his stuff, his stiff works, and there is nothing better than the succinct and actionable format that you will find in this book.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Recognizing that change is essential to success Jan. 7 2010
By John Hogan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Having read almost all of Peter's works, I find this to be one of his best. As we all navigate through challenging times globally now, his attacks on status quo serve as timely reminders of the need for constant improvement."

Feedback is always welcomeAs always, feedback or comments are welcome

Dr. John Hogan CHA CHE
HoganHospitality
HospitalityEducators com
8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating book with Peters' exuberant, jazzy style!! March 22 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book presents a strategy for meeting the uncertainty of the current competitive markets through creating customer responsiveness, pursuing fast-paced innovation, achieving flexibility by empowering people, learning to work in an environment of change, abandoning conventional wisdom, and the reconceiving of organizational systems. This is a fascinating book that has the distinct and unmistakable quality of Tom Peters' exuberant, jazzy style. Reviewed by Gerry Stern, author of Stern's SourceFinder Master Directory to HR and Management Information and Stern's CyberSpace SourceFinder.
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