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Maverick: The Success Story Behind the World's Most Unusual Workplace [Paperback]

Ricardo Semler
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
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Book Description

April 1 1995
Semler turned his family's business, the aging Semco corporation of Brazil, into the most revolutionary business success story of our time. By eliminating uneeded layers of management and allowing employees unprecedented democracy in the workplace, he created a company that challenged the old ways and blazed a path to success in an uncertain economy.

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Product Description

From Library Journal

First published in Brazil in 1988 as Turning the Tables , this book was the all-time best-selling nonfiction book in Brazil's history. Semler, the 34-year-old CEO, or "counselor," of Semco, a Brazilian manufacturing firm, describes how he turned his successful company into a "natural business" in which employees hire and evaluate their bosses, dress however they want, participate in major decisions, and share in 22 percent of the profits. Semler believes that Semco is different from most companies that have participatory management because employees are given the power to make decisions--even ones, with which the CEO wouldn't normally agree. Semler claims, "This is not a business book. It is a book about work, and how it can be changed for the better." Highly recommended.
- Mark McCullough, Heterick Lib. , Ohio Northern Univ. , Ada
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

What makes for a successful company? In a sometimes breathless, often boyish manner, Semler, a counselor of a Brazilian company (Semco), relates the transformation of a traditionally structured business into one quite literally without walls and rules. Semler details his not-so-easy steps in the metamorphosis: abolishing dress codes and regulations; decentralizing plants; getting rid of paperwork and titles (hence, his appellation as counselor, not CEO); and creating a consultative democracy in which employees set their own salaries and work hours and vote on managerial candidates, among other responsibilities. If it sounds too much like utopia, Semler admits that Brazil's economic downturn has impacted Semco and that, yes, being born with a silver spoon certainly colors his vision. Nonetheless, his is a philosophy that merits some serious thought by managers and workers alike. Barbara Jacobs --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Necessary March 16 2014
A required read for any student of business. Even if you feel you can't or decide you won't adopt Semler's approach, the book serves as an interesting and valuable insight into what is possible and will at the least add breadth to every basic business education.
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Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
New ways, new thinking, new rules of behavior.

This is really a great source of great ideas to improve your business. Go ahead, buy it, and make the change.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great book for a changing workplace June 18 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a great book that I read several years ago and wanted to read again with recent changes at my workplace - fun story with some insightful management strategy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excelent March 2 2009
Very interesting book. Others from my company also read it and all agree that this book is very good. read it!
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5.0 out of 5 stars more than a business story Feb. 10 2009
Maverick tells the story of how a company on the brink of going bankrupt became a point of reference for the industry. but the attraction is not the result, but the process. it shows how heart, values, and a sense of fairness and solidarity can be good business advisers. What Semler did is truly admirable. a must read, even for those who have no interest whatsoever in management.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Maverick - Ricardo Semler June 26 2004
From 1992 to 1994, I suffered much to work under a rigid framework of Japanese multinationl. It is this book that change my life. End September 1994, I found out Semler's book in a book store in Tokyo, and I am intuitively sure that it should work. Then,I was assigned to work in Ivory Coast in West Africa. I decided to experiment his model in Africa to see whether his method works. Result. It really works! I delegated all the power to decision making to the staffs who is closest to the environment. Thus, the problem of alignment was easily solved. Not only the organization start working effectively without my hard efforts, but also the motivation of all the staffs skyrocketed. Even some of the staffs who could not read and write, decided to go to school to learn read and write (it is a history in Africa). These staffs also became a proactive staffs by talking on behalf of the language of the organization. The key message of Semler is to freeing everybody from the traditional management by rigid control associated with extrinsic reward system to self control with self ethical value associated with intrinsic reward. In this way he succeeded to skyrocket the motivation of staffs and let them work to search the right direction. Thus, the company could encourage the staffs to continously adapt to the perpertually changing environment. It is an excellent fieldbook to transform a mechanistic organization to an organic and learning organization, which is the key of the success in today's business environment.
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5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful humanistic approach to business... May 28 2003
I have only reached half-way through this book but am writing this in case I forget later. I have read a few business books and few have touched me as much as Semler's open and somewhat naive style. I am building/managing multiple businesses and this book gives me the guidance to handle people in the right way for effective results. Read the other reviews - nuff said.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Visionary and Great Ideas May 6 2003
By A Customer
If you are familiar with Daniel Quinn's books, mainly Ishmael, The Story of B, and My Ishmael, this is clearly a good example of an organization with a new vision. A corporation really doing something different, not the classic rhetoric or programs of the day (decade) or just a greened up version of the classical hierarchy. The new vision is not maximum profits at ALL cost, it is about making a living and maximizing employees happiness - he admits they have a long way to go, but he has many, many great examples of what works and adds ... there is no one right way.
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