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The Project50 (Reinventing Work): Fifty Ways to Transform Every "Task" into a Project That Matters! [Hardcover]

Tom Peters
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Sept. 21 1999 Reinventing Work
The common denominator/bottom line for both the professional service firm/PSF and the individual/Brand You is: the project. And for the cool individual in the cool professional service firm there is only one answer: the cool project.
A seminar participant said: "Reward excellent failures. Punish mediocre successes." So, how many of you are at work -- right now -- on "mediocre successes"? At work on projects that won't be recalled, let alone recalled with fondness and glee, a year from now?

We don't study professional service firms. (Mistake.) And we don't study WOW Projects. (Worse mistake.) There is, of course, a project management literature. But it's awful. Or, at least, misleading. It focuses almost exclusively on the details of planning and tracking progress and totally ignores the important stuff like: Is it cool? Is it beautiful? Will it make a difference? My No.1 epithet: "On time . . . on budget . . . who cares?" I.e., does it matter? Will you be bragging about it two--or ten--years from now? Is it a WOW project?

So, then: Step #1 . . .the organization . . .the professional service firm/PSF 1.0. Step 2 . . .the individual . . .the pursuit of distinction/Brand You. And: Step #3 . . . the work itself . . . the memorable project/WOW Projects.

The Project50 is a simple and handy guide that provides 50 easy steps to help the modern businessperson choose the right project, find the right team, develop strategies for success, and ultimately know when it's time to move on.

See also the other 50List titles in the Reinventing Work series by Tom Peters -- The Brand You50 and The Professional Service Firm50 -- for additional information on how to make an impact in the professional world.

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Does your work matter? Do you transform mundane tasks into "WOW Projects!"? And, most important, do you consider projects "dynamic, stimulating, a major bond builder with co-workers, a source of buzz among end-users, and ... inspiring, exhausting, hot, cool, sexy, where everyone else wants to be"? If not, consider reading this enthusiastic project primer, which joins The Brand You50 and The Professional Service Firm50 in Tom Peters's list-filled Reinventing Work series.

Stressing the importance of following a project from start to finish, Peters breaks the WOW Project (also known as the "Way Cool" project, by the way) into four stages--create, sell, implement, and exit--and 50 lists. No. 24 (titled "Work on BUZZ ... all the time!") recommends making a stir about the "WOW-worthy project," showing off your team's success with buttons, mugs, and T-shirts. Shameless? Perhaps. But if the project is truly worthy, then "parading your team's spunk is a matchless sales/marketing--not to mention morale-building--ploy."

Peters--who communicates in lists, one-word sentences, bold, capitalized, and half-tone text, parenthetical asides with jumpy punctuation, and more than a few interjections of "WOW!" and "Way cool!"--is not for everyone. Mellow readers may want, instead, to check out Eric Verzuh's The Fast Forward MBA in Project Management. But project managers seeking to shake up mundane assignments will find plenty of original, easy-to-implement ideas in this guide to getting things done. --Rob McDonald

About the Author

Tom Peters continues to be in constant demand for lectures and seminars. In addition to researching and writing his books, he travels more widely than ever to monitor and observe the business environment  worldwide. The founder of the Tom Peters Group in Palo Alto, California, he lives mostly on American Airlines, or with his family on a farm in Vermont or an island off the Massachusetts coast.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
Tom Peters is an ex-McKinsey & Co. consultant, who become a management guru by being the co-author of business super-bestseller 'In Search of Excellence' (1982). He has written several books after that huge success, but nothing has come close in quality. This (little) book is part of his 'Reinventing Work' series.
The aim of this book is to make us "believe that work can be cool. That the work matters." The reason? "Work - yours and mine - as we know it today will be reinvented in the next ten years." Perhaps you believe this, but I do not. Yes, we can make work and, in this case, projects more interesting. Tom Peters comes up with a list of 50 ways how to do this. The list is split up in four parts: (1) Create; (2) Sell; (3) Implement; and (4) Exit. Each of the 50 ways raised consists of a short introduction, the main point ("the nub"), the impact, and some examples and quotes. Most of the 50 ways are quite interesting, but they could have been cut down to some 25.
I always feel disappointed when I have to write a negative review, but this time I have no choice. Tom Peters is a famous management guru and an excellent motivational speaker. I feel that he tries to bring his famous energy from his seminars across by using plenty of capitals, wild colors, abbreviations, and exclamation marks. But it just does not work (for me). There are some interesting points, but he would have been better by producing a video of his seminars or writing a proper book - like 'In Search of Excellence' (1982) - on projects. For people interested in projects and project management there is plenty of choice elsewhere. Although the book is small and consists of only 200 pages, the book is not that simple to read due to its format and structure.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Useful, if (in appearence) banal and silly Dec 17 2001
We are in the age of manufactured enthusiasm. How anyone can imagine that regular work in a business should be stimulating to the point of being really really cool is simply beyond me. Yet year in and year out, Tom Peters (and an immense cohort of lesser talents) continue to tell us that yes, work can be fun and cool, etc etc. And he continues to make the really really big bucks doing so.
Either Peters is onto something, or we are all fools for treating him like he is. What I believe is that he has inserted himself into business speak as one of our principal formulators of vocabulary to dress up our normal drudgery as something more than it is.
Peters pumps businessmen up, flatters their vanities, and sends them back to the real work with a new vocabulary of "change agents," "WoW projects," and innumerable other expressions of similar banality. He tells them that what they are doing is significant and interesting, and that they can make every project into a fantiastical thing that will change the workd as well as enhance their careers. This boggles the mind, particularly if you have read it more than once in such puffed up venues as Fast Company and Wired, which I believe bring the the profession of journalism to the crudest boosterism, akin to the promoters of primitive Western cities in the 19C America.
In Project 50, Peters offers "fifty ways to transform every 'task' into a project that matters." They range from "reframing" the task as it was posed (make it revolutionary) to selling it succinctly ("metaphor time!") to implementing it ("celebrate failure"!! as a learning experince and as a useful exercise of thinking "crazy") to Exiting ("Seed your freaks into the mainstream"!). If this does not want to make you vomit, try reading it straight through.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Reinvigorate your vision for your work Jan. 23 2000
As a multimedia software writer/producer, I thought my projects were pretty hot stuff. That might be true, but reading "The Project 50" sent me on a quest for the fabled "way cool" moniker for every project I do.
In this practical and outrageously optimistic book, Peters makes a clarion call for work that matters, that takes your breath away--that, in short, WOWs not only your clients/customers but everyone who sees what you do.
With 50 suggestions (each with a number of action items) for creating WOW projects, Peters stirs a divine dissatisfaction for business-as-usual. "Good enough" work no longer is--and will soon be the death knell of its practitioners.
With characteristic bullets, colors, UPPER CASE PHRASES, and underlines, Peters confronts us with the challenge of the near-future: Making the most of the new millennium will require nothing else than producing WOW projects--whether they be spread sheets or theme parks.
This book reinvigorated me and recast my vision for the future--so much so that I bought copies for my fellow writer/producers. Read it and you'll see why.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Turn the Mundane into the Sublime -- WOW! Oct. 2 1999
By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
This book is the Pilgrim's Progress for those who head up projects (which will be more and more people as organizations downsize and outsource). I liked the way that Tom Peters shows that everyone can make every project meaningful and a valuable, worthwhile contribution. This is a wonderful gift, and one that all can benefit from. Tom, when you redo this book (and with your theory of fast prototyping, I assume that this will come out next month), I think you missed a big opportunity -- helping people pick the project to work on that will make the most difference. If you subscribe to the 80/20 rule, then 20 percent of the projects will make 80 percent of the difference. By picking the right areas to work on, you can multiply your influence by more than 20 times than if you pick the low-potential areas. That is like getting to live 20 times over in one lifetime. Wow! I agree that high potential projects often come disguised as unimportant ones. A good companion book for this one is The Fifth Discipline, to help you understand systems thinking so that you can pick the areas to work on that will influence everything else. The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook and the Dance of Change also have very valuable ideas for running projects. Having spent my working career running projects, I especially subscribe to his notion that projects should have a stealthy beginning, so that you can have the freedom to create what is really needed. Too much publicity and money too soon are killers. I found the advice to closely parallel my own experiences and those of best practice cases that I study. This is a very valuable book for anyone who wants to make a difference. I also recommend the other two books in the series, Brand You 50 and Professional Service Firm 50. Thanks for sending copies to me, Tom Peters!
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Guides you in making your work and your life matter.
When you learn to use this little book you can turn nasty little jobs into opportunities that are rewarding. Read more
Published on May 31 2002 by Douglas J. Kent
1.0 out of 5 stars WOW - What a waste of trees!
After opening the book, I thought Mickey Mouse himself wrote it. Terrible structure, schizophrenic font types, incoherent thoughts, and the like crowd this waste of time. Read more
Published on Dec 8 2001 by Gregory M. Eccleston
3.0 out of 5 stars WOW! This is a lot of WOW material.
I must say that this book is packed with insightful tips on how to truly create "WOW!" work. Read more
Published on June 29 2001 by ufrh4
5.0 out of 5 stars Packed With Knowledge
Tom Peters explains how to develop "Wow!" projects - projects that are significant, revolutionary, exciting and dramatic. Read more
Published on June 11 2001 by Rolf Dobelli
5.0 out of 5 stars Best business book I've ever read!
This is not a blah book! It contains more than 50 CONCRETE advices how to create, sell, implement, and exit a world changing project. Read more
Published on April 9 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars buy, or borrow this book NOW!
whether you are a tom peters fan already or someone new to his world, you need this book. if you do not want to change the world (and your job along with it) after reading the... Read more
Published on Oct. 24 2000 by jon a. whaley
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't Waste Your Time On This One!
Tom Peters should take this book off the market. It's the most disjointed piece of work I have ever picked up... thinking I would find useful approaches. Read more
Published on Sept. 12 2000 by Martin J. Wilson
5.0 out of 5 stars Vintage Tom!
As usual, Tom Peters takes an irreverant approach to normal,mundane things like business projects. You're nominated to clean upafter the big party? Read more
Published on April 13 2000 by darren rousseau
4.0 out of 5 stars Lots of WOW information--but too drawn out
I've read the first book in the series "Brand You" and am starting "Professional Service Firms" because I like the way Tom Peters thinks and presents his... Read more
Published on Jan. 15 2000 by "frankkr"
A collection of creative and thought-provoking ideas and action-steps for turning your job, however ordinary, into an extraordinary experience and springboard for future career... Read more
Published on Dec 3 1999 by Gerry Stern
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