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The Secrets of Consulting: A Guide to Giving and Getting Advice Successfully [Paperback]

Gerald M. Weinberg , Virginia Satir
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 32.61 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
This is a little book with some big messages. As the subtitle says, it's a book not only for those who give, or sell, their advice, but it's also for those who are taking or buying it. It's a book both for those who help to manage change, and for those undergoing change themselves. Many people should read it.
That said, the main focus of the book is on those who produce the advice and ideas. If you are a consultant as I am, this may be one of the most important books in your collection. I have read it cover to cover twice, and parts of it many other times.
The book is written with a light, humorous touch, illustrated both with many funny stories and some very apt cartoons and quotations. From each discussion he abstracts multiple "laws" and reminders, which on their own should prompt you to remember the key points he discusses.
Weinberg doesn't pull any of his punches. Consulting is hard, and the secrets are guides to improving your success and survival rate, not any set of "magic wands". He addresses ways in which you can fail just as much as ways to succeed.
In successive chapters, the book deals with the nature of consulting and the problems it can address, and how to develop your own mind so that your can see the problems and come up with possible solutions to them.
Throughout, Weinberg teaches us to focus on the "people" problems: cultural, political and psychological, which tend to be at the heart of any issue, assuming that, as he says, "it's always a people problem". If you can solve the people problems, the practical problems should be easy by comparison.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
The book is helpful, interesting, and contains quite a few valuable insights that can only come from experience. For that very reason, inexperienced people will miss it all, btw. So, overall it's not bad. At the same time, I've noticed that every time I read something by Weinberg, I have a feeling of displeasure for some reason, even though it is hard for me to put my finger on it. What is it? My best try has got to be that he doesn't write well and needs to be energetically edited. The general tone is condescending, fuddy-daddy'ish, frequently ponderous, and vague. The humour is a bit on the unfunny side. He mentions Russell in the bibliography, and by golly, he could learn from him how to write concisely, *clearly*, with good logic and all parts connecting.
There may be something else beside that, but as I said, it's hard to put a finger on what exactly it is. It's kind of a good book, but I wish it was reworked so it's not as annoying to read. Therefore I gave it a 3. In other words, this is a mediocre book that is worth buying <g>. Now, *that's* clear writing, isn't it <g>?
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What exactly is consulting? And how does one consult successfully? This informative book attempts to answer these questions in a humorous, easy-to-read style. Throughout this book, Weinberg introduces and explains dozens of consulting laws, rules, and principles - and right from the start, with his laws of consulting laid out, you will be captivated by Weinberg's philosophy:
The First Law of Consulting: In spite of what your client may tell you, there's always a problem.
The Second Law of Consulting: No matter how it looks at first, it's always a people problem.
The Third Law of Consulting: Never forget they're paying you by the hour, not by the solution.
The Fourth Law of Consulting: If they didn't hire you, don't solve they're problem.
Some of my many favorite laws, rules, and principles:
The Bolden Rule: If you can't fix it, feature it.
The Lone Ranger Fantasy: When the clients don't show their appreciation, pretend that they're stunned by your performance - but never forget that it's your fantasy, not theirs.
Marvin's Second Great Secret: Repeatedly curing a system that can cure itself will eventually create a system that can't.
Have you seen the new poster that reads "Consulting: If you're not a part of the solution, there's good money to be made in prolonging the problem."? Weinberg would not agree with this statement - his Sixth Law of Pricing says that if they don't like your work, don't take their money. An alternative to these types of posters? Blow up the cartoon illustrations in this book and hang them in your office.
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I'm having to order another copy of Secrets of Consulting because I lent the last one to a friend, and it's never come back home. There's a reason for that. This is the kind of book that people borrow, but never want to part with again.
A lot of consulting books are filled with fluff, common sense advice that you already know, or only ONE good thought in 250 pages. In 17 years of consulting, however, I've never found a better guide to solving the REAL business problems that you'll encounter. (And it's useful for more than just consultants, too.) Weinberg gets his message across in simple, memorable anecdotes that I can recite perfectly, fifteen years after I first read the book: The Orange Juice Rule, Rudy's Rutabaga Rule.
Here's one fer-instance. A client says that he wants something special done in a project you've already budgeted and possibly already started. Do you tell her "no way!" and lose the business? Do you do the extra work, grumbling about it (and maybe losing money on the deal)? Or do you apply the Orange Juice Rule? (You don't think I'll give away the answer, do ya?) I can't tell you how often I've applied the Orange Juice Rule and saved my business relationship as well as my own budget.
Besides, this book is just plain fun to read. It's light enough to be entertaining, but his advice will help you run your business better... for several years.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars "Aha!" for experienced consultants! Great intro for newbies!
Weinberg manages to translate the knowledge that most experienced consultants already have into memorable edicts to prevent us from harming ourselves and our customers. Read more
Published on Jan. 11 2003 by C.E. Lopes
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book
I really liked this book. I found it to be very insightful. Gerry Weinberg adds stories and metaphors that have stuck with me for a long time. Read more
Published on Dec 28 2001 by Martin Hall
5.0 out of 5 stars Advice for both sides of the consulting fence
Whether you are an independent, or officially classed as an employee, you are a consultant. No matter what your role in the development process is, what you think, know and do... Read more
Published on Oct. 22 2001 by Charles Ashbacher
5.0 out of 5 stars A fabulous book on consulting and so much more!
This is a great book. Period! It is a valuable resource for learning how to carefully give and receive advice. Mr. Read more
Published on June 26 2001 by Robert Pearson
5.0 out of 5 stars Easily one of the BEST books in any field
Although such tomes generally fall into one of two categories: simple "self-help" books or overly technical treatises, SECRETS straddles the line between the two,... Read more
Published on Feb. 1 2001 by Michael F. Maddox
4.0 out of 5 stars A way of life
I read this book in 1988 and 12 years later, I still apply some rules from this great book!
Looking back, this is THE book that greatly influenced my personal life and my... Read more
Published on July 28 2000 by Sylvain Trudel
4.0 out of 5 stars Quotable Book
The thing is that he knows that by titling a chapter "Rudy's Law of Rutabega" rather than titling it "How to Keep Problems in Perspective" he has helped you to... Read more
Published on Feb. 22 2000 by Warren Postma
5.0 out of 5 stars Consulting and Life Lessons
I first read this book in 1987 when I was working as an independent computer consultant. It quite literally changed my life. Read more
Published on Jan. 28 2000 by T. Bundrick
5.0 out of 5 stars Just a GREAT book, if not the best book on Consulting
This is absolutely a great book - for consultants and those that use consultants. Weinberg has a fun, informative style that keeps you interested, but really hits home. Read more
Published on March 31 1999 by Linda Barker (
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