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In Search of Excellence: Lessons from America's Best-Run Companies Paperback – Feb 7 2006
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“One of those rare books on management that are both consistently thought-provoking and fun to read.” (Wall Street Journal)
About the Author
Thomas J. Peters, "uber-guru of business" (Fortune and The Economist), is the author of many international bestsellers, including A Passion for Excellence and Thriving on Chaos. Peters, "the father of the post-modern corporation" (Los Angeles Times), is the chairman of Tom Peters Company and lives in Vermont.
Robert H. Waterman, Jr. is the bestselling author of The Renewal Factor, Adhocracy, and What America Does Right, and the director of The Waterman Group, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
Essentially the book hinges on 8 basic principles. If any business can put these 8 basic principles into practice, Peters and Waterman say that business can not help but succeed. Now the success may not be as large as Microsoft, but success will occur at one level or the other. If you do not agree then that is fine, Peters and Waterman give several examples of small business that became huge business on the basis of these 8 principles (e.g. Walmart, Hewlett-Packard, Delta Airlines, McDonald's, IBM, etc.). In fact, when you read the book (which is actually structured around describing and demonstrating these 8 principles) you will see why and how these principles actually work.
One of the most interesting things I found in this book was the fact that the 8 principles are essentially common sense ingredients. For lack of better way to describe them, 'boy scout' type principles that can be incorporated into business action on an every day basis.
The book itself is very interesting, easy to read (even if you are not very interested in reading about businesses, business growth and management, etc.) and easy to understand. There are some great business stories about customers, business action, business men and their thinking, etc.Read more ›
As an example of a mistaken oversimplification, the book claims that "rationality" always yields negative, i.e. pessimistic, business forecasts, but this fails to understand that projections are guided by assumptions, that in turn are guided by management. Companies that penalize those whose forecasts are too optimistic will encourage its planners to use negative assumptions. Companies that don't, won't.
Many of the "excellent companies" have seen very bad times or were driven out of business completely in the years following the book's release. I think that shows that the authors were missing quite a bit in understanding the real nature of excellence. Fortunately, in subsequent years authors such as John Case (Open-Book Management) and Jack Stack (The Great Game of Business) have hit upon a much simpler yet more complete model for excellence. Not only does their model explain what is correct about The Search for Excellence, but it also explains the correct elements in many management ideas since including "reengineering", "TQM", "Empowerment", and "Six Sigma". I highly recommend their books instead of this one.
Theory first. There is a solid attack on the Rational Model ( over emphasis on quantitative approaches to management ) in American business schools which the authors feel is a main cause for the decline of American companies in the third quarter of the twentieth century. The understanding of the human side and aligning people with the Organization's goals through a deep sense of respect and involvement is at the core of success at the excellent companies is the next hypothesis. In their search for excellence, the research leads to eight prominent attributes that are common across the best run companies. All these attributes have direct and significant link to this aspect of the human side of enterprise.
The excellent companies have focussed consciously and consistently on rigorously practicing several of the eight attributes. Failure to focus on these have led to setbacks in subsequent years. An outstanding athlete cannot be expected to win gold at all the Olympics in his lifetime.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Even though Tom Peters admitted in a Fast Company article that some of the data in the book was faked, I still think it is worth reading because it discusses some key concepts. Read morePublished on March 8 2004 by Gregory J. Blencoe
It is hard to appreciate the impact this book had when it was first released. Some of the cases (business stories) it contains still inspire although some seem a bit dated, but... Read morePublished on March 3 2004 by Craig Matteson
Although the book has some interesting points it is not as easy to read as let's say "Good to Great" by Jim Collins.
Moreover, as others have pointed out some(all? Read more
searching himself, cause he will be amazed at the lack of excellence. The data he quotes IS FAKED. As in, made up, pulled out of thin air, guessed, etc. Read morePublished on Nov. 21 2003
While some of the advice in "Excellence" is good standard business practice info, I recently read a very funny new book called "In Search of Stupidity: Over 20 Years... Read morePublished on Oct. 15 2003 by Ruby Greenfield
This is the book that launched the management guru business, as well as the popular management genre. Read morePublished on May 12 2003 by therosen
This is an excellent and useful book for anyone wanting to understand how to manage a company or organization well. Built to Last is similar and more rigorously researched.Published on Dec 19 2002 by Jamie Nettles
In Search of Exellence is benchmarking made right. Full of tidbits on how some of America's finest companies are run. Granted, some of them are now defunct(Digital? Wang? Read morePublished on Aug. 5 2002 by Patrick Chong