Guide to Management Ideas and Gurus by Tim Hindle

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Guide to Management Ideas and Gurus by Tim Hindle

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Category: Politics and Society
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: A concise and pithy look at the management ideas and people who have championed them over the last few decades. It's an excellent starting point for further reading or for someone who is tired of geek speak and jargon. Highly recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 288 Date: July 2008
Publisher: Economist Books
ISBN: 978-1846681080

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Anyone who has ever found themselves in a meeting where management ideas are thrown around like confetti (…well I believe that zero-based budgeting can be offset by a balanced scorecard system particularly in view of the growth share matrix…) needs this book. Guide to Management Ideas and Gurus is an overview of the management ideas which have been in and out of vogue over the last few decades and the gurus who have propounded them.

The book is divided into two sections. In the first are the management ideas. There are just over a hundred of them and they're arranged in alphabetical order, from Active Inertia through to Zero-based budgeting. Each is covered in no more than two pages and you usually get a pithy summary of what is involved, details of the main proponent or proponents of the idea, some information on how it has worked (or not) and then some suggested further reading. Sometimes this amounts to just the one book by the originator of the idea – at other times there are three or even four books suggested. You'll come away from this double-page spread with enough information to enable you to understand how a quality circle works or the implications of a long tail. You'll also have understood every word. Tim Hindle does not do jargon.

You won't have enough information or knowledge to put any of these ideas into practice – but then that's not what this book is about. It would be foolish to attempt something on the basis of what's here. It's a starting point for further exploration and doesn't pretend to be anything more.

The gurus are similarly treated. Fifty four people who have had a real impact on management thinking are each looked at over a double-page spread. You get the dates of birth (and death if appropriate), nationality, notable publications and the occasional quotes. There's also a background summary of their life and work. The 'Famous Five' gurus are all there – Peter Drucker, Douglas McGregor, Michael Porter, Alfred Sloan and Frederick Winslow Taylor. There's a fair spread of nationalities with a good representation from India and Australia as well as the more traditional countries, such as America and Japan. There are more Mormons than gurus from the UK and disappointingly few women. This isn't down to Hindle but rather to traditional attitudes.

I read this book through from cover to cover and thoroughly enjoyed it. I was reasonably familiar with some concepts and found that these were concisely and clearly covered. Having worked with figures for most of my working life I thought that some of the accounting and budgeting ideas were well explained – they're not always the easiest concepts for the lay person to grasp. Some areas were completely new to me and I came away from these sections with the confidence that I could understand a conversation in which they occurred.

The book is perhaps best used as a reference book and guide to further reading. Every office of any size, and every library should have a copy.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

For simpler overviews of how a business should operate we can also recommend The Answers: All the Office Questions You Never Dared to Ask by Lucy Kellaway and The Unwritten Laws of Business by W J King and James G Skakoon. You might appreciate The Management Myth: Debunking Modern Business Philosophy by Matthew Stewart, or Selected: Why some people lead, why others follow, and why it matters by Mark van Vugt and Anjana Ahuja. You could shelve this alongside Dragons: Ten Entrepreneurs Who Built Britain by Liam Byrne.

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