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Henry Mintzberg

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This review was submitted by mauzenne.

This book is by Henry Mintzberg, another brilliant and effective management consultant.  I've read much of his work, and he is routinely sharp and insightful.

But I don't recommend this book, for three reasons.

First, it's terribly academic, even more so than Pffeffer's recent book, The Knowing-Doing Gap.  Maybe it makes me a Philistine, but whenever a business book has, on virtually every page, 3-5 parenthetical references to other scholarly and academic works, it comes across to me as intended for other academics.  I just can't see managers today getting excited about where he gets his quotes or the concepts he addresses.

Secondly, I think nearly 200 pages excoriating the MBA eduction is probably overkill.   I'm not fighting for MBAs here - I think many people go to avail themselves of the recruiting experience therein.  But at some point, talking about why something is bad isn't helpful.  And a detailed history of the growth of MBA schools (going back to 1900!) seems unnecessary.

Finally, I think his prescription is interesting.. but unwieldy.  He calls for long periods of reflection, and "white time"... at times, it felt so disconnected from the average manager's experience, I struggled to connect it.  Maybe it's me, and I'm not smart enough to see into his thinking well enough to connect it all and have an "aha."

Mr. Mintzberg is so good so often, please don't make this book a reason not to read his other works.    But skip this one.

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mukom777's picture

Perhaps not recommended reading ... but I think we should ask ourselves what the purpose of the book is: Trying to change the how management education is done. Without those many references, other academics (the people he is trying to convince) will just scoff at it --- again another MT concept "Communication is what the listener does"

 

His prescriptions have put put to practice in his own management program and those that have attended have only great things to say about it.

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