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Book Review

Book Review: by Lang Reid

50 Management Ideas

We are all in “management” in one way or another, and the various theories of management are bandied about as if they were gospel. Edward Russel-Walling, a business, finance and economic affairs writer, has come up with a book called “50 Management Ideas you really need to know” (ISBN 9-7818-4724-0, Quercus publishers, London) and it was of interest to see what I should know, and what I could discard.
I warmed to this book when he quoted the comic strip character Dilbert in the item on Corporate strategy with the Mission Statement (we’ve all got one hanging on the wall, right?) “We strive to assertively enhance mission-critical intellectual capital in order to completely leverage existing error-free catalysts for change while promoting personal employee growth.” Author Russel-Walling suggests the mission statement should reflect the truth and not these Dilbert-like aspirations. I agree.
Russel-Walling has done his research well and my favorite aphorism in the book is undoubtedly that from the Franciscan friar William of Occam (Occam’s razor) who said “essentially the simplest solution is usually the best.” That was in the 14th century, but the author updates this by showing that “lowest complexity” companies had revenue growth twice as fast as their peers today. The KISS principle works well, it seems.
Number 23 in the 50 Management Ideas is Globalization, and Russel-Walling freely admits that this is not a management idea, but is a world-wide phenomenon making managers rethink their ideas and strategies to gain a competitive advantage. He attributes the coining of the word ‘globalization’ to Harvard economist Theodore Levitt in 1983, and says that the globalization produced by outsourcing to India and China will elevate both these countries to economic super-powers within the next 20 years. I personally doubt if we have to wait that long. He also mentions the forthcoming economic Tzars which includes Russia plus Brazil, the Philippines, and even Vietnam. Thailand does not get a mention, but that probably does not come as a shock to any world manufacturer standing on the sidelines looking in.
Russel-Walling’s sources of inspiration are many-fold, from Alvin Toffler (Future Shock) to Sun Tzu (Art of War), and I like the way he integrates them into today’s management styles.
The www effect has been left to be item number 49 in the book, which was, for me at least, somewhat surprising, as the web seems to be an integral part of everyone’s lives these days, both personal and corporate. The web is very different from its original, page-oriented self. Today the web is a place you go to get things done.
It is hard-cover, printed and bound in China, showing his London publishers had an eye on costs and outsourced as part of their management ideas. At B. 495 on Bookazine’s shelves it is probably a bargain, but whilst the author did give me 50 ideas, he omitted to indicate which ones were the most important. This is the only defect in what is otherwise an excellent top-management publication. At least when they use acronyms like CRM and TQM, they will actually know what it means, and what it does.