Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Management f-Laws for you

Russell Ackoff, Herbert Addison, and Sally Bibb have just published Management f-Laws: How Organizations Really Work. To whet our appetites and give us a way to make a more informed decision about whether we'd like the book, they've put an excerpt online. If you read it, I suggest you start with the Frequently Asked Questions on the second page of that PDF file: note that Ackoff's and Addison's laws are on the left of each page, with Bibb's comments on the right. Without realizing that, you might get a bit of cognitive whiplash, as they don't always see eye to eye.

I haven't read the full book, but I have read the excerpt. My initial impression is that this is one of those books that might help us think. Ackoff, Addison, and Bibb have stated strong, pithy positions on various aspects of business life, and they all expound on them briefly. Don't be fooled by the shortness of the commentary, for this book doesn't give answers; it starts a dialog that you can continue as you ponder each f-Law, deciding what your take on the subject might be and what you will do in response to what you've read.

This posting is for you, because you can get a discounted copy of the book just for reading Making Sense With Facilitated Systems. Caroline Milner of Triarchy Press wrote me after seeing my blog posting on a classic Russell Ackoff paper to offer you, the readers of Making Sense With Facilitated Systems, a 10% discount on your purchases of the book. Simply enter triarchy-ten in the promotional code field of the order form (you'll find that on the checkout page). I'm pleased to be able to pass this along to you faithful readers. To you who just happened to land here for the first time, you're very much welcome to the discount, too, and I hope you return and join in our conversation.

I haven't made offers such as this before. I did think seriously and even check in with a friend before posting this, for I don't want to give you reason to question my judgment or credibility based on perceived self-interest. I finally decided that transparency was the key—letting you know pertinent behind-the-scenes information. I haven't received anything from Triarchy Press for making this offer (except that I guess I qualify for the discount, too). If you do have any any feedback about this offer, please let me know by commenting here or by emailing me directly.

While I haven't read the full book yet (it was published less than three weeks ago, and my reading list is a bit lengthy), I think it's a good deal: it's a new book by Ackoff and colleagues in a field squarely aligned with this blog's theme of making sense. If you get to read it before I comment on it here, I invite your comments about Management f-Laws.

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