Archive for the ‘pareto’ Category

BOOK REVIEW – MANAGEMENT OF THE ABSURD

May 21, 2007

 

 

Book Review by Vikram Karve 

  

The Book: 

TITLE: MANAGEMENT OF THE ABSURD 

AUTHOR: RICHARD FARSON 

PUBLISHED: 1996 TOUCHSTONE
NEW YORK
 

ISBN 0-684-80080-2 

 [REVIEWED BY VIKRAM KARVE] 

 

 

  

Leafing through my beloved books on my bookshelves is one of my favorite pastimes. I love the company, the smell and the feel of books, as I leisurely browse and glance through the varied books I have collected over the years. And maybe select one for perusal.  

This morning I picked up a delightful management classic called Management of the Absurd by Richard Farson. I acquired my copy on 06 May 1999 in the Pune Book Fair (that’s what I’ve written below my name on the first page). It is a laconic book which explores the paradoxes of management in an extremely witty manner.  Let’s browse through this wonderful book together.   

In his foreword Michael Crichton writes: “In this book Richard Farson reports more than experience; he gives us …wisdom”.  

The 172 page book has eight parts and thirty three chapters, and as the author says in the introduction, these chapters need not necessarily be read in sequence, but in whatever order appeals to the reader. Let’s do just that.  

“Morale is unrelated to productivity” the author says chapter in 27, turning conventional HR wisdom on its head. He deprecates management practices of pampering and mollycoddling employees (which one reads of particularly in the IT sector), giving gifts, holding parties, recognizing birthdays, gestures of goodwill and other HR gimmicks designed to court employee favor as a calculated morale-raising strategy. Self-actualized people, who were among the greatest achievers in our society, were not necessarily comfortable or happy; they could be ruthless, boring, stuffy, irritating, and humorless and organizations are absolutely dependent on such people. You don’t agree, don’t you? That’s why you must read this book, which turns things you have learnt topsy-turvy and gives you something to think about.  

Effective Managers are not in control, emphasizing the vulnerability requirement in a leader. Absurdly, our most important human affairs – marriage, child rearing, education, leadership – do best when there is occasional loss of control and an increase in personal vulnerability, the author says, and compares leadership with romance. If you know how to have a romance, it isn’t a romance, but a seduction. Not knowing how to do it makes it a romance; it’s the same for leadership, an intangible quality, management techniques don’t work. Genuineness in relationships is the only way to lead professionals.  

Training leads to the development of skills and techniques, and suggests the possibility of control. Education leads to information and knowledge, which suggests the possibility of understanding, even wisdom.  Wisdom involves humility, compassion and respect – essential to effective leadership!  

Training makes people more alike, education tends to make people different from each other, so the first benefit of education is that the manager becomes unique, independent. “Don’t try to train leaders. Educate them!” the author exhorts.  

Planning is an ineffective way to bring about change. Too often it is an empty ritual designed to make management feel there is something going on in that area.  

There are paradoxes and paradoxes, absurdities and absurdities!   

Individuals are strong, but organizations are not! I thought it was the other way around. 

The better things are the worse they feel, says the theory of rising expectations, and that’s why good marriages are more likely to fail than bad ones, and second marriages are better than first marriages, but shorter!  

In communication, form is more important than content, praising people does not motivate them, and the more we communicate, the less we communicate.  

The ‘meat’ of the book is the chapter on – The “Technology” of Human Relations. Exploring the impact of technology on Human relations, the author discusses how technology invents us, develops a life of its own and with every application of technology a counterforce develops that is the exact opposite of what we intended. The danger is that we become so in love with technological applications that we forget its detrimental effects; he illustrates his point with examples of how computer technology increases design capability but stifles creativity. We must focus on Relationship Enrichment rather than acquisition of techniques of management skills, he suggests, since the more important a relationship, the less skill matters.  

The book is replete with startling insights. The author states his message in his introduction: “I believe many programs in management training today are moving us in the wrong direction because they fail to appreciate the complexity and paradoxical nature of human organizations. Thinking loses out to how-to-do-it formulas and techniques, if not to slogans and homilies, as the principle management guides.”  

This is a refreshing, original and thought provoking book, something different from the run of the mill stuff. It’s a management classic, a rare gem in the plethora of management literature. Do read it. You’ll be glad you did.   

  

  

VIKRAM KARVE 

 

http://www.linkedin.com/in/karve 

 

http://www.ryze.com/go/karve 

 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com 

 

vikramkarve@sify.com 

 

  

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Musings on The Art of Living

March 1, 2007

MUSINGS BY VIKRAM KARVE ON THE ART OF LIVING

 

My name is Vikram Karve. I’m 50 and live in
Pune, India. I love reading, writing and blogging and have a philosophical attitude towards life. Here are a few links to my musings on various aspects of the art of living. I trust you will enjoy and derive benefit by reading them. Do send me your comments and feedback to:

vikramkarve@sify.com

vikramkarve@hotmail.com

 

TEACHING STORIES

 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/post/2006/09/two-teaching-stories.htm

 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/post/2006/11/the-sweet-chillies.htm

 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/post/2006/10/a-room-with-a-variable-climate.htm

 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/post/2006/09/teaching-stories-part-4-by-vikram-karve-on-teachers.htm

 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/post/2006/09/teaching-stories-part-3-by-vikram-karve.htm

 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/post/2006/08/teaching-stories-part-2-by-vikram-karve.htm

 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/post/2006/08/teaching-stories.htm

 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/post/2005/10/a-teaching-story-by-vikram-karve.htm

 

 

 

Book Review of THE IMPORTANCE OF LIVING by LIN YUTANG

[A book that shaped my life and taught me the art of living]

 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/post/2007/01/the-art-of-living.htm

 

http://karve.wordpress.com/2007/01/05/the-art-of-living/

 

 

THE ART OF HAPPINESS

 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/post/2006/11/the-art-of-happiness-by-vikram-karve.htm

 

http://karve.wordpress.com/2006/11/23/the-art-of-happiness-by-vikram-karve/

 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/post/2006/01/happiness.htm

 

 

THE ART OF EATING

 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/post/2006/11/the-art-of-eating.htm

 

http://karve.wordpress.com/2006/11/08/the-art-of-eating-by-vikram-karve/

 

 

HOW I QUIT SMOKING

 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/post/2006/12/how-i-quit-smoking.htm

 

http://karve.wordpress.com/2006/12/22/how-i-quit-smoking-by-vikram-karve/

 

THE DAY AFTER I QUIT SMOKING

 

http://karve.wordpress.com/2006/12/29/the-day-after-i-quit-smoking-by-vikram-karve/

 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/post/2006/12/the-day-after-i-quit-smoking.htm

 

DO YOU WANT TO QUIT DRINKING?

 

http://karve.wordpress.com/2006/12/22/force-field-analysis-helps-you-quit-drinking/

 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/post/2006/10/want-to-quit-drinking-.htm

 

 

TIME MANAGEMENT – SPEND TIME ADD VALUE

 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/post/2006/11/time-management.htm

 

 

A SENSE OF VALUES

 

http://karve.wordpress.com/2006/11/08/a-sense-of-values-by-vikram-karve/

 

 

THE MAP IS NOT THE TERRITORY

 

http://karve.wordpress.com/2006/11/23/the-map-is-not-the-territory-by-vikram-karve/

 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/post/2006/11/the-map-is-not-the-territory.htm

 

THE SWEET CHILLIES

 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/post/2006/11/the-sweet-chillies.htm

 

 

COOSING THE RIGHT CAREER

 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/post/2006/11/choosing-the-right-career.htm

 

EPICTETUS – THE ART OF LIVING

 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/post/2006/10/the-art-of-living-a-book-review–2.htm

 

80/20 LIVING

 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/post/2006/10/a-book-review-80-20-principle.htm

 

A TEACHING STORY

 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/post/2006/10/a-room-with-a-variable-climate.htm

 

BOOK REVIEW – A SOLDIER’S STORY

 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/post/2006/09/book-review-a-soldier-s-story.htm

 

ORIENTAL STORIES – A FASCINATING BOOK

 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/post/2006/09/a-fascinating-book.htm

 

KNOW YOUR VALUES FOR HAPPINESS AND HARMONY

 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/post/2006/09/know-your-values-for-harmony-and-happiness.htm

 

HURRY SICKNESS

 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/post/2006/09/hurry-sickness.htm

 

BIBLIOTHERAPY

 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/post/2006/09/bibliotherapy.htm

 

LIFE PROCESS OUTSOURCING (LPO)

 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/post/2006/08/life-process-outsourcing-lpo.htm

 

BOOK REVIEW – THE PETER PRINCIPLE AND PETER PRESCRIPTION

 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/post/2006/08/book-review-the-peter-prescription-the-peter-principle.htm

 

 

ETHICAL FITNESS

 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/post/2006/07/ethical-fitness-2.htm

 

THOUGHT CONTROL

 

http://karve.wordpress.com/2007/01/05/be-happy-and-healthy/

 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/post/2006/06/monday-morning-rumination.htm

 

HAIKU

 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/post/2006/06/haiku-minerva-moment-by-vikram-karve.htm

 

AN AFFAIR TO REMEMBER

 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/post/2005/12/the-art-of-eating-an-affair-to-remember-by-vikram.htm

 

MANAGEMENT OF THE ABSURD – A book review

 

http://karve.sulekha.com/blog/post/2006/09/management-of-the-absurd.htm

 

MAHARSHI KARVE – BOOKS ON HIS LIFE AND TIMES

 

http://karve.sulekha.com/blog/post/2006/08/maharshi-karve-books-on-his-life-and-times.htm

 

 

I hope you enjoyed these articles and look forward to your feedback. I’ll keep on posting.

 

VIKRAM KARVE

Pune
India

 

vikramkarve@sify.com

vikramkarve@hotmail.com

 

http://karve.wordpress.com

http://vikramkarve.blog.co.uk

http://vikramwamankarve.blogspot.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

80/20 Principle – Book Review

March 1, 2007

Book Review The 80/20 Principle: The Secret of Achieving More with Less by Richard Koch (Reviewed by Vikram Karve) 

The Pareto Principle (also known as the 80-20 rule) states that for many phenomena, 80% of the consequences stem from 20% of the causes. Richard Koch takes a fresh look at the 80/20 principle and finds that the basic imbalance observed by Pareto way back in 1906 can be found in almost every aspect of modern life even today. He creatively and ingeniously extrapolates the Pareto Principle and discovers that it applies throughout our lives in every thread of it. It occurs in managing time, work, people, emotions, friendships, love, marriage, personal health and relationships.  Take relationships – 20 per cent of the people we deal with give us 80 per cent of our happiness. What can you do to spend more quality time with these 20 per cent happiness givers? Count on these people. They are your key friends, the 20 percent who contribute 80 percent of happiness and add value to the quality of your life. The book is in four parts. Part One (Overture) introduces the principle, is a bit analytical but interesting and tells us how to think the 80/20 way.   Part Two (Corporate Success needn’t be a mystery) discusses the application of the principle to the business management and corporate domains. 

The meat of the book is in Part Three (Work Less, Earn and Enjoy More) where Richard Koch explores application of the 80/20 theory in a number of ways to diverse aspects of life.  Chapter 10 titled Time Revolution is superb, and I can vouch for the fact that concepts like being unconventional and eccentric in the use of your time and high-value and low-value uses of time are really effective as I have incorporated them into my life with great success. Of the things you do during your day, only 20 percent really matter. Those 20 percent high-value uses of time produce 80 percent of your results and happiness. Identify and focus on those things and make sure you make optimal high value use of time to achieve a harmonious balance between your work, home, social, self and other aspects of life. Chapter 13 titled Intelligent and Lazy delves on the application of Von Manstein Matrix. General von Manstein identified four types of officers in the German Officer Corps of the army. First, there are the lazy, stupid ones. He suggests that they be left alone as they do no harm. Second, are the hard-working, intelligent ones. These are excellent staff officers who ensure every detail is accurate. Third are the hard-working, stupid ones. These, according to him, are a menace and must be fired at once because they only create irrelevant work for everybody. And finally there are the lazy, intelligent ones. [The 80/20 types?] .They are suited for the highest office. The fourth and last part (Crescendo) explains the success and failure of various approaches in social, government and economic issues with the 80/20 principle as an ever present thread. 

The book is readable, educational and interesting. The secret of a happy and fulfilled life is not difficult – the book shows how to apply the 80/20 principle to focus on your best 20 percent in each aspect of your life and thereby enhance your quality of life and elevate your plane of living. It’s a captivating book. Read it. You will certainly benefit from it. Keep the book on your table. The 80/20 Principle should serve as a daily reminder to focus 80 percent of your time and energy on that 20 percent that is really important. Experiment, have fun, apply the Pareto Principle in various aspects and facets of your life wherever feasible, and use it wisely. And see for yourself how the quality of your life improves, you achieve a harmonious balance between your work life, home life and social life and you feel happy, tranquil and fulfilled. 

VIKRAM KARVE

vikramkarve@sify.com

http://karve.sulekha.com http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com 

http://foodiekarve.sulekha.com