The Best Book You've (Probably) Never Read and I Haven't Finished (Yet) - A Book Review

 

I purchased Maslow on Management a number of years ago. In fact, so long ago I don’t remember when I bought it. And I began reading it right away. And I’m still reading it. And I’m not done yet. Through a strange set of circumstances, I have been reading this book a few pages at a time, a few times a year. And I have, quite by accident, not only found a fascinating book on management, but the perfect way to read it.
 
Abraham Maslow — the man of hierarchy fame — takes on management. This book is actually a collection of journal entries that Maslow turned into a management book (originally titled Eupsychian Management — wise choice that name change.) It is Maslow applying many of his psychological concepts to management. And, if you don’t take the time to really read this book — it can be as boring as it sounds. But take the time. Read it slow. This approach has resulted in what may be the most dog-eared copy of a book within my possession. (Okay, I may own a couple of Tom Peters books that beat it — but just barely.) Let’s open a couple of dog ears as an example.
 
“The B-leader … can be defined as the one who can get the job done best or who at least can help to organize things in such a fashion that the job gets done.”
 
“…the B-follower [can be defined] … as one who has introjected the goals or directives or objectives in the problematical situation and who is so identified with them that he wants them done in the best possible way.”
 
“I remember how insulted I felt when it dawned on me that so many of my graduate students never disagreed with me. The conclusion I finally drew was, what did they think of me? Was I so delicate a creature that I couldn’t stand a debate? And then I went and told them so, and it helped in both directions. I felt much better about them, certainly.”
 
Today, waiting at the dentist — told you it was a strange set of circumstances — within four pages I read the following. “The ‘practical’ person in this sense has less ability to delay. He needs quick success and quick wins … For him the next few hours … constitute the present, in contrast with the more theoretical person for whom the present may spread over into several years” and “What I think of here is the example of the customer going beyond the call of duty, that is actually taking some trouble to help the salesman and the enterprise.” The first quote relates to a current management situation with which I am working. The second relates to a customer process analysis project we are just starting.
 
Even reading the quotes, you get a sense for how dry the material is. (And, as I look at them, context helps greatly.) But don’t try and down this in one take. Sip at it. Mix it with solid doses of science-fiction and Japanese short fiction. But take the plunge. If you have the patience, you will catch a taste of the marvels within. Having stretched and mixed my metaphors too much, I leave you with the knowledge that it is, indeed, still available on line. Check your favorite Web site.

Posted on Jan 13, 2009 by Mike Jacka

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