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Book review: Management Mumbo-Jumbo: A Sceptic’s Guide.


Title: Management Mumbo-Jumbo: A Sceptic’s Dictionary
Author: Adrian Furnham
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
ISBN: 1403987025
Price: £19.99
Reviewer: Jonathan Senior

Before we start, I should say that I am into irony (not ironing) but irony, and so as a result this book appealed to me as one which could lift the lid on all the “trendy speak” and fads.

A sceptic’s dictionary isn’t really a dictionary as such; it is a collection of 62 short (around 1000 words) essays, rants, theories and propositions arranged alphabetically.

The author’s “assumptions” about people are listed at the front so there are some “parameters” which to go by.

Well laid out and easy to thumb through, it covers with sometimes uncanny accuracy subjects as diverse as common sense, the use of consultants, head hunters, going on strike and "networming".

"One is never going to see eye to eye with a man who lists his hobbies as “arguing at dinner parties”, nor would he perhaps want you to; and it is difficult to see whose benefit this book was written for (besides perhaps the author himself)."

Clearly this is a book for the “blog age”, in that from the outset it offers unashamedly personal opinions and there are no doubt, a million other people who have signed up to a blogging service and done a similar thing. In that respect, it is DIY management punk rock.

Some very good and thought provoking articles, some cringe worthily accurate and some “hmm” type articles where you finish it and wonder why you read it or what it tells you.

Some of them didn’t quite do it for me – perhaps they will for you.

Perhaps that’s the nature of the book – different people will get different things from it and I would suspect that the author is laughing at me right now …

Review ratings (1 to 5, 5 being excellent):

  • Overall 4

  • Helpfulness That depends what you need help in…

  • Layout 5

  • Value for money 3

  • Suitability for professional level Consultants, Trainers, Interim managers, anyone wanting a few quick anecdotes.

  • Would you recommend it? Probably

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