REVIEW: "Behind Closed Doors", Johanna Rothman/Esther Derby
- BKBHCLDR.RVW 20051209
"Behind Closed Doors", Johanna Rothman/Esther Derby, 2005,
%A Johanna Rothman
%A Esther Derby
%C 103 Morris Street, Suite A, Sebastopol, CA 95472
%I O'Reilly & Associates, Inc./Pragmatic Bookshelf
%O U$24.95/C$34.95 800-998-9938 fax: 707-829-0104 nuts@...
%O Audience n Tech 0 Writing 1 (see revfaq.htm for explanation)
%P 167 p.
%T "Behind Closed Doors: Secrets of Great Management"
The preface doesn't address the issue of the audience for the book or
the approach to the topic, other than to say that the authors are
trying to model what a good manager does, and provide a very brief
timeline for the activities in the book.
The chapters in the book are supposed to be weeks in the life of a
manager newly arrived in a problematic (and, of course, fictional)
business unit. Week one basically suggests attending to people and a
bit of project management. The footnotes provided in the text are
not, in the section that details them, listed in footnote order, so it
makes finding the right one a bit odd, to begin with. Priorization,
plus an overview of personnel matters and recruiting, are mentioned in
week two. Feedback and strategic planning are covered in week three.
Week four revisits material that was already dealt with, in an
unstructured and miscellaneous fashion. (There is also a good deal of
excess verbiage in support of the fiction that we are dealing with a
company and an actual manager.) Much the same is true in week five.
Delegation and rewards to your staff are mentioned in week six,
although the excess conversation occupies a good deal of space. Week
seven notes political issues, although these are going to vary by
company, situation, and staff. An appendix reviews the techniques
suggested in the book itself: this is probably the most valuable
It is interesting to note that the choice of references is very self-
referential: the authors wrote many of the articles that they cite.
The titles of the chapters may be misleading: in most cases the title
does not reflect the content.
The book is simplistic. Ultimately, of course, management is simple
at its base: the devil is in the details. Is the material in this
work good enough to transition people from technical backgrounds into
management? Probably not. The advice, such as it is, is good, but a
lot of time and attention has been devoted to writing the fictional
dialogue, and much more could have been said about management itself.
copyright Robert M. Slade, 2005 BKBHCLDR.RVW 20051209
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Don't worry about people stealing an idea. If it's original, you
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