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April 5, 2001

Jack Covert Selects: Jack Covert Selects - Slack

By: Dylan Schleicher @ 9:21 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

Slack: Getting Past Busywork, Burnout, and the Myth of Total Efficiency by Tom DeMarco, Broadway Books, 200 Pages, $23.00 Hardcover, April 2001, ISBN 076790768X
Tom DeMarcos book, Slack, could not have come out at a better time. Based on what I know about the world of publishing, I expect Broadway Books acquired rights to this book in late 1999 or early 2000. Who could have predicted at that time that the economy would have taken the turn it has? Right now, executives around the world are looking at balance sheets that arent very pretty, and they need to trim some expenses. The easiest unfixed expense to trim is staff/payroll. Thats the hard, cold truth. Tom DeMarco wants you to read his book before you go too far in your cost cutting.
The premise of Slack is that the most successful companies at handling growth and change are not the companies whose employees are working at a non-stop, frantic pace. Instead, claims DeMarco, the companies that are able to absorb the impact of swift change are those organizations which may appear rather laid back, whose employees have some flexibility in the their day. DeMarco believes that organizations must build into their managers and worker schedules time to think and reflect about new ideas. The resulting benefit is that the organization can then deal with a sudden event of crisis much more efficiently. An organization that is dialed up to its maximum productivity per employee is an organization that is incapable of dealing with anything unusual. No time to plan, grow or think. As an executive in a small business that just went through some staff changes, as well as a time of abruptly increased sales, I can positively vouch for DeMarcos premises. Read this book before you make a very costly mistake.

About Dylan Schleicher


Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.