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October 19, 2001

Jack Covert Selects: Jack Covert Selects - The Agenda

By: Dylan Schleicher @ 6:53 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

The Agenda: What Every Business Must Do to Dominate the Decade by Michael Hammer, Crown Business, 250 Pages, $27.50 Hardcover, October 2001, ISBN 0609609661
Michael Hammers biggest book, written alongside Jim Champy, was called Reengineering the Corporation, one of the best-selling business books of the 90s. Hammer has written other books since, but this one, The Agenda, is by far the best thing he has done in 10 years. Perhaps the greatest compliment I can give The Agenda is that my manuscript copy is in very bad shape. I tore out the chapter on Process and gave it to Sally, our head person (we dont really have titles here, but head person is an extremely important person in my world), so she could look at it and reassess our client services processes following Hammers guidelines. The next chapter, on sales was torn out and given to my sales person to initiate conversation regarding our sales approach. It has been a long time since I have treated a book like this.
The next greatest compliment I can give this book is that it will inspire you to look directly at your everyday business experience, at the work being done in your office at this moment, work that is fundamental to your business. Instead of warning you to look out for competitors, or be the fastest implementer of technology, or even to predict the future, Hammer encourages us to take a deep look at what is in front of us, to make sure our current business is efficient, concentrating on customer value. He uses two acronyms throughout the book to illustrate his points: ETDBW (Easy To Do Business With) and MVA (More Value Added). I have heard of both of these concepts before, but Hammer uses such great examples to portray how they work, the ideas came alive. The other quality that sets this book apart, for me, is the conversational writing styleit is as if you are having a conversation with Michael Hammer, not being lectured at by Michael Hammer.
My final compliment? I can only say that this is a book that will stimulate long hours of conversation around the offices of 800-CEO-READ.

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.