August 18, 2000

News & Opinion: Jack Covert Selects - Leading the Revolution

By: 800-CEO-READ @ 9:48 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

Leading the Revolution by Gary Hamel, Harvard Business School Press, 340 pages, Hardcover $29.95, August 2000, ISBN 1578511895
As a person who buys and sells business books, I am often asked how I pick the books I read and get excited about. I do it the same way a railbird at Churchill Downs chooses the Kentucky Derby winner: pedigree of the author, pedigree of the publisher, and content. So, based on these three criteria, is this book destined to be a success? Lets see. Do we have a pedigreed author? Yes. As previously mentioned, Gary Hamel is one important dude. I can confidently say that Hamel is not only a brilliant presenter, but also one of the premier business thinkers of our time. Do we have a pedigreed publisher? Yes, again. HBSP is a serious publisher, invested in dispatching serious, academic business information. Also, when this book was announced, and I saw how HBSP packaged the information in the book, I was very impressed. Let me explain. This is the first serious management book, that I can remember, that is published in four colors. It seems that every page has either a gorgeous color picture or a relevant chart to illustrate a point. I generally find books like this almost cluttered but not this one. And finally, do we have content? Definitely.
In Leading the Revolution, Hamel asserts that to be a revolutionary you truly have to look at everything differently. This book is an action plan to be different in an often reactive (read: safety-first) business climate. For example, his analysis of the cyber b-school is brilliant. He is a proponent of these MBA classes taught on line with local tutors for a flat rate of $2000 per year with the best professors in all disciplines earning high six figures income. Most importantly, the book entices you to look critically at your own company and see how you can keep your business on the leading edge of change. Hamel warns that to become complacent in business is hazardous, if not fatal.