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March 31, 2006

News & Opinion: MUST READ: Hard Facts, Dangerous Half-Truths & Total Nonsense

By: Dylan Schleicher @ 2:55 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture


I am a huge fan of the new book from Jeff Pfeffer and Bob Sutton called Hard Facts, Dangerous Half-Truths & Total Nonsense. I am making it my Must Read for Spring 2006.

Hard Facts is really the prequel to their 2000 book The Knowing Doing Gap. In their first book, they laid out a great case for why companies can't get anything done. They also said the information everyone has is pretty much the same, and the only difference left is what you do with that information (you can read my recent review and another from Diego Rodriguez).

Their new book takes on the Knowing side of the equation. Jeff and Bob say that executives are too often sucked into the company profiles reported in the business media. The common wisdom reported can often not be repeated. They suggest using a fact based approach to decision making. If you think you are already using hard data to run your company, answer a couple of these questions:
  • Are Great Leaders In Control of Their Companies?
  • Do The Best Organizations Have The Best People?
  • Do Financial Incentives Drive Company Performance?

What I found were subtlies and nuances in their book. Management is a craft and there are no easy answers. If you are looking for easy answers and bold takeaways, do not read this book. This is about critical thinking and taking time to understand the effects your decisions will have on your organization.

Here is a nice primer on Hard Facts from U.S. News and World Report, ahead of our podcast with Jeff and Bob. We will have that up today or tomorrow.

Past Must Reads:

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.