January 15, 2007

News & Opinion: NYT Book Review on Setting The Table

By: 800-CEO-READ @ 8:36 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

I picked the Sunday New York Times yesterday and saw Setting The Table (written by Danny Meyer) was reviewed by Sara Dickerman. Her review shows she likes the book, but Dickerman thinks Meyer gets a little cutesy:
But Meyer is not giving advice to would-be restauranteurs: his book aims for a broader business audience. Whether his model of "hospitalitocracy" can expand beyond the service industry is hard to say, but Meyer certainly tries hard. This book wants to be a business parable of sorts--the kind populated by metaphorical parachutes, cheese, and sharks. Meyer apparently can't resist the genre: he thinks of staff members "not as servers, but as surfers"; he imagines businesses as moth-attracting light bulbs; and he refers to the press, somewhat predictably, as a shark.

Meyer is more persuasive and interesting, both as a storyteller and as a business adviser, when he sticks to concrete examples from his working life instead of spinning them into catchphrases that might work in PowerPoint presentations...When Meyers slips into generic business-speak, that all-important narrative gets lost.