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1. Leader As Coach: Strategies for
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2. 29 Leadership Secrets From Jack
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3. The Dance of Change: The Challenges
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4. Coaching for Performance: Growing
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5. Overcoming Organizational Defenses
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6. Cultivating Communities of Practice
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7. If Only We Knew What We Know :
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8. Reinventing Strategy: Using Strategic
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9. Action Inquiry: The Secret of
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10. The Manager's Pocket Guide to
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11. Building the Learning Organization
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12. Critical Chain
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13. Games That Teach: Experiential
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14. The Future of Knowledge: Increasing
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15. It's Not Luck
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16. Organizational Learning, Performance,
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17. Action Learning in Action: Transforming
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18. Positive Organizational Scholarship:
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19. The Corporate University Handbook:
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20. Lessons in Learning, e-Learning,

1. Leader As Coach: Strategies for Coaching & Developing Others
by David B. Peterson, Mary Dee Hicks
list price: $19.95
our price: $16.96
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0938529145
Catlog: Book (1996-02-01)
Publisher: Personnel Decisions Inc
Sales Rank: 26532
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

'Leader As Coach' is a straight-forward, practical book that can help you lead your people and your organization to greater success.

The tips and practices in 'Leader As Coach' will enable you to sharpen your coaching skills so that you can attract and retain the talent you need for success, foster growth in others, provide effective feedback, orchestrate learning opportunities, and groom high-potential performers. After all, your people are your most important asset.

Within these pages you’ll find:
--Five high-impact strategies for effective coaching.
--Useful insights on how to deal with resistance and motivate others.
--Hundreds of tips and action steps to make you a better coach. ... Read more

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Professional Coaching
Our company recently hosted a presentation from David Peterson, one of the authors of Leader as Coach. His audience was a small group of HR managers and Training consultants. He provided us with a no nonsense, credible approach to coaching managers and leaders. The title of his presentation was quite true to that title, providing us with a clear vision of the state of the art and insights into the state of the practice.

David and Mary Dee's book, Leader as Coach, is the foundation for one of the clearest and most well-reasoned approaches to Coaching I have seen after a decade in this business. But don't stop with this book. Go on from here to Personnel Decisions International's Development FIRST and Supervisor's Handbook

5-0 out of 5 stars This book has been my guide for my active research project.
This book has been both inspirational and motivational for me. I love the quotes and have used them when sending memos to people involved in my Masters active research project. The few colorful pictures are beautiful and representative of reaching high for the stars. The texture of the paper used is similar to a magazine's. I almost felt I was reading one, which felt more like leisure reading. The book is short, easy to read, and to the point. I've taken much of the advise while I've engaged as a leader in my project. I've made efforts to become a better listener, give positive feedback, inspire people to take risks, and built a bond of trust. I learned that I have to model the good habits I'd like others to practice. The strategies suggested are a must for people in the business world and adminstrators or leaders in education. The book is practical for anyone who assumes a leadership role and does not know how to begin the process. Thumbs up! ... Read more


2. 29 Leadership Secrets From Jack Welch
by RobertSlater
list price: $9.95
our price: $8.96
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Asin: 0071409378
Catlog: Book (2002-09-28)
Publisher: McGraw-Hill
Sales Rank: 42309
Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The first concise book of essential Welch-isms, abridged from the bestselling Get Better or Get Beaten

Jack Welch built a career out of fighting waste. 29 Leadership Secrets from Jack Welch follows in Welch's footsteps, boiling the legendary CEO's leadership successes down to 29 strategies that made GE the world's most competitive company­­and Welch the world's most successful and admired CEO.

This all-in-one Welch reference updates material from Robert Slater's bestselling Get Better or Get Beaten, and is today's ultimate fast-paced, no-nonsense handbook on the ways of Jack Welch. It taps into the heart of Welch's courage, innovation, and leadership success by examining simple leadership secrets that include:

  • Managing less is managing better
  • Make quality the job of every employee
  • Have global brains and vision
... Read more

Reviews (2)

2-0 out of 5 stars The Ideas are 5 Star but the Book is 2 Stars
This book reminds me of the best seller "Who Moved My Cheese". They are both written in oversized font and are about 100 pages long and both cover simple messages. If the books were in a regular font they would be 30 pages??

Please do not get me wrong. But it is just a feeling one gets that they have been had, sold a bill of goods which is just a summary with comments for $10. Somebody has written down a list of XX number of principle ideas or management techniques, and then expanded each idea to fill the 100 (30 real) pages. It would be almost as effective to just make a list of them on one or two pages.

The upshot of all this is do not buy this book, but by Jack's book "Straight from the Gut", or buy Slater's book: "Jack Welch & The G.E. Way".

I prefer Jack's own book, and to me it beats many more sophisticated business books hands down. Business is not black and white. Almost every day there is one crisis or problem or another, and Jack's story puts it all together plus conveys the energy and excitement that he brought to the job. Something is lost in the list approach.

Jack in Toronto

3-0 out of 5 stars I wonder . . .
There are many books about Jack Welch and all of them show and teach the corporate strategies and tactics this legendary manager implemented while at GE. Most of those titles portrait Welch as the successful business person everybody would like to be. However, I would like to warn the reader that the professional success of famous CEOs cost them their families. It's hard to believe how Welch was able to manage thousands of relations with millions of people at GE, while on the other side he failed on a relation with only one person: his wife. By the way, how many wives has he had??? Is that success??? In which planet???

Now about the book . . . it's a good title but only read it if you have never before read a title about Jack Welch or GE; if you had, it's more about the same old stuff, and I would recommend your spending your money in a smarter way. ... Read more


3. The Dance of Change: The Challenges to Sustaining Momentum in Learning Organizations
by Peter M. Senge, Art Kleiner, Charlotte Roberts, George Roth, Rick Ross, Bryan Smith
list price: $35.00
our price: $23.10
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385493223
Catlog: Book (1999-03-16)
Publisher: Currency
Sales Rank: 27514
Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Since its release in 1990, Peter M. Senge's bestsellingThe Fifth Discipline has converted readers to its innovative business principles of the "learning organization," personal mastery, and systems thinking. Published nearly a decade later, Dance of Change provides a formidable response to businesspeople wondering how to make his programs stick. He outlines potential obstacles (such as initiating transformation, personal fear and anxiety, and measuring the unmeasurable) and proposes ways to turn these obstacles into sources of improvement. Senge--with considerable help from the team who worked on the follow-up development manual,The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook--presents an insider's account of long-term maintenance efforts at General Electric, Harley-Davidson, the U.S. Army, and others who are learning organization, along with experience-based suggestions and exercises for individuals and teams. "We are seeking to understand how people nurture the reinforcing growth processes that naturally enable an organization to evolve and change," Senge explains, "and how they tend to the limiting processes that can impede or stop that growth." --Howard Rothman ... Read more

Reviews (15)

5-0 out of 5 stars GETTING TO THE CORE OF CHANGE...PATTERNS OF THE HUMAN MIND.
The core premise of the book is that the key to achieving and sustaining significant change lies in changing people's basic ways of thinking. Those of us who have worked with organizations to achieve meaningful change, quickly come to realize that the central challenge is the engrained patterns of thought in the minds of people. That is the ultimate challenge that this work sets out to tackle.

The question one is left with, as with many books of this type, is not the value of the book (it is excellent), but How many leaders of change will read this volume, take its insights to heart, and ACT upon them?

The book is divided into three sections around the challenges of initiating, sustaining, and redesigning and rethinking. Within these sections are the ten key challenges to profound change. The notes from the field provide a record of organizational change initiatives and specific approaches taken by GE, Hewlett-Packard, British Petroleum, Ford, Dupont, and others. The book includes case histories, round-table discussions, team exercises, checklists, and solid guidance.

This work is densely packed with valuable insights, guidance, and developmental techniques. It offers enormous potential to receptive and motivated readers who are able to move from thought to action. Highly recommended. Reviewed by Gerry Stern, founder, Stern & Associates, author of Stern's Sourcefinder: The Master Directory to HR and Business Management Information & Resources, Stern's CyberSpace SourceFinder, and Stern's Compensation and Benefits SourceFinder.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great book to look at change from different lenses
This book is touted as a "resource" to the Fifth Discipline, but my view is that it could itself stand on its own steam as a handbook for change management. With articles contributed by a variety of authors, the book looks at the challenges of triggering, initiating, aligning and sustaining change and the various diverse ways to confront and solve those challenges.
The challenges that the book identifies are the challenges of:

Orientation, Generating Profound Change, Not Enough Time, No Help, Not Relevant, Walking the Talk, Fear & Anxiety, Assessment & Measurement, True Believers and Non-believers, Governance, Diffusion, Strategy & Purpose.

The book is choc-a-block with tools, explanation of jargon and
references to other resources. An orientation to Systems Thinking and looking at organizations as complex systems would help in clarifying the book more. Hence it is desirable to read "the fifth discipline" before you read it.
However, the delightful nature of this book ensures that you can flip open any page, read a little bit and keep it back, and feel refreshed and not thirst for more.
For people who look at organizations as communities, as networks and as human systems in addition to just being an economic entity this book will delight and scare.
For others, this book will act as a provoking way to look at change and organizations in search of equilibrium.

4-0 out of 5 stars Ponderous
While I enjoyed this work and read it from cover to cover, it did begin to seem like too much of good thing. Some of the organization information seemed dated and some of the people who are offering advice are probably no longer held with such high regard in their former organizations. In any case, I would recommed it to anyone who is doing graduate or post-graduate work in organization and management or just wants some insight into how organizations really work.

3-0 out of 5 stars Retread
Senge et al have done some wonderful work through time. But like many guru's they begin to sing the chorus of the song again and again with each new title. There are useful things to be found here but if you are looking to stretch your thinking beyond his early works you need to look elsewhere. However, if you are building a library of sound work in the area of change, organizational development and other assorted things then this will prove to be a useful resource. I discounted it simply because I was hoping to find a fresh breeze within.

5-0 out of 5 stars Profound!!!!
This is the best piece of work of seen in years. It is visionary and prescritive. A must read for anyone interested in getting on the innovation highway. ... Read more


4. Coaching for Performance: Growing People, Performance and Purpose
by John Whitmore
list price: $17.95
our price: $12.21
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1857883039
Catlog: Book (2002-05-01)
Publisher: Nicholas Brealey Publishing
Sales Rank: 9662
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

A new edition of the book that took the art of coaching to new heights. Since COACHING FOR PERFORMANCE was first published over a decade ago, John Whitmore has lead the way with this best-selling classic that has sold more than 200,000 copies worldwide. Translated into a dozen languages and considered a ‘must-read' by such international leaders as Coca-Cola, this is the definitive guide to mastering the skills needed to help people unlock their potential and maximize their performance. ... Read more

Reviews (5)

2-0 out of 5 stars Difficult leap from tennis to business
I used this book for a class on coaching and developing employees. There were eleven people in the class that read the book and each was very disappointed. The overall conclusion was that the author should stick to sports, as the attempt to link the priciples to business was too far of a stretch. We will not be using this book again.

5-0 out of 5 stars Packed with Knowledge!
We immediately liked John Whitmore's book on coaching for one simple reason: It admits right off that a coterie of charlatans have passed off their bogus "consulting" approaches as business coaching, thereby diminishing the credibility of the practice. But Whitmore does more than recognize the problem: He sets the record straight by providing a true definition, a working history and a psychological explanation of real coaching, which evolved out of sports performance enhancement. Capping off this overview is a comprehensive guide to practical coaching practices, complete with techniques that readers can adopt in their own careers. We from getAbstract highly recommend this book to all business managers, human resource professionals and, of course, coaches.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great overview of coaching
Highly recommend this book. The author clearly explains coaching and how its correct use can impact both your organization and your success as a manager. He gives plenty of facts and outlines for use. A must buy!

Also suggest a well-received book that espouses coaching and leadership skills and responsibility in a unique and easily read way. My company uses it for leader development/training. It's called ""The Leader's Guide: 15 Essential Skills.""

3-0 out of 5 stars Coaching for Managers
'Coaching for Performance' offers insight into the techniques of successful coaching, covering well the subjects of motivation, performance, and goals. At times, however, it seems as though the author is talking down to the reader; perhaps that is just the 'accent' of a British nobleman. The writing also seems a bit like 'teacher talking' instead of heartfelt sharing of life's experience. Nonetheless, the material is precise and compelling. The text covers the coach/coachee relationship quite extensively and is an excellent resource for managers and formal coaches of the 'mentor' variety. Scant coverage is given to the particular coaching needs of working groups or teams.

5-0 out of 5 stars This was a very informative book.
The book was a pleasure to read and informative. It links how coaching for success in sports corresponds with coaching in business. It was a very intersting approach. I recommend the book highly. ... Read more


5. Overcoming Organizational Defenses : Facilitating Organizational Learning
by Chris Argyris
list price: $99.00
our price: $99.00
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Asin: 0205123384
Catlog: Book (1990-03-15)
Publisher: Prentice Hall
Sales Rank: 57556
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars *ESSENTIAL* for Managers & those considering 360 feedback
Chris Argyris' work is essential reading for the executive who truly wants to leverage his/her organization's culture and workforce capability into the ultimate long-term competitive advantage.

Like it or not, unsticking "stuck" cultures is what stands between executives who ultimately deliver versus those who merely ride the gravy-train for the first 2 years of a 5 year contract before getting fired. So listen up: with Knowledge Workers the "soft stuff" IS the meat & potatoes!

Also, Argyris is also essential reading for anyone who is considering the use of the 360-Feedback tool. In my book, 360 is a powerful tool that is *dangerous* in the wrong hands; particularly if it's used in an unhealthy culture. The effective manager for the Information Age has to have atleast "some" competence in organizational psychology --in addition to having an external O.D. (Org Development) professional on retainer to get the org initially "unstuck" and keep it that way until things are back on track.

Argyris is an Industrial / Organizational Psychologist (I/O P) and OD guru with heavily sociological and cognitive psychology leanings. Argyris is the "OD person's OD person"; his career goes back to the 1950's. Argyris has devoted his life to these 2 key goals: (1)understanding what is required to integrate the individual into the collective (highly relevant in the era of the Knowledge Worker) and (2)how to monitor & measure progress in this regard in a way that produces "ACTIONABLE knowledge" for continuously improving this integration process. With Argyris -- the rubber meets the road and traction is imminent.

Argyris' later work can be grouped into a "quartet" of books. However the reader should be cautioned because Argyris writes under 2 potentially frustrating assumptions: (1)that the reader is atleast a Master's Degree level person in I/O P; (2)that the reader has read his previous books and is thus ready to tackle the new material at hand. However, I'm delighted to point out that -- with the proper reading approach -- a non-OD everyday-manager-type can read and understand The Argyris Way without too much difficulty. The secret is to read atleast 2 of Argyris' books in the proper order. I prescribe 2 approaches to tackling Argyris: 1 for non-OD people (managers & executives) and 1 for OD people (the propeller-heads who actually know this stuff). Here they are:

(BOOK 1) Argyris "Overcoming Organizational Defenses" c1990. This is a McDonald's drive thru version of the much more involved 1985 release cited as book # 4 below. This is the starting point for everyday managers & executives who are thinking about engaging an OD person for their organizations but do not plan on being I/O P people themselves. The price to understand the Argyris way will be paid here -- and it is a price very much worth paying. If you're new to I/O P, plan on 5 full evenings of reading to get thru this 1st book -- and in the process you will have read the book thru twice. Don't have that kind of time you say? Either MAKE the time or The Law of Darwin will soon be awarding your job to someone else!

(BOOK 2) Martin Seligman's "Learned Optimism 2ed" c1998. Get a high-level understanding of the difference between cognitive versus behavioral psychology. Otherwise, to not read this book in tandem with the Argyris work will leave the reader open to error by assuming outdated behaviorist psychology norms (which is the error that presently pervades Human Resources' thinking in the areas of performance management and compensation). This book can be read in 2 nights.

(BOOK 3) Argyris "Knowledge for Action" c1993. This takes the reader through a complete, comprehensive real-life diagnosis and intervention process using the tenets presented in book #1 above. This book can be read in a couple of afternoons assuming that the price has already been paid by reading book #1. Non-OD people can stop their reading here.

(BOOK 4) Argyris "Action Science" c1985. This is the full scholar's version of his I/O P approach and will take 2 weeks of evenings to get through. For an OD, I recommend reading this 1st before Argyris "Overcoming".

(BOOK 5) Argyris "On Organizational Learning, 2ed" c1998. Note that this is a different book from "On Org Learning 2: Theory, Method & Practice" c1995. Strictly for OD people, this is a comprehensive survey & critique of present literature and approaches in the OD field. Of particular value is his treatise of Edgar Schein's work and re-emphasizing the value of sociology in the science of psychology.

I'll close by paraphrasing the Argyris model here as a teaser. There are 2 states of Human reasoning:
Model 1 = intra-personal BEFORE inter-personal (defensive / independent)
Model 2 = intra-personal .AND. inter-personal (productive / synergistic)

I'll also add in a 3rd state as my own corollary:
Model 3 = intra-personal AFTER inter-personal ( "Divine" )

Model 3 is beyond man's capability, Model 2 would be Stephen Covey's 7 Habits in action at rung 6 on the effectiveness ladder, and Model 1 is the actual/default "selfish" pattern of most people today -- thanks to the psychological conditioning of countless centuries prior to the Information Age.

Borrowing from Seligman, the younger Baby-Boomers and later generations are the 1st in the history of the world to "have the choice" to be knowledge workers. This throws people together into complex social systems that require a new level of communication ability that's new to man as a species and is currently not taught in schools. As a survival mechanism, mankind's default behavior is Model 1 -- even though he will verbally claim Model 2 or even Model 3. Overcoming defensive Model 1 behavior is an effort that requires years of committed work -- BUT IS THE VERY GATEWAY to functioning in the more mature organizational structures that lay beyond command-and-control (such as empowered workgroups); and that offer so much promise to knowledge-intense organizations.

A final caution: moving the organization from Model 1 to Model 2 is a project that should be treated with the seriousness of any other project -- as a set of value-based deliverables that are defined ahead of time and whose ultimate realization is preceeded by the conscientious commitment of resources. And because of the emotional aspects of the project early-on -- for the 1st 1 to 2 years the OD interventionist should be a person completely external to the organization -- or else the project is guaranteed to fail. Executive sponsorship alone will not be enough.

4-0 out of 5 stars A classic in the field of prganizational Learning
Chris Argyris presents a classic in organizational learning. Some of the concepts explored and researched here form the basis for some of the priciples of the Learning Organization. Argyris discussion of theories-in-use, social virtues and skilled incompetence is a fascinating and eye-opening exercise.

However, the book is written by an academician largely for academicians. If you want 'easy' reading this is not the book for you. If you are, on the other hand, serious about organizational learning, change and human performance, then this book should definitely be on your book-shelf.

The Book is organized into 9 chapters:
1. Puzzles.
2. Human Theories of Control: Skilled Incompetence.
3. Organizational Defensive Routines.
4. Fancy Footwork and Malaise.
5. Sound Advice: It Compounds the Problem.
6. reducing the Organizational Defense Pattern.
7. Making the New Theory of Managing Human Performance Come True.
8. Getting from Here to There.
9. Upping the Ante. ... Read more


6. Cultivating Communities of Practice
by Etienne Wenger, Richard McDermott, William M. Snyder
list price: $29.95
our price: $18.87
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1578513308
Catlog: Book (2002-03-15)
Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
Sales Rank: 17089
Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

From the time our ancestors lived in caves to that day in the late '80s when Chrysler sanctioned unofficial "tech clubs" to promote the flow of information between teams working on different vehicle platforms, bands of like-minded individuals had been gathering in a wide variety of settings to recount their experiences and share their expertise. Few paid much attention until a number of possible benefits to business were identified, but many are watching more closely now that definitive links have been established. In Cultivating Communities of Practice, consultants Etienne C. Wenger, Richard McDermott, and William Snyder take the concept to another level by describing how these groups might be purposely developed as a key driver of organizational performance in the knowledge age. Building on a 1998 book by Wenger that framed the theory for an academic audience, Cultivating Communities of Practice targets practitioners with pragmatic advice based on the accumulating track records of firms such as the World Bank, Shell Oil, and McKinsey & Company. Starting with a detailed explanation of what these groups really are and why they can prove so useful in managing knowledge within an organization, the authors discuss development from initial design through subsequent evolution. They also address the potential "dark side"--arrogance, cliquishness, rigidity, and fragmentation among participants, for example--as well as measurement issues and the challenges inherent in initiating these groups company-wide. --Howard Rothman ... Read more

Reviews (10)

5-0 out of 5 stars A community of practice == a virtual community ?
Wenger, McDermott and Snyder draw on the past to describe the usefulness of a community of practice. In the Stone Age knowledge was passed on to others while people gathered around a fire and discussed hunting strategies. A community of practice is a group of people who may be trying to solve a problem and who interact about a topic in order to deepen their knowledge. The aim is shared insight and information. The authors write that in the time of ancient Rome corporations of metalworkers, potters, masons and craftsmen formed communities with a combined business and social function. Moreover, in the Middle Ages artisans formed guilds as a way to share knowledge and experiences. Therefore, the authors argue that community as a basis for knowledge creation and management has a long historical tradition.

Wenger, McDermott and Snyder believe that knowledge management needs to become more systematic and deliberate. The authors believe in the collective nature of knowledge, which involves every person contributing their perspective of a problem. A Community of Practice (CoP) allows for the connection of isolated pockets of expertise across an organization. The CoP consists of a domain of knowledge, a community of people and the shared practice they are developing. The community environment allows for interactions, relationships, sharing of ideas and the opportunity to ask difficult questions. The purpose of the CoP is to create, expand and exchange knowledge. The authors believe that a large number of CoP members rarely participate. Instead they watch the interaction and learn from the discussions that occur, learning from them. The authors believe that the most valuable activities consist of informal discussions that occur between members to solve a particular problem. A case study given is that of Shell, which has created CoP's around particular technical topics.

Wenger, McDermott and Snyder go into detail over how a CoP functions. At the beginning it is important to find common ground between all the members of the community. Members need to find out if they share similar problems and passions with one another. The authors believe a variety of communities exist: help communities, best practice, innovation and knowledge stewarding communities. Usually a community coordinator is needed who identifies important issues and plans events. The author's method for assessing the performance of a community consists of asking the questions: What did the community do? What knowledge did they produce? And how were those applied to get results?

All the characteristics mentioned, although are only intended by the authors to represent a CoP, share similarities with a virtual community. In fact the authors believe that Internet technology such as asynchronous threaded discussions can be used for distributed communities of practice. In fact some CoP's have websites where members have their pictures and biographical information on the site. However, Wenger, McDermott and Snyder make no connection between a community of practice and a virtual community. In fact they don't mention the two being related in any way at all, despite the dynamics appearing to be very similar. At the end of the book this omission seems very obvious given the incredible growth of virtual community at eBay and Amazon.

5-0 out of 5 stars Communities within large organizations
This is a very useful detailed assessment of the role of communities of practice as developers and stewards of knowledge and their interaction with the application of knowledge inside commercial organizations. (The book is written around business organizations, but its content applies very well to public sector organizations as well and will be useful to public sector knowledge managers.)

The authors' focus of attention is - explicitly - on communities within (almost by definition quite large) organizations, and how they can be cultivated as a key element in the organization's success. Although the authors acknowledge that communities of practice can and do cross organizational boundaries, their attention to this aspect is cursory. As a result a number of very important issues (for example the degree of openness permitted/encouraged where communities cross organizational boundaries, the challenge to professional loyalties, access by specialists who are isolates within their own organization to communities of practice across the nation or the world, the management of communities of practice across strategic alliances) do not get attention.

That is about my only criticism and is almost more in the nature of a plea for someone to provide equivalent coverage of that critically important and growing field of interest.

The book defines communities of practice (COP) in relation to other groupings (for example it makes a useful distinction from communities of interest, while acknowledging that the distinctions are 'fuzzy' - see the useful table on P. 42). It also identifies the key roles, key elements and principles affecting the successful operation of COPs and factors requiring attention over their life cycle. The authors also identify diseases of COPs and their causes, address the difficult issue of measuring and managing value creation through them and provides guidance on the role of the management structure of an organization in fostering and supporting COPs within it.

4-0 out of 5 stars Interesting and Practical Guide for Organizational Leaders
The metaphor in this book's title says it all. Wenger, McDermott, and Snyder have written a practical guide aimed at helping you grow and develop semi-informal communities capable of having a life of their own. The model they put forward is fairly simple and easy to understand.

Communities of practice, according to the authors, have three essential focal points. The first is the "domain" which is essentially the topic area or subject that people gather around to discuss, learn, and improve. Next is the "community" which includes the people who want to learn, share, and engage one another. In the words of the authors, these communicating people are the "social fabric of learning." Finally you have the "practice" which is a specific set of frameworks, tools, information, language, stories and documents that the community shares and produces with one another. All communities of practice must address the domain, community, and practices if they are going to be successful and meaningful.

With this framework in mind, the authors go on to discuss how communities of practices move through five idfferent stages--from potenital to transformation--as they mature. The majority of the book discusses the opportunities and obstacles that we face when working with a community of practice throughout the five stages. Many key ideas emerge in these chapters. Stewrdship seems to be more important than management. We cannot expect communities of practice to only solve the problems we face (which they can), but we must also expect them to create problems of their own. Building connections and aiming to add value to each community member should be an early priority. These statements are just a small sample of the ideas discussed.

Finally, the book ends by discussing how you might measure the value added and how community-based knowledge initiatives can help an organization improve its overall learning and performance.

No doubt the addresses a "soft" topic. My reaction is that effectively stewarding a community of practice requires a fairly unique person who is able to work for the good of the group and has particularly strong networking and opportunity identification skills. That said, the authors do a superb job of helping us see exactly what skills are needed for growing our own community.

This is a highly practical and easy to read book. I read this cover-to-cover in a single day. The theory of communities of practice is largely limited to only essentials and most of the time is spent helping the reader see how communities operate. If you are looking for advice about how to form a learning or discourse community around a particular issue or topic at work, or if you are interested in forming a collegial group that shares and learns about a topic, then this book is for you. This book is very much about life long learning in a professional context. It presents the community of practice as a nice alternative to the formal team or ad hoc committee. In short, this is a users' guide for meaningful and productive knowledge management groups and learning communities.

5-0 out of 5 stars An essential reading for the knowlege economy
This book, just published by "the three musketeers of Communities of Practice", is a practical guide to managing knowledge. What makes this book special is that it goes far beyond the simple explanation and advocacy for communities of practice, which we have all been reading about for the last five years. Through in-depth cases from firms such as DaimlerChrysler, McKinsey & Company, Shell, and the World Bank, the authors expand on many practical aspects one should have in mind when engaging in a community development: The "seven principles", the "five development steps" are presented in practical terms and with great details so that they can be used as a framework for all practitioners.

The approach to "cultivating" and nurturing communities, as opposed to "managing" them, is also explained so that managers will hopefully resist the urge to try and control them using mechanistic mental models. At last, the question of measuring value creation for organizations is addressed in convincing and, again, practical ways.

There is also some wisdom in this book. The "dark side" of communities of practice is also addressed. If unproperly managed, communities of practice can indeed create isolation, collusion, or tensions, which can be quite destructive for community members and sponsoring organizations.

This book is an essential reading for any leader in today's knowledge economy. It will undoubtedly remain as a reference for all of us practitioners who want to develop communities of practice for the benefit and long-term success of organizations and their employees.

4-0 out of 5 stars Relevant, Insightful and Practical
This is a very interesting book in explaining how to initiate communities of practice, their lifecycle and their role in the sharing and development of knowledge. Over the last ten or twenty years there has been much written about new organizational structures and the emerging importance of developing and retaining knowledge within corporations. Wenger, McDermott and Snyder approach this topic from a social perspective and apply some standard community building concepts to "communities of practice". This contrasts much of the popular thinking on these topics that tend to overemphasize the role of technology in helping to build communities or address knowledge management issues.

Cultivating Communities of Practice is and excellent handbook for anyone involved in the setup, participation or stewardship of "communities of practice" within a corporation. I would though suggest that the emphasis is on "corporation", which in some cases implies individuals having some predetermined alignment (presumably with the interests of the corporation). There is some very good discussion at the end of the book covering communities of practice outside of the corporation with and some review of supply chains and 3rd sector examples, although very limited coverage. It was noted that the focus has been on corporations as this is where there are solid examples of these practices. Hopefully a future book will address this area in more depth.

This book is identified as "A Guide to Managing Knowledge", and it does fit this description well. If you still believe that technology can be the primary component of a knowledge management strategy, then you need this book to better understand the nature of knowledge management in terms of communities of practice. ... Read more


7. If Only We Knew What We Know : The Transfer of Internal Knowledge and Best Practice
by Carla O'dell, C. Jackson Grayson
list price: $30.00
our price: $19.80
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0684844745
Catlog: Book (1998-11-10)
Publisher: Free Press
Sales Rank: 33067
Average Customer Review: 4.54 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Responding to the familiar observation that what you don't know can and will hurt you, American Productivity and Quality Center leaders Carla O'Dell and C. Jackson Grayson Jr. have countered with a contention that the "hidden reservoirs of intelligence that exist in almost every organization" can, with work, be efficiently tapped "to create customer value, operational excellence, and product innovation--all the while increasing profits and effectiveness." If Only We Knew What We Know is their detailed examination of the resultant groundbreaking but common-sense methodology they have dubbed "knowledge management," along with their analysis of several companies such as Amoco, Arthur Andersen, Buckman Laboratories, and Xerox that are successfully employing it today. By studying the execution and evolution of this practice in over 70 companies involved with their non-profit management organization, the two have observed how top practitioners are turning internal information that's already selectively available into dynamic improvements that are apparent throughout the companies. They describe how to implement knowledge management in your own firm and describe the "enabling context" (including infrastructure, culture, technology, and measurement) that help or hinder the process. --Howard Rothman ... Read more

Reviews (13)

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best knowledge management book I've ever read
The authors of this book will not try to seduce you with another 'management recipe' or fad. Knowledge will ultimately become the only sustainable advantage for companies of the future. Unfortunately, most companies do not realize that they internally possess unexplored knowledge on their own human, customers, and structural capital. This book will clearly demonstrate on how to extract out and share our internal knowledge and best practice, so we can use them to create our value propositions. In addition to rich case analyses and stories, this book will also guide you to start your own knowledge program. Read this book and put it into action. Also recommended: The Knowledge-Creating Company by Nonaka and Takeuchi.

5-0 out of 5 stars Very Relevant and Excellent Read
This book provides a terrific introduction to knowledge management and so much more. The authors have gone well beyond the theoretical treatment that most have provided on the subject and provide real world examples and processes for implementing knowledge management in your own company. The authors did not spend much time talking about applications that support KM, since the market is still growing, instead they touch upon the concepts that the software applications address. Although it was written in late 1998, the information presented is very timely and still accurate.

-- Highlights --
The first section of the book (3 chapters, 30 pages or so) get you up to speed on what knowledge management is and is not. It also addresses some barriers and benefits of KM.

The second section of the book makes you think about the reasoning behind a KM initiative. This should be standard management-type thinking, but I've found it to be often overlooked in today's IT environment. Why are we doing this? The authors give you three reasons (customer intimacy, time-to-market, and operational excellence) and tell you the type of data to focus on for each of the three reasons.

The third section talks about enabling the enterprise to effectively use a KM system. The authors note that it is vital for the processes to be aligned witht he strategy of the company and the job tasks people currently undertake. To that end, they look at the cultural, technological, infrastructure, and measurement requirements of the KM initiative.

The fourth section gives some case studies of Texas Instruments, Buckman Laboratories, and Sequent. The text refers to these case studies throughout the earlier chapters of the book and now gives them each a chapter to overview how they went about building a successful knowledge sharing infrastructure.

The fifth and final section of the book gives a framework for pursuing the sharing of knowledge and best practices. This is the "What do I do on Monday?" section, according to the authors. It gives a 40 page prescription for the planning, designing, implementing, and scaling phases of a knowledge management program.

The next several years will be very interesting in the I.T. arena. These authors were somewhat ahead of their time in writing this book. Companies across the globe have been storing knowledge in their silos for the past decade as they have taken products to market, built disconnected customer information systems, and as employees have given feedback on internal business processes. The coming business intelligence revolution will seek to organize that information and put it in the hands of people who can create value and grow the business based on the intrinsic knowledge it contains. This book provides a great framework for those who have to conceptualize, design, and build information systems to meet those needs.

3-0 out of 5 stars Solid Theory, But More Execution Tasks Needed
This book focuses on making the case for a knowledge management system. If you're already convinced and need specific, measurable steps, try a different book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Good and to the point
This book is the best for understanding and applying KM in a company environment. It defines what you need and does not make you waste time with elaborated theories that are not useful.

5-0 out of 5 stars An effective approach for consultants
I think the best recommendation I can give for this book is to show how it has helped me. As a consultant one of my biggest struggles is efficiently extracting information from clients. Although this book is about finding, aggregating and disseminating internal knowledge, the approach has proven invaluable to finding where my clients' pools of knowledge are and using this to efficiently craft solutions that are based on best practices that have been developed by my clients. I have too often dscovered that my clients have best practices and other knowledge artifacts that are not known throughout their organization.

An example of how difficult organizational knowledge is to ferret out is shown by one consulting engagement where the client needed problem management processes. All of the "identified" stakeholders and points of contact claimed that there were no written definitions of severity levels, which are an important part of the process. After developing a complete set of definitions and circulating them for stakeholder review out of the blue an unidentified stakeholder emerged and produced a set of definitions that was written years before. Had I read this book before this particular engagement I would have approached it differently and would have identified the *real* stakeholders and pools of knowledge using the cultural enabler of knowledge transfer described in chapter 9. I would have also saved a significant amount of billable hours to the client in the process because what they already had (but just didn't know they had) met their exact requirements.

I gained a whole new perspective on analysis from this book. I now approach this task by identifying (or eliciting) value propositions from clients, and employing to the extent allowed by each consulting engagement the four enablers of knowledge transfer.

This book woke me up to some refined techniques and has influenced my thinking and approach on a number of levels. While it provides organizations with a valuable tool set with which to find and collect the valuable knowledge within, it is also a valuable tool for consultants who are always under pressure to gather data and information from clients as a prelude to findings and recommendations. I cannot emphasize strongly enough its value to both audiences. ... Read more


8. Reinventing Strategy: Using Strategic Learning to Create and Sustain Breakthrough Performance
by WilliePietersen, Willie Pietersen
list price: $34.95
our price: $23.07
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0471061905
Catlog: Book (2002-04-12)
Publisher: Wiley
Sales Rank: 44758
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Advance Praise for Willie Pietersens Reinventing Strategy

"With today's uncertainties, a sound strategy is not enough for business success. Effective, dynamic leadership is more important than ever in piloting an organization through a constantly shifting environment. In this timely book, Willie Pietersen reveals the profound connections between strategy and leadership, and offers a proven method for strengthening both." –Jim Copeland, Chief Executive Officer, Deloitte & Touche LLP, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu

"The companies that win tomorrow will be those that generate superior insights today. Willie Pietersen is a master of the process, and in Reinventing Strategy he teaches you how to make it work for your business." –Faith Popcorn, founder, BrainResource Inc., author, EVEolution: The Eight Truths of Marketing to Women

"Take the business savvy of a former CEO, mix in the leading-edge insights of a faculty member at a top business school, garnish generously with crystal-clear writing, and what do you have? Willie Pietersen's Reinventing Strategy–a must for executives in these turbulent times." –Donald C. Hambrick, Samuel Bronfman Professor of Democratic Business Enterprise, Columbia University Graduate School of Business

"Finding ways to transform companies into adaptive organizations able to respond intelligently to an ever-changing environment has become the top priority for business leaders. Reinventing Strategy offers a proven process for doing just that. It is a wonderful mix of theory and practice, plus commonsense reasoning that works–for all the right reasons." –From the Foreword by Bob Johansen, President, Institute for the Future ... Read more

Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Willie Pietersen gives us great strategy AND great practice
Willie Pietersen's Reinventing Strategy contains the basics of strategy, i.e., how to win, how to align the organization behind the chosen strategies, how to be sure that superior insights drive the strategic process. If that alone were his contribution, this book would be a significant contribution to the strategy literature.

But Pietersen goes much further than that. He shows us how, exactly, to develop these strategies, how he himself developed such strategies and what he learned about leadership in the process.

This book is about strategy, implementation and one man's journey as a leader and life-long learner. The result is an immensely human business book. The singular voice of the author comes through with clarity and humility. I know of no other business book that combines theory and practice with such a strongly personal view. Pietersen talks about the value of developing a leadership credo in his book. This book is, in essence, his own credo from a lifetime of leading and learning.

5-0 out of 5 stars Every Manager Should Read This Book
I am VP at a large consumer products company in Ohio and I found this book very insightful in the areas of creating strategy and leadership. I read a lot of business books and most are very slight in what they have to offer -- a few thoughts, old stories or worn out sayings. However, "Reinventing Strategy" is a real how-to-book and goes through running a successful business step-by-step. This book will definitely help my division be more profitable! In fact, I would love to go and take one of Prof. Pietersen's courses at Columbia University.

5-0 out of 5 stars A survival guide for business
Willie Pietersen has managed to pull together what's really important to achieve breakthrough performance. He's done this by telling clearly and convincingly the lessons learned from his years as a chief executive, but explained them from his new role as a Professor of the Practice of Management at the Columbia Business School. I've had the personal pleasure of watching Pietersen in action with business leaders from around the world who have participated in Columbia's Executive Education programs. The overriding comment from these executives is "this guy makes sense and has shown we how to face up to the challenges to my business' survival." Reinventing Strategy: Using Strategic Learning to Create and Sustain Breakthrough Performance is the next best thing to the live program.

If you want to move from Strategy theory to action and have your business survive in the process, read this book.
William M. Klepper, Ph.D.
Academic Director, Executive Education
Columbia Business School

5-0 out of 5 stars Business strategy as it should be written
Here is book that takes a practical look at business strategy and helps the business person to streamline his/her thinking.
Written in Willie Pietersens highly readable style,it has heft as well as humor, theory as well as practical examples. Oh that our Business School text books had been written thus!
I would recommend this book to anyone who sells anything.
Read the introductory chapters,grasp Pietersen's premise the go to any of the rich chapters. Concepts are clearly tagged, each making for a delicious informational meal that forces reflection. ... Read more


9. Action Inquiry: The Secret of Timely and Transforming Leadership
by Bill Torbert, Susanne Cook-Greuter, Dalmar Fisher, Erica Foldy, Alain Gauthier, Jackie Keeley, David Rooke, Sara Ross, Catherine Royce, Jenny Rudolph, Steve Taylor, Mariana Tran, William R. Torbert
list price: $29.95
our price: $29.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 157675264X
Catlog: Book (2004-06-01)
Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers
Sales Rank: 151136
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Book Description

"Action inquiry" is the process of transformational learning that individuals (and even whole organizations) can undertake to better assess current dangers and opportunities, act in a timely manner, and make future visions come true. Through short stories of leadership and organizational changes in the areas of business, politics, health care, and education, this book illustrates how this process can increase personal integrity, improve relationships, and lead to company profitability and long-term success. ... Read more


10. The Manager's Pocket Guide to Systems Thinking and Learning
by Stephen G. Haines
list price: $9.95
our price: $9.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0874254531
Catlog: Book (1999-02)
Publisher: HRD Press
Sales Rank: 29934
Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Systems Thinking is a more natural and better way to think, learn, act, and achieve desired results. Effectively implemented, it can dramatically improve a manager's effectiveness in today's complex and interconnected business world. This book provides managers with many practical new Systems Thinking tools and the main concepts of Systems Thinking to enhance individual, team, and organizational learning, change, and performance. Every manager should have a copy! ... Read more

Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Book
This book presents the elements of systems thinking in a clear and simple way.

4-0 out of 5 stars Systems Thinking Made Understandable
Haines gives an excellent explanation of systems dynamics. This book makes systems theory understandable, practical, and easy to apply. Haines provides models, tools, and explanations that help the reader put systems theory to use in personal and organizational development.

5-0 out of 5 stars Shows how a systems approach can simplify all change
Simplifies and clarifies a new, universal approach to all organizational change--systems thinking--that I was able to put into action immediately and virtually eliminate crisis management.

Provides clear, easy-to-implement management tools--including a great strategic planning model--for facilitating change on every level, while supplying a blueprint for real-time, interorganizational communication. ... Read more


11. Building the Learning Organization
by Michael J. Marquardt
list price: $36.95
our price: $32.52
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0891061657
Catlog: Book (2002-06-15)
Publisher: Davies-Black Publishing
Sales Rank: 160368
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

From technology and globalization to the increasing power of customers, the forces that have created the seismic changes in business today also serve as the foundation stones for the next generation of learning organizations. BUILDING THE LEARNING ORGANIZATION shows how to follow the path forged by such world-class leaders as Nokia, Alcoa, and Canadian Imperial Bank to adapt and survive broad-based change and scale the ladder of corporate learning.

In this new edition of his award-winning book, Michael Marquardt brings up-to-date his time-honored advice on how to harness the collective genius of people in organizations to build, maintain, and sustain the power of the learning organization. He has added dozens of case studies to demonstrate the power of his Systems Learning Organization model and to illustrate how each of the five subsystems--learning, organization, people, knowledge, and technology--support and energize one another. With specific recommendations for using the tools of action learning to build each of the critical subsystems, this proven resource includes assessments, new examples, and a detailed set of action steps for reaching the next stage of organizational success. ... Read more

Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars Insightful!
Okay, so you already know that everyone in your organization needs to be learning new skills and tactics all the time. If you wonder just how to accomplish that, on top of everything else you're doing, turn to Michael J. Marquardt's Building the Learning Organization for step by step guidance. Human resource professor Marquardt introduces the internal systems you need for structured, company-wide learning. In his professorial way, he runs through its dimensions, principles, practices and ideals in detail (all you ever wanted to know and perhaps just a bit more). He provides an instructive general framework, guidelines and sixteen steps to follow in creating a learning organization. He's a man with a plan, system by system, complete with charts, models, principles and subsystems. This tool box for implementation leaves the theoretical reader out of the loop, but we from getAbstract confirm that if you want something you can put into action as an executive, manager or human resource chief, here's your hands-on manual.

5-0 out of 5 stars Best book on the foundations of a learning organization!
This is a highly practical book with lots of specific principles and steps for building a learning organization. Also several excellent examples of learning organizations from around the world. ... Read more


12. Critical Chain
by Eliyahu Goldratt
list price: $19.95
our price: $13.57
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0884271536
Catlog: Book (1997-04-01)
Publisher: North River Press
Sales Rank: 8545
Average Customer Review: 3.79 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Powerful yet simple techniques to solve project management's toughest problems.This book teaches companies to drastically cut project development times resulting in early completion within budget and without compromising quality or specifications. ... Read more

Reviews (48)

4-0 out of 5 stars TOC applied to Uncertainty
In this book Goldratt is applying the TOC to PM. Here He is introducing a new approach to PM called Critical Chain, applying concepts such as scheduling at 50% of completion time, using early finishes, avoiding student syndrome and Parkinson Law, etc, Goldratt promise that projects using this concepts would finish on time and under budget.

I find very innovative the concept of Buffer Management. Here we are taking the slack time from all the project activities and place that time at the end of the project in an activity called "project buffer". Other great concept is do not Multitask, which in my oppinion is one of the principal project of why projects do not finnish on time.

A weakness in this book is: there is not an application of Critical Chain in a multi-project environment.

In summary, I've found in this book several interesting concept to improve project performance. Now, there are much better bookS than critical chain, in example Critical Chain Project Management by Leach and Project Management in the Fast Line by Newbold.

4-0 out of 5 stars The Goal re-applied to PM
I received The Goal as part of my MBA Operations Management course but held off reading until I graduated. I couldn't put The Goal down, nor could I put down Critical Chain. Critical Chain revisits the same ideas from The Goal and applies them to Project Management. I hoped for an aha... and got several minor ones. I do recommend this book. But don't let the book lull you into thinking everything is figured out. I haven't quite figured out where the precise misses are (relative to my world), but I know there are some gaps. Guess I'll have to think some... but don't we all!

Recommended reading approach: read once through and then revisit the chapters where our hero is in class and also the one where he is enjoying the TOC lecture (ie. on the second pass, ignore the fictional dialog regarding our hero's fight for tenure). Read SLOWLY at this point, and have a notepad handy to apply the ideas to your world. Think! I learned a heck of alot more the second time through.

2-0 out of 5 stars Wow, it works in the novel...
As with the Goal, the concepts that Goldratt uses to proselytize are a subtle mix of concepts that are on the border of being completely natural to the reader. Anyone who has managed projects, worked with EVM or other common methods will find a lot of the material that he presents to be just a slight twist on what they are used to seeing. In doing so, he manages to introduce a number of concepts that are new to the audience, but are not totally alien to their knowledge of how projects ought to work.

Unfortunately, he goes one step further (as in The Goal) and uses the form of fiction to tie the whole thing together. When I was done with the book, I set it down and said "those were some interesting concepts, and they sure helped the folks in the book". It was a few moments later that I realized that the characters, plot and workability of the concepts in the book was complete fiction. Everything worked so well when the characters used his methods, and didn't work at all when they didn't. That has a disturbing tone to it, since I know plenty of projects that have gone the other way in both cases.

This is not to say that the concepts that Goldratt brings forth aren't interesting, valid or usefull (especially when effectively tied to other management concepts), but it is to say that you won't get anything useful out of this book, aside from a desire to attend one of his seminars.

5-0 out of 5 stars Goldratt is an Industrial Engineering Guru!
Goldratt has done many valuable things for the practice of Industrial Engineering and Operations Management. To fully appreciate what he is doing, one really should have a background in mathematical programming, but what he has done for project management is truly valuable. He is very intentional in his writing style, and fortunately for the layperson, he leaves the linear programming formulation of what he's describing out of things.

It is true that Goldratt's ideas could be stated in twenty pages or so, but he is very wise and intentional in not giving away the answers. None of my professors at Berkeley would give out answers when it is better for students to learn things on their own.

At least one of the Goldratt books is tremendously helpful reading before starting the graduate programs in transportation engineering. It presents in a very intuitive way what Carlos Daganzo, Gordon Newell, Adolf May, and other big names in traffic flow theory have explained so explicitly in precise mathematical form. The five step focusing process is very useful in the evaluation of cyclic servers and bottlenecks, the statistical process control techniques are necessary to keep projects, plants, and transit operations on schedule, and the evaporating clouds are tremendously helpful in solving planning problems of conflicts between the environment and improving transportation system performancs, etc.

Goldratt's work is so much more valuable than optimization techniques alone could ever be. Goldratt helps spot what is and is not a valid optimization problem. It ingrains the basic results of optimization in the reader's mind, so it can be applied quickly and intuitively. All the benefits of the simplex algorithm with none of the mathematical formulations.

And yes, a lot of business school curricula are full of it.

Mark McDonald
MS/PhD Candidate
University of California, Berkeley

3-0 out of 5 stars Quite readable for an educational book
I got this book for my "excellent work". Initially I thought it was going to be boring, but it turned out it is reasonably well written and interesting. However, at times it is too slow and makes you realise why there are all these management summaries out there. The concept of "critical chain" itself is quite useful, if implemented properly. However, I don't think many companies will be able to do this, because of the temptation to remove the buffer time after the new estimates are made, and the fact that people will know this in advance, and still secretly add buffer time of their own to the individual steps. This is what happened where I worked, anyway. ... Read more


13. Games That Teach: Experiential Activities for Reinforcing Training
by Steve Sugar
list price: $55.00
our price: $48.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0787940186
Catlog: Book (1998-05-15)
Publisher: Pfeiffer
Sales Rank: 170415
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Games are your answer!

They don't want to hear you lecture. They don't want to read an instruction guide. So how can you tell them what they need to know? You want bright smiles, not bored sighs. You want them to have fun, but you want them to learn as well. GAMES are your answer!

Games aren't just for kids. Games can help people learn business ideas: games can teach. Steve Sugar's adaptable designs put an end to tired, scripted business games. Sometimes you have a lot of games, but none of them ever seems to suit the occasion. Sometimes games suit the occasion, but are so rigid that the participants are bored before they've scarcely even begun. With Sugar's help, your games will always be both fitting and new. These aren't your average games. They're frame games, game shells to which you can add your own unique content.

With this simple book, you'll quickly create perfect games for every setting!

In this book you'll get:

  • An abundance of uniq ue and playful games. These content-reinforcing designs will increase the smile quotient of even the most hard-to-please audience.
  • A handy selection matrix. This tool helps you choose the games that suit your specific training needs.
  • A simple seven-step game implementation model. This plan shows you how to customize these designs for your own use.

As a student, Sugar used games to remember his schoolwork; as a teacher, he used games to energize dull lessons; as a trainer, he uses games to excite learners and accelerate learning. And now he offers you this invaluable treasury of his fluid game designs. Bring a bounty of frame game fun to your next training session or presentation! ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars A wonderful teaching tool!
This book is a refreshing way to look at teaching. The creative games that fill the pages bring fun to learning. This book not only gives the reader wonderful games to use with his/her pupils, but step by step instructions on how to make these games effective. The games presented are broad enough to be used in almost any educational setting with any topic the facilitator is presenting. Most of the games are done within cooperative groups or teams, allowing for more group interaction and all around fun. This book is a must have for any teacher, workshop facilitator, or seminar presenter. ... Read more


14. The Future of Knowledge: Increasing Prosperity through Value Networks
by Verna Allee
list price: $24.99
our price: $16.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0750675918
Catlog: Book (2002-09-27)
Publisher: Butterworth-Heinemann
Sales Rank: 79375
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Verna Allee, whose groundbreaking book 'The Knowledge Evolution' helped usher in the exploding field of knowledge management, has brought her experience-tested insights into an exciting new synthesis, penetrating to the very heart of value creation. 'The Future of Knowledge' strips away traditional business thinking to reveal the new patterns of management thought and practice essential for success in a more complex world.

With a gift for making the complex simple and practical, Allee weaves together diverse threads such as business webs, communities of practice, knowledge technologies, intangibles, network analysis, and biology to show why organizations must be supported as living systems before their natural networked pattern of organization can emerge.

Embodying Allee's visionary approach, 'The Future of Knowledge' brings forward a practical view of new theories, frameworks, tools, and methods offering businesses a guide to managing the increasing levels of complexity within their organizations and in society at large.

'The Future of Knowledge' works on many levels:
* At the strategic level, the new tools are intangible scorecards and understanding value networks
* At the tactical level, the knowledge management tools for exchanging and applying knowledge are knowledge networks and communities of practice
* At the operational level, a wealth of new technologies is supporting the codification, storage and delivery of the knowledge people need to complete their routine tasks.

* Leading expert takes us to the next stage of
value creation in business
* Provides the next step in creating a framework and a tool to manage intangible assets to build high peroformance in the knowledge-based economy
* Author of the bestselling 'The Knowledge Evolution'
... Read more

Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Value Networks: Seeing the unseen value of intangibles
In today's crowded marketplace of business publications, it takes something that bit special to stand out and be noticed. A decade ago, Peter Senge's The Fifth Discipline was widely regarded as one of the seminal business books of the 1990's, introducing to an appreciative and expanding audience the integrated concepts of systems thinking and the "learning organisation". This new book by fellow American author Verna Allee carries the potential to compete for similar accolades in this current decade.

The idea that there should be any enthusiasm about another book on knowledge would normally be questionable, given the number of books published on knowledge management in recent years, and the attendant hype accompanying such new challenges to business thinking. What makes Allee's contribution special is the elegant manner in which she takes a living systems approach to connect knowledge and value in a profound yet pragmatic way.

The focus on value is particularly appropriate for business given that profitability, the lifeblood of any commercial enterprise, depends on the discovery and creation of value. With the new era of the "extended enterprise" model of the organisation, in that any company competes in a supply chain and wider business ecosystem of customers, suppliers, joint venture partners and other stakeholders, the value network approach is a potentially powerful one in helping to identify, investigate and, ultimately exploit key relationships within the network.

Where Allee perhaps scores highest with her approach is in her treatment of intangible deliverables within value networks, and the introduction of a simple, practical set of tools to assist with the mapping of both intangible and tangible relationships. Because value networks take a living systems perspective, it deals with real people - either individuals, small groups or teams, business units, organisations, industry groups, communities or nation states - dealing with value exchanges flowing between participants in the network, linked by arrows showing the transactions and deliverables of value exchanges.

The power of value networks lies in its simplicity and practicality. As well as providing a structured framework for dealing with intangibles, it also raises interesting questions and challenges assumptions about the real nature of networks in action and the value being created (or destroyed) within these networks.

If business leaders aspire to understand the deeper dynamics of value creation in their extended enterprise networks, The Future of Knowledge will provide them with the philosophy, the roadmap and the tools to guide them.

5-0 out of 5 stars A refreshing new look at established concepts
In this book Allee considers the changing nature, structure and identity of organizations, and the larger patterns of change that are currently unfolding in society. Taking the view that businesses are evolving into 'networked patterns of living systems', Allee observes that we require a different mindset and management tools to respond to these changes. This new mindset includes thinking of organizations as living systems, understanding the principles of networks and how they operate, taking a 'whole-system' view of the organization, understanding how intangibles go to market, and the significance of value networks, people and relationships.

Overall, the book offers a fresh, thought-provoking look at what have become already become well-worn concepts in the knowledge management field. Allee has synthesized a diverse array of ideas and concepts and theories from multiple disciplines to this work.

Part I tends to be a little abstract and theoretical and some of the ideas here about the new knowledge economy and intangible assets will not be new to anyone familiar with knowledge management. However, it does provide a useful context for subsequent chapters. At the end of chapter 5, the checklist of 'where we are now in the learning journey or knowledge continuum' is a useful summary of current thinking. Allee takes an organic view of knowledge networks and communities, such that rather than trying to create them in organizations, it is better to simply find those that already exist and make them visible to themselves and the rest of the organization.
The discussion on how intangibles 'go to market' challenges the notion that we can create value from them in the same way that we do from tangible assets. But perhaps the most interesting section of the book is that which discusses mapping value networks, and the practical examples that are provided. It is here that Allee brings together the concepts discussed in Part I and we begin to see the whole picture that she is building. These chapters will be of particular interest to practitioners who are attempting to grapple with creating value from knowledge in their own, or their client's organizations, and identifying where to focus their attention.
Allee has the capacity to discuss complex issues in a simple and straightforward way without allowing us to feel that we've been shortchanged. Essentially, each chapter offers a simple message. In her discussion of communities of practice, there is a clear message is that knowledge cannot be separated from the human networks that create it, use it and transform it. Similarly, in Chapter 6, she argues that the best technology infrastructure does not guarantee knowledge sharing - organizational intelligence is not a technology question, it is a human question.
At one point, Allee refers to the ancient saying that one cannot step into the same river twice (pp. 143) because the water is never the same water. This is analogous to what Allee has done with in this book - although the concepts, and ideas may seem familiar and have certainly been discussed previously in the plethora of books and articles currently available, she has presented them in a refreshing new way and brought together diverse ideas to challenge our assumptions. It is well worth reading.

5-0 out of 5 stars Accounting for Intangibles
Verna's work makes it clear that the future belongs to those that can manage traditional assets and intangibles alike.
It is time to expand our accounting to reflect this reality.
Increasingly people choose to patron a company not as much by its numbers but how genuine and pleasant its people are.

5-0 out of 5 stars A must read!
This book again shows Verna Allee's great gift for making the complex simple and practical. In this book she builds and explores the metaphor of enterprise as a living network, successfully weaving together such diverse threads as value network analysis, communities of practice, social network analysis and biology. She shows us what to focus on now and, as always, provides a glimpse of the future. If you want to know what's coming next in this rapidly evolving field, read this book ... Read more


15. It's Not Luck
by Eliyahu M. Goldratt
list price: $19.95
our price: $13.57
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0884271153
Catlog: Book (1994-10-01)
Publisher: North River Press
Sales Rank: 9826
Average Customer Review: 4.27 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Learn more about the powerful techniques first presented in the best-selling business novel, The Goal.In this book, Dr. Goldratt, through examples in a variety of industries, shows how to apply TOC to sales and marketing, inventory control, and production distribution.In addition, techniques in conflict resolution are introduced on both a business and personal level. ... Read more

Reviews (26)

5-0 out of 5 stars Luck Is for Rabbits
Goldratt has been an especially prolific author in recent years. This is the second of three books; the others are The Goal (1992) and Critical Chain (1997). In The Goal, Goldratt's primary focus is on the a-pplications of what he calls a Theory of Constraints (TOC) to the manufacturing process. In that book and in this one, he presents his ideas in the form of fiction (as a novel), complete with a cast of characters, a multi-dimensional narrative (or plot), a variety of settings, and perhaps most important of all, a series of conflicts. Few other authors with sufficient business acumen would attempt, much less succeed (as Goldratt does) in combining the two genres. Long ago, someone suggested that luck is the residue of preparation. Goldratt seems to agree. In this volume, he devotes much of his attention to demonstrating the relevance of TOC to marketing, sales, inventory control, distribution channels, strategic alliances, and conflict resolution. I believe it was Carl Rogers who suggested that one of the most effective strategies for conflict resolution is to set aside all points on which both parties agree, each party then makes whatever concessions are appropriate (i.e. terms and conditions of lesser importance); thereby, the parties involved can then concentrate on what are, for both sides, the most important differences. And do so with mutual respect and with goodwill. Goldratt applies the "Rogerian Model" to countless situations in this book, suggesting that conflict resolution is the result of sustained effort and patience, not luck.

It is occasionally said of an especially well-written business book that "it reads like a novel." What we have here IS a novel. Never before have executives had more to read and less time for reading. One of this book's most appealing qualities is that it is so easy to read. (The challenge is to make effective applications of TOC in an increasingly more competitive marketplace.) Goldratt is an authority on the business subjects he discusses as well as an excellent teller of tales. That's a rare combination.

For whom will this book have greatest value? Obviously, decision-makers who now have one or more of the following needs: to set or re-set the direction of their organization; to formulate appropriate marketing and sales strategies; to improve production, logistics, and distribution; to launch or improve project management initiatives; and/or to strengthen the skills of line managers.

Those who share my high regard for this book are urged to read Goldratt's other books, The Goal and Critical Chain; also, to check out David Maister's Practice What You Preach and David Whyte's The Heart Aroused. With all due respect to the core concepts Goldratt examines in this volume, they are worthless unless and until embraced by everyone involved. Master and Whyte can help managers to achieve that "buy in."

5-0 out of 5 stars Great human relations techniques!
While I enjoyed "The Goal", Goldratt's latest, "It's Not Luck" was hard to put down! Alex Rogo saved the day again, or more specifically saved his companies again, and once again Goldratt told his story in a manner that mixed fiction with solid business and human-relations principles. I am a marketing and business consultant, and after reading this book, I immediately declared it required reading for the executives and key-man employees of each company I am working with. Without exception it met with rave reviews. One of the managers, wife and half-owner of a manufacturing facility, made some major changes in company policies and used the techniques in this book to present these changes to the employees of the company. The rationale behind every single change was easily understood by even the most under-educated employee, and met with virtually no resistance! Revenues the following month increased by 150% and everyone employed by this company felt more rewarded, and more prideful, by their own contribution to the production process than ever before. Needless to say, this company rewarded me with a liberal bonus just for introducing them to this book! On the homefront, I have found several opportunities to use Alex Rogo's techniques to negotiate conflicts with my children, to the mutual satisfaction of all: a rarity indeed

5-0 out of 5 stars Rigor made Rational - an introduction for the textbook
This book, in novel form, is a description of the "Thinking Process" of Theory of Constraints. This Thinking Process is really a bookkeeping process to provide rigor in rational thought. The story line is a bit weak, but as others have observed, it makes reading the dry processes fun. Once you have read this book, and are convinced that moving from a current reality [tree] to a future reality [tree] with the clouds removed is going to require the construction of a transition plan [tree], but you need some help, read "Thinking for a Change", by Lisa J. Scheinkopf - ISBN: 1574441019

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book But Doesn't Stand Alone
I've read this book several times. It does a wonderful job teaching when to apply the various TOC tools and a little on how. Depending on what you are doing, I recommend combining It's Not Luck with Thinking for a Change by Scheinkopf and/or Throughput Accounting. Most people need both the 10,000' view from The Goal, The Race and It's Not Luck and the details provided by the APICS series and some of the North River Press books. Take care when purchasing detailed books, since the quality varies greatly.

1-0 out of 5 stars Boorish and Self Gratifying
I gave up reading this ridiculous book 2/3 of the way through and feel cheated of 10 hours of my life. I have never quit a book midway through).

The entire premise of this pile of kaka can be summarized as follows: All conflict has one or two root causes - if you can determine those causes, you can solve your conflict.

Don't waste your money on this author's thinly disquised self-elevating drivel. How much did I hate this book? Enough to take the time to write a review. You will learn more by renting "Dumb and Dumber" than you will by reading this book.

I wish I could rate it lower. I want my money back. ... Read more


16. Organizational Learning, Performance, and Change: An Introduction to Strategic Human Resource Development
by Jerry W. Gilley, Ann Maycunich
list price: $49.00
our price: $43.61
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0738202487
Catlog: Book (2000-09-20)
Publisher: Perseus Publishing
Sales Rank: 443595
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Book Description

Organizational Learning, Performance, and Change presents the most current theoretical frameworks and practical applications in the field of human resource development. Drawing from the authors' pioneering research, this book offers the most comprehensive treatment of HRD theory and practice available, providing educators and practitioners alike with a rigorous approach to analyzing and launching successful HRD programs. ... Read more


17. Action Learning in Action: Transforming Problems and People for World-Class Organizational Learning
by Michael J. Marquardt
list price: $39.95
our price: $31.16
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 089106124X
Catlog: Book (1999-02-01)
Publisher: Davies-Black Publishing
Sales Rank: 248363
Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

As author Michael Marquardt demonstrates in this compelling book, action learning--a powerful problem-solving strategy for individual, team, leadership, and organization development--has finally come of age. In this first-of-its-kind how-to guide, Marquardt brings together step-by-step guidance and the personal experience of frontline managers from organizations worldwide to show how to create and implement action learning programs in any organization. With realistic advice, practical wisdom, and hands-on tools, including checklists and a comprehensive glossary of terms, he details the six elements of successful action learning programs, using solid research and corporate examples, such as Exxon, General Electric, Arthur Andersen, and British Airways, to make the connection between action learning and organizational learning. Marquardt also examines the cultural aspects of this program, important to organizations with multicultural workforces. ... Read more

Reviews (5)

3-0 out of 5 stars A Solid Effort!
Action Learning in Action Action learning has been around since the 1930s, but it can be used to improve organizations today. Michael J. Marquardt shows how. Basically, four to eight people work together to solve a problem, reflect on what they learn as they proceed and then implement their solution. Marquardt offers a clear step-by-step process and a few case histories. His focus on the original methodology may be a little heavy, but he aims to distinguish action-learning groups from multi-problem-oriented teams and work groups. The book is well organized, but if you already know about team building, leadership development and learning organizations, you'll be walking on familiar ground. That's why we at getAbstract.com recommend this book either to those who are so immersed in group learning that they find new nuance in everything in the field, or to those who are fresh to the subject, who will benefit particularly from the helpful charts, lists and illustrations.

5-0 out of 5 stars "Action learning to all cultures and all kinds of people."
"It is the challenge of this book", M. Marquardt writes, "to provide a comprehensive overview of the true principles and successful practices of action learning as it has emerged on a worldwide basis...For many organizations around the world, action learning has quietly become one of the most powerful action-oriented, problem-solving tools, as well as their key approach to individual, team, and organization development. Organizations as diverse as Exxon, General Electric, TRW, Motorola, Arthur Andersen, General Motors, the U.S. Army, Marriott, and British Airways now use action learning for solving problems, developing global executives, identifying strategic competitive advantages, reducing operating costs, creating performance management systems, and becoming learning organizations."

In this context M. Marquardt :

* explores the context and history of action learning, illustrating why action learning is so important in today's world of rapid change and chaos.

* examines the six distinct interactive components (1.the problem, 2.the group, 3.questioning and reflective process, 4.the commitment to taking action, 5.the commitment to learning, 6.the facilitator.) that make action learning programs work effectively and thus be so valuable to organizations, teams, and individuals.

* describes the types of action learning programs, the possible roles of participants, and the life cycle of an action learning group.

* explores the five extraordinary, synchronous ways in which action learning can be applied :

1. problem solving

2. creating a learning organization

3. team building

4. leadership development

5. personal and career growth

* examines how action learning may need to be modified in work with multicultural or cross-cultural environments.

* explores the various options and choices that enable an organization to tailor action learning and thus gain optimum benefits from it.

* explores the key questions that an organization needs to ask relative to set advisors.

* identifies ten of the most common pitfalls and makes suggestions for avoiding them.

* examines group assessment of the action learning meetings as well as organizational evaluation of the overall action learning program.

As argued by Reg Revans, father of action learning, "the wisdom inherent in action learning is even more important in dealing with the rapid changes in today's world. And action learning can be used anywhere in the world. It is my hope that this book can bring the wisdom of action learning to all cultures and all kinds of people."

I highly recommend.

5-0 out of 5 stars A must-read for those interested in action learning
This book captures the essence of action learning; lots of success stories; interesting perspectives from participants; very practical with all the how-to's needed to set up action learning programs

5-0 out of 5 stars A stunning account of learning in action.
This book is a spectacular example of the finest kind of educational writing. Mr. Marquardt shows very clearly, how exactly action learning works, how it is in action. It truly shows the transformation of problems and people for world-class organizational learning. I'd recommend reading this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Eye-opener about problem solving and learning
A detailed and insightful introduction to action learning, a process and program that involves a small group solving real problems and continuously learning from the experience. The author explores how action learning can be applied to problem solving, organizational learning, team building, leadership development, and professional growth and development. The action learning idea was born out of the thinking of Reg Revan, son of the man commissioned to investigate why the Titanic sank and who found that questions were never surfaced due to assumptions that other experts are involved and such questions would seem dumb. With many references to the experiences of major firms, this book is enormously valuable - a real eye-opener about problem solving and learning. The questions, presented in the closing chapters, for assessing an action learning program, make it especially useful. This is a top-notch book about a subject of paramount importance to individual, team, and organizational success. Highly recommended. ... Read more


18. Positive Organizational Scholarship: Foundations of a New Discipline
by Kim S. Cameron, Jane E. Dutton, Robert E. Quinn
list price: $45.00
our price: $45.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1576752321
Catlog: Book (2003-08)
Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers
Sales Rank: 59899
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Book Description

In helping establish a new field of study in the organizational sciences, POS, this book examines a variety of positive dynamics in businesses and organizations that give rise to extraordinary outcomes. Positive Organizational Scholarship does not adopt one particular theory or framework, but encompasses any phenomenon that leads to positive, nurturing results. This collection of essays, written by established senior scholars, explains why and how these commonsense prescriptions work. ... Read more


19. The Corporate University Handbook: Designing, Managing, and Growing a Successful Program
by Mark Allen, Mark Allen
list price: $32.95
our price: $21.75
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0814407110
Catlog: Book (2002-06-15)
Publisher: American Management Association
Sales Rank: 106270
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Motorola. Sun Microsystems. Charles Schwab. Toyota. These global business leaders have bred excellence through innovative executiveand management development organizations that go well beyond traditional job training. Known as corporate universities, these entities are essentiallystrategic partners of their sponsoring companies. Often working in conjunction with traditional educational institutions, they boast cream-of-the-cropfaculty from the academic and business communities.

Once the province of only the largest corporations, corporate universities are fast becoming the standard at smaller companies as well. Thiscomprehensive handbook is a valuable resource for companies of all sizes who are considering (or already developing) enhanced professional learningprograms. Featuring contributions from experts at ten different corporate universities, academic institutions, and consulting firms, the book addresses thethree major components of corporate university success: organization, content, and processes. From structural and financial models to the role oftechnology, from curriculum development to evaluation approaches and measuring ROI, here is a wealth of information on this major development inprofessional education. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended!
Once upon a time in the halls of academia, being a college graduate was enough. But now, corporations need their employees to have a more intense, ongoing academic and technical education, so they provide it themselves via corporate universities. Mark Allen and other experts from ten corporate universities, academic institutions and consultancies contributed chapters to The Corporate University Handbook, a practical, behind-the-scenes manual about designing and managing a corporate university. The goal goes beyond education: corporate universities must train employees and help corporations excel and prosper. This thorough, yet conversational, examination includes best practices, source notes and programs offered by specific companies including Motorola, Toyota, Sun Microsystems and Charles Schwab, in the U.S. and elsewhere. We from getAbstract assign this insightful book as an authoritative homework seminar for corporate university planners or managers. ... Read more


20. Lessons in Learning, e-Learning, and Training : Perspectives and Guidance for the Enlightened Trainer
by Roger C.Schank
list price: $35.00
our price: $35.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0787976660
Catlog: Book (2005-02-11)
Publisher: Pfeiffer
Sales Rank: 1397262
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Book Description

From Roger C. Schank—one of the most highly respected thinkers, writers, and speakers in the training, learning, and e-learning community—comes a compelling book of essays that explore the myriad issues related to challenges faced by today’s instructional designers and trainers. The essays offer a much-needed perspective on what trainers do, why they do it, and how they do it. Lessons in Learning, e-Learning, and Training serves as a barometer to the issues that often perplex trainers and helps to illuminate three main points: what can and cannot be taught; how people think and learn; and what technology can really effectively provide. In addition, each essay is filled with practical guidance and includes a summary of ideas, tips and techniques, things to think about, checklists, and other job aids.  ... Read more


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