Book Review: The Management Myth

Do consultants seem to know less about management than you? Have you ever wondered about the science within management science? Are you hungry for a first-hand expose on the world of pricey management consultants? After you read this book, you might want to re-think whether you should be wearing that school tie, monogrammed shirt and wing-tips. Check out this book review.

If you’re thinking about getting a MBA and/or pursuing a career with one of the large, prestigious consulting firms, you really need to read “The Management Myth” by Matthew Stewart. I’ve been doing this for the last couple of business flights and have enjoyed it immensely.

Mr. Stewart’s book takes turns, via alternating chapters, laying bare the thin ‘science’ of management theory and the business practices of consultancies. Both subjects are dealt with a cutting critique that’s simultaneously damning and entertaining.

I liked it as I found that the professors who tried to teach me Management courses eons ago were clearly people who had never worked or had no clue how people actually interacted with each other in a work environment. I intuitively knew these professors had it wrong then and Stewart's book backed that feeling up.

I also enjoyed his first-hand assessment of the management, if you want to call it that, of large consultancies and the way they: - Keep most of the earnings for themselves - Prevent rivals from reaching leadership roles within these firms - Create a mythology for new hires to believe in - Sell new work to clients

The latter, described as whale selling, is particularly worth reading as it exposes a tried and true technique of getting a prospect to sign on the bottom line. Think of it as Pareto rule meets salesmanship.

If you want a great read, get this. If you're thinking about hiring a big-name consultancy for a project, read this book. And, finally, if you want to see the world of management consulting from the eyes of a philosophy major, read this book.