Mark Lamendola, author
of over 6,000 articles in print or online.
Duncan's a colorful writer who sometimes
gets a bit carried away with the metaphors. But that is part of the
charm of this book. And it's what makes it work for the reader. Rather
than give you a list of steps and then follow those with explanations that
require mental gymnastics, Duncan paints you a picture. That picture is
within the framework of ancient tribal warriors. This framework appeals
more to men than to women--but for either audience, it makes you think.
This book is organized into three main
parts: The Lay of the Land, The Pillars of the Empire, and Making It Work.
The Lay of the Land is basically an
overview of where we are and why we're here. Duncan describes the basic
problem every business faces, and where the real solution to that problem
lies. He compares a business to an empire, and then bases the rest of the
book on that metaphor.
The Pillars of the Empire consists
of ten "pillars," which are the competencies upon which a business (or
empire) will succeed or fail. Each pillar consists of ten stones. So in
this book, the stones are subchapters. First, Duncan briefly discusses the
pillar, then he "takes it apart" stone by stone to show you the elements
that make that pillar strong. You end up with 100 concepts for business
and personal success.
As Duncan goes through each concept, he
provides a mix of anecdotes, metaphors, practical suggestions, and probing
questions. He goes to great lengths to engage the reader, rather than
merely to fill the page.
Making It Work is basically the
conclusion of the book. Duncan reviews the core ideas, and then prescribes
methods for putting them into practice.
If you're tired of bickering as usual, negative office politics, morale problems, and other issues related to infighting, this book offers fresh insights. If you want to thrive in the
empire, this book can definitely help you. But approach some of the ideas
with caution, or the empire will strike back.
A a rah-rah feel-good tome offers hope by
making you feel good--this isn't one of those. And a "here's how I did it"
book is interesting, but what worked for the author won't work for
you--this isn't one of those, either. We've all read books that give false
hope or describe cures from a perspective that won't work for us--this
isn't one of those, either. Most of us have attended seminars where we're
all charged up until we think about what the speaker really said (if
anything). And we've all been asked to paint by numbers on a canvas that
isn't our own.
This is where Duncan stands out from the
crowd of management-relate books. This isn't feel good or "do these six
simple steps." It's about reprogramming your viewpoint so you can function
I think this book makes a solid addition to
anyone's management library. It doesn't have all the answers, and you may
disagree with some of the answers it does provide. But if you thoughtfully
apply Duncan's ten pillars, you will come up with the answers that work