I hate management books. I do. People give them to me all the time saying:
“You should read this one, it changed my life!” These books are all
about 150 pages. They have 14 point type, double-spaced. They have lots
of pictures. They have titles like: Open Locker Management, Management
by not Managing, First Clean All The Glasses, Now Discover Your Knees, The
Power of Positive Penalties, and Tnemeganam! They sit on my shelves. I sometimes
read them in the John.
They all tell the same story. The author is always some guy who was
running a company and failing horribly. When he reaches “bottom” (remember,
I read them in the John) he has a critical insight that no human
has ever had before. When he describes this idea to others, they think he’s
crazy; but he tries it anyway, and makes a $1,000,000,000,000 (one trillion
dollars—billions are so passé nowadays). And now, out of the goodness
of his heart, he wants to share that idea with you (for a small fee) so
that you can make your trillion.
These books are usually repetitive, simple-minded, and inane. They
are written at a third-grade level for poor saps who think that one simple
insight is all they need to fix their problems. These unfortunate dweebs
hope, against all hope, that if they just read the latest blockbuster: Blue
Pants Management, and then have everyone in the office wear blue pants on
Thursdays, that their management problems will go away.
Like I said, I hate management books. So why am I writing the foreword
to a management book? I am writing the foreword to this management
book because this book has the word Eukaryotic in it! What does
“Eukaryotic” mean? That’s not important. The point is that this book
has words in it that have more than three syllables! This book talks about
the Red Queen Race hypothesis. This book has depictions of tesseracts. This
book talks about Drunkard’s Walks. In short, this book is smart!
Just take a look at the table of contents. You’ll see topics like Complex
Systems Theory, Game Theory, Cybernetics, Self-Organization, and The Darkness
Principle. You’ll see that the author covers issues from team-size and
motivation to scaling organizations up vs. scaling them out.