Thursday, November 26

Book Review: Managing Humans

Book Cover
Like many of the books I've read, Managing Humans is essentially a printed-out blog, and you can tell that pretty quickly by the terse, disjointed, and stream-of-consciousness hops from one chapter to the next. The first few chapters were rough enough to give me the impression (a) it was going to be painful to finish the book, and (b) I couldn't wait to rip it a new one when I reviewed it. However, it got better, so I'll have to save my ripping for another victim.

First, the bad. In the early chapters the author uses some hyperbolically fabricated scenarios involving over-the-top caricatures of personalities to assert that everybody you work with is an idiot and they can be categorized into these nice little buckets and since he's been doing this for so many years he knows all the angles and this is how it is and this is how you should deal with it. This preaching tone and one-sided view of things really left a bad taste in my mouth.

However, in later chapters the author seems to come back down to earth and realize there are other sides to every story and he speaks more in the tone of "this is how it happened in my particular situation and I think this was the best way to handle it." That sat a lot better with me. If I were a betting man, I would speculate that the early chapters, as blog posts, received some critical feedback and the author took it to heart in his future writings.

Having been around the block a few times, from the lowly sysadmin to the even lowlier CTO, I could relate to a lot of the author's parables and anecdotes. In some cases he's spot on and offers great advice, but in others he's rather short-sighted and preachy.

In summary I would recommend the book because it's always good to see your industry through somebody else's eyes, with the caveat that it's a bumpy road in the beginning, and expect that you'll be reading a blog on paper as opposed to a smooth-flowing book.


bryanl said...

I read this book quite a while ago, and I feel the same exact way. It did feel like a series blog posts.

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