August 22, 2006

Tom Peters on Bigger Isn't Always Better

It’s nice to know that Bigger Isn’t Always Better is available in airport bookshops half a world away in Bangkok. But it’s even nicer to hear that Tom Peters saw it there, picked up a copy, and made some much appreciated comments about it in his blog:

"Now consider this from Simone de Beauvoir: 'Life is occupied in both perpetuating itself and in surpassing itself. If all it does is maintain itself, then living is only not dying.' I scrounged this marvelous [Marvelous = Abets my Life's Argument] quote from a marvelous book I picked up in the airport in Bangkok. It's Robert Tomasko's BIGGER Isn't Always Better."

"Tomasko makes a reasoned, data-rich argument that echos Simone Beauvoir. He does not, for instance, dismiss big mergers out of hand, but provides a strict definition of the few that work. This wee saving remnant uses the merger to help the enterprise perhaps "explode in a new frenzy of value creation," to paraphrase Nordström and Ridderstråle. (Immelt's unabashed aim at GE.) Tomasko, however, devotes the lion's share of the book to strategies and tactics for keeping energy and excitement going and growing in a corporation—this rarely or never encompasses growth-for-growth's sake or bigger-ness for bigger's sake. (Think Bo Burlingham's Small Giants, much praised in this Blog.) Typical chapter titles are: 'Growth Is About Moving Forward' and 'Are You a Fixer or a Grower?' "

I feel especially honored by Tom’s comments. He is a pioneer business-consultant-turned-business-book-writer who paved the way for many consultants (me included) to try our hands at reaching audiences beyond those who commissioned our reports and watched our powerpoints. His incredible success with In Search of Excellence convinced many book editors (including mine) to give us rookie writers a crack at getting published.

Read his entire blog entry. He makes some great points about the futility and foolishness of building something to last. Knowing when to let go and how to share the wealth are much worthier tasks.


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