Cover image for Sense and nonsense in the office
Sense and nonsense in the office
Kellaway, Lucy.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
London ; New York : Financial Times, 2000.
Physical Description:
xix, 236 pages : illustrations ; 18 cm
General Note:
Includes index
Management consultants -- Fads -- Management books -- Jargon, euphemism and plain flannel -- Training -- Leadership -- Consumers -- Men and Women -- Another day in the office -- Managing at home -- Stress, health and self-help -- Office design
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HD31 .K455 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



This text offers no tips, no formulas, no panaceas, no handy hints. Instead it focuses on a set of prejudices, looking at subjects such as management books, training, managing at home and office design.

Table of Contents

After a bit of thought I have come up with the following observations and generalities
They are, of course, glaringly obvious
But then management ideas are obvious
Any that aren't obvious tend to be wrong
Rule 1 Management is one of the most difficult jobs going, and is harder now than ever because the challenges are greater
Rule 2 Most people are bad at managing, some are very bad
Hardly anyone can do it well
Rule 3 Good managers need to be both hard and soft, decent and ruthless, good at the big picture and at the small detail
Rule 4 In view of the above, the market for management consultants, trainers, gurus, business schools and business books is expanding, apparently without limit
Rule 5 While most of the management help industry is of dubious value, managers do need the experience and advice of wise outsiders
But to follow that advice blindly - as many companies do - is, of course, idiotic
Rule 6 Any new management technique that comes with a catchphrase is suspect
It almost certainly will not suit the company in question, and even if it does, the management will probably fail to apply it properly
Rule 7 It is hard to teach a middle-aged dog new tricks
People who are rotten communicators do not become better by virtue of having been on a course, or having read a book
Improving and changing is a long, painful slog
Rule 8 People like security
They like to be told what to do
Empowerment and flat structures are over-rated
Rule 9 All work is tedious for much of the time
If everyone accepts this, then so much the better
That is the short answer
The long answer is this book, which is based on five years of writing a management column for the Financial Times
"In producing a business book I am aware that I have broken one of my own rules
Over the years I have made good money scoffing and sneering at management books, and yet here I am producing one myself." -- Lucy Kellaway
Sense and Nonsense in the Office offers no tips, no formulas, no panaceas, no handy hints
You may be wondering what that leaves
What it leaves is a set of prejudices
You think it sounds unpromising? The good think about someone else's prejudices is that they either confirm your own, or they make you cross - either of which is a blessing in these bland times
"What I am trying to write about is true life
About work and management as they actually are." -- Lucy Kellaway