"A devastating bombardment of managerial thinking and the profession of management consulting…A serious and valuable polemic." —Wall Street Journal
Fresh from Oxford with a degree in philosophy and no particular interest in business, Matthew Stewart might not have seemed a likely candidate to become a consultant. But soon he was telling veteran managers how to run their companies.
In narrating his own ill-fated (and often hilarious) odyssey at a top-tier firm, Stewart turns the consultant’s merciless, penetrating eye on the management industry itself. The Management Myth offers an insightful romp through the entire history of thinking about management, a withering critique of pseudoscience in management theory, and a clear explanation of why the MBA usually amounts to so much BS—leading us through the wilderness of American business thought.
Stewart (The Courtier and the Heretic) reflects on his unconventional path to becoming a successful management consultant despite a complete lack of business knowledge or experience, let alone an MBA. He offers an insider's perspective on the industry, revealing the astonishingly high routine consultant fees and the absurdity of leading firms depending on consultants fresh out of school to tell them how to run their business. Following in the footsteps of "shamans," consultants "envelop their work with an aura of sacred mystery" and "outrageously unjustified" levels of self-confidence to add to their perceived expertise. Gleefully revealing the magician's tricks, Stewart takes readers on a whirlwind tour of how this industry came to be a powerhouse. Filled with fascinating insider anecdotes and featuring a who's who in the consulting world, including Peter Drucker, Michael Porter and Bruce Henderson, this wry, absorbing book will enlighten executives about the value consultants actually bring to their clients.