Management and Myths: Challenging Business Fads, Fallacies, and Fashions

This slim (172 pages) volume is a fun collection of short essays by a much-published professor of psychology at University College London. Nothing is sacred to Furnham, neither “Expensive Experts: The Consultant, the Trainer, and the Facilitator” (the subject of one essay) nor “Strategic Planning: Who Needs it?” (of another). Not that he is wholly a management skeptic; Furnham is, after all, a consultant to organizations such as British Airways, Lloyds Bank, and The Economist. But his principal role as an observer of human behavior seems to have lent him enough distance to poke holes in a lot of our accepted wisdom. He even comes full circle with a warning about psychologists in business, often otherwise known as executive coaches: “Most people erroneously believe that all psychologists are ‘insightful,’ ’emotionally intelligent,’ and ‘good with people.’ The stereotypic psychologist has some sort of miraculous and privileged understanding of human personality, motives, and abilities. This is simply wrong. Not even clinicians or psychotherapists fall into this category. Some are good at it. But don’t expect it.” [HBS Working Knowledge Annotation]

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