A full interview appears in the March 6 issue of Mumbai's Daily News and Analysis (DNA), under the title "Lasting Business Success Is a Delusion". It was based on an interview conducted by DNAEditor Vivek Kaul, who wrote to me a month ago saying that The Halo Effectwas "the best book on management that I have read in a very long time."
At year end, Leadership Now, a website dedicated to "building a community of leaders," published its list of Best Leadership Books of 2007. After more predictable titles which mention leadership explicitly, it also names The Halo Effect -- which might be thought of (at least by me) as a sort of antidote to conventional leadership books. But it certainly should stimulate critical thinking, which is important for anyone in a leadership capacity.
The Corporate Portfolio Management Association lists six books as worthwhile reading for portfolio managers, including The Halo Effect.
Carol Hymowitz at The Wall Street Journal mentions The Halo Effect in her December 24 column, titled "Some Holiday Books about Inspiration and Delusion at Work". It is described as "a trenchant view of business and business advice."
The blog, Is this Wisdom? has a very nice review of The Halo Effect, posted by Richard Hare, on December 21, titled Are you deluded? Richard summarizes the book very well and ends by noting: "The Halo Effect is a fascinating look at what it takes to understand the complexity of modern business. It's not too late to add it to your wish list this year."
On December 9, The Boston Globe prints an article from Reuters by Lisa Von Ahn, Year's Top Titles Raised Some Eyebrows. Four books are named, including The Halo Effect, recognized as winner of the getAbstract Best Business Book of the Year.
On December 8, the Financial Times published its list of Best Books of 2007 -- with categories from fiction and travel to business and sports. The Business list was compiled by Stefan Stern, whose favorable review of The Halo Effect published all the way back in January was the first of the year, and he didn't forget it come December, listing it third out of 15 so. Stefan's description: "Almost everything you thought you knew about business success is wrong. Rosenzweig shatters some of our most cherished beliefs with serious, deep scepticism. Marvellous."
Tom Groenfeldt at Technology and Finance publishes a very thorough and thoughtful review of The Halo Effect, titled IMD's Rosenzweig Takes the Halo Off Jim Collins and Good To Great. Tom writes that my book "ruthlessly picks apart the results of some of the best selling business books over the last two decades." He concludes: "The pop business books probably won’t do you any harm, unless you take them too seriously. However, before you settle down with the next one, read through The Halo Effect to sharpen your critical faculties."
The Human Resources Institute of New Zealand carries an article,The halo effect and HR management, based on my presentation at CIPD and the article in People Management. It does a good job of addressing specific areas in HR that are vulnerable to the halo effect, notably employee selection and evaluation, and employee engagement and satisfaction.
Peter Klein, a professor at the University of Missouri, features The Halo Effect in a Sept 8 column for Organizations and Markets, titled "The Best Business Book I've Read This Year" Peter writes in part: "Rosenzweig systematically, but politely, demolishes the pretensions of best-selling management books and projects." He continues, "Rosenzweig writes what many management researchers — particularly those trained in economics — believe, but are afraid to say out loud: namely, that what passes for “research” in the popular management press is typically little more than gobbledy-gook."
Josh Kaufman lists The Halo Effect as one of five essential management readings on his website, The Personal MBA Recommended Reading List. He offers a snappy summary of the book, beginning with the comment that it kills many sacred cows of the management world, and then continues:
"Rosenzweig isn't shy about kicking butt and taking names: you'll learn why Good to Great, Built to Last, In Search of Excellence, and other high-profile business books of the past few decades have more value as business bedtime stories than as blueprints for improving company performance.
"After reading this book, you'll develop a healthy degree of skepticism when it comes to the latest management fads, be able to identify when you're succumbing to wishful thinking, and be better prepared to avoid falling for simplistic formulas and the promise of a simple solution."
A leading UK human resources magazine, People Management, publishes an article titled St Elsewhere in its August issue, noting some particular lessons for HR from my book. The article is timed to match my upcoming talk at the September CIPD conference in Harrogate, Sept 20.
The on-line newsletter for SAP customers and employees, Business Insights, publishes a short article, Halos All Around Us, based on Chapter 4 of my book.
A blog called Artichoke in New Zealand offers a thoughtful review of The Halo Effect and its lessons for the country's education system: Making a Brilliant General: Halo Effects in the BES School Leadership Research. It begins: "When the New Zealand Ministry of Education's ’next Best Evidence Synthesis claims to have identified “leadership approaches that really have an impact” with respect to the “achievement and well being of students” it behoves us to sit up and take notice. When I sat up I was dead chuffed to find Phil Rosenzweig’s The Halo Effect sitting alongside me." Seems that many of the elements that are claimed to drive high performance in Kiwi schools are explained by the halo effect -- attributions made on the basis of performance.
Steve Miller, president of OpenBI, a Chicago-based services firm focused on delivering business intelligence solutions with open source software, conducted a phone interview with me in July. The resulting Q&A article is posted on the OpenBI website: Interview with Phil Rosenzweig, Author of The Halo Effect
Jessica Marquez contributes an article Halo Effect: The Myth of Employee Satisfaction, in the July issue of Workforce Management. It was based on a Q&A session we conducted in the late spring, and reflects some of the concerns that HR managers, in particular, have regarding the key ideas in the book.
Michael Maslanka at Law.com recommends The Halo Effect in a July 16 column titled The Best Reads to Make a GC's Summer Sizzle. He writes: "Looking to help C-level executives by reading one of those blockbuster business books? Well, stop in the name of Phil Rosenzweig, who issues a throw-down to them in The Halo Effect ... Well-written and weighing in at a svelte 256 pages, The Halo Effect is a stowaway candidate for that summer cruise."
The Swiss business magazine, Management und Qualitat, publishes a review of The Halo Effect on July 10, titled Wenn Manager in die Irre laufen. Colleagues at IMD tell me it's a very good review -- but my German isn't good enough to offer an independent opinion. What do you think?
Lee Barter of Deloitte's Toronto office interviewed me by telephone a few months back and writes a very thoughtful review with many original ideas called Second guessing the management gurus in Deloitte's company magazine, Deloitte Decibels. Not every consulting company is eager to publicize the weaknesses of management gurus -- so a nod of appreciation goes to Lee and his colleagues, who also allowed me to post the review here.
How I wish this Business Week logo could link to a full review of The Halo Effect! Alas, BW has declined to provide a review ever since they were asked back in January, perhaps because my book hits too close to home -- I give plenty of examples of the halo effect in its reporting of Cisco Systems. But reporter Pete Engardio liked the book and interviewed me, in March, for a story about corporate reputation management. The article, titled "What price reputation?" is published in the July 9 issue. The Halo Effect, and its author, get a short mention -- but one that I'm happy with.
The CEO Forum Group, an Australian association of top executives, posts a review of The Halo Effect on July 1. Maybe a trip down-under is in the offing?
David Maister, business author and consultant, has posted a blog about The Halo Effect on June 27 in response to a question from a reader. He offers a clear and fair review of key points of the book, and discusses whether his own research has the tendency for bias -- which he agrees that it very likely does. About my book he concludes: "...net, net – I think he’s written a terrific book to remind all managers to beware of quick fad conclusions, and to remind all researchers and consultants that many (if not most) relationships in business that we think we know for sure actually don’t have much of a solid research backing to them."
A business website, Unique Business Solutions, posts a strong review of The Halo Effect titled "Exposing the Management Mirage."
Russell Volckmann writes very favorable review of The Halo Effect in the June issue of Integral Leadership Review (logo above). It begins: "When it comes to gaining perspective on how we make meaning in the practice, development and study of leadership and organizations, this new book by Rosenzweig weighs in at among my top three. The other two are Chris Argyris’ Flawed Advice and the Management Trap and Joseph Rost’s Leadership and the 21st Century. What these three books have in common in that each, in its own way, is iconoclastic and assaults our pretenses of knowing what we are talking about. And that is an invaluable role for anyone or any publication to play."
CNBC has run the Reuters article, below, on its website, June 8. Also publishing the article on June 9 are MSN Money and WIS10 in Columbia, South Carolina, and Financial Post, of Canada's National Post, on June 10.
Helen Chernikoff at Reuters writes a short review of The Halo Effect titled "Management bibles are not gospel" on June 7. One new twist: she contacted Tom Peters, Jerry Porras, and Jim Collins for comment. Peters correctly says that In Search of Excellence "is not prescriptive in the sense that it says if you do this, you alone will have a great company"-- a fair comment, and as readers of my book know, I am rather charitable when it comes to Peters and Waterman, as they did not make strong claims of scientific rigor. Meanwhile, Porras, co-author of Built to Last, backtracks from his claim of offering a "blueprint" for lasting success, and says he warned readers "against drawing conclusions about cause and effect from its examples" -- true in a narrow sense, but at variance with the tone and thrust of so much in the book which emphasizes the rigor of their research and the strength of their findings. And finally, Jim Collins declined to comment for the article. I have long suspected that Collins will ignore The Halo Effect for as long as he can, hoping it will fade away -- and then, if forced to comment, will claim that I misunderstood his book. But that's a debate I would welcome, since Collins's reliance on data that are undermined by the halo effect is at odds with his claim of having discovered immutable laws of performance and eternal truths with a precision akin to physics! Let's hope this Reuters article gets picked up far and wide.
Charles Koch's Market-Based Management Institute features The Halo Effect with a brief description and link. It mentions, in part, that "Rosenzweig points out all the different ways that management researchers delude themselves and their audiences in a search for an inspirational story for readers; and while he sees value in a compelling story, he reminds readers that the business world isn't full of variables like the world of physics, and there's no single formula of culture, strategy, execution, etc. for success."
Lance Knobel at Davos Newbies, a website described as "a year-round Davos of the mind," posts a review on June 1 that reads in part: "The Halo Effect is essential reading for anyone involved in management or (as in my case) writing or speaking about management. It eviscerates a host of landmark management books, from In Search of Excellence to Built to Last to Good to Great, by showing that all of these books merely tell stories, they don’t prove anything about the so-called science of management. Business magazines (mea culpa) are also put to the sword."
One of the best and most thoughtful reviews of The Halo Effect is posted by Steve Miller in DMReview, a publication of OpenBI, a website about Business Intelligence, on May 24. Titled "Validity, Design, and BI," it does a superb job of discussing data validity and how research should be designed and conducted in order to reach valuable outcomes. Steve writes that The Halo Effect is "destined to be one of the best business books of 2007 - or any year for that matter." He goes on: "The halo effect, correlation and causality, lasting success, connecting the winning dots, the wrong end of the stick - and the other delusions noted by Rosenzweig as well - are all illustrations of flawed interpretations resulting from the inferior designs and measurement of analyses and research on business performance."
Ken McCarthy posts a review of The Halo Effect on his marketing website, KenMcCarthy.com on May 19. It describes The Halo Effect as "a profound, if unsettling book, about the realities of business advice."Ken finds particular value for his audience of internet entrepreneurs in two key delusions: that of Lasting Success and that of Absolute Performance. He concludes: "A fighting chance. That’s all I’ve ever offered my students and as Rosenzweig demonstrates in his book, that’s the most smart business people ever ask for."
Naked Capitalism writes a thorough review of The Halo Effect in a blog titled "Is thinking going out of fashion?" on May 11. It begins: "The best management book I have read in quite a while is Phil Rosenzweig's The Halo Effect. It is a brilliant, important, yet accessible piece of work, it tells you that just about everything written about management is wrong, but it cannot be summarized in a sentence, or even two...." The author then does a very good job of providing a succinct review of the main points.
Rob May, a contributor at Business Pundit, posts a great review of The Halo Effect on May 7. I'll quote the opening (they don't get much better than this!): "Go buy this book now. I am serious. Todd Sattersten [of 800CeoRead] sent me The Halo Effect, knowing I would love it, and I did. The book is fantastic." Rob goes on:"First of all, author Phil Rosenzweig is one of only a handful of people to seriously critique Good to Great in a public forum. I did it here, and I have received lots of negative comments and emails about it. Phil's criticism digs in much deeper and more thoroughly than my post, and I found it refreshing to (finally) read something that validated what I knew to be true. I still can't understand why people are so obsessed with this Good to Great, but I suspect it's because "it's hard to free fools from chains they revere." (that's Voltaire)"
Just spotted a review in The Telegraph of Calcutta, titled "Putting the CEO on a pedestal can lead to disaster." The author notes the particular relevance to India: "In India, where the family is still a cornerstone of Corporate India, the Halo Effect is even more pronounced. Every publication worth its salt comes out with an annual list of the most-respected companies, the most-influential CEOs, the best employers and other adulatory variants of these themes."
There is a wonderful accompanying cartoon!
John Kay, who wrote a strong review of The Halo Effect in Management Today (see below), mentions the book in his Financial Times column of May 7. Titled "Leaders should say goodbye to their haloes", Kay spots the halo effect in the current criticism of John Browne, recently departed head of BP, as well as Tony Blair. He writes: "The characteristics that were once the prime minister’s virtues are now his faults. What was once pragmatism is now lack of principle: broad popular appeal is now readiness to say all things to all men. Refreshing informality is lack of proper process; and the face of charm becomes the mask of insincerity. No one was much interested in scurrilous gossip about Lord Browne’s personal life when all was going well at BP but after the Texas City refinery disaster all bad news is news." For companies, as well as for their keaders, the attributions we make shift dramatically when performance falters.
South Africa's leading business daily, Business Day, carried John Kay's column, above, on May 9.
Neil McIntosh at The Guardian writes a brilliant review of The Halo Effect, titled "Are any of these books the key to success?" on April 27. He writes on p.1 of the special section, Business Sense, that my book is "a dismantling of much business writing, which finds that the advice peddled in countless best-selling business books may be much less useful than it appears." In the review itself, he describes the book as "a thorough, occasionally devastating, de-boning of a clutch of business books and popular business reporting."
Of the many blogs that have written about The Halo Effect, a particularly thorough column was published, April 23, on Incentive Intelligence. The review, "And one ring to rule them all ...", begins by saying: "Just finished reading The Halo Effect by Phil Rosenzweig. If you're in business, buy it!" It goes one: "This book is a smart discussion on the 'delusions' that shape the way we view business performance. Skewering some of the most heralded business books of the last 30 years, Mr. Rosenzweig does a great job of unraveling the flaws in their research and the flaws in recommendations on how to drive business performance. If either In Search of Excellence or Good to Great have been your business bible, this book will be heresy. I am one who has fallen victim to many of these delusions. I'm sure you have as well."
Beaumont Vance, senior enterprise risk manager for Sun Microsystems, writes a wonderful review in GARP Risk Review, the publication of the Global Association of Risk Professionals (www.garp.com). In addition to a thorough review of the book, Beaumont makes clear the specific relevance to the field of risk management. He notes at the end of his review: "Rosenzweig delivers one of the most intelligent, insightful business books in print. Although risk is not presented as a main focus, his insights into the nature of risk, uncertainty and risk management are elegant and penetrating. This book should be on the reading list of every business person, and especially those of risk managers."
John Kay offers a very favorable review in Management Today, one of the UK's leading business magazines. Professor Kay was an early endorser of The Halo Effect, and I'm glad he has elaborated on his views in this review. He writes: " Rosenzweig offers a telling indictment of the superficiality of much management literature, and a critique of the many studies that claim to illuminate the source of high performance through the experience of successful companies." He continues: "Books like In Search of Excellence and Built to Last are great stories, with genuine insights from thoughtful observers of management practice. But the claimed rigour of their scientific analysis isn't worth a row of beans, and Rosenzweig explains why with wit and vigour. Put The Halo Effect alongside these earlier volumes on your business bookshelf."
Mark Henricks writes a short but strong review, "Star Power? Casting Doubt on Standard Assumptions of Business Success" in the April issue of Entrepreneur magazine.
Harvey Schachter provides an excellent review of The Halo Effect in the April 10 edition of Canada's leading newspaper, the Globe and Mail. After summarizing key arguments from the book, he wrote: "This is a fascinating, tightly argued book that challenges much of what we know about business, prodding us to view the research findings with more skepticism. It is an appeal to the mind, rather than a practical handbook for managers, but it does help us evaluate the foundation for the new (and old) ideas we hear."
Julia Kirby writes a very perceptive and positive review of The Halo Effect in the April issue of Harvard Business Review. She notes that the book "is immensely readable and will find an audience among management practitioners" and writes that: " Rosenzweig crafts his narrative well, getting readers on board with his argument before putting their most beloved gurus in his crosshairs." An important audience for my book, Julia believes, are management researchers: "For the ones who want to do rigorous research but don’t know how, this is as concise and memorable a text as they’ll get. For those who’d like to get away with less, it’s fair warning. Enough of us will have read Rosenzweig to call them on it."
On March 29, the Economist.com offers a brief review of The Halo Effect. It writes that The Halo Effect "gives readers a lecture on the 'delusions' which befall managers and the business press alike," and that while managers may prefer simplistic formulas, The Halo Effect "makes sturdy sense."
Susan Webber, founder of Aurora Partners, a New York consultancy, writes a very strong review of The Halo Effect titled "Knowing what you don't know" in the March/April edition of The Conference Board, a very influential business magazine. Here's a description I especially appreciate: "He writes with a relaxed sense of mastery, uses simple but compelling examples, is rigorous without being pedantic, and bends over backward to be fair to the so-called experts he demolishes."
Simon Caulkin, veteran business columnist at The Observer, provides a wonderful review on March 18 titled "The snares and delusions of pseudoscience". It refers to The Halo Effect as a "feisty and entertaining new book" that shows how "problems of research methodology and corrupt data bedevil much management literature, turning it into reassuring parables rather than reliable guidance based on empirical evidence." Mr. Caulkin notes that: "Unusually, Rosenzweig, a professor at Swiss management school IMD, has the temerity to name names" and that the book "gives a seeing-to to Jim Collins and Jerry Porras's Built to Last and Collins's Good to Great, perhaps the most influential management volumes of recent years."
Simon Hoggart, a highly respected columnist at The Guardian, mentions The Halo Effect in his column of March 17. Commenting favorably on my book, he agrees that the lessons of business best-sellers like Built to Last suffered from "a classic circular argument. The authors looked at the companies that did well, discovered their strategies, and decided that's why they did well. Or as the Romans wisely pointed out, post hoc non ergo propter hoc . Arguments disappeared up their own backsides. If a successful company diversified, diversification had to be good. If it stuck rigidly to its core business, that was the philosopher's stone. If they had expanded fast, that demonstrated management flair. If they expanded slowly, that showed admirable caution. If Hewlett-Packard had given every employee a rose on their wedding anniversary, or Boeing had made everyone dress in clown suits on Fridays, that too would have been a top management secret... As human beings, we are capable of giving credence to almost anything that suits what we believe, whether our religion or the cause of climate change. Books like The Halo Effect are a refreshing corrective."
The March 19 issue of Newsweek's Enterprise supplement includes short review of The Halo Effect with a link to MSNBC. It notes that my book "employs an empirical rigor often lacking in business journalism. His goal: limning the process by which management gurus inflate a company's singular success into self-flattering myths and unreliable advice that may sell books, but ultimately fails readers."
Alan Mitchell writes a review of The Halo Effect titled "Business success stories are masterpieces of fiction" for the UK magazine, Marketing Week. It reads, in summary: "If you look at the most successful business books and gurus and compare their content with the most careful research, you discover a startling difference. The scientific investigations are cautious, partial, tentative. Boring, in other words. The blockbusters tell a brilliant story. They provide simple and definitive advice and bring a sense of apparent order and control to an uncertain and confusing world. They offer hope and comfort."
A wonderful review was posted on Epinions.com by Pam Robinson. They don't get much better than this one. Her five-star rating is summarized as follows:
Really smart assessment about the business world.
Cons: None, nada, zip. Buy it, read it.
The Bottom Line: Toss out all your other business advice books and read this one.
She concluded: "I wanted to shout out loud when I read this book, and, if the state of corporate America interests you, you will too."
Tom Ehrenfeld at 800CEORead posts two entries on his blog, March 7 and 8 about The Halo Effect. His first post, on March 7, offers one of the most thoughtful and well-considered summaries of my book. It begins: "I’m delighted to see Phil Rosenzweig’s The Halo Effect getting the attention it deserves. His core argument merits attention on this site, where we take the power of business ideas very seriously." It continues: "Rosenzweig’s argument is thoughtful, and I highly recommend that anyone who believes in the power of business ideas read his book." The second post, on March 8, talks more directly about the methodological questions I raise concerning Jim Collins's Good to Great, and prompted my blog entry of March 11, where I offer clarifications about design and data, cause and effect, and noise versus bias.
Business Pundit offers a review titled "Debunking some hot business books" on March 8.
It writes, in part: "I don't expect this book to be popular... People don't want to think, and in many areas of life you will be more successful providing cookie cutter answers than in pushing people to accept the complexity of truth."
getAbstract, the leading business book abstract service, gives a very strong review to The Halo Effect (rating it 9 out of 10 Overall, and 10 out of 10 for Style.) The founder, Rolf Dobelli, also gave 5-star reviews on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, as follows:
"This serious book will change the way many people think about the pursuit of managerial excellence and, indirectly, about the criteria they use for managing (and coincidentally) investing. Phil Rosenzweig provocatively challenges prevailing concepts about the traits that drive corporate performance. He asks revealing questions about previous research assumptions that labeled companies "excellent." ... Rosenzweig distills his compelling ideas clearly, and buttresses his case with specific examples and original research, adding to the book's power. As a result, getAbstract would compare this very readable, focused book to fine brandy: palatable, enjoyable, memorable, a little heavy - and imbued with the potential to change your mind. Highly recommended."
The Knowledge@Wharton review, below, has been carried by the websites of Forbes.com as well as the Shanghai Daily.
On March 1, Pat McGraw of McGraw on Marketing posts a very nice review of The Halo Effect. It begins:
"For those of you that have known me over the years, you know that I hate bullshit. You know I hate consultants that create a new term for an old concept so they can sell a book, speak at conferences and charge huge sums of money for mediocre work.
"You know I dislike ‘business leaders’ that are distracted by ’shiny objects’ - the ones that read the latest business book over the weekend and come in on Monday morning ready to change the entire organization’s focus and mission and culture."And you will quickly understand why I love The Halo Effect by Phil Rosenzweig."
The first review in March comes from Matt Stichnoth at Tom Brown's bankstocks.com, an investment management firm in New York known for "independent insights on the financial services industry." Titled "A Devilish Delusion: In 'The Halo Effect,' a professor explains how management gurus deceive themselves--and us too", Matt does a brilliant job of capturing the key arguments of The Halo Effect. He offers the following summary: "The problem with books like Good to Great is that they’re not just harmless, rah-rah pep talks about great companies. They actually describe a reality that doesn’t exist, and provide pretty lousy management advice."
The Wharton School's on-line magazine, Knowledge@Wharton, publishes a review on Feb 28, titled "The Halo Effect: Debunking some hot business books with one of his own" The review begins: "Phil Rosenzweig tears into some of the most popular business books of recent years, including the bestsellers In Search of Excellence and Good to Great. Along the way, he argues that many of the pat principles bandied about in the business world are based on misguided thinking and flimsy research."
The USA Today review by Michelle Archer, below, has been carried by a number of newspapers, including the Shreveport Times on Feb 26.
The review by Cecil Johnson, first published on Feb 19 in the Forth Worth Star-Telegram, is syndicated for McClatchey newspapers, and appeared this past weekend (Feb 24-25) in the Newark (NJ) Star-Ledger, the Wilmington (NC) Star, the Tucson (AZ) Star, and the Lakeland (FL) Ledger.
Bruce McEwen, author of the widely-read law website Adam Smith, Esq, has published a strong review on Feb 23 titled "Do the management gurus have clothes?" After naming some well-known business books, he writes: "But even more unusual in my experience is the seriously-pedigreed book that questions the very foundations of the genre: The business book, in other words, that's a meta-entry in the category. In case you haven't guessed, I'm nominating The Halo Effect, by Phil Rosenzweig."
Michelle Archer writes a very nice review of The Halo Effect in the Feb 19 issue of USA Today, titled "Level-headed book exposes some wrong business thinking" After describing some of the key points in the book, she writes: "That a management book can be at once scientific and a palatable read is a credit to Rosenzweig's writing style and clear thinking...So if it's sexy vs. smart, go for The Halo Effect. The business community will find plenty of revealing and provocative fodder."
The Halo Effect is reviewed on Feb 19 in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram by Cecil Johnson in an article titled "Author sees analyses as prejudiced by performance" Mr. Johnson concludes his review by noting: "The Halo Effect should be required reading for all business managers, academicians and journalists. It could go down as one of the most important business books of the decade."
Executive Editor of CIO magazine, Christopher Koch, writes a very thoughtful review on his Feb 16 blog, "Because you're good enough and smart enough." Noting that The Halo Effect "brings a refreshingly skeptical eye" to the debate about business competencies, he reviews the main arguments of the book, and agrees that best-sellers like Jim Collins's Good to Great are "the business equivalent of comfort food." He goes on: "Yet why do we keep lapping it up? Why do people keep watching Oprah--or the Sunday football game, for that matter? Because it makes them feel good." As he sums up, Mr. Koch notes a main message from the book: "The world is uncertain and business threats can come out of nowhere. But we don't want to believe it. Worse, if we are satisfied that we are practicing the 10 Rules for Eternal Market Domination every day, we may discount threats and avoid making risky decisions that could save our bacon."So true.
Stephanie West Allen, a Denver-based attorney, posts a very nice review on Feb. 15 her blog, www.idealawg.com. She writes, in part: "Phil Rosenzweig explains fully and convincingly why a new level of discernment is necessary when listening to and reading the advice of business pundits (of course, including law firm experts) ... These days I am finding that very few books warrant my full attention and page-by-page reading; I typically skim and skip. This book kept me up late last night and not a page was skimmed or skipped...If you have not yet read The Halo Effect, I recommend you put aside an evening for page-turning and enlightenment." Thanks, Stephanie!The entire review can be read at "Guide to taking the wisdom of law firm management to a deeper level"
A very extensive and thougthful review is published by The Holmes Report, a website of information for public relations professionals. Titled "Everything you think you know about business success, you don't", it begins: "If, like me, you enjoyed Jim Collins and Jerry Porras’s business bestseller Built to Last, if you instinctively embraced its message that successful companies are built on strong cultures, core values, and a mission that goes beyond making money, then you might want to avoid The Halo Effect, Phil Rosenzweig’s important new book." It goes on to give a very thorough and considered assessment of the book and its value to managers.
The Halo Effect is featured in The Times of India, the world's largest English language daily newspaper, on January 30 in an article by Neelima Mahajan, "Good performance equals good company? Not always!"
Services Safari, a website for "improving professional services," quotes from the CFO review by Ed Teach in its January 29 article, "Cautionary tale for best practice promoters." It writes that "Consultants should really heed this work" and concludes: "The best companies do not accept competitive parity as a cure-all. Mimicry won't help them succeed long-term. A unique strategy is what will help a company carve out its niche in the marketplace. Read this review and read Phil's book. These may definitely change the way you advise clients."
The Halo Effect is reviewed in CFO magazine on January 10 in a feature article by Ed Teach, "Blinded by the light." It is a very thorough and strong review, and has been quoted by numerous bloggers in the financial community.
The Halo Effect is reviewed in the Financial Times on January 3 in a column by Stefan Stern, "Superstar yarns that dazzle and delude." It begins: "Whether Philip Rosenzweig can shift long-held prejudices with his new book, The Halo Effect, is uncertain. But he deserves acclaim for this brave, provocative piece of work." Stern write that "he has thrown down a serious challenge to his business school peers and the business media as well."
Review by Publisher's Weekly
"This tart takedown of fashionable management theories is a refreshing antidote to the glut of simplistic books about achieving high performance. Rosenzweig, a veteran business manager turned professor, argues that most popular business ideas are no more than soothing platitudes that promise easy success to harried managers. Consultants, journalists and other pundits tap scientifically suspect methods to produce what he calls "business delusions": deeply flawed and widely held assumptions tainted by the "halo effect," or the need to attribute sweeping positive qualities to any company that has achieved success. Following these delusions might provide managers with a comforting story that helps them frame their actions, but it also leads them to gross simplification and to ignore the constant demands of changing technologies, markets, customers and situations. Mega-selling books like Good to Great, Rosenzweig argues, are nothing more than comforting, highbrow business fables. Unfortunately, Rosenzweig hedges his own principles for success so much that managers will find little practical use for them. His argument about the complexity of sustained achievement, and his observation that success comes down to "shrewd strategy, superb execution and good luck," may end up limiting the market for this smart and spicy critique."