Most business management books promise something new and radical. “You’ve been doing it all wrong!” they cry, and then propose solutions that will “revolutionize,” “radicalize,” and “disrupt” your business to greatness. They spout fortune-cookie counterintuition like “manage down!” or “the best meeting is no meeting!” Over time, of course, this approach ossifies into little more than a several-hundred-page-long Mad Lib, a series of fill-in-the-blank treatises. Whatever the conventional wisdom is, invert it, select “Print,” send to a literary agent.
Into this noisy, table-overturning crowd step Ray Fisman, a professor at Columbia Business School, and Tim Sullivan, the editorial director of Harvard Business Review Press. Their new book, The Org: The Underlying Logic of the Office, is a voice of reasoned analysis amid the airport bookstore barkers.