In Praise of Tom Peters

The first book on management I ever read was “In Search of Excellence – Lessons from America’s Best Run Companies” by Tom Peters and Robert Waterman. This was back in the late 90’s, an airport gate purchase. I read it cover to cover on the flight and was transfixed with how successful US companies achieved success by “Staying Close To The Customer”, “Having A Bias For Action” and “Sticking to The Knitting”. The authors had a folksy, positive style that was a million miles away from the hard nosed retail firm I worked in at the time.

Something about the book resonated with me.

  • There was actually a way to move from cubicle slave (as I was) to a manager
  • Making a business better could be fun and rewarding
  • And that we are all masters of our own destiny.

Roll forward 15 years and I find myself entering my 10th year of running my own business with an MBA on my business card. The office bookshelf is full of management books, some self-development books (some good, some nonsense). I have also latched on to some business bloggers, although these days I find less relevance in Seth Godin and more in UK professional service bloggers like Mark Lee and Robert Craven.

Tom Peters is now into his 70’s but in my view is still the most relevant management writer around. Or, as he calls himself – “The Red Bull of management thinking”.

He was the first to write about the concept of  “Brand You”,  which is a roadmap for moving from cubicle slave to independent thinker. Latterly in 2010 Tom wrote a dip-in-and-out book called “The Little Big Things : 163 Ways to Pursue Excellence” which remains my favourite business book.

I think that Tom is revising and shaping the whole of his career into a single 100 page pdf document, one that is living, breathing and changes with the times. You’ll find it here and it’s called “Some (Really Important) Stuff”. Some of it you’ll know already, some of it you won’t.

Download it to your tablet or your phone and I guarantee that you’ll find something in its 35 sections that resonates with you too, and inspires you to try something new in your business.

Here are some snippets with reference to the section:

2. Do good work. You spend most of your waking hours at work. Make the best of it – or you will have thrown your life away.

12. Calendar supremacy. The Ultimate Truthteller is Time: The way we spend our time is our priorities. The way we spend our time is what we (really) care about.

YOU = Your Calendar*
*Calendars NEVER  lie

16. Thank you! “I always say ‘Please’ and ‘Thank You’. You never know what kind of day someone is having. Best to convey appreciation” And “Employees who don’t feel significant rarely make significant contributions” (Mark Sanborn – US Leadership Author)

33. The Final Word (version three) “You miss 100% of the shots you never take” (Wayne Gretsky – Canadian Ice Hockey Player)

“If a Window of opportunity appears, don’t pull down the shade” – Tom Peters

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