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Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Holiday Gift Guide #14 - Death by Meeting by Patrick Lencioni

Death by Meeting by Patrick Lencioni
Published by Jossey-Bass An Imprint of Wiley Books, 2004

Listen to the audio podcast version of this review

Fables have been used for centuries to teach important lessons and, even today, the form has significant advantages. With his series of books, Patrick Lencioni has taken the form from its earliest beginnings into the corporate office of today. His recent book, Death by Meeting, which I only recently discovered, takes on the bane of nearly every worker – the departmental meeting.

It is a rare person who hasn’t spent hours in unproductive and unnecessary meetings. Through his storytelling, Lencioni demonstrates a way out of the meeting morass and back to productivity.

Like all fables, Death by Meeting is a simplified and idealized view of the business world. Readers will see much of their own experience in the fable, but also a healthy dose of oversimplification. Change, especially corporate change, is rarely as smooth as depicted in the book. In any case, though, storytelling is an effective way of quickly and clearly make a point and educate the reader.

I found myself quickly moving through the book, completing it in only one day, but by the end I not only had a clear picture of Lencioni’s ideas, but also a collection of concrete methods of how they might be applied. As with his other books, I found little need for the “Executive Summary” at the end of the book, which explains the book concepts in a more traditional manner. The fable itself was more illustrative and entertaining than this, rather dry, summary.

Like all good books, Death by Meeting engages your mind and generates many questions. Is there a better way to run meetings? Are we stuck with our unproductive, and possibly even destructive, meetings? The book offers hope and a starting point many companies would be wise to absorb and apply.

Patrick Lencioni’s other books include The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, The Five Temptations of the CEO and The Four Obsessions of the Extraordinary Executive. I found each one of them useful and enlightening – something not always found in other business books.

Related: Mini-review of The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

Link: #14 Death by Meeting by Patrick Lencioni

More gift suggestions in the WelchWrite Store

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