Title and Author: The Puritan Gift by Kenneth Hopper and William Hopper
Synopsis of Content:
The Hopper brothers have written an intriguing and insightful book about what has been appropriate and wrong with enterprise management in the United States. Their thesis is that the Puritans brought to American shores some fundamental management principles that served the nation really well for almost four hundred years. They trace the implementation of these principles into the basis for the productive New England colonies and then into the way businesses organized themselves in early America.
The principles were continued with the development of the multi-divisional corporation and the "Wonderful Engine Companies" of the 19th and 20th centuries that led the transformation of the U.S. economy into a world economic power. The exact same basic principles continued as the foundation of organization management by means of the very first half of the 20th century leading too much of the success of American enterprise throughout and after World War II.
Ironically although the "3 Wise Men", advisors sent to Japan by Gen. MacArthur to help modernize the Japanese manufacturing system were teaching these highly successful principles to the Japanese in the U.S. the new "science" of company administration which originated with the Taylorism of the early 20th century began to replace the sound principles of management that had served us so well. The Hoppers call this the "cult" and attribute it to the rise and influence of the business schools. Instead of relying on men who had risen via the ranks of a firm and were loyal to it, American enterprise bought into the thought that running a enterprise was a discipline that could be taught in MBA programs and anybody could run any organization by the numbers.
The book explores how this mistaken thinking contributed to the decline in the high quality of hospital administration, horrendous results in war such as the Mai Lai massacre and several policy failures in government during the last half of the 20th century.
The authors wrap up by condensing what they believe worked well from the original Puritan approach and augmented by later improvements into 25 principles of management which they suggest replace the broken systems employed nowadays.
This book is a should read for anyone interested in how companies or other institutions must be run and what may possibly be wrong with management today. The authors are not afraid to be iconoclastic in their approach and although they are admirers of Peter Drucker and other nonconformists they freely attack the current thinking in company administration. The ideas in this book have provocative implications for each and every form of organizational management and for the future of American and world economic success.
Readability/Writing High quality:
This is a well written book but not an straightforward one to read. It has substance and discusses ideas in great detail using lots of historical examples and sources. It is well documented. You will not read this one in an evening but the time you spend on it will prove enlightening and time well spent.
Notes on Author:
Kenneth Hopper is a enterprise writer and consultant. His brother, William Hopper is an investment banker in London.
The Puritan Gift, Reclaiming the American Dream Amidst Global Financial Chaos by Kenneth and William Hopper. Copyright 2007, 2009 by Kenneth and William Hopper. Published by I.B. Tauris & Co. Ltd.
Rating for this Book: ExceptionalMore info of William Hill Promotional Code
The Puritan Gift by Kenneth and William Hopper - A Review