a triarchy press publication
Ackoff's F/laws: The Cake by Russell L. Ackoff (with Herbert J. Addison)
Publication Date: 15 March 2012
No of pages: 156
Book type: Hardback
List Price: £35.00
Kindle Versions: Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.com
Customers outside the UK: price conversions for your currency are shown in brackets under the sterling amount at the checkout.
For customers in North America, books are printed in, and shipped from, the USA.
Russ Ackoff’s witty and subversive "F/laws of Management" have become well known and widely loved by managers and business students around the world. They cover areas like hierarchy, teams, innovation, motivation and management.
Each of the 122 f/laws challenges a received wisdom about management and will get you thinking about the often-unacknowledged realities of work and organizations: what really motivates managers, why companies are run the way they are, what corporate PR is really for...
Each f/law comes with a page (or so) of Russ Ackoff’s own explanation and illumination – often wandering into delightfully unexpected areas.
This is the first full collection of all Ackoff’s f/laws – previously only available in two separate books from Triarchy Press (Management f-Laws and Systems Thinking for Curious Managers.) This hardback collection reverts to Ackoff’s original typescript without any commentary or other introduction and features some of his original cartoons.
As Ackoff himself says:
"Over time I have become aware of some very important truths about the practice of management. These truths, which I call the ‘F/laws of Management,’ contradict assumptions that are commonly held by managers.
These simple management truths are much more important than the fundamental, but complex, truths revealed by scientists, economists, politicians, or philosophers. The truths these wise thinkers reveal are at most frosting on the cake. The truths presented here are the cake."
Hence the title!
Go back to the top to order a copy
Or go here to see details of all Russ Ackoff’s books published by Triarchy Press
Reviews of other books featuring Russ Ackoff’s Management F/laws
"Reading Russell Ackoff's slim new volume, Management f-Laws... is like being pricked by a series of delayed electric shocks. At first glance and on their own, the book's 81 short aphorisms, paradoxes and put-downs seems nothing special. The first shock comes as the implication sinks in, followed by a chain-reaction of secondary ones as the first implication interacts with subsequent ones, until shocks are going off all over and you are left in no doubt that you are in the presence of one of the profoundest and wittiest brains ever to engage with the bizarre human activity called management."
Simon Caulkin ~ The Observer
"If you ever need a reality check after stumbling out of some appalling management meeting, or just need cheering up on a long business trip, this is the book for you. Just about every myth or pompous delusion about management gets punctured ..."
Stefan Stern ~ The Daily Telegraph
"This book is fun - not something one can often say about a management book. It's also a compact piece of distilled wisdom. That's because it has its origins in the fertile mind of Russ Ackoff. He has been studying, advising and working with organisations of all sorts for more than 60 years and is world-renowned for his work on systems thinking - the idea that the whole is more than the parts and that any changes to one part of the system will have repercussions on others. Obvious stuff, perhaps, but incredibly important. It's the same with this little book. Many of the 81 f-Laws are obvious when you think about them, but are too often ignored or neglected. Yet they matter. Take No. 4, for instance: 'There is no point in asking customers, who do not know what they want, to say what they want.' ...Eighty-one f-Laws cannot be assimilated in one sitting. Skim it, if you like, and raise the odd wry smile of rueful recognition. Or undergo a self-examination course. Take each f-Law in turn and ask yourself how it applies to you, to your role in the organisation and to your organisation as a whole. Do it seriously and you might learn a lot. But the book might be best used as the basis for a serious conversation with colleagues. There is truth at the heart of all the laws, and it will be best dragged out in discussion, perhaps as one f-Law at a time. Every meeting, someone has suggested, could start with a short f-Law meditation - or might that be too American?"
Charles Handy ~ Management Today
"It is always exciting to meet a real subversive, especially when he (or she) is old and wise. Russell Ackoff was in London the other day to launch a new book and he fits all the categories… [He] simply bubbles with ideas about what's wrong with the way business works. His new book is all about the F-Laws, uncomfortable truths about the (mistaken) way most organisations are run. The flaws come from decades of repeated management mistakes and conventional business teaching."
Peter Day ~ BBC
"... there is much, much more here than the piercing of sacred cows. The book is an instructive gem that should be required reading for anyone interested in effective management."
Sheldon Rovin ~ Emeritus Professor at Wharton Business School, University of Pennsylvania
"We came to expect thought-provocation and wit from this ground-breaking intellectual and prolific writer whose two most cited and serious academic papers are titled «the future of operational research is past» and «management misinformation systems.» It is fitting that Ackoff once again applies his exceptional gift to reduce complex phenomena to their bare essentials. A life-time of thinking about management and experiencing its arcane rituals is summarized in the form of [his] f-Laws, making for very entertaining reading. But make no mistake: this is a fun way of going about serious work. Each of the laws hits hard on common sins of management, and should be taken by the reader very personally as a stimulus to think 'out of the box' about what really matters."
Dr. Wladimir M. Sachs ~ Affiliate Professor at CERAM Sophia-Antipolis and Visiting Professor at Leiden University School of Management.
"This book offers profound thoughts in digestible bites. It is easy to read and entertaining, yet full of wisdom. How much better our organizations would be if managers could really learn these lessons!"
Michael C Jackson ~ Professor of Management Systems and Dean of Hull University Business School.
"Wit and wisdom in small doses on the deep rooted abuse of hierarchical power. It takes a Russ Ackoff to unveil myths and illusions of this kind."
Göran Carstedt ~ Vice chairman, Learning Lab Denmark and Managing Director, the Society of Organizational Learning (SoL-network), Cambridge, Massachussetts, USA. Formerly President, Volvo Cars and President, Ikea Europe
"The small book is a delightful, if occasionally painful, read that makes it clear there are no magic formulas or simple solutions. But when confronted with the inherent uncertainty of their job, managers will still look for something simple to work some magic."
Leon Gettler ~ The Age, Melbourne
"Diverse views are a great antidote to blinkered thinking and they can be seen in this book - across the generations, across the Atlantic and across the gender divide. It is a perfect example of complementary dialogue, a resource we ought to see used a lot more in organizations. As long ago as 1993, Russ came up with the idea of a corporate jester. In his column in the journal Systems Practice, he wrote: 'Medieval royal courts had court jesters who unfortunately disappeared even when the courts remained. They should be reincarnated and placed in corporate courts... Corporate jesters must be able to ask questions that others either have not thought of, or dared to ask. In addition, they must be able to provide answers that are not expected, even by the 'kings' before whom they perform.' So, corporate royalty, wherever you are, please read this book, learn its lessons and act on them, if you wish your kingdoms to endure."
Gerard Fairtlough ~ Formerly CEO, Shell Chemicals U.K and CEO, Celltech.