The Science of Success: How Market-Based Management Built the World’s Largest Private Company
This is a fairly awful book. I didn’t disagree with anything Koch wrote, but the problem is that (1) he’s a poor writer, and (2) he’s not saying anything profound.
His writing just careens back and forth between points. I was trying to highlight the book and take notes, but it just defies logical organization. The chapter titles don’t clearly match the contents, and he vacillates wildly between topics.
Additionally, even if it the book made sense, he’s just not saying anything profound or interesting. The book reads like a Intro to Business 101 course. His chapter on incentives, for instance (arguably the most clearly written chapter), simply explains that people perform best when they’re incentivized to do something the organization needs. Okay...how is this not something we all intuitively know?
Koch makes much of this “Market Based Management” moniker (to the point where he’s apparently trademarked it). I think it should be titled “Reality Based Management,” because his point is that “this is how reality works, deal with it.”
The book is quite short – you can read it in two hours, tops. And I think the over-arching point is valid: humans beings are largely rational creatures who respond in predictable ways. The “science” of the title is the idea that we can examine these responses and craft strategies to profit from them.
But that’s about it. Perhaps read it as a look into the mind of Charles Koch, if you want to learn more about him. But don’t look to this as a serious business book.
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