Saturday, December 19, 2009

Review: The Dung Beetle Manager by Scott W. Dunlap

There are currently over 150 million people in the U.S. workforce, and over 22 million of those people work in public sector jobs. There's a lot of crap being left around the office. There are those who are forced to eat it, clean it, step in it, or get it thrown in their face. These people are called "the Workforce". Some in the office drop them bigger and nastier than others. These people are called "Executives". Then there are the poor schmucks in the middle. These people are called "Managers". This book is about them, the persistent Dung Beetle Managers.

The Dung Beetle Manager must master the rules of dung, know the turd types, the nature of their Dung Beetles, and then apply tailored strategies to clean up the piles left behind. This book draws from the lowest common denominator to the species. Shit happens, farts are funny, everybody shits, and shit stinks. In a nutshell, this book uses the idea of using poop and dung beetles as a metaphor for higher learning in the ways of organizational dynamics and human behavior in the office. This book will appeal to anyone who ever uttered the words "that's bullshit"; whether in the Federal, state, or local government or local grocery store.

There are countless management and leadership books in the marketplace that spend hundreds of pages droning on about profoundly obvious, simple truths. Good habits are good. Trust is good. Empowerment is good. Waste is bad. Quality is good. The economy is complex. The Internet is transformational. Leadership is hard. Change is hard. Many of these books provide great insight but they don't really challenge the reader to spin their head around and think about things from a fundamentally different perspective. The modern workforce needs a new way of looking at the challenges of the 21st century. Our dung beetle friends and all of the shitters in the world provided a clear and elementary foundation to understand basic leadership and management. If nothing else, they provide some really fun labels to toss around with colleagues to keep things light while trying to make sense of the chaos.

This book provides an off-the-wall and very humorous view of a revolutionary new "brown" management model born in the pastures of northeast Arkansas and perfected with years of experience and tuning in the bureaucratic suck. Whether or not the reader of this book finds any diamonds in the dung, they'll have a good laugh and never look at the office or the people they work with in the same way again. In these challenging and often depressing economic times, a good laugh in the workplace is priceless.

Received from the publisher for review.

This was a slim book of just over 100 pages and, at times, was refreshingly candid and amusing. It is certainly not your average business book as it is geared more towards me who can endure the word "shit" at last 10 times per page.

This one gets two stars. While the messages themselves were important, the presentation left a bit to be desired. It takes a certain kind of reader to make it all the way through the book and I'm just not that person.

☆☆= Didn't Like It


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