Parkinson's Law
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Parkinson's Law

3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  245 ratings  ·  38 reviews
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Hardcover, 112 pages
Published July 21st 2003 by Buccaneer Books (first published 1957)
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Adam
Parkinson's Law briefly stated is that 'work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.' If it doesn't seem that an entire book could be written about this thesis then you haven't encountered the imaginative genius and the stinging comic wit of C. Northcote Parkinson. He is able to use this little insight as an analytic tool to expose much of what is wrong with organizations and why much in both business and government seems at odds with common sense. For example, why the Briti...more
Ted
This is a very funny book, and a quick read. If you're a little on the cynical side, and ever run into it at a book sale or used book store, you might want to pick it up.

I can't check it out, since the copy I read has been returned to the friend who loaned it to me, but as I recall it was a little hard to decide in some places whether the author was totally serious or was just being humorous. Likewise, whether the "experiences" he was relating had really been experienced. That is, whether the wo...more
Stanley
There's a reason those bloggers on time management still invoke Parkinson's Law 55 years after he coined the term. Yet there's more to the law than the version we hear so often in contemporary culture. His other essays are just as insightful, especially when explaining why institutions behave the way they do.
Jim Viscusi
Enjoying! A series of short essays on management theory. Parkinson's Law summarizes to me (at the moment) as work expends to fill the time allotted regardless of importance. It's currently relevant to me as I try to sort out how much time to allocate to a project
iGravity™
Very interesting modelling of social behaviour. Who would have thought there is a mathematical approach to finding the most important person (or group of people) in a party based solely on time and floor-space? But there is. Check the book out.
Vicki
Love and absolutely agree with the conclusion that work expands to fill the time available, but this is a really old book and contains paragraphs and paragraphs of dry information.
Parttime
This guy knows of what he speaks. Should be required reading every year in the business and MBA programs.
Jerry Haigh
Every aspiring bureaucrat should be required to read, and learn, and UNDERSTAND this book
Kimball Ungerman
Recommended by Henry Cate. One reviewer: Parkinson's Law briefly stated is that 'work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.' If it doesn't seem that an entire book could be written about this thesis then you haven't encountered the imaginative genius and the stinging comic wit of C. Northcote Parkinson. He is able to use this little insight as an analytic tool to expose much of what is wrong with organizations and why much in both business and government seems at odds with...more
Maurizio Codogno
Feb 13, 2011 Maurizio Codogno rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Maurizio by: Andrea Monti
Shelves: humour, finished
«Il lavoro si espande fino a occupare il tempo a disposizione per completarlo.» Molti adi voi avranno probabilmente letto questa frase e l'avranno associata alle leggi di Murphy: ma essa ha un autore ben preciso, Cyril Northcote Parkinson (nessuna parentela con l'omonimo morbo), uno storico navale inglese che scrisse una sessantina di libri. Questo libro nacque da un articolo umoristico scritto per l'Economist che venne poi espanso sotto forma di libro, che divenne immediatamente un best-seller....more
Supposn
Aug 14, 2007 Supposn added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone I don't dislike.
Different recommended strastegie's for dealig with Western or Asiatic tax collectors.

A must read. Many of our everyday decisions are (or should have been) based upon Parkinson's insights.

For example, he wrote "Work expands to fill the time allotted for it". If you schedule more time, you'll create more tasks to accomplish a particular goal.

The many corollaries derived from this law are significant.
“Junk expands to fill the space allotted for it”. Regardless of how much storage space we create,...more
Hadrian
Jun 23, 2013 Hadrian marked it as to-read
"One unclassifiable work which was extremely popular in Communist Europe was C. Northcote Parkinson's Parkinson's Law (John Murray, London, 1957). Among the appreciative readers of the Russian edition of Parkinson's Law, published in Moscow in 100,000 copies in the mid-1970s, was the first secretary of the Communist Party in the Stavropol region, Mikhail Gorbachev [...] I recall a Hungarian socialist, who visited Glasgow University in the late 1960s, saying that he did not understand why Parkins...more
Luis Uribe
Parkinson's Law: "work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion". The various permutations, expansions and auxiliaries are both interesting and amusing. They certainly fill the 100+ pages and are as relevant today as they were in 1955.
David Smith
How are British and French laws dictated largely by the layout of the seats in the legislature? Why can you easily get approval for the ten million dollar nuclear power plant from the same committee that will never approve the five hundred dollar bike shed? Why does an institution lose all relevance by the time it moves into a perfect building?

With great dry whit, Parkinson gives us clear intuitions for the real forces that dictate how large bureaucracies operate. I felt instantly wiser and more...more
Adam Gravano
Organizations and bureaucracy are facts of modern life, inescapable as taxation or death; but that doesn't mean they must be inefficient, unpleasant, and self negating. Parkinson's Laws describe, in commonsense terms, life inside bureaucratic organizations and how it moves. Recommended for any student of public policy.
Kevin Way
A quick and funny read, the source not only of Parkinson's law, but also bikeshedding, and a host of other political nonsense.
Anthony
This was a good satire of administrative office work, if you could get beyond the 1950s sexism.
Danijel Brestovac


Lahko, da je res. Res je potegavščina. Leta 1957 je to bila potegavščina, ampak danes, ko to berem, se mi zdi, da je bil genij oz. futurist, ki je videl globoko v prihodnost.

Nihče mi ne more reči, da si ob branju ni pridobil vzporednice, ki se danes dogajajo. Enostavno je komično, genijajom in resnično oz. futuristično napisano.

Zame ste, g. Parkinson, genij, ki je napisal kratko, ampak jedrnato zgodbo krute realnosti današnjega dne.

Predvsem ste zadeli z boleznijo današnje oz. moderne dobe, ki se...more
Phil
Freaking brilliant. The law itself goes, "Work expands as to fill the time available for its completion." This sounds a bit silly, but you think about your own projects--in my case applications to various programs due October 1--and how everything gets done right on the deadline. The entire book is 150 pages of this sort of backhanded analysis which would have roughly the same effect on MBA students as a crucifixes do to vampires. Worth reading if you are interested in bureaucracy, committees, a...more
DaughterDaDa
Jul 18, 2008 DaughterDaDa rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who wants to understand how organizations really work
Shelves: education
Clear and concise explanations of how organizations really operate. The real-life situations he describes can make you laugh (at their absurd ridiculousness) and cry (at the serious matters under consideration) at the same time. Professor Parkinson worked in the British Admiralty (the navy) for many years, and observed firsthand just how important decisions were made.
Stephen
READ NOV 2012

Originally published in 1957, this clever piece still applies to many organizations today, especially where "little is being attempted [and] nothing is being achieved" (p. 78). In additional to Parkinson's law, the author describes the law of triviality and the coefficient of inefficiency.
Paul
An interesting and amusing pseudo-scientific study of business. It's a bit dated, but then, it's 50+ years old (as some casual racism towards the Chinese will indicate). Ultimately, the presentation isn't perfect, but the book is short and worth a read if you're involved with business in any way.
adllto
A great book whose laws of bureaucracy are extraordinarily funny and accurate at the same time. His greatest law "Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion" is even more relevant in the 21st Century than in the 1950's when it was written.
Bryan Mclellan
It's hard to tell at times how much of this, if any, is sarcastic. Mostly the book agrees with my preconceived notion that meetings and bureaucracy are more often than not wasteful and unproductive.

I found it interesting, but not captivating.
Don Gubler
One of only two or three worthwhile books on business. Distills the essence with humor. Tells us what we all intuitively already know. Work and everything else expands to take up the resources available.
Stéphane
Un livre humoristique ou un traité de management ?
Peut être innovant au moment de sa publication, il n'est aujourd'hui, à mes yeux, ni vraiment drôle, ni vraiment pertinent dans le monde du travail de 2013.
Eric Buhrer
All of my friends in academia who think that more power in government is a good thing but deplore the effects of administrative bloat on their professional prospects need to read this classic.
Lincoln
For as short as it is there is a bunch of nonsense in this book, maybe because it was written decades ago, or because the author is English, but it didn't do it for me.
Chris Auwera
Examples are outdated. Not easy reading.
Nice-to-have-read instead of Need-to-have-read.
Thom Dunn
Parkinson's Law, the Peter Principle, the Dilbert Principle....Someone should put all this together--Or have they ? (11/2009)
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Cyril Northcote Parkinson was a naval historian and author of some sixty books. He was educated at Cambridge, and went on to teach in Malaya, and in the United States at Harvard and in Illinois.

He was an important scholar in the field of public administration.

His most famous work is Parkinson’s Law, or The Pursuit of Progress.
More about C. Northcote Parkinson...
The Life and Times of Horatio Hornblower: A Biography of C. S. Forester's Famous Naval Hero The Fireship (Richard Delancey, #3) The Guernseyman (Richard Delancey, #1) Devil to Pay (Richard Delancey, #2) Touch and Go (Richard Delancey, #4)

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