Doug's Reviews > The Power of Pull: How Small Moves, Smartly Made, Can Set Big Things in Motion

The Power of Pull by John Hagel  III
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's review
Feb 09, 12

bookshelves: business, nonfiction
Read in February, 2012

While reading this book, I was already mentally categorizing this book as a two star, 'it would have been an interesting article in The Atlantic or the New Yorker but is a little long as a book' book, but then I stumbled on this passage:

Now, some might find this an elitist view of work. Of course, creative marketing people or talented software engineers or highly trained chemists can be passionate about their work. But what about janitors, truck drivers, or assembly-line workers? How will they ever feel passion for the work they do? As we will explore in a later chapter, these individuals, too, will have an increasing opportunity to feel passionate about their work. . . . As we begin to realize that scalable efficiency cannot see us through the shift to near-constant disruption, we will begin to see that performance improvement by everyone counts, not just performance for ‘knowledge workers.’

Interesting. Then I kept reading. And then I got to the end of the book. This is the most in-point passage I could find on it:

So what can we do? We can find or develop our passion. . . . One of the great lessons that Toyota taught us is that assembly-line workers can be enormously passionate about their work if they are treated as problem-solvers who can innovate rather than automatons who are simply carrying out detailed instructions defined by someone else. . . . We would be well advised now to step back, reflect on those passions, and see if we can find some creative way to pursue them, either through a full-fledged career change by redefining the work we are doing, or by edging into it through a reduced workload arrangement. Another option is to find parts of our current work that are truly satisfying and engaging our interest.

So their advice to janitors and truck drivers is just to be passionate about your work and if not, tough luck? THAT'S IT!? It's like reading a 200+ page on how to operate a world-class restaurant and devoting 2 pages to the food. Useless, which is why I'd give this book negative 23,975 stars if I could. AT LEAST DEVOTE SOME OF THE BOOK TO PEOPLE OTHER THAN CREATIVE PEOPLE AND SOFTWARE ENGINEERS!! Tell me something. Tell me how this works in the physical world, not just the world of consultants and artists and computers. Tell me more than two sentences about the Toyota assembly line workers, because you're onto something there. Tell me how Sam Walton instilled passion in his workers, who ARE janitors and truck drivers, to create a dynamic organization out of cashiers and clerks (fun trivia fact: the Wal-Mart greeters are actually there to watch out for shoplifters, but instead of an intimidating guy who looks like a bouncer at a bar, Sam Walton came up with the idea of putting a friendly greeter at the door instead). Tell me about the Boeing 787 program and how they created a platform by which different subcontractors all over the world can come together and create something as impossible complex as an airplane, which, unlike software, can't crash and has to work perfectly the first time, every time. Tell me how, even though there are integration problems, this is the way of the future. But don't keep telling me about the same crap about artists and consultants and computer programmers, because it makes me very sad and makes me want to write the authors to ask where I can get back the 5 hours of my time that they wasted.
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