Ash Moran's Reviews > Maverick: The Success Story Behind the World's Most Unusual Workshop

Maverick by Ricardo Semler
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's review
Jan 07, 10

bookshelves: books-i-read-in-2010, business, change, management, manufacturing, leadership
Read in January, 2010 — I own a copy, read count: 1

This is an engrossing story about how Semler turned his father's company from an antiquated, authoritarian business to one based on democracy, fairness, transparency and trust, where change is the only constant. It's full of anecdotes about how conflict and pressure (both internal and external) drove him to abandon most of the received wisdom about how companies should be run.

While I was reading the book I made a list of the changes Semler instigated - forty-three altogether. They range from the simple, but still significant such as allowing workers to vote on uniform colours, and the one-page memo limit; to the profound, such as circular organisation (as opposed to pyramidal) and managers setting their own salary.

Two of the subtler themes raised throughout that caught my eye are attuning organisations to our nature, and letting go of leadership ego. Semler mentions more than once the organisation of hunter-gatherer communities (including the human limits of working in teams of 5-20, and in tribes of 150). From this he derives the phrase "diseconomy of scale". He also shows a slow letting go of growth-for-the-sake-of-being-big, and the desire to have dictatorial power over Semco.

Priceless reading for anyone with even a passing interest in organisations.
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01/01/2010 page 15
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