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Maverick: The Success Story Behind the World's Most Unusual Workplace

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  4,078 ratings  ·  231 reviews
The international bestseller that tells how Semler tore up the rule books - and defied inflation running at up to 900% per year!
- Workers make decisions previously made by their bosses
- Managerial staff set their own salaries and bonuses
- Everyone has access to the company books
- No formality - a minimum of meetings, memos and approvals
- Internal walls torn down
- Shopfloor
Paperback, 336 pages
Published September 6th 2001 by Random House (first published 1988)
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 ·  4,078 ratings  ·  231 reviews

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Oliver Thylmann
Apr 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Published first in 1993, this books depicts the changes happening at Semco, the company Ricardo Semler took over from his father in 1980 to turn it in a much studied place to work at.

Here is the chronology of what happened and if you want to know more then you should read the book as it is both highly stimulating as well as amusing.

* 1980 Ricardo took over the company and fired most of the (old) executive staff
* he hired a new CEO who worked at different companies like Sharp and Xerox. The compa
Aug 07, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anybody.
one of the most influential books i've read.

original review posted here:

I first heard of Maverick author Ricardo Semler when I came across a blurb for his new book called The Seven-Day Weekend in a copy of Inc Magazine a few months back. Semler's counter-intuitive approach to running a business immediately intruiged me, because it seemed to solve many of the employee satisfaction problems that plague most North American companies these days.

Semler's compan
Bhavya Mehta
Dec 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
great book..The book should be a part of any B-school's curriculum. It teaches a great deal. And something phenomenal about the learning is that it can be applied to all walks of life,be it professional or personal.Example: It tells you to do away with the unncessary clutter in the organisation. He goes on to illustrate how effective it turns out.And the extent is mind boggling.And there are other such examples eg. How he does away with the conventional pyramidal structure of an organisation and ...more
Rosemary O'donoghue
Mar 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I saw a TED talk by Ricardo Semler and I wondered how his ideas really worked in practical terms. It seems they worked because he put so much effort into making them work. He was prepared to take risks and have a consultative workplace and he obviously has a great deal of energy and patience. The book does read like a novel - I found it enthralling.
I've been very fortunate to have had a series of bosses who, like Ricardo, wouldn't solve my problems - they'd keep throwing the ball back in my cour
Ash Moran
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
Sep 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
Maverick is an international bestseller which was first published in 1993. This is a review of the edition from 1999. Ricardo Semler writes in the new introduction that Maverick is “a reminder that age-old truths about human nature, respect and integrity can be powerful allies of success”. Here’s a summary of the book together with my impressions.

Ricardo Semler sees his role primarily as a catalyst. Success, for him, is to “create an environment where others make decisions”. It’s about having ab
May 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: business
In a very personal, yet profound and serious manner, Ricardo Semler shares principles of a truly democratic workplace. Transparency, flexible structures and a different understanding of “hierarchy” are some of the cornerstones that make Semco a successful living experiment worth following.

Of the business books I recently read, it's probably only Peter Drucker's books that have the same disruptive quality as Maverick. The only question that's bugging me: why are there so many people raving it and
Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership
One of Cambridge Sustainability's Top 50 Books for Sustainability, as voted for by our alumni network of over 3,000 senior leaders from around the world. To find out more, click here.

Maverick is essentially Ricardo Semler's autobiography, about how he transformed the business of Semco, a Brazilian ship-building supplies manufacturer, into a diversified and highly innovative manufacturing and services company. Semler took over as chief execuitve of the company from his father at the beginning of
Pedro Almeida
Jul 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It's amazing to reading and imagine how a transformation can impact so deeply people and a comunity. Bearing in mind an organization without people doesn't exist. Give the purpose for those who share with you the same life path. If you read this book you will understand the meaning of my words.
And what is more shocking is the amount of excuses we give to not transform our organization.
Thank you Ricardo to share with me your purpose of life!
Muhammad Khan
Sep 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Simply, WOW! Unbelievable and very thought provoking. Despite the age of this book, and experiences written about a Brazilian company in the 1980s/1990s, Ricardo Semler's philosophy is probably more needed today than ever.
One of the best business/leadership books I've read in a while.
Highly recommend to anyone in a leadership/management position.
If you're a CEO or business owner, then it's a "must read"!
Mike Madden
Oct 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
SEMCO was the original Netflix, Google, FB in terms of office culture. Excellent insights.
Ngee Poo
Oct 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One of the best business books I've read, on a company I've never even heard of before. ...more
Max Burtsev
Feb 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Definitely the best book on building corporate culture that will scare the shit out of the majority of companies and their bosses all around the world. Sorry, Tony, your “Delivering Happiness” lags behind.
Thukten Tashi
May 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This is a must read book for all leaders and managers. The management style followed by Ricardo Semler is of complete novelty. The fact that every employee of his company be it CEO or a sweeper has a say on major decisions of the company shows how each employee of the company is being valued. Even a sweeper has a right to evaluate the performance and incentives of the CEO and top level managers. This is in complete contradiction to top-down style of management which is so pervasive. It's good to ...more
Deepak Narang
Jul 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a must read for every entrepreneur! It describes the end to end story of Semco and how Ricardo revolutionised the entire organisational structure within the company.
Tosin Adeoti
Jun 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
My review of “Maverick!: The Success Story Behind the World’s Most Unusual Workplace” by Ricardo Semler. Ricardo is a successful Brazilian entrepreneur and experienced keynote speaker. The book was published in 1993.

Maverick is the story of Semco, a manufacturing company that was started by Ricardo’s father. The book detailed the unorthodox and sometimes seemingly counterproductive management decisions of the company as it became one of Brazil’s biggest companies.

Prepared to be befuddled by this
Apr 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I enjoy reading about the empowering Semco philosophy and path to a healthy workplace.

Democracy has yet to penetrate the workplace. Directors and despots are alive and well in offices and factories all over the world.

Most companies and employees accept this as immutable. But we didn't believe Semco had to perpetuate a system in which a person is hired who impresses his future boss but does not have the respect of his subordinates. Nor did we understand why we should keep a supervisor who wasn't
Earl Lee
Nov 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Interesting read that can be applicable to modern day business but is a bit long-winded. The middle-end of the book was a struggle to get through, but it picks back up in the last few chapters.

Personal Key Concepts:
- Work-life balance doesn't have to mean lower work output
- Viewing companies as family is misleading and terribly flawed; companies are businesses
- Working at home can actually work
- Ruthlessly delegate and prioritize
- Split operating units once it reaches 150 people
- Rapid growth is
Nov 15, 2018 rated it liked it
The premise of this book was intriguing in the beginning, wherein Ricardo inherits his father's manufacturing company and sets the tone by firing the senior leadership to re-establish a new kind of order.

Gradually, as each chapter dives into a specific episode with a radical idea, such as abolishing the pyramidal hierarchy with one with concentric circles, encouraging workers to start their own company and work from home, allowing employees to assess their manager's performance for routine eval
Rafael Jegundo
May 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Ricardo Semler is clearly a rebel, and after getting a lot of this book stories and philosophy through some form of intermediary medium and people, I finally read his story from the source.

On SemCo, they optimized for common sense over convention. Not all this can be directly and quickly applied to any company, but it's an important example to know, as an evidence picking the road less travelled makes all the difference.

Catalina Contoloru
Feb 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
An easy to read book, with good examples on what determined a business man to change his company, to make it a democratic workplace and the impact that had on the business overall. I liked the informal writing style and the small stories about employees.
Pradeep Kaushik
Mar 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
Corporare democracy. A series of bold experiments. An amazing read. A must read for every manager. "A turtle may live for hundreds of years because it is well protected by its shell, but it only moves forward when it sticks out its head". ...more
June Ding
Jul 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
A refreshing count of how an organisation can be run jointly by the workers and managers. Many ideas are revolutionary and you may wonder whether it works in real life. And you will be amazed to learn that it did!
Otis Chandler
Aug 08, 2007 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wishlist
Kareems top 10. Similar to delivering happines
Oct 07, 2010 marked it as to-read
Recommended by genius Kareem!
Apr 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A well told and entertaining story of a company evolving new ways of working with the help of it's employees. An inspiration for anyone who wants to innovate. ...more
Vimal Gasper
Oct 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
A must read for every entrepreneur and business grads. Inspiring and thought provoking.
Apr 19, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: business, biography
I've seen Ricardo Semler TED Talk sometime in late 2016, was impressed by it, bought his book, and shelved it. For most of the past 4 years, I couldn't wait to read it. Oh boy, was I in for a surprise ...

So first things first. I changed the tag for the book from "business" to "fiction-fairytale". If you think this is not a good sign, you're right. That's how I felt the more I read Semco's story (or history? who knows). I usually reserve 1-star ratings for books that I cannot finish because of ho
Ana-Maria Bujor
Oct 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: business, non-fiction, own
This is my kind of business book - written by someone who did the thing after having done the thing. No hypotheticals, no "you can do it if you believe in yourself". But things that were done and lessons learned.
And many of the lessons learned reflect and explain most of my experience so far. My best performance was in teams in which I was not a cog in the machine, but could see the bigger picture and felt I contributed to it. I love the author's opposition to paternalism and "we are all a famil
Mohinudheen Shabi
Sep 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I specialized in Marketing rather than Human Resource Management because HR subjects felt dull and dry. Subjects like Organization Behavior, Team Development, Motivation, Wages & Incentives etc. all seemed dull & dry 

However "Maverick" changed that opinion of mine. 

There used to be an ad which had a slogan:
"Adventures in Capitalism"
I think this slogan captures the essence of this book. A better suited slogan would be 
"Adventures in Entrepreneurship". 

What a novel way to run a company. 
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