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Brave New Work: Are You Ready to Reinvent Your Organization?
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Brave New Work: Are You Ready to Reinvent Your Organization?

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  826 ratings  ·  87 reviews
"This is the management book of the year. Clear, powerful and urgent, it's a must read for anyone who cares about where they work and how they work."
--Seth Godin, author of This is Marketing

"This book is a breath of fresh air. Read it now, and make sure your boss does too."
--Adam Grant, New York Times bestselling author of Give and Take, Originals, and Option B with Sher
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published February 19th 2019 by Portfolio (first published 2019)
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Average rating 4.17  · 
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 ·  826 ratings  ·  87 reviews

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Jul 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
I agree with a lot of the practical advice (located in the last third of the book)

BUT IT WAS REALLY ENFURIATING TO HAVE TO READ THE YAWN-INDUCING FIRST SECTION. ugh the whole point of the book is that people won't come round all at once and that it may take a few cycles or hands on work to prove this will work for you org so WHY did the author feel it was necessary to talk ad nauseam about how right he was.

getting away from that: the stuff about complex vs complicated was great. systems thinking
Tim Casasola
Aug 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
If you are a leader or change agent who is fired up to drive actual change in your organization, this book is for you. Not only will you nod your head to the fact that our current way of working isn’t fit for today’s world, you’ll be inspired by brave organizations that work in better ways. Most of all, you’ll leave with a clear idea for how to facilitate an organization towards its continuous evolution.
Sam Spurlin
Aug 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book does an incredible job of laying out an inspirational and rational future for what work could and should be like. Dignan clearly shows how the old ways of working (bureaucracy, command-and-control, rigid hierarchy, etc.) emerged from a particular time and place (the Industrial Era) that no longer applies to the volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous world in which we now find ourselves. It makes no sense for our organizations to be running an operating system developed and optimiz ...more
Jurriaan Kamer
Aug 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: the-ready-canon
Monumental book on the future of work that everyone should read.
Lars Plougmann
Feb 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Improving how work gets done is a supremely interesting question. The work most of us are engaged in represents the primary economic value creation mechanism in society. So why does it feel so staid? Why are we not constantly questioning our approach, constantly tinkering in order to eke out improvements and constantly throwing ourselves at experiments to discover better ways?

Perhaps Taylorism has landed us in a local maximum whence we look to far away peaks to admire the 37Signals, Slack, Gore
Jan 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
6 stars. I knew I was going to like this book because it started off with a quote from one of my favourite writers called Andre Gide. :-)

The book has a few fairly fundamental ideas.

1: That we should look at companies that are “people positive and complexity conscious” and see what they are doing differently to the model that we are used to running our organisations. (see list of these companies at the bottom).

2: The book talks about an Operating System (OS) Canvas comprising 12 areas which it
Larkin Tackett
Jan 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is the first management book I've read in 2020 and I hope it both transforms our small business and the way I think about managing people and projects. Aaron Dignan is the author of an organizational design and strategy firm, who outlines an approach to creating evolutionary organizations that are "intentional but full of serendipity, decentralized but coherent." There are so many practices and approaches to consider adopting. I'm excited to get started. ...more
Doc Norton
Jul 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
At first, I was annoyed. I thought, "I could have written this book". A bunch of short summaries of other people's ideas for managing modern, complex businesses.

But it kept going. New ideas. New movements. Things I wasn't aware of.

It's an introduction to a lot of ideas that just might weave together into a modern day solution.

If nothing else, it gave me more things to go research.
Nov 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
One of my top books of the year. If you’re interested in working differently, you should read this book.
Tõnu Vahtra
May 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Another book that generated mixed feelings during various parts. I very much identified with the problems and challenges that were raised in the beginning (how organizations are stuck in their inefficient ways of working and the natural tendency is to apply more controls continuously to aim to control risks and make the output more predictable which leads to a downward spiral). The history of work (which could not get around Taylor and scientific management of course) following chapters discussi ...more
Soundview Executive Book Summaries
Think about your job and your average work week for a moment. How much time would you estimate is wasted in unproductive meetings or endless emails, reports, and documentation? Just imagine what you could do with all that lost time.

In his new book Brave New Work: Are You Ready to Reinvent Your Organization?, Aaron Dignan presents detailed case studies of organizations that have moved beyond imagining and actually asked that question of their employees. Declaring an open season on anything that d
Andreas Holmer
Apr 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. Inspirational and practical all at once. Highly recommended for anyone interested in the Future of Work and organizational design.
Breck Wightman
Dec 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Dignan has created a masterpiece that will most likely become THE management book of the decade. I’ll admit this book confirmed all my priors in a way no other book has. He commands the org theory literature with the mastery of a PhD and expounds with the practical wisdom of a tech entrepreneur.

Here’s what you’ll find here that you won’t find in other books:

1) A rejection of Taylorism for a “complexity conscious” mindset. The tenants of scientific management that views organizations as complica
Oct 19, 2019 rated it it was ok
I was left wondering about the purpose of this book. It does not address the real issues with the modern workplace such as the increasing specialisations in roles and functions which leads to isolation and narrow perspectives, or the sheer scale and size of some corporations which necessarily leads to much administration and coordination. Instead we are given a template for the psychotherapy of the organisation as if they are in a mid-life crisis.
To be fair, work related problems of employee cy
Joonas Kiminki
Sep 05, 2019 rated it liked it
Maybe I’ve read too many books of this kind, but I felt like the book talked down on me like it assumed I was a little slow in the head. I think I’ve read most of the 30 or so books that the author summarized and this book added little to the mix.

There were many positives, too! The book has a nice flow and the content _is_ interesting, even if much of it was repetition. The third star in my review comes from the uplifting last chapter on the future of corporations, competition, social justice a
May 30, 2019 rated it it was ok
This book started out strong describing how the current operating system for companies is broken and the improvements that are possible. Then is got into the weeds and the book slowed down. It ended with descriptions of how to make change happen but it felt like this fell short. Everything had an "it will be different for every company disclaimer". Also, real change seems to require upper management buy-in so for lower level employees there was no clear path to change. ...more
Mar 14, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: march, 2019
At its best in the early pages, where Dignan does a fantastic job of painting a compelling picture of how we need to rethink organizational structure. Far weaker (and less interesting to read) as he gets into his ideas of a new operating structure, where there's simply not enough guidance to help those needing guidance and where those of us already on board will find little that's new. ...more
Aug 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
Most business books are a waste of time that can be summarized in the chapter headings. This one is more like a workshop. The value is in applying it, not just reading it. Lots of interesting ways of changing the defaults we’ve come to think are the only way of doing things. Tons of radical future thinking.
Alexander Teibrich
Mar 29, 2020 rated it liked it
The book builds on top of two simple ideas: Being people positive and complexity conscious. It draws out an extensive picture of how evolutionary, teal organisations look and operate and projects a great and inspiring view of the future of work. The rather complex style of writing just somehow did not resonate with me.
Jun 22, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: work
The book spends 80% time explaining why you should reinvent your organization when I already agreed with them. I was really hoping for more real-world scenarios. It lacked in this area since they are trying to get you to hire them to come in for consulting.
Sri Shivananda
Aaron Dignan walks us through the past and future of work, how the operating system is the key to effective organizations, the principles, and practices of evolutionary organizations and change approaches in the context of complex organizations.
Feb 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It’s an inspiring, encouraging and highly recommended read for those wanting to reinvent their organisation. Let’s create workplaces that are more adaptative, vital, human and fun!
Nicky Shields
Mar 06, 2019 rated it it was ok
OMG. I hope nobody else wasted their life reading this fluff piece of megalomania.
Adam Johnson
Mar 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Brave New Work, by Aaron Dignan, is that wonderful mix of aspiration and “down in the trenches” practicality which gives a sense of both what can be achieved how to get there.

His approach is compelling. He talks of the death by a thousand (paper) cuts of bureaucracy, and how this virus that pervades our organisations came about through an inability to accept that people can decide for themselves, and a pernicious belief in the organisation as a machine. Complicated, but predictable nonetheless.

Scott Wozniak
May 22, 2019 rated it liked it
This book is full of wonderful ideas on what's possible at work, mostly presented without balance or moderation. It's a book full of extreme work examples. So, I loved how it stretches the definition of what's possible. I've heard most of these examples before (or seen them myself in my years of working with some of these example companies). I not only like them, I have used them as teaching points myself.

But when it came to the application of these ideas, it felt like an all-or-nothing kind of
May 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This management book is worth around a thousand others. Instead of giving you a grand plan with which to improve profits 1000% through top-down approach, it advises to think for yourself and let the others think for themselves too. Ever tried to stop micromanaging and just give your people a purpose and resources? Well, this book is about that but on steroids and crack. And at scale.

Handling a complex ever-changing system which has a central place in your life is not an easy or intuitive thing
Gordon Casey
Feb 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Combining both the theoretical, vision-like ideas of why we need to change the way we work with the practical ways to get there, to think it through, to implement it... this is a wonderful book to read as the best-in-class of things like this.

I've read most of the things the author has read in getting to this point and this is a wonderful distillation of all of that knowledge and so serves as an ideal entry point. And an ideal refresher and all-in-one package for someone like me.

Highly recomme
Cassidy Taylor
Jun 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book was given as a gift to myself and my teammates from the author's brother. We have all been reading it together and discussing the ideas as we go through.

No company is ever perfect, but Dignan's opportunity-lead mindset of creating a smarter, better, more fluid company was so intriguing. The connecting theme of revolving opportunity was honestly my biggest takeaway. Giving people the opportunity to make dynamic teams, leaning on strengths and interests rather than titles; opportunity t
Jun 27, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book was required reading by a consultancy firm that was trying to evaluate our corporate "operating system." While many of the people forward and dynamic organization messages resonated with me, it comes off as very theoretical: with lots of concepts and little practical application. There are many other great books that speak to real change and practical approaches.

If you buy into the "post capitalism" world that the author suggests we are moving towards, then the hyperbole may be appeali
Oct 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Dignan brings a unique voice to this genre, via this book and via his podcast. While he is deeply familiar with the theories informing how we work, he doesn't want to be theoretical. And while he is spending many days consulting with executives, he is interested in a broader audience. The resulting tone is approachable: "Seriously, though, why are we doing this, and why couldn't we do it better?" There were large sections that I skimmed (because I already sensed what he was drawing from and wher ...more
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