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The Secrets of Consulting: A Guide to Giving and Getting Advice Successfully

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  3,209 ratings  ·  73 reviews
If you are a consultant, ever use one, or want to be one, this book will show you how to succeed.With wit, charm, humor, and wisdom, Gerald M. Weinberg shows you exactly how to become a more effective consultant. He reveals specific techniques and strategies that really work.

Through the use of vividly memorable rules, laws, and principles -- such as The Law of Raspberry
Paperback, 228 pages
Published January 1st 1985 by Dorset House Publishing Company, Incorporated
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Sep 09, 2008 rated it really liked it
A quick read and actually pretty utilitarian. Weinberg has that peculiar sense of humor of older "systems" (i.e. computer science) guys - an unhealthy love of puns, alliteration, riddles, goofy parables, etc - but it doesn't interfere with the clarity of his messages. This is not "consulting" as a methodology or a framework akin to what one may expect from a McKinsey or HBS alum. By his own description Weinberg sees the role of the consultant less as a problem solver and more as a "jiggler"; ...more
This book is a very quick read because it is a bunch of ProTips smashed together. I had a co-worker tell me that this is a book from the point of view of an old school consultant. I think the consulting work I will be doing will somewhat relate to what Weinberg has written, but it will also be more structured as well.

(view spoiler)
Jan 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: management
One of the best and most enjoyable business books I've read. Certainly on my top 10 list.

I came across this in some IT book club -- it was a $30 paperback and I was aghast. Have since probably bought and given out 50 copies (Gerry, you can send thanks) to engineers, auditors, and others who need to bring humor and sense to situations.

It has sayings: "Things are the way they are because they got that way." Remember it.
Dec 11, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: engineering
The author has been a consultant since age 13, when he worked at a local supermarket as a substitute stock boy, noticed that no one was buying the rutabagas, and suggested to the produce manager that they be thrown away, and their shelf space be utilized for something with greater turnover. The produce manager told Weinberg that this was a great idea, did as he was told, and asked him, "Now, what is the least popular vegetable?" Weinberg learned the lesson for good: if a consultant solves the ...more
Du Nguyen
Nov 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
The Secrets of Consulting by Gerald Weinberg is a book about the learning and wisdom of Weinberg's consulting career.

The Secrets of Consulting from the outset seems like it is specifically aimed at consultants or perhaps employees in larger corporations but as soon as you read it, you instantly become aware that this book contains advice and wisdom for your life. While all of the advice usually centers around consulting cases it is most of the times applicable for your life as well. As a result
Teddy Zetterlund
Dec 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Finished the book in three days and enjoyed it very much.

Afterwards I wish Id read it earlier, and Id like to compare it with How to Win Friends and Influence People. Both books introduce a lot of principles, backed by enjoyable and memorable stories, that you can apply to your lifefor great effectright away.

Also, it finishes off with a great list of other books you might enjoy reading on different subjects; one of them being the book I just mentioned.
Sergey Shishkin
Sep 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: leadership
Very thought provoking and humorous book. Although it leaves the reader with more questions than answers it definitely contains numerous advice on the subject. I only wish I read it before I started to be a consultant.
Michael Richardson
Feb 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
Worth reading for everyone involved in business.
Alexander Trofimov
Nov 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: the-best
If something going wrong, probably it's you. If it's not you then it's definitely other people. But never tools or situation.
Read and check yourselves.
Oleksii Burdin
Dec 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Laws of life, with a great Jerry Weinberg's spice!
ahmed mansour
Jul 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: consulting
The book gives a good overview of what it means to be a consultant and the skills needed to give advice to your clients. It discusses in details the necessary attitudes and analytical methods to define problems and solve them.
It also highlights how people typically deal with change and different strategies to successfully start a change process. Towards the end of the book the author shares how consultants should market themselves, price their services and win their client trust.

Overall it was
Jaakko Koivula
Nov 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Entertaining and highly educational. Will have to return to this.
Bibhu Ashish
Sep 04, 2007 rated it liked it
Why do consultants fail?How do I become a consultant of repute?What are the skills needed to become a consultant? If these and some other questions come to your mind when you think of consulting as a career,here is the book that should be really helpful.In a simple and lucid way the author has drawn upon his rich experiences and the daily lives' chore to make the reader understand the intricacies of becoming a successful consultant.
Good read
Bill Glover
Mar 24, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone who needs to work with and influence others.
Shelves: technical, business
A book can only do so much, but this book is the closest thing I've ever seen to a howto guide to consulting. A person could do some good, and make a very comfortable living just following Carl Weinberg's advice. This is especially useful for technical consultants.
Tim Ottinger
Mar 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Looks like a lot of advice given in a very approachable and brief format. Lots of insight into human interactions, and not a lot of fluff and sunshine. It is one of two Weinberg books I currently own, and I'm realizing that two is not nearly enough.
Henrik Mårtensson
Jan 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is a very honest and forthright book about consulting. It is also quite funny.

It's not just a book for consultants, but also for people who use the services of consultants. I think I can get the most mileage out of it if I can entice my clients to read it.
Nov 15, 2008 rated it did not like it
Read this book if you are new to consulting, otherwise you may already know much about what you may find here.
Ignacio Ahumada
Dec 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
Very easy to read. Good advices regarding prices, trustworthiness, and recommended books in the end.
Poorly written with self evident consulting half-truths like "don't make any promises" and "it takes years to earn clients' trust but moments to lose it". Gee thanks.
Heath Lympaney
May 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Many timeless lessons that can be applied in any work environment.
Larkin Tackett
Jun 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a classic consulting text and has many important lessons for our little company:

It's always a people problem. "Even when it's 'really' a technical problem, it can always be traced back to management action or inaction."

On problems: "The ability to find the problem in any situation is the consultants best asset. Its also the consultants occupational disease. To be a consultant, you must detest problems, but if you cant live with problems, consulting will kill you.
Does this mean you must
Scott J Pearson
Feb 09, 2019 rated it liked it
Weinberg is a master of extracting the human personality required to run modern business. He describes one of his art-forms in this introduction to consulting practice. This book does not focus merely on short heuristics on how to consult. It instead goes in-depth into the psyche required to succeed as a consultant.

He defines consulting as the art of influencing people at their request. He then describes a rational framework for this practice and how communication can succeed through humility
John Hearn
Aug 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
The author presents (management) consultancy as kind of therapy for organisations. Filled with witty heuristics backed by his personal anecdotes. Before reading this book I didn't realise (a) when it was written and (b) that the author was also influential in systems thinking. The former didn't show hardly at all (and was actually the better for it)... all problems are still essentially people problems regardless of management style. The latter became more and more obvious throughout the book, ...more
Brian Kim
Jun 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Not just for people who make a living as "business consultants" but applicable to anyone looking for fresh and counter-intuitive insights on learning, changing, improving, helping, and life. Don't be shy about skipping around and you'll find gems all over.

One of the many lines from the book that sticks with me: "Past glories are future graves."

Don't focus on protecting what's "yours" and living off of your past accomplishments. I realized that's what I did. I needed to keep learning and trying
Sep 29, 2020 rated it liked it
A good collection of principles to improve pretty much any consulting relationship, written concisely, humorously, and with interesting bits of insight. I especially liked Weinberg's definition of consulting, written on the very first page: "the art of influencing people at their request". He then applies a systems thinking point of view to the people, emotions, and organizations involved in the consulting relationship, because in the end every problem is always a people problem.
Gustav Bertram
Dec 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Funny and Insightful

Funny and insightful, this book is packed with useful soft skill information.

The digitization is a bit wonky in spots, but not enough to detract from the message.

I recommend this book to anyone who would like to influence people and organizations, especially senior software engineers and of course prospective consultants.
Apr 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Secrets of Consulting: A Guide to Giving and Getting Advice Successfully (Paperback)
by Gerald M. Weinberg

read many times
in a box of special stuff that I hope I find in storage
Dec 18, 2019 rated it liked it
Honestly, this is a fine book but a bit hokey at points and I definitely found some of his theories a bit off. But there is a tremendous amount of wisdom in the pages. I just didnt love the style it was presented in (unlike his other book - Are your lights on? - which was great. ...more
Samuel Taggart
Mar 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Full of great insights into human behavior with regards to consulting. Good use of humor which aside from being entertaining makes the various principles very memorable. Highly recommended for any consultants.
Sep 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Very easy and simple introduction into the most important communication skills - listening, asking the right questions and giving advice. A must read not only for consultants, but for anyone who communicates with fellow humans.
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Gerald Marvin Weinberg (October 27, 1933 August 7, 2018) was an American computer scientist, author and teacher of the psychology and anthropology of computer software development. ...more

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