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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?

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  464 ratings  ·  56 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
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published February 19th 2019 by Portfolio (first published 2019)
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Average rating 4.13  · 
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 ·  464 ratings  ·  56 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.
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.
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 ...more
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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!
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 ...more
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
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
Mike Gunderloy
Mar 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Dignan digs into what some organizations are doing to change the rules, then walks through a set of chapters on evaluating "the operating system" of your own organization and possible alternatives (this is the strongest part of the book in my opinion) and closes with a section on how to run a change process. Bear in mind that this is his own work, which means it's based on actual experiences in helping places change. I've got a bunch of sticky notes to review for the future as our company grows; ...more
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.

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
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
May 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is amazing! Must read. I have rarely read a book with such impeccable timing and it was so scarily spot on. I've recently become a change agent at work for a initiative very much like OS transformation, but which we've called differently. I feel so energized and inspired. This book has given me new tools and the vocabulary to communicate the vision and the modus operandi to teams coming on the journey with us. It has comforted me by showing me that I've been asking the right questions ...more
Mar 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: work-ish
Very strong read. While some of it closely matched things I've learned in leading teams, there was a lot of thought provoking material as well. As someone else mentioned to me, the awareness can be an uncomfortable thing. Expect I'll now notice things with my teams which won't sit well with me or how I believe we can be most effective and engaged.

Ended up with a lot (a lot!) of notes, so that's something. Will take some time to think through how I may be able to put some of this into practice.
Synthia Salomon
Dec 14, 2019 rated it liked it
“Modern organizations need to change. Most of them are running on Legacy OS – a corporate operating system inherited from nineteenth-century factories. They believe that more control will lead to better results. A better approach is to reduce control – to model organizations on roundabouts rather than traffic signals. Do this, and your company may soon become an Evolutionary Organization. Here’s your first task: decide which domain you will attack first.”
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.
Vernon Stinebaker
Jun 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing

I don't know whether to tell the author "Thank you!" or "!$% you!". Why? Because if I were inspired to write a book, I think this is (roughly) the book I would write. Now Aaron has done it, filling a rare gap in the market with an insightful and readable book.

If you're looking to learn more about reinventing organizations, this is the book to read in 2019!

I'm not going to add any spoilers here -- I encourage you to read the book for yourself.
John Stepper
Apr 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Compelling, engaging & (rarest of all for a book about the future of work) eminently actionable. Great ideas, great writing, great book. In addition to proving concise insights on how we got to now and why it needs to change, there are many, many useful ideas & things you can try here. I especially appreciated that they're offered not as The One Solution but as ingredients in your own recipe for change.
Paula Fonseca
Dec 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book really changed my perspective on work, particularly because I work in an “evolutionary” company. Having worked in traditional ones for more than 10 years, my beliefs about what is work and what was expected from me and others at work didn’t really match the expectations the company had of me. Unlike most readers of this book, I loved the first section and yawned a bit reading the second one only to feel amazed again during the third (and most practical) part.
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.
Tim Hopkins
Feb 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Moved and inspired by this inlets this work of nonfiction. Learn by doing. Take the ideas here and run forward. Don’t walk, run. But get participation and experiment hard and fast. Be empathetic and focus on shared goals.

Loved the book. Going to buy this as gifts for colleagues. Thank you, Aaron.
Carl Lens
Apr 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Yes! This is the way forward, the ‘new work’. The ‘brave’ part is that there is no plan. The book is a broad investigation in new models and tools, but is not
A how-to book. However I do recommend it to people that want to upgrade the ‘OS’ of their company.
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