Myself and Other More Important Matters

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 01 April, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 01 April, 2007, 12:00am

Myself and Other More Important Matters

by Charles Handy

Arrow Books, HK$120

Britain's leading management writer believes that thinking is a rare commodity in the business world. Charles Handy, now in his mid-70s, has written 11 books, including The Empty Raincoat and The Elephant and the Flea, about life and work. Myself and Other More Important Matters is part memoir about the son of an Irish Protestant vicar, former Shell man in Sarawak, and a founder of the London Business School and the Open University Business School, and part practical philosophy on ideas for making management an effective tool for harnessing the passions of an increasingly flexible and independent workforce. His concern is that the drive for profit at the expense of the human spirit is self-defeating. Business schools and management need to be 'aimed at giving someone the self-belief that enables them to take charge of their own lives'. The rest will follow. He wants an obituary like that of US management thinker Peter Drucker, who died in 2005. It described him as 'practising the scholarship of common sense'. The message of Handy's books on management is commonsensical, that 'organisations are not machines ... They're living communities of individuals.'