'We are faced with a tug-of-war between our desire for a separate identity and our need for combination. We want to be ourselves, but, to survive in a bigger world, we also need to be part of something bigger. Fleas need elephants, just as elephants need fleas to keep them alert and dancing. 'This applies to my own life story, as I found elephants too imprisoning to my eventual freedom as a flea. But the idea also applies to economies who need both, to business which has to structure itself to allow fleas to co-exist with the elephants, to society which needs to encourage individualism but needs the conformity of the elephant, to education, to religion, to marriage and other relationships, and to all people seeking to structure their lives.'
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Charles Handy is always a delight to read, and The Elephant and the Flea--his autobiography-laced analysis of business over the past two decades--is no exception. In his 13th book, the United Kingdom's pre-eminent sage on commercial and industrial matters looks within and at education, marriage, religion and society in order to assess the changing nature of employment. His literate and knowledgeable tale begins in 1981, when Handy decided to exchange a safe but stifling life with a corporation (the "elephant" of his title) for the riskier but potentially more rewarding existence of an independent (or "flea"). Mixing diverse experiences with cogent observations on the evolving workplace, he sets the scene for plausible projections about where we might yet be headed. "Just as the signs were there 20 years ago for those who wished to see them, so I believe we can glimpse the shape of the new capitalist world even if it may take another 20 years to develop," he writes. "We may not like what is coming but we would be foolish to think that we can plan our lives, or our children's lives, without giving some thought to the shape of the stage on which we and they will be strutting". Intensely personal yet remarkably universal, the result is another provocative, illuminating and enjoyable book from the oil executive turned bestselling author.-- Howard RothmanReview:
Britain's only first class management guru. Hardy's readership is now much wider than the buyers of management books. -- Director
Charles Handy brings originality and lightness to everything he touches. -- Management Today
Handy excels at stirring controversy and thought. -- Business Week
Handy's jargon-free observations pack more power because of their clarity and prescriptive nature . -- Fortune
His appeal stretches beyond the business classes and he has a spiritual quality unlike other management writers. -- Sunday Times, 9th September, 2001
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Book Description HUTCHINSON, 2001. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0091793637