Dangerous Company: Management Consultants and the Businesses They Save and Ruin

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9780140276855: Dangerous Company: Management Consultants and the Businesses They Save and Ruin

Behind nearly every corporate merger and every downsizing or "re-engineering" effort of the last decade lurked a highly paid management consultant. Consultants promise results, but what kind of practices do they employ to achieve them?

Written by two award-winning journalists, Dangerous Company tells the harrowing tale of a Fortune 500 company that spent $75 million on consulting contracts, only to see sales plummet from $1.3 billion to $319 million; explains how AT&T could spend half a billion dollars in consulting fees without any sign of progress; and exposes a consultant who provided government officials with information that helped send a former client to jail. You'll learn how Sears got turned around thanks to CEO Arthur Martinez's sophisticated and limited use of consultants, and how small, highly focused consulting firms are providing cost-effective, targeted advice and mounting a challenge to their larger competitors. Both a serious practical guide for any corporate citizen and a cautionary tale as exciting as a corporate thriller, Dangerous Company is certain to make the reader ask the critical question: What is the true price of advice, and who pays?

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Review:

It sounds like a thriller, it even reads like one, but Dangerous Company is actually the paperback version of a 1997 bestseller focusing on some of the most famous consulting firms in the world and some of their most famous faux pas. Written by two Chicago Tribune journalists, this fascinating book blows apart the powerful and secretive world of the likes of McKinsey & Co, Andersen Consulting and Deloitte Touche.

Based on sources within the consulting elite as well as their key clients, chapter after chapter reveals mind-blowing accounts of some of the worst disasters in consulting history, but also some of the greatest turnarounds. Read how one Fortune 500 company spent over $75 million on consultants only to find itself facing bankruptcy, while Sears' clever, and limited, use of consultants saved itself from the jaws of financial ruin. James O'Shea and Charles Madigan have revealed a side of management consultancy the consultants would rather you didn't know. For anyone hiring, or thinking of hiring, consultants, buy this book now. Even if you only read the 10-point checklist at the end, the few pounds outlay could save your company considerably more. For the rest, this book is an unmissable business handbook, revealing compelling insights into management-thinking at the end of the twentieth century. --Carey Green

From the Publisher:

"Required Reading" -- The Economist
This is a great book for anyone whose company has ever been invaded by consultants. It answers the most basic questions: Who are these people? Why do they earn so much money? Are they really responsible for the downsizing epidemic? What happens when executives let their consultants run amok? DANGEROUS COMPANY is a HOT book -- it has already been reviewed in the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times ("Engrossing"), The Economist ("Required Reading"), Business Week, and Fortune. And as Jack Stack puts it, "It reads more like a thriller than a book about business."

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