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House of Lies: How Management Consultants Steal Your Watch and Then Tell You the Time (English Edition)
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House of Lies: How Management Consultants Steal Your Watch and Then Tell You the Time (English Edition) [Format Kindle]

Martin Kihn

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From Publishers Weekly

Complete with an appendix of terms like "brain dump," "pulse check" and "swag" (an acronym for "smart wild-assed guess"), this somewhat disjointed, highly intelligent and deeply funny debut memoir skewers a segment of the economy that nearly every white-collar worker has learned to fear and loathe: consultancies. Kihn, who has been nominated for an Emmy as a comedy writer, went to Columbia Business School and has spent the last few years working as a consultant; he writes the "Consultant Debunking Unit" column for Fast Company. Kihn argues that many consultants know little or nothing about the firms they're hired to help; furthermore, he contends, they often offer companies information that companies already have. For him, the consulting industry is a shell game, imparting an air of authority and expertise rather than actual authority and expertise. To achieve the illusion, Kihn says, consultants use mechanisms ranging from legions of Harvard MBAs in Oxford shirts to reams of incomprehensible blather presented as winning corporate wisdom. His reconstructed dialogue from within his (unnamed) firm and from his time serving clients is alone worth the price of admission, as is his relentless taunting (by name) of McKinsey, Deloitte & Touche and others.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


With sharp wit, consultant Kihn tears down myths surrounding the highly profitable and revered management-consulting industry. Presenting stories from his own career in a large management-consulting firm, this tell-all book sketches a picture of a consulting firm with teams of brilliant professionals who are hired by companies that pay millions of dollars in fees for an analysis of their organization and its processes. The author contends that consultants merely provide information the client already knows, and he offers insight into the effect consultants have on the company's employees and their culture. Language plays an enormous role in dealings both within and outside the firm, and the inclusion of a dictionary of important words for management consultants is revealing and entertaining. No activity avoids Kihn's scathing pen, including his highly critical analysis of business books. This will be popular among those engaged in consulting as well as clients who pay dearly for their advice. Mary Whaley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 3.0 étoiles sur 5  58 commentaires
21 internautes sur 25 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Funny, Realistic Intro to Consulting, Although Highly Negative 16 janvier 2007
Par Jason E. Bradfield - Publié sur
This book is a fast, fun read and a fairly realistic introduction to the negative aspects of consulting. Anyone considering a consulting career should read it to understand the downsides. The author is clearly a skilled writer, far better than most business writers. He is also very funny. It is rare to read a book that is a quick read, funny, and informative all at the same time. That's why I gave it five stars. The author touches on several aspects of consulting. He discusses a bit of his experience at Columbia Business Schools. The bulk of the book is taken up by his discussion of a couple of his consulting assignments. This is very much a worse-case scenario book. Most people don't have such a negative experience, but it is vitally important for those interested in consulting to be aware of what can and often does go wrong. I also think the author may not have been all that seriously interested in consulting as a career.

This book is especially useful for those who are trying to decide whether or not to go into consulting; many people become consultants just because that's what others do or because there is supposedly a lot of money to be made. Read this book before you make the decision to target consulting firms in your job hunt. If you read it and still are excited about consulting, then you will probably be a pretty good "fit' for consulting.
17 internautes sur 22 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 If you are a consultant you will relate to parts of it... 18 juillet 2005
Par Garrett - Publié sur
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
A friend reccomended this book to me. It more depressed me than anything (because it so accurately describes me)

There are some good points in the book:

1. The consulting feedback and review process is a joke

2. All consulting firms are the same, except McKinsey which is just the same but better

3. Travel is probably the worst part of the job and points are mostly worthless

There are some things that made me think:

1. Why do I hate Sheratons but tolerate Marriott

2. Why am I obsessed with my luggage

3. Why do I get so excited at recruiting events

He also accurately describes a lot of the unspoken rules. Such as never eating in groups in the caffeteria.

There are a few funny bits as well.

I certanly wouldn't compare it to Liars Poker (not even in the same league) and the point about not having a point is well taken, its a bit rambling.

If you are a consultant you won't be able to put it down. Everyone else will just scratch their heads.
13 internautes sur 18 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Right Up There with Stanley Bing 7 septembre 2005
Par Kendall V. Scott - Publié sur
This riotous book stands with the work of Mr. Bing, my longtime favorite "business" writer. The idea that anyone would read this to learn anything about management consulting strikes me as pretty silly; after all, at the end of the day, Marty's not trying to boil the ocean--he's simply trying to put a stake in the ground and then add value so he can increase his billability just in case he gets counseled out. (Hey, Marty, did I pass my consultant-speak audition?) Start at the end, with the faux acknowledgments--"negativity of the pissants around him," brilliant! It's FUNNY, people! Get a grip!
19 internautes sur 27 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Dark, funny and on the money.. 6 juin 2005
Par Red&Read - Publié sur
From someone who works in this industry, Martin Kihn has hit a lot of nails on the head in the mode of 'Snapshots from Hell' and 'Liars Poker'.

If you are thinking of becoming a management/ strategy or technology consultant read this book before making that decision.

Kihn lifts the lid on the self serving consulting firms, their inability to proffer little more than repackaged data and the clever use of a language and culture to protect their vested interests and hideous cultures.

Companies run by partners and VP's, whom a large proportion are sociopathic and driven by personal greed. Men and women prepared to sacrifice their home lives, health, relationships and quality of life (universal payback) for the Babylonian mirages of money, vanity, status and ego ..

This book is funny and dark too. .. Kihn (former MTV writer and Columbia MBA) joins Booz Allen Hamilton in New York and injects the book with a fresh ironic wit to make his points. His depth of insight is valuable as well as his ability to extract some of the more dysfunctional elements of an industry built on intellectual snobbery, stabbings and shamings. The book is thought provoking and although not written in a moralizing style it contains Kihn's values that are good. He empathises with those would may lose their jobs in the companies the consultants work with. He explains the truth of the devaluation of humanity within this sphere as people are fired and the game is to survive, and not look over your shoulder and consider those whom you have trampled on to do so.

Two other core truths Martin Kihn exposes are

1. Consultants actually don't know much. Therefore there is a series of cover ups and masks used to hide this fact and it is a game of manipulation via smoke, mirrors, vocabulary and image. Then it is about reprocessing data and packaging it nicely for the client... for a lot of money. That only comes about because people BELIEVE in consultants however the majority of these people have a vested interest in the consulting industry or have too much of your money in their budgets (read government departments for one).

2. The demands made on young consultants. The shams and tricks to get young people to work in these firms and with a deluded enthusiasm believe that

a) They are highly valuable contributors to society/ the economy

b) The best of the best (breeding mentality ground for young sociopaths)

It does not make easy reading thinking what consultants have to do in their early years `to make it'. The travel, denial of family, the hours and the ghastly culture in which their teams works. At best you feel a sense of compassion at worst you feel that McKinsey, Accenture etc are worth a visit from Amnesty International.

Basically if you believe the hype of these firms and that they make a valid contribution to industry, society and the lives they touch, you will see this book as a Michael Mooresque expose. You won't get it.. as contempt prior to investigation with see that the book gets swiftly binned.

If you are willing to be open minded or hold a Master in healthy questioning it's a must for the beach or bench...

Thank you Mr Kihn for writing this book......
5 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Very accurate portrayal of management consulting industry 29 octobre 2012
Par Noiseguy - Publié sur
I read this book before entering into my top-tier management consulting firm, and read it again during my time there. Like any good book, it only grew truer over time, as I could relate more and more to the experiences that Marty had in his career. It really is frighteningly accurate. I actually had the chance of running into one of Marty former colleagues at another gig and he had the same reaction that I did... with the added bonus that he knew most of the folks that Marty wrote about.

Most of the other reviewers will note that the book bounces around from topic to topic. Frankly, that itself is very much an image of what working in consulting is actually like. One day, you're running a purchasing engagement for a lawn tractor manufacturer, the next your working feed conversion rates at a poultry producer.

So, if you are thinking about consulting, are a consultant, or are just trying to understand those 5 folks crammed into a broom closet with their laptops that your company just hired "to look around"... this book is a must-read.
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