The Secrets of Consulting
A Guide to Giving and Getting Advice Successfully, By Gerald Weinberg
|Value for money||9/10|
|Did it do what it said on the box?||9/10|
One of the most important books for any consultant
This is a little book with some big messages. As the subtitle says, it’s a book not only for those who give, or sell, their advice, but it’s also for those who are taking or buying it. It’s a book both for those who help to manage change, and for those undergoing change themselves. Many people should read it.
That said, the main focus of the book is on those who produce the advice and ideas. If you are a consultant as I am, this may be one of the most important books in your collection. I have read it cover to cover twice, and parts of it many other times.
The book is written with a light, humorous touch, illustrated both with many funny stories and some very apt cartoons and quotations. From each discussion he abstracts multiple “laws” and reminders, which on their own should prompt you to remember the key points he discusses.
Weinberg doesn’t pull any of his punches. Consulting is hard, and the secrets are guides to improving your success and survival rate, not any set of “magic wands”. He addresses ways in which you can fail just as much as ways to succeed.
In successive chapters, the book deals with the nature of consulting and the problems it can address, and how to develop your own mind so that your can see the problems and come up with possible solutions to them.
Throughout, Weinberg teaches us to focus on the “people” problems: cultural, political and psychological, which tend to be at the heart of any issue, assuming that, as he says, “it’s always a people problem”. If you can solve the people problems, the practical problems should be easy by comparison.
In later chapters, the book focuses specifically on how to make consultancy more effective: how to improve the impact of what you do, how to help make change happen, and the importance of things like setting the right price and marketing yourself.
This is an easy book to read, with lots of good advice very humorously presented. I can thoroughly recommend it to all consultants, would-be consultants, clients and would-be clients.