More Secrets of Consuting
The Consultant, By Gerald Weinberg
|Value for money||8/10|
|Did it do what it said on the box?||7/10|
Very good, but a harder read than "Secrets"
The original “Secrets of Consulting” is probably one of the most important books in my collection, and I had great expectations of this follow-up volume. However, where the first book focuses outwards, largely on what a consultant does, the second book focuses in, much more on what a consultant is, and to my mind makes much less comfortable reading.
Don’t get me wrong. This is not in any way a bad book: it’s still as well written and humorous as Weinberg’s other books, and chock full of amusing stories and “laws” derived from them. Anyone involved in consulting of any sort will still get a great deal out of it. But if, like many men, you’re uncomfortable talking and reading about “feelings” you may find this less easy to read.
The “Consultant’s Tool Kit” of the subtitle is actually a complex metaphor. Each component of the toolkit is a metaphor for a certain aspect of your personality and personal capabilities. For example, the wishing wand is a metaphor for understanding, and being able to ask for, what you want from a professional relationship. The chapter around this metaphor first explores why most people either don’t know what they want or are unable to express it, and suggests ways to make your wishes clearer. It places this in a professional context, contract negotiation, and emphasises how the personal ability to express and value your wishes will help you negotiate more successfully.
In a similar way other chapters focus on developing wisdom and new knowledge, managing time and information, being courageous with your decisions, learning how to say yes and no, understanding why you and others are in the current situation, and keeping yourself in balance, avoiding burnout and other self-destructive conditions.
These are all important not only to consultants, but to anyone trying to establish a more satisfying professional or personal life by managing problems, by self-improvement and by better handling their relationships to other people.
Weinberg could have presented much of this material in a style much closer to the earlier book, but instead chose a more introspective approach which demands a greater investment on the part of the reader. Only time will tell how this investment is repaid, but I believe it will be for me.