Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Peter Principle Why Things Always Go Wrong

The Peter Principle Why Things Always Go Wrong by Laurence J. Peter and Raymond Hull.

This book is a business management classic. It is an acerbic explanation of why people raise to their level of incompetence.

There are a lot of silly terms which are in a glossary at the back of the book. Some of the terms include: hierarchiology, copelessness, papyromania, and staticmanship. These of course reflect the philosophy of people extending themselves beyond what they are capable of doing.

I especially like the chapter on how to avoid "final placement". The author suggests people find their proper place and stay there permanently. He writes refutations of psychological preparedness and training as placebos for advancement.

There are even descriptions on how to avoid being bumped up if you don't want to be. Some of the examples are most creative; park in the bosses space, wear inappropriate clothing, lose receipts, and maintain a messy desk.

The edition of this book is c2009. It has a new introductions by both Laurence J. Peter and Raymond Hull. There is clearly new material added since the 1969 edition. I would think computerized incompetence is an entirely new endeavor. The book includes an index, a glossary, and no bibliography.

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