Thriving on Chaos

Handbook for a Management Revolution

Tom Peters

Publisher: Pan, 1987, 563 pages

ISBN: 0-330-30591-3

Keywords: Change Management, Management

Last modified: May 8, 2021, 1:12 p.m.

In the modern business world chaos is now the norm. Everywhere and every day managers confront shattering and accelerating change: change paced by constant innovations in computer and telecommunications technologies.

To survive and become superlative in today's economic environment there is an urgent imperative beyond excellence: the flexibility that can — and must — use chaos as the source of market advantage.

With both In Search of Excellence and A Passion for Excellence, Tom Peters defined the parameters of corporate success in books that have sold nearly four million copies around the world.

This is his manifesto for tomorrow's winners.

Thriving on Chaos offers forty-five bold prescriptions for change, targeting the five key areas of management — Responsiveness, Innovation, People Power, Leadership and Systems for a World Turned Upside Down — along with hard facts, case histories (of disaster and success) and inspiring examples.

Challenging over one hundred years of tradition, Thriving on Chaos begins a revolution in management theory and practice.

    • Preface: Rx: Revolution
  1. Prescriptions for a World Turned Upside Down
    1. Facing Up to the Need for Revolution
    2. Using the Prescriptions: The Essentials of Proactive Management
  2. Creating Total Customer Responsiveness
    • C-1: Specialize/Create Niches/Differentiate
    • C-2: Provide Top Quality, as Perceived by the Customer
    • C-3: Provide Superior Service/Emphasize the Intangibles
    • C-4: Achieve Extraordinary Responsiveness
    • C-5: Be an Internationalist
    • C-6: Create Uniqueness
    • C-7: Become Obsessed with Listening
    • C-8: Turn Manufacturing into a Marketing Weapon
    • C-9: Make Sales and Service Forces into Heroes
    • C-10: Launch a Customer Revolution
  3. Pursuing Fast-Paced Innovation
    • I-1: Invest in Applications-Oriented Small Starts
    • I-2: Pursue Team Product/Service Development
    • I-3: Encourage Pilots of Everything
    • I-4: Practice "Creative Swiping"
    • I-5: Make Word-of-Mouth Marketing Systematic
    • I-6: Support Committed Champions
    • I-7: "Model" Innovation/Practice Purposeful Impatience
    • I-8: Support Fast Failures
    • I-9: Set Quantitative Innovation Goals
    • I-10: Create a Corporate Capacity for Innovation
  4. Achieving Flexibility by Empowering People
    • P-1: Involve Everyone in Everything
    • P-2: Use Self-Managing Teams
    • P-3: Listen/Celebrate/Recognize
    • P-4: Spend Time Lavishly on Recruiting
    • P-5: Train and Retrain
    • P-6: Provide Incentive Pay for Everyone
    • P-7: Provide an Employment Guarantee
    • P-8: Simplify/Reduce Structure
    • P-9: Reconceive the Middle Manager's Role
    • P-10: Eliminate Bureaucratic Rules and Humiliating Conditions
  5. Learning to Love Change: A New View of Leadership at All Levels
    • L-1: Master Paradox
    • L-2: Develop an Inspiring Vision
    • L-3: Manage by Example
    • L-4: Practice Visible Management
    • L-5: Pay Attention! (More Listening)
    • L-6: Defer to the Front Line
    • L-7: Delegate
    • L-8: Pursue "Horizontal" Management by Bashing Bureaucracy
    • L-9: Evaluate Everyone on His or Her Love of Change
    • L-10: Create a Sense of Urgency
  6. Building Systems for a World Turned Upside Down
    • S-1: Measure What’s Important
    • S-2: Revamp the Chief Control Tools
    • S-3: Decentralize Information, Authority, and Strategic Planning
    • S-4: Set Conservative Goals
    • S-5: Demand Total Integration


Thriving on Chaos

Reviewed by Roland Buresund

Bad ** (2 out of 10)

Last modified: May 21, 2007, 2:51 a.m.

My first management book. If you follows Peters' advice in this book, you're at least guaranteed to fail.


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