Sunday, October 24, 2010

Book Review: Managing Humans

Managing Humans by Michael Lopp. Published by Apress. ISBN 159059844X.

I’m torn by this book. There’s a lot of really useful, interesting articles in the book, but it feels like much of the content is barely reworked from the author’s blog, Rands In Repose, and the amount of over-the-top gratuitous profanity really make the book feel unpolished. (And those who know me well are howling that I’m complaining about profanity.)

Putting aside those two objections, I found a number of good pieces in the book. There’s a whole lot of great things about dealing with people in tense situations, and many of the pieces end up pointing back to how you should have been more aware of what was going on. For example, one article discusses how to deal with an employee who explodes about something he feels is important. The article walks through getting the person calmed down and reaching a good resolution with them – but the last paragraph throws it right back in your face with something along the lines of “But you need to remember that the person felt the only way to get your attention was to explode.”

There’s plenty more like this, with the book covering dealing with your people, the people who manage you, and keeping a close eye on empowering your own career. Lopp uses lots and lots and lots of examples cut right out of his own career, which is really nice. The topics he cover are obviously things which are real world issues, not contrived, theoretical dealings.

The rest of the book keeps up this same style: some good reading, some uneven content, some throw-away F-bombs and excrement quips, and occasional amazing flashes of “Wow, I really need to take a closer look at myself in the mirror” moments.

Overall it’s a fine read. I’m not sure I got my money’s worth out of it, but it’s a good read all the same.

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