Summary of Thriving on Chaos

Handbook for a Management Revolution

First Edition: 1987 more...

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Thriving on Chaos book summary
As your business faces rapid change, embrace it. Innovate. Envision the future. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.


7 Overall

9 Applicability

8 Innovation

6 Style


In Search of Excellence guru Tom Peters says today’s rapidly changing times are forcing a management revolution. He suggests that being excellent is no longer enough: companies need to be perpetually ready to innovate. They must be willing to make continual improvements because the business environment is so competitive. Rather than focusing on cost-cutting efficiencies, these improvements must stress providing customers with value. He predicts this rapidly changing world - fueled by new technology - will be unpredictable, so companies must learn how to "thrive on chaos" to survive the turbulent times ahead. To this end, Peters offers a series of steps that managers must take to become proactive and respond to change. He organizes his action prescriptions in five areas of management: 1) being responsive to the customer; 2) constantly innovating in all areas; 3) entering partnerships with everyone connected to your organization; 4) creating an inspiring vision based on change; and 5) setting up controls that measure what’s really important. Peters wrote these prescriptions in 1987, but they are still timely, since change continues unabated. This classic is easy-to-read, with hands-on specific strategies. recommends it to everyone in business.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How to thrive in an atmosphere of unceasing change;
  • Why constant improvement is mandatory;
  • Why your firm must emphasize customer service; and
  • Which specific strategies will move your company ahead.


The Need for a Revolution in Management Practices
Growing changes in the economy and society due to the advance of technology mandate a parallel change in management practices. Companies need to embrace change. To remain excellent, your company must "cherish impermanence - and thrive...
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About the Author

Tom Peters is a management consultant, who has written many business books, including In Search of Excellence (with Robert H. Waterman, Jr.), A Passion for Excellence (with Nancy Austin), Liberation Management, The Circle of Innovation and The Tom Peters Seminar.

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