Summary of Up the Organization

How to Stop the Corporation from Stifling People and Strangling Profits

First Edition: 1970 more...

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Up the Organization book summary
Entertaining, penetrating and timeless business wisdom offers straight talk about practical management.


8 Overall

8 Applicability

7 Innovation

9 Style


This is a reprint of a classic best-selling book on business that has been widely copied but never duplicated. Yes, other successful collections of short, clever aphorisms have appeared and faded, but Robert Townsend had the ability to pierce the heart of the matter with stiletto sharpness. Just gloss over the small out-of-date references (like salary levels) and enjoy his ABCs of management. While some of Townsend’s recommendations still seem radical, he lived by these principles, and was a very successful, popular executive with Avis and American Express. getAbstract cautions that this is a book of epigrams, not a narrative, so it might be a little choppy. Still, Townsend manages to balance a savvy, fun attitude with serious, strategic advice.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How to tame your organization;
  • Which departments you should eliminate;
  • Why upper managers should set their own schedules; and
  • Why a small growing company should not emulate the methods of a big successful company.


Accounting and Taxes
No accounting system can provide you with a pure version of an independent, true reality. All accounting systems can be used in infinitely variable ways. Your job is to pick one that meets your purposes, and stick with it in good times and bad. Do not fall into the...
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About the Author

Robert Townsend worked at a global financial-services company as a banker and revitalized a major car rental company as president and chairman. He served as an executive at several other companies, and was a popular lecturer and TV talk show guest. He died in 1998.

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