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Management Stripped Bare

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Management Stripped Bare

What They Don't Teach You At Business School

Kogan Page,

15 min read
8 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

From A to Z, the foibles, follies and fallacies of management, tempered with truth and humor from the trenches.

Editorial Rating



  • Innovative
  • Applicable
  • Well Structured


If “stripping bare” means taking off the old varnish, Jo Owen succeeds in baring management to a delightfully ruthless degree. He isn’t satisfied merely to proclaim that the boardroom emperor has no clothes. No, he catalogs, in encyclopedic A to Z style, every managerial fad, self-aggrandizing procedure and hypocritical impulse. Lest you think he’s irreverent just for the fun of it, he also offers insightful options for managing the daggers and dangers of corporate life. He doesn’t just tear down, he builds up. If truth is indeed the heart of all humor, this honest book will leave you snickering in your cubicle or corner suite. Owen offers real-world solutions (while admitting they may be no better than anyone else’s). Stripping bare is fine, if you go back and apply a new-and-improved coat of varnish. Owen does just that in the process of sharing some lessons business school skipped.


The A to Z of Management

Most managers face the same types of situations, over and over. No one “cure-all” theory of management applies. Rather, management is about learning to do a thousand different things, in the right way and at the right time. Some harsh truths from management, from A-Z, are as follows:

Annual Evaluations

At evaluation time, euphemisms pop up like dandelions. Reviewers resort to code words to be politically correct. This assures that anyone who reads an evaluation later will require a code-breaker to decipher its meaning. Common distortions include:

  • “Outstanding performance” – The employee being reviewed rescued the reviewer’s bacon.
  • “Below average performance” – “Who hired this moron?”  
  • “Above average performance” – Average performance.
  • “Average performance” – Not so good. In the mathematically impossible world of performance reviews, where 95% of employees are average or above, average performance automatically translates to “barely acceptable performance.”
  • “Challenging year” – It was catastrophic.
  • “Needs to develop interpersonal...

About the Author

As CEO of Auvian Partners, Jo Owen has invested 20 years working for international companies. He's lived in the U.S., the U.K., Europe and Japan, and has collaborated with some of the world's leading business school professors.

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