Kirkus Review

We're excited to share Kirkus's review of Tom Peters' Compact Guide to Excellence:


By Tom Peters and Nancye Green
Release Date: Nov. 1, 2022

A guide offers a collection of business insights in an attractively designed package.

Business guru Peters’ book combines his thoughts—and the words of many others he quotes throughout the volume—with the design work of Nancye Green to create a motivational objet d’art that is both aesthetically pleasing and thought provoking. The volume, which is a small square rather than the standard rectangular shape found on most bookshelves, consists of 13 thematic sections. With headings including “Execution: The ‘Last 95 Percent,’ ” “Long-Term Investors Prosper,” “Sustainability: The Right Things to Do. The Profitable Thing to Do,” and “Leadership: You Must Care,” the work addresses familiar topics in business literature, and does so concisely, with just a handful of words on each page. From the start, Peters urges readers to think about business as having a social and community purpose as much as a financial role to fulfill (“Business as a community and as a contributor to communities has an obligation to create products and services which inspire—and which aim to make the world a bit better”). The book backs a holistic approach to business, with liberal arts graduates in key roles, leaders who advocate for their staffs, and a focus on long-term results over short-term financials. Most of the Peters-written content, he explains in the introduction, is “extracted” from his work Excellence Now: Extreme Humanism (2021). His new volume also includes many quotations from journalists, business executives, and thought leaders—including Larry Bossidy (former CEO of Honeywell International), Anita Roddick (founder of the British version of the Body Shop), entrepreneur Richard Branson, and author Marcus Buckingham—which Peters expands on.

The book’s design is inviting and engaging, even though the color palette is limited to grayscale, with the typography enhancing and reinforcing the work’s messages. The generous font size makes for easy reading, as does the inclusion of a significant amount of white space on most of the pages. This is not an information-heavy tome but a convenient and attractive gift book for those who are already familiar with Peters’ writings and want a beautiful object for display or an easy-to-grab collection of pithy and often insightful quotes. A few, like “WTTMS(ASTMSUTF)W: Whoever Tries The Most Stuff (And Screws The Most Stuff Up The Fastest) Wins” and “Fail. Forward. Fast.” (both attributed to “High-tech executive, Philadelphia, at one of Peters’ speeches”), seem more like filler than valuable material. Some pages are more interactive, presenting readers with a series of questions, but most simply offer a short excerpt from another work; citations are given for all quotes. The thematic sections provide the book’s structure, and although they are generally discrete, they do build on one another. Readers who are in search of concrete and actionable lessons in leadership and management should turn to Peters’ more traditional books or those by other business thought leaders for deeper explorations of how to develop the skills and implement the ideas discussed in this volume. But for Peters fans who are already acquainted with his work and appreciate easy access to a selection of conceptual points in a well-designed package, the work is a present that will be appreciated.

A gift book approach to leadership lessons that delivers highlights elegantly.

Holly Bauer posted this on October 17, 2022, in Excellence.
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