Books don’t write themselves. While Tom cogitates, he works through the initial concepts of his books in short bursts. You can find the resultant monographs here, as well as pieces that have not yet been included in a book. These provocative ideas are available as absolutely free PDFs. Download, discuss, dissect, and disseminate to your heart’s content. We ask only that you not alter the files, claim them as your own work, or charge for their use.
A Photo, A Button, A Tiny Mirror, A “Trivial” Courtesy Make All The Difference
posted on 4/15/22
Design makes the world a better place and is sustainable differentiator #1.
posted on 3/11/22
Tom presents one quote per year for each of year since he started the research for what became In Search of Excellence. In fact, their totality paints a reasonably complete story.
posted on 1/24/22
Tom shares fifty-two mostly contrarian pairings to provoke some thought on ever important issues.
posted on 9/23/21
You might want to use a few of Tom's ideas for your goals for 2020. Top among them are "over"-investing in and "over"-training your people. And, of course, the ultimate goal is EXCELLENCE.
posted on 12/30/19
Tom says that this is "a series of somewhat related notions," and that he'd prefer it to be read that way. He continues, "I'm delighted if one [notion] pulls you this way, another pulls you that way. In my opinion, it is YOUR job to figure out what it might mean for you."
posted on 02/12/19
Throughout The Excellence Dividend, Tom makes suggestions for leaders: Job #1 is maintaining a culture of people first, Strategy #1 is marketing to women, Daily Activity #1 is MBWA, and more. Here's the list of Tom's suggestions for top priorities, in 18 categories, for leaders of all types..
posted on 09/21/18
Tom's intro: "I'm not sure I've ever said this before, but here goes. You will find here a new paper I wrote. Fact is, and this is what I've never said, I think the paper is important. In fact, very important. The bottom line re 'Speed Trap' is that I think in this age of 'speed, speed, more speed,' it is in fact the case that the most important things associated with enterprise effectiveness and, yes, excellence take time."
posted on 08/11/18
Based on feedback from readers, Tom produced this 10-page collection of pieces from The Excellence Dividend that resonated with its audience. He wants to give his readership easy access to the heart of the book in a small package.
posted on 08/13/18
Tom produced THE WORKS—a monster-PDF encompassing every one of his important themes. As a summary/appendix, Tom assembled all the best quotes from those he's collected over his half-century career. Get ideas from the wisdom of all the best thinkers of the 20th and 21st centuries.
posted on 02/23/16
Begun on Twitter, expanded for a friend at the University of Auckland Business School, and tweaked/amended/enhanced/polished, this piece gives Tom's proposal that MBA be changed from Master of Business Administration to Master of Business Arts. Additionally, it presents Tom's view of "'management' (writ large) as the cornerstone of goal-driven human affairs."* (*From his email to us.)
posted on 03/22/15
In the act of a little brushcutting on the farm in Vermont, Tom discovered that the plan revealed itself as he worked. The realization led him to compose this ode to spontaneous discovery, with a nod to F.A. Hayek.
Tom encourages you to leave the systems thinking behind, get out in the real world, and do things.
He calls the message herein "the centerpiece and soul of my life's work to this day."
posted on 12/12/14
Tom wrote this manifesto as a summary of his talk to PAI Market Partners in the Dominican Republic. As is his habit, he added, revised, and made the piece applicable to all. The result is a call to innovation, differentiation, and keeping up with accelerating change. Its message is important to enterprises of one employee to thousands.
posted on 12/10/14
Starting with conversations collected from Twitter—what he calls tweetstreams—Tom put together this manifesto with his take on how to thrive in these times of accelerating technological advances and economic growth with anemic accompanying job growth. Controlling your own career trajectory has never been more of an imperative for success. In "Excellence. NO EXCUSES!" you'll find action tips, pleas, and prescriptions for preparing yourself for work now and into the future.
We also offer individual chapters from "Excellence. NO EXCUSES!" So, if you want only a piece of the whole, you can choose it from this list (alphabetical order):
1st-Line Leaders: 1st-Order Strategic Asset
47 Questions for Newby CEOs
50 "Have Yous"
159 Cognitive Biases Between You and Good Judgment (Good Luck!)
All Aboard the S-Train! (Social Business)
Bias for Action
Big W-A-A-A-Y Over-rated
Cross-functional Excellence: Opportunity #1
“Culture" Comes First
Effecting Change: Allies Not Enemies
Excellent Meetings (No Kidding)
Hit the Books. Hard.
Internet of Things/Internet of Everything
Last Word (Versions 1-21)
Leading: People First (Really!) (Please!)
Listening: Strategic Advantage #1
MBWA & Other Powerful Rituals
"Of Service" (Leaders Exist to Serve)
The Problem Is Rarely the Problem (Service Rule #1A)
Putting People (Really) First!
Quality & Excellence: The Quality 136
Radical Personal Development
Some Stuff: 47 Ways to Accelerate Your Journey Toward Excellence
The Work Matters
Tomorrow Has Arrived (WOW!) (Whacky But Real)
Training: Investment #1
We Become Who We Hang Out With
Women BUY! Women RULE!
Work On Me First
Your Calendar Never Lies
Appendix One: Getting Things That Matter Done
Appendix Two: Systems Second
Appendix Three: Foreword to Rich Karlgaard's The Soft Edge
Appendix Four: The Innovation 121
Appendix Five: Presentation Excellence
posted on 05/29/14
Started as a Twitter exchange, this piece is Tom's exhortation to leaders and followers to pay respect to all with whom they come in contact in a day. He emphasizes the point with this favorite quote: "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle."—Philo of Alexandria
posted on 10/23/14
In October 2014, Tom spoke to the Project Management Institute. Having such a group as an audience is an exciting opportunity for him. Of course, he produced this list of 42 must-do considerations to keep top-of-mind if you're a project manager.
posted on 10/23/14
How do you get things done? Start a prototype out of sight of the top brass and present it as something that works—already. This is Appendix One in "Excellence. NO EXCUSES!" Tom tells us that it's the way he completed the work that led to In Search of Excellence, effectively putting him on the path he has followed for the rest of his career.
posted on 05/29/14
When he posted this on the blog, Tom wrote: “My great friend Bob Stone, among other things former head of the (largely) stealth successes of VP Gore’s re-inventing government program, dug up a paper of mine which he plans to use in his current professorial job. ... At any rate, we’re attaching here the paper of mine that Bob’s using. It focuses on the peril of a ‘systems first’ approach to Big Change, arguing that systems are of the utmost importance, but mostly fail ... because the organization’s ‘culture’ does not support them. Hence a ‘culture first’ approach is usually/invariably the better bet. The paper is argued via 11 case studies from every setting imaginable.”
posted on 04/08/14
This manifesto is a reminder of what your business is really made of and where the profits really come from. It's section #30 from "Excellence. NO EXCUSES!" available as a stand-alone piece. You can download the whole collection or click on the title above to get only encouragement to put "People (REALLY) First."
posted on 05/29/14
In this exposition of his views on leadership, Tom offers a set of standards on which all leaders should grade themelves. He starts by stating that “Leaders should ... develop a vision for their enterprise ... get people excited about their work ... be masterful problem solvers ... have the highest integrity ... but ... what do leaders ... DO? ... First and foremost, they assemble and then develop a topflight team of people.”
Use the self-assessment to determine if you focus effectively on your people.
posted on 05/30/13
When Tom posted this manifesto he said, “I’ve only learned one thing ‘for sure’ in the 47 years since I started doing ‘this stuff.’ ... And that one for-sure thing is ... WTTMSW. Or, to clarify ... Whoever Tries The Most Stuff Wins.”
posted on 05/13/13
Tom has given more than 2,500 speeches in the last 30 years. He knows what it’s like to face a crowd, whether it be friendly or skeptical. While he has offered pointers here and there, he’s never written at length about speaking until now. Whether you give speeches for a living or on occasion, and even if you don’t but you want to understand what makes a great speaker, download this by clicking on the title above. Tom's presentation advice will change both how you speak and how you listen.
posted on 04/25/13
As is his wont, Tom has fiddled with and combined his last three manifestos, continually improving his work. Here’s the end product, get three in one: “What I’ve Come/Am Coming to Believe,” the “Human Capital Development Manifesto,” and his “Education Manifesto/ Polemic.” Tom offers this as a PDF (click title above) and as a PPT. Enjoy.
posted on 04/12/13
You can tell from Tom’s posted reading list that he read even more than usual(!) in 2012. He describes the process as a re-education. On the first day of 2013, he posted this text to present his conclusions in brief, and it’s provided along with an even briefer summary. Some of his conclusions are not too surprising (Brand You is on the rise), but some (the importance of gaming, the continuing role of government) may give you reason for reflection. As always, Tom provides a provoking picture of today’s work environment ... with brief glimpses into the future.
posted on 01/01/13
Inspired by the theme of The World Strategy Forum, “The New Rules: Reframing Capitalism,” Tom started musing on the topic, in writing, of course. The result is this manifesto that demands a focus on possibly business’s most important asset—the people.
posted on 06/25/12
As Tom explains it, our children’s teachers are “the most important members of our society”—especially those who guide their young charges through the first eight grades. Making it imperative that the best and brightest be lured into teaching.
posted on 03/15/13
In Tom’s words, he was trying his damnedest “to get a tenuous grip on the extraordinary-revolutionary-earthflipping change that surrounds us and which is accelerating madly.” This is the “idiosyncratic reading” he compiled. Tom says further, “In addition to nonfiction, there are a handful of well-researched ultra-sane sci-fi novels ... Also, you’ll find a couple of my favorites on the financial crisis; and a Cold War collection that is here because it is the ultimate study of leadership with consequences amidst uncertainty and ambiguity. A few others touch on decision-making and the typically faulty interpretation of cause and effect—and the power of being wrong.”
posted on 11/28/12
Tom wrote this when he posted this document on his blog in July 2012: “The genesis was my speech in Tel Aviv a couple of weeks ago. I tried to cover ‘everything I’ve learned in the last 35 years’—in the space of a (very) few minutes. When I got home, I was determined to boil it down to one page. Which was fun—but one hell of a struggle. Well, though I had to resort to 8-point type, I made it! All yours!”
posted on 09/29/12
Tom argues that acknowledgement may be the most important gesture one person can make to another. Letting someone know he matters, that her effort was noticed and appreciated, may be the greatest gift a person can bestow on another. And in a leader’s everyday performance, acknowledgement of workers’ efforts is crucial. (Updated 01/01/14)
posted on 09/29/12
On the occasion of speaking to the Center for Women & Business at Bentley University in Waltham, Massachusetts, Tom put together this collection of facts about women in business circa spring 2012.
posted on 04/30/12
Tom subtitled this: Or Why I Get Pissed Off When “Experts” Repeatedly Say “We need to do everything differently.” On one page, he presents his list of the unchanging basics.
posted on 11/02/11
Revisiting his early career and a highlight from In Search of Excellence (the 7-S Model actually predates its publication), Tom describes the origins of the McKinsey 7-S Model. Still in use and relevant to this day, the 7-S Model contains the beginnings of many ideas Tom has expanded on since its inception. For example, “Hard is soft. Soft is hard,” can be traced back to the 7-S framework.
posted on 05/11/11
“In a month, as I write, I’ll be 68. No matter how hard one tries to be forward focused, at that age there is a frequent urge to ‘sum things up.’ As one does look back, there is a certain class of memories that stand out. When you look back at ‘what really matters’—it’s rarely ‘the numbers.’ What follows is then, ‘the memories that matter’—or will matter. Why point this out? Because to get the tally right on this one at age 68, the sorts of things enumerated here must have been ‘top of mind’ throughout your career—i.e., yesterday and this morning.”
posted on 10/06/10
X2 or The Excellence TWO. They encompass two notions of ... Surpassing Strategic Importance. Two notions we all “care about”—but two notions that we frequently fail to ... OBSESS ... on. And it is precisely ... OBSESSION ... that is called for.
The X2: EXCELLENCE in Cross-functional Communication and Integration. EXCELLENCE in 1st-line management.
posted on 09/20/10
Following a seminar Tom gave, aboard the “Seabourn Spirit” and “aimed at independent retailers under attack from their ‘big box’ brethren,” he drafted “The Independent Retailer Edge.” Its benefits are not limited to the retail industry.
posted on 09/13/10
When Tom posted this short list, he wrote, “This started as a couple of Tweets. And then ...” And then he expanded it to a page of important conversation pieces, all in 5 words or less, which he calls the most important things you can say—if you own the attitude they represent—in business.
posted on 08/12/10
Tom has been developing this Credo for a time. He blogged about it, included a version in The Little BIG Things, and has now added the Oath of Office for Managers/Servant Leaders. According to Tom “It is a set of ideas (‘Principles for doing business well and profitably’? ‘Elements of Excellence’?) worthy of attention and emulation.” With a focus on the development of your team’s talent and considering leadership a sacred trust, Tom encourages you to be “explorer-adventurers proceeding toward individual and collective growth.” He puts it this way, “Our job as leaders—the alpha and the omega and everything in between—is abetting the sustained growth and success and engagement and enthusiasm and commitment to Excellence of those, one at a time, who directly or indirectly serve the ultimate customer.”
Joy Stauber worked her magic on the design of this piece.
posted on 06/07/10
A complete section of Tom’s book The Little BIG Things was published at ChangeThis as a manifesto titled “Enterprise* (*at its best).” Within its pages, Tom describes enterprise as a “vital, innovative, joyful, creative, entrepreneurial endeavor” in service to employees and customers. He goes on to explain his every-department-a-PSF theory and why you shouldn’t let your competition rule your life, but at the same time never denigrate them. If this seems contradictory, you might want to download the PDF!
Thanks to Joy Stauber for the beautiful design of this manifesto.
posted on 04/08/10
This is what Tom calls “Recession46: Forty-six ‘Secrets’ and ‘Clever Strategies’ For Dealing with the Recession of 2008-XXXX.” It’s part of a collection titled “Tom Peters’ Thoughts About Getting Things Done, in Good Times and Bad,” and we offer it to you here as a stand-alone. At only two pages long, it is a tidy, handy list of counterintuitive thoughts on handling the current financial downturn.
posted on 08/14/09
A speech in New Delhi co-sponsored by the American Society for Quality led me to concoct this list. I have always had a broad view of “quality,” and decided to let my mind and keyboard go where they would. Resulting in “Quality & Excellence: The Quality 136—One Hundred Thirty-six Random Thoughts on Quality, Emphasizing the Elements That Are Often Missing in Conventional Quality Programs.”
posted on 06/04/09
We usually think of business strategy as some sort of aspirational market positioning statement. Doubtless that’s part of it. But I believe that the number one “strategic strength” is excellence in execution and systemic relationships (i.e., with everyone we come in contact with). Hence I offer 48 [now 56! 01 April 2009] pieces of advice for creating a winning strategy that is inherently sustainable.
posted on 02/26/09
For a presentation in Auckland on Friday, 20 February 2009, Tom created a document centered around 21 “Basics.” As he frequently does, he got to Queenstown on Saturday and ended up expanding it to “Basics57.” We suggest you print this one-pager, post it on the wall above your desk, and remind yourself of these 57 basics frequently, if not daily.
posted on 02/23/09
Recession or no recession, deep recession or not, the challenge to add more and more value grows, and the importance of innovation, and a culture of innovation, grows exponentially. A “culture of innovation” covers “everything.” There is no half way. There of course are “first principles.” Or are there? I started a list of “stuff” that’s imperative to creating an innovative enterprise. The list of 10 or so grew to 25, than 45, and at the moment includes no less than 121 “tactics.” Of course you can’t do all of them. Or must you? Well, you can’t do all 121, or maybe even half that number, or less, but the absence of any one or two or three or six weakens and perhaps even imperils the entire structure; that is, we are talking overall about an abiding “culture of innovation,” and it takes a thousand signals roughly aligned to establish it and, especially, keep it in place.
posted on 01/08/09
“Real People” is the shorthand title for what Tom calls “Excellence for the Rest of Us: A Book for Real People, Working in the Real World in 2008.” In this manifesto, Tom contrasts the thinking of gurus (like him!) to the thinking of the rest of us ... those who toil in more conventional settings. In Search of Excellence introduces this idea when Tom and Bob Waterman write, “Hard is Soft. Soft is Hard.” By that phrase, they are referring to the people things, the soft stuff that’s more difficult than the numbers game of business. Tom revisits and expands on this thinking in “Real People.”
posted on 04/21/08
We’re re-issuing this column as a holiday offering from tompeters.com. Tom wrote it once upon a time for his column syndicated by the Chicago Tribune, but we think its lessons are timeless. And, what better way for us to recognize the holiday season than to post this article—“ Lessons About Life & Enterprise from Baking Christmas Cookies.”
posted on 12/24/07
Tom introduced this collection as his effort to get you to pay “‘strategic’ attention to what has always been Issue #1 in organizational effectiveness ... from Napoleon to the man in the moon.” Namely, cross-functional effectiveness, which will help you “‘Deliver Speed,’ ‘Service Excellence,’ and ‘Value-added Customer Solutions.’”
posted on 12/11/07
The Top 50 Have You [done these things in the last week, day, hour?] list is Tom’s reaction to the phrase “Mapping Your Competitive Position.” He contends that you should, instead, put some effort to the tasks on his list. In his estimation, they’re important to the short- and long-term health of any enterprise, big or small. If so, the mapping will become a secondary issue.
posted on 12/11/07
After writing his piece on “Purpose,” Tom wrote this manifesto exhorting all to “at least do something worthy of bragging about 25 years from now to your grandkids.” He introduced this rambling piece in a blog titled “To Get Out of Bed. Or Not Get Out of Bed. That Is the Question.”
posted on 09/04/07
As the 25th birthday of In Search of Excellence approaches, Tom has been pondering what the practice of management is all about—good, bad, or indifferent. He concluded that entrepreneurial capitalism is the strongest force possible for unleashing human potential, and that it depends upon the effective practice of management. And, according to a review of Thriving on Chaos, “Effective management is management that delivers more value to customers and more opportunity for service, creativity, and growth to workers. ... The decent thing to do is also the smart thing.” That is, effective management is humanistic management. After a lot of thought on these matters, Tom came up with this attempt to answer the perennial question, “What’s it all about, Alfie?”
posted on 08/31/07
This is the second half of the Success Tips series. First posted as irregularly scheduled blog entries, these tips led eventually to Tom's book The Little BIG Things. At the request of a member of our community, we produced this collection, in which you can find the origins of his book. It's posted also at ChangeThis.
posted on 01/10/07
Tom unapologetically repeats himself and revisits a favorite theme—the importance of saying “Thanks.” He asks you to send the PDF to ten colleagues-friends today. Download (by clicking on the title above) Tom’s Redux. Redux. Redux, and pass it on. Thank you.
posted on 11/02/06
Unofficially called “Getting Lucky,” of course. This is a list that appeared in Liberation Management in 1992, in which Tom offers 50 ideas for increasing the likelihood that you’ll “get lucky”—in business. Download it below, and find its relevance to your life today. (Don’t miss the challenge at the end.)
posted on 09/08/06
On 24 January 2006, Tom spoke to a group at GE Energy, and he posted seven PPTs and two PDFs for the occasion. Among them was a PowerPoint presentation that gave 89 Ridiculously Obvious Thoughts About Selling Stuff, which became “111 Ridiculously Obvious Thoughts on Selling,” including theorems such as “Little starts can lead to big wins,” “Great listeners are great salespeople," and “You must ... LOVE ... the product!" First available on our website as a simple PDF, “Sales 111” was picked up by our friends at ChangeThis to be produced as a manifesto. Thus, Tom’s collection of sales tips evolved into its final form, which you can download by clicking on the title above or find at ChangeThis.
posted on 03/31/06
Confronted during an executive session with Investec in Mauritius, Tom was asked, “So what’s ‘for sure’? Anything?” He said, “No. The world is too fluid for certainties.” But, then he got to thinking and the result was this list, his “Irreducibles,” which began with 173 things he’d say “for sure,” and expanded over time to 209.
posted on 03/13/06
Asked to come up with some quotes suitable for printing on the side of a coffee mug, Tom was inspired to write this collection.
posted on 02/14/06
As an alternative to New Year’s Resolutions, Tom assembled his “Top 41″ Quotes to live by in 2006. He offers them to you to adopt if you wish, also. Pick one or two, or use them all.
posted on 01/03/06
In Dubai, on September 18th, 2005, the head of IIR Middle East, Jessica Sutherland, asked Tom a “simple” question. He pondered it for weeks and gave us his list of what he considered important accomplishments for his past year.
posted on 12/28/05 (updated 01/06/05)
In the face of outsourcing, automating, downsizing, and all the other possible assaults on your position, Tom gives you tips on turning your company, your department, yourself into a Professional Service Firm—doing work that makes a difference. Also available from ChangeThis.
posted on 09/07/05
Tom’s 2005 summer project, a 240-page PDF full of rants (“CEOs Are Idiots!”), raves (“Lord Nelson Had All the Answers”), and more.
posted on 08/08/05
They say, “Plan it.” Tom says, “Do it.” They say, “We need an initiative.” Tom says, “We need a Dream. And Dreamers.” Tom takes issue with what “they” say and goes against popular organizational wisdom in Tomato, Toma[h]to!.
posted on 07/25/05
... to Help You Succeed/Make Money, Pt. 1 This is the first half of a work in progress. Tom set out to post 100 success tips on the tompeters.com blog, and this PDF holds the first 50. Also available at ChangeThis.
posted on 02/24/05
This Microsoft Word file includes every post Tom wrote for the tompeters.com blog from July 2004 through January 2005. It’s a searchable, printable reference for easy reading of Tom’s posts.
posted on 01/31/05
Tom presents 20 hard truths about the inevitabilities, pitfalls, and matchless opportunities arising as off-shoring, automation, and technology permanently change how we do business in the world. This manifesto is also available at ChangeThis.
posted on 11/02/04
Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Strategy. If your business strategy hinges on knowing where you’re going, you’ll find a very different point of view in Tom’s questions and answers about “strategies” for success.
posted on 10/18/04
This compilation of topics on Tom’s mind in the summer of ’04 features his “Summer of Soul” discussion of the journey to Greater Awareness. You’ll also get “10 Good Reasons to Get Up in the Morning,” and more.
posted on 09/26/04
Tom’s 60 TIBs. In honor of his 60th birthday, Tom put pen to paper (and fingers to keyboard) and compiled 60 thoughts, one for each year, that captured his professional and, to some extent, personal journey. He wrote about technicolor, audacity, revolution, weirdos, branding, and taking charge of your own destiny, among other things. This manifesto is also available from ChangeThis.
posted on 08/24/04
People First — Download Now
Excellence Now: Poster Series
Tom's Excellence Now: Poster Series highlights his thoughts on leadership, research on the industry, and some of his favorite quotes. Download now to print and hang in your office, share as inspiration on social, or just to pass among friends.
The Seven Commandments — Download Now
The Excellence 12 — Download Now
People First = Profits First — Download Now
Numbers Tell the Story — Download Now
Design Serving Humanity. — Download Now
Women Rule. (Or Should). — Download Now