Myself and Other More Important Matters

Charles Handy, Author
Charles Handy, Author . Amacom $25 (213p) ISBN 978-0-8144-0173-6
Reviewed on: 12/24/2007
Release date: 02/01/2008
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Management guru Handy quotes Voltaire, “How infinitesimal is the importance of anything I do, but how infinitely important it is that I do it.” That combination of modesty and determination underlies this autobiography from title to final page. Born in 1932, raised in Ireland and educated at Oxford, Handy disappointed his family by entering “trade” for Shell Oil in Asia. Returning to London, he embarked on a career that included teaching, writing, broadcasting the BBC Thought for the Day and consulting and managing quasi-public entities. Because his family valued humility, he felt handicapped: “A becoming modesty was urged on us.... But if you don't shout, how do you let other people know you are there?” Handy muses about this issue amid the story of his steadily growing success, offering advice on topics from how to live one's life to how to run the economy. The book's British tone is gently quaint and introspective, unlike typical American management consulting books. M.B.A.s who were taught to be aggressive fast may either be confused or find this book to be a good antidote. It will certainly appeal most to those who want to slow down the pace of their lives, while traveling farther. (Feb.)

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