Hacking Work: Breaking Stupid Rules for Smart Results

Bill Jensen and Josh Klein, Penguin/Portfolio, $25.95 (224p) ISBN 978-1-59184-357-3
Systems expert Jenson (What is Your Life Work) and Klein, a consultant for U.S. intelligence agencies, who teamed up after they met at the TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) conference, combine their expertise to suggest innovative ways of subverting ineffective corporate business practices in their first collaborative effort. Successful "performers are taking matters into their own hands. They are bypassing sacred structures and breaking all sorts of rules to get things done" (such as instant messaging during a "stupid meeting" to reset the agenda, a "soft hack"). The authors urge employees to contact programmers to secretly reprogram their company computer so that they can bypass established systems in order to introduce improvements; employees should also breach their company's firewall by using readily available tools to increase efficiency. Jenson and Klein have a trendy take on a modern dilemma but their suggested methods could easily be used for less beneficent purposes. A chapter titled "Do No Harm," however, which includes a "10 Commandments" for hackers (Number 4: Never Compromise Other People's Information; Number 6: Pay it Forward), addresses the murky ethics inherent in what they urge the daring employee to do. (Sept. 23)
Reviewed on: 11/29/2010
Release date: 09/01/2010
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