The 20% Doctrine: How Tinkering, Goofing Off, and Breaking the Rules at Work Drive Success in Business

Ryan Tate. Harper Business, $25.99 (208p) ISBN 978-0-06-200323-2
The 20% doctrine, in which employees are given a fifth of their work time to focus on projects they're personally interested in, is hardly new—3M has been using a version of it for years—but the concept took off as more companies took note of its potential. Gawker.com tech gossip blogger Tate shows how companies have employed the concept with varying degrees of success. When Google employees were given free reign, they came up with Gmail and AdSense (the pay-per-click advertising program that generates around $10 billion a year), as well as Google Reader, a high-profile failure-to-launch. Tate doesn't tout companies or executives. Rather, he champions the process, letting his case studies demonstrates how key tenets—start looking for problems internally, move quickly, allow for subsequent iterations—are just as important to success as the ideas themselves. He also shows how the concept can work externally, recounting how The Huffington Post took the notion and spun it on its head by asking readers to cover the 2008 election via its Off the Bus citizen journalism project. Tate's enthusiastic but objective study gathers momentum as the book progresses; each chapter builds on the previous one, and he's quick to point out the practicality of the process. Whether readers are in the corner office or the boiler room, they'll likely find Tate's opus to be inspiring and informative. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/26/2012
Release date: 04/01/2012
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 208 pages - 978-0-06-209669-2
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