cover image RE-IMAGINE!: Business Excellence in a Disruptive Age

RE-IMAGINE!: Business Excellence in a Disruptive Age

Tom Peters, . . DK, $30 (352pp) ISBN 978-0-7894-9647-8

After decades with Knopf, influential management guru Peters switches to DK in an effort to "reinvent the business book," and while the results don't quite live up to the hyperbole, the new publisher allows for a looser design strategy that complements the author's increasingly stream-of-consciousness writing. Gray dotted lines lead from the main text to sidebars topped with category-identifying icons, and words' size, color and even typeface refuse to stay stable within a single sentence. (Design is clearly on his mind; one of the book's best passages is a rant against the poor ergonomics of the desk chairs in hotel suites.) The book's themes are mostly the same ones Peters has been developing since 1997's The Circle of Innovation and its follow-ups: small professional service firms are the wave of the future, successful companies sell dreams instead of products, and so on. Some of his ideas, like the unlimited potential of the Internet, have begun to wear a bit thin, while others need overhauling thanks to the recession. There are strong chapters on the spending power of women and the need to restructure the American education system, but not all the new twists are as satisfying. He takes on the 9/11 attacks in two business analogies: while the first interpretation of 9/11—small improvisational teams succeed against bloated infrastructures—rings true, many readers may find the second conclusion ("the Age of Large Numbers of Human Beings Crammed into Tall Towers is over") a bit tactless. But give Peters credit for being willing to stick his neck out, and expect loyal readers to follow him down this path once again. (Oct.)