978-0-273-64591-7 / 0273645919

Funky Business: Talent Makes Capital Dance

by Ridderstrale, Jonas

Publisher:Pearson Education



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About the book:

Oh dear--a book called Funky Business by two Swedish academics. At first glance it has all the allure of Benny and Bjorn's (from Abba) sadly never released concept album about life as a middle manger in a multinational conglomerate. There is something very earnestly hip about the way that Kjell Nordstrom and Jonas Ridderstrale of the Stockholm School Of Economics present themselves. "They do gigs not seminars. These gigs sell out. They have shaved heads and wear black", says the blurb.

But that's what makes Funky Business worth reading. It's not so much the novelty of its argument--which boils down to the idea that in an oversupplied world, ideas are what separate successful companies and successful individuals from the failures. It is the vitality of the argument and, dare I say it, the rhythm of the language that make it so compelling. "Traditional roles, jobs, skills, ways of doing things, insights, strategies, aspirations, fears and expectations no longer count. In this environment we cannot have business as usual. We need business as unusual. We need different business. We need innovative business. We need unpredictable business. We need surprising business. We need funky business."

The book, which is almost a virtuoso display of rhetoric and intellectual power, bursts at the seams with the exuberant force of its argument and the weight of its highly colourful supporting evidence. Sources quoted range from the Pope to the Prodigy. Funky Inc, they say, "isn't like any other company. It is not a dull, old conglomerate. It is not a rigid bureaucracy. It is an organisation that actually thrives on the changing circumstances and unpredictability of our times."

This is great entertainment. But the slick veneer does not invalidate the way that the book pulls together many existing strands of thought about how business is developing and evokes a coherent and intriguing vision of a future whose main feature will be incoherence.

This really is one for all the family. Or at least all those old enough to have a job. --Alex Benady

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