ISBN is

978-1-57851-822-7 / 9781578518227

The Elephant and the Flea

by

Publisher:Harvard Business Review Press

Edition:Hardcover

Language:English

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About the book:

From his childhood in an Irish vicarage, to Oxford University, to his first job as an oil executive with Royal Dutch/Shell in the Far East, to a professorship at the London Business School, to chairmanship of the Royal Society of Arts, and finally to his current status as an eminent social philosopher and international business guru, Charles Handy has viewed the business and economic workings of the twentieth century inside and out. Now, in the twenty-first century, Handy provides a firsthand account of how we got here and where we are headed. The Elephant and the Flea is a fitting capstone to Handy's brilliant career and colorful life.

In a tone that is at once learned, genial, witty, and wise, Handy takes us on his life's journey, looking back to such topics as his childhood and education and how they prepared (or, rather, did not prepare) him for a career in business; the changing nature of organizational life within the context of the old economy and the new; the great variety of capitalism around the world; and, through it all, his struggle to find meaning and fulfillment in work.

Handy uses the quirky, powerful metaphor of the elephant and the flea to describe and critique the great shift from the prevalence of behemoth, slow-moving, bureaucratic organizations that provided a lifetime of security and not much freedom or room for creativity, to a world in which we are much more independent and flea-like, flitting from job to job, latching onto elephants when we need to, but mostly flying solo and without safe havens.

This book is both a poignant personal memoir and a deep reflection on the past and future of world capitalism, with all its possibilities and pitfalls.

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