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Don't wait for a heart attack until you read this book

View profile for Shaun Jardine
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As I am 6ft 4” and weigh over 18 stone, this isn’t necessarily a confession.

I am, however, a great fan of the Harvard Business School Professor, David Maister.  David has written numerous books over the years and has a huge library of his lectures and thinking available on iTunes (which I recommend).

One of his books, which has become a bit of a bible for me, is “Strategy and the Fat Smoker”.  It deals with what is “obvious but difficult”.  The problems that professional partnerships face, but sometimes ignore. This could be from devising strategy to dealing with difficult lawyers.  In fact there is a chapter that merely explains what the trouble with lawyers actually are (essential reading if you happen to work for a firm of lawyers).

The book is called “The Fat Smoker” simply because in David’s experience lots of professional firms wait until they either have a heart attack because they are fat or smoking before they decide to do something about it, i.e. diet or stop smoking and take action.

The book is well worth a read for anyone who is considering working for a professional services firm.  The chances are that all of the problems that are identified in the book will be problems that have been faced or will be faced at some time in the future.  If you are going for an interview you will be able to ask some powerful and insightful questions.