From the cradle to the Grove

MANY PEOPLE have a favourite book that they like to hand out to friends and colleagues, ranging from Doris Lessing’s feminist bible “The Golden Notebook” to Ayn Rand’s libertarian saga “The Fountainhead”. The chosen tome of Dominic Cummings, a special adviser to Boris Johnson, Britain’s prime minister, is rather more specialist. It is “High Output Management” by Andrew Grove, the late chairman of Intel, a chipmaker.

As management books go, Mr Cummings made an excellent choice—Grove’s text is clear, practical and free of both pomposity and jargon. Any manager could benefit from his insights into issues such as planning and performance reviews. The book has been popular in Silicon Valley ever since it was first published in 1983.

But how much use will the book be to British civil servants, or indeed any government official? At Intel, Grove’s goals were clear: to produce the most powerful, reliable microprocessors at the lowest possible cost. The market reinforced efforts to meet these goals every day. A competitor might always produce a better, cheaper product (hence the title of another Grove book, “Only the Paranoid Survive”).

Even though they involve management, governments are not businesses. They are rarely engaged in manufacturing. The services they offer are not usually being provided in a competitive market...

via Business Feeds

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