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Charles B. Handy ☆ 6 READ & DOWNLOAD

Ness School and finally to his status as an eminent social philosopher and international business gur one of the best books on the philosophy of business

CHARACTERS The Elephant and the Flea

The Elephant and the Flea

T job as an oil executive with Royal DutchShell in the Far East to a professorship at the London Busi Written in 2001 but still very relevant today Charles Handy describes the challenges of transitioning from being an employee of a large organisation the elephant to running a portfolio career as a flea buzzing around the elephants he describes well the opportunities and challenges this new way of working brings

CHARACTERS ☆ PDF, eBook or Kindle ePUB ☆ Charles B. Handy

Discusses everything from the author's childhood in a Irish vicarage to Oxford University to his firs Since I read this than ten years after publication It is a little unfair to be too critical of the ideas It is a good read if dated in some places Having spent a good chunk of my working life in the flea pit my interpretation of his flea world I understand his premiseThere were also a number of good ideas For example1 when you were born in the year has a long standing effect on you in school this was also tackled by M Gladwell in one of his books2 snakes and ladders of education; when you reach the top of one ladder you have to start at the bottom of the next one3 chunked work; Home Gift Stud; 10% study I would call this tithing time for your research4 why are shareholders given such priority in the Anglo American version of capitalism? It is not as if they actually own the company in any real sense The shareholders aren't financing the business just betting on itA degree is not a ualification but a license to learnHis Last Thoughts chapter was interesting If the other side of freedom's coin is aloneness then the obverse of independence is selfishness for living up to the possibilities with yourself can mean ignoring the possibilities in anyone elseThe independent life is and invitation to selfishness and a recipe for a very privatized societyOther uotesprecisvirtual communitiescreate only the illusion of intimacy and a pretense of communityOne of my favourites Passion is much stronger than mission or purpose Passionate people move mountains where the missionaries can only preach Amen brother


10 thoughts on “The Elephant and the Flea

  1. says:

    Since I read this than ten years after publication It is a little unfair to be too critical of the ideas It is a good read if dated in some places Having spent a good chunk of my working life in the flea pit my interpretation of his flea world I understand his premiseThere were also a number of good ideas For example1 when you were born in the year has a long standing effect on you in school this was also tackled by M Gladwell in one of his books2 snakes and ladders of education; when you reach the top of one ladder you have to start at the bottom of the next one3 chunked work; Home Gift Stud; 10% study I would call this tithing time for your research4 why are shareholders given such priority in the Anglo American version of capitalism? It is not as if they actually own the company in any real sense The shareholders aren't financing the business just betting on itA degree is not a ualification but a license to learnHis Last Thoughts chapter was interesting If the other side of freedom's coin is aloneness then the obverse of independence is selfishness for living up to the possibilities with yourself can mean ignoring the possibilities in anyone elseThe independent life is and invitation to selfishness and a recipe for a very privatized societyOther uotesprecisvirtual communitiescreate only the illusion of intimacy and a pretense of communityOne of my favourites Passion is much stronger than mission or purpose Passionate people move mountains where the missionaries can only preach Amen brother


  2. says:

    I liked this book a lot for someone who chose a life of a divergent individualism instead of a competitive individualism to make a life that he wants to live instead of running in the rat race For this I give this book a 45 The book is about living his life and what he learned as he reflects back into a life he just lived Handy foresaw the future in which the majority of people were going to be independent contractors instead of being an employee of an organization all there lives All truths passes 3 stages 1 it is ridiculed 2 it is opposed 3 it is accepted as being self evident The analogy he uses is that elephant are big slow bureaucratic organizations and fleas are small entrepreneurial individual He always thought an organization needed several small independent thinkers for it to survive but he began to think that the economy will be set up this way The new economy preferred freedom over security He asks whether unchecked progress is better that having time and have stagnation He points to the fact that technology rather than freeing us to have leisure time because of productivity causes us to be busy than ever It is clear that globilized companies have to partner with local people in order to be effective The era of centralized authority is out but the uestion becomes how does one manage something that one does not fully control? How does one control the uality if people do not have the same goals or interest as the organization He thinks pursuing ones passion and organizing ones time and to prioritize what truly matters is the key to this new world of independent contractors Handy was a man who believed that everyone needed help and thus found it hard as a manager to challenge people who were underperforming who needed the challenge He found that honesty inability to discipline his co workers were liabilities in the field of business where deception was sometimes needed to get the job done He was defined by his father's funeral As he searched for success in the traditional models of success he found that his father life as the town vicar had meaning for him as there were many people who came to his funeral and cried because of the life he touched in them He decided to be an independent contractor when he realized that he was no good at following orders and he was not a strong and forceful manager Although he was never an organizations man he does miss the camaraderie and the sense of mission he got from being affiliated with an organization that is larger than ones self He thinks that the book is timely because he is seeing a world where where independent contractors are becoming the norm instead of the exception He believes that we learn best when we learn what we want to learn He confesses to be a shy kid who was a people pleaser He states that he is a jack of all trades person who loves to learn for its own sake and does not like the English system which forces a person to hyper specialize at a young age He thrived in Uni where the focus was on critical thinking skills instead of simple regurgitation He decided that learning through experience was the best way to learn He believed that business school should be part time and should be accompanied with guided experience He thrived when he was able to create his own curriculum He believes that school should be a place where safe experimentation should thrive in order for us to discover our hidden talents He wants to encourage people to experiment even if it fails Handy blames the fall of the organization with the advent of globalization increase ease in communication and increase in competition He began his career living the good life but realized it is due to collusion in which profit was increased the they spent Halliburton during Ira war the they spent the they got He learned that just because a state gives an organization to a private company does not mean that that company will be cheaper since a one organization company is still a monopoly Thus he became a big believer of competition not only in reducing price but also to make bettersuperior products He states that the organization of yesteryears are no longer relevant with its focus on stability and project into the future by the things in the past They tend to promote from within and discard outside help Dra Lee But those organization could plan for the future which today's organizations can no longer do The organizations of today are very personalized and individualized are outsourced to maximize everyone's special skill set The old paternalized why of doing things was organized and friendlier as oppose to today's way which is rife with competition Organizations of the future will get bigger and bigger and have challenges of their own like 1 how to grow bigger yet stay small and personal 2 how to combine efficiency with creativity 3 how to be prosperous yet socially responsible and 4 how to reward the owner of the idea and the owner of the business He favors federalism as a main mode of business because properly shares centralized powers with decentralized responsibilities The proper function of subsidiary is an organization where the power is appropriately decentralized to where the action is located In a turbulent time entrepreneurs are needed to shake the system and keep an organization fresh He believes all entrepreneurs are creative types who passionate had the conviction that what they did was what needed to be done despite the evidence to the contrary and the 3rd eye in seeing things that have not been before They also grew up in an environment in which experimentation was encouraged including a city which encouraged such entrepreneurial yearnings The entrepreneurial people do not want to retire because they are driven by their ideas His fear is that multinational firms will be unaccountable to anyone but he also states that they have to have a veneer of social responsibility since they have a brand to protect Whereas employees are salaried for time spent independents charge fees for results His ideal organization would have small units a flexible hierarchy and leadership working mostly in team projects but recognizing the individual; diverse but with high trust and high involvement; self critical but with rewards that recognize personal achievementThe new age brings to it the advent of personalization which brings into play the experience economy People will no longer pay for stuff but rather the experience which is stimulated by the stuff But the positives of the Internet economy come with the bad of not having a true vacation and numerous spam mail that destroys productivity The anonymity of people also creates a system where one does not know whether the information in which one finds on the Internet is the right information or not He claims the Internet has allowed multiple different fleas to undermine government a la Al uaeda Ecommerce has destroyed whole middle men so elephants have to constantly break good habits that made them successful in the past to ascertain whether those habits are still relevant in the present environment of intense competition He describes the process as disintermediation which has global reach but acts locally But he states that people will still need people who can interpret the data so interpreters will always have a job Handy states that government will need to be responsive to local demands as the divisive American national divide shows us The new economy will place 1 self interest at its heart 2 to ones team 3 to an organization In order to keep talented individuals organizations take into account their professional and personal development He foresees a time when intense and demanding projects will alternate with euivalent amount in sabbaticals He learned in his life that teaching was the best way to learn Handy teaches that wealth creation investmentsmotivated and skilled workforcegovt investments in infrastructure and higher education Handy realizes the key to capitalism is the demand it creates The issue is that the less one spends the less the economy thrives though it is probably best for the individual for them not to spend Singapore is the seat of guided capitalism in which what is good for the state is good for individuals Handy liked the US for its focus on individuals not family lineage and also the fact that people took personal responsibility But he came to see that the US also focused all its energy on money as a solution to everything For the US money is something to be proud of and measures the degree of ones success What he does not like about the US view of companies is that companies are commodities to be sold and traded if their share price becomes low enough whether they want it or not The pursuit of personal riches is the engine that drives the American capitalist machine The riches give enterprising individuals the freedom to live life as they see fit and to buy choices that the market offers He says that the US has the greatest ineuality disparity among all developed countries with riches flowing to the top via stocks People do not rise in revolt because people have bought into the Puritan belief that salvation is an individual affair and the best way to show that you have been saved is through hard work which one is justly compensated with They believe it was men's duty to create heaven on earth to finish God's work on earth Americans believe that the future should be better than the past and with that belief that successful people should be look at not with envy but with ambition and hope for the future That combined with the constant immigration is pushing people to be and dynamic He believes that Americans place their faith on the market not politicians to get them out of the mess they are in He also believes it is the hope in the future with a healthy fear of not getting there that makes the US population have a healthy entrepreneurial culture But he decries the lack of purpose that Americans have in favor of running through the rat race and constantly comparing oneself to others that make the US tiring for him to visit Whereas American capitalism emphasize the euality of opportunity they have a tendency to sacrifice social cohesion in order to preserve individualism Kerala with its high literacy rate and high health care created a vast army of OFW that funds the state because there is nothing in the state besides nature tourism The problem with Kerala is the money coming in is from OFW not from innate entrepreneurial energy of its citizen Most people say they do not want to live in Kerala because there is nothing to do there The issue in Kerala is most of the funds are in the informal sector meaning that people do not legal own what they have This in turn creates a mindset of not thinking of how to create capital from something since one does not own the capital to begin with While education is good for the population it maybe bad for society where the educated lived So it follows that progress caused its own problems For all the problems that capitalism breeds he has faith that capitalism breeds innovation and thus raises everyone's standard of living Capitalism is only good up to a point at the point in which it becomes bad people spend too much money on things they do not need He advocates people having a personal choice in what people should prioritize which is the most important thing that they should focus on The challenge for capitalism is to balance the interests of wealth accumulation and the reason that that wealth accumulation was necessary in the first place He decries wealthy people who demand a lot of their government while seeking to place their money on off shore accounts After he left the organization he felt alone because prior to it he always had company parties to go to So his wife takes the lead in organizing social events for him in a way that allows him to fulfill his sense of belonging He says to be fulfilled by ones mission one has to have passion in what one is doing without it a dream is simply a hope not reality As an independent he realized that he had to have passion a sense of belonging and track record of success in your chosen field He advocates trying to be different instead of trying to be better than others He believes that outsiders from the industry provide the insight to execute the necessary innovation He also believes that other parts of life lends itself to innovation if it is transferred to the work life He believes one has to live with integrity in order to stand by your actions and words so that you can be in the public eye I like what he says you can't duck the obligations to yourself to live up to the untested possibilities within you He states that a life without deadlines is a life without priorities He believes that work is a fundamental part of life and life without work is meaningless He divides work into 3 phases 1 work at home 2 volunteerism which fulfills a need to belong and do good 3 professional development to be abreast with things in ones field and get paid for it In doing he was able to discard things he was not good at in favor of things that he was good at He works to live not live to work He realized the value of a team to augment the skills that he lacked with people with those skills He considers himself a brand to differentiate himself from the pack and he proves his product by the professionalism he provides Being an entrepreneur sometimes people trade power for influence Although it makes a person lonely it also realize people like you for you not what you are He considers retiring from life a form of giving up He says commitment is necessary for responsibility which is in turn necessary for cares To be an entrepreneur one has to have a belief in oneself a willingness to learn from feedback even if it seems to be harsh criticism and an empathy to the clients needs To be an entrepreneur one has to have a desirable skill set but he must know how to sell it and know what his skill is worth to the market People who offer friendly criticism should always be listened to who criticize to make you better He begins to look at ways that marriage coincides with work life There were different ways to create a happy marriage and the important thing is to be flexible Most people start out with a shared marriage then drift to traditional marriage Although he and his wife have a marriage of constant contact he acknowledges that other marriage are made stronger when spouses live apart and only have intense uality time Handy says flex time is the future of work and the that organizations are able to offer it the likely they will retain the talent He says that the flip side of an independent life is a selfish life He understands and is jealous for people who have a sense of community a sense of belonging and that they matter He laments the lack of commitment in favor for choice Life without belonging properly to anything is a life without commitment which means a life without responsibility to others or for others In this new world trust erodes to the point which people are only out for themselves The new world would be different visions between a competitive individualism vs varied individualism where people get to choose what is right for them and pursue it The future belongs to local governments and less on centralized command and control He laments the decline of a common religion as the means of societies decline of the feeling of the tribe Instead of religion he looks at his soul as the greatest untapped potential that needs to be tapped


  3. says:

    Immediately Handy establishes and then sustains a direct and personal rapport with his reader The tone is conversational With regard to the title Handy observes Elephants and fleas is an odd metaphor eually unflattering to both groups I hit upon it by chance when looking for a way in a public lecture to explain why large organizations needed irritant individuals or groups to introduce the innovations and ideas essential to their survival After the lecture I was struck by the number of people who came up to me either proclaiming themselves to be a flea or lamenting the ponderous gait of the elephant where they worked The analogy it seemed had caught their imagination so I persevered with it Like all analogies however it should not be pushed too far Useful for attracting attention it is not in itself a recipe for solutions but as a broad description of one divide in modern society it serves its purpose It is for instance the elephants who get all of the attention while most people actually work as fleas or for a flea organization These comments are especially relevant to Handy at one point in his career in 1981 when he embarked on a transition from being an elephant inhabitant to independent flea hoping that there would be greater value in the freedom of independence over the dubious security of employment He did not then and has not since viewed himself as a role model for others He asks his reader to regard this book as an encouragement to wrote your own script for a part in the very different world that lies ahead of us Some readers may find it difficult to follow Handy's line of thought as he moves from one subject to the next indeed from one period in his life to another without regard for chronological or even logical seuence To repeat he offers an immensely personal narrative that combines spontaneity with rigor He is a very clear thinker but his thoughts are seldom developed in a linear pattern Over the course of the ten chapters the reader shares Handy's reflections about his childhood and youth in an Irish vicarage his education at Oxford his executive assignments to the Far East within the Royal DutchShell organization and his chairmanship of the Royal Society of Arts Only later in his life did he gain increasing attention and renown as a social commentator and business thinker


  4. says:

    Charles Handy the economist and author has written a number of remarkable business books remarkable in that they aren’t full of energetic how to counsel intended to send entrepreneurs and business leaders off in a new certain to be successful direction Instead Handy’s books offer perspective and insight combined with practical experience The Elephant and the Flea is an account of his life as an independent professional a flea after life in a corporation the elephant Having join the ranks of fleas myself almost five years ago I saw myself in his words the transition from belonging to a corporation to belonging to oneself; the perspective you get on work when you do it because it's what you do not what some distant power being decides what must be done; the loneliness as a flea after all the community while living with the elephant But besides all that I personally understood there is also his rather self effacing but stunning observations on the role of fleas in the present workworld and the future I loved reading this and when I finished the last page I felt I was saying a reluctant good bye to someone I'd just enjoyed getting to know


  5. says:

    In a nutshell the book has talked about the large organizations Elephant employing thousands of employees and an individual employee Flea in a large socio economic contest More importantly it talks about the changing environment economical on employee organization relationship since earliest days to the coming futureor how actually the future workforce will be The language is simple and lucid for any reader


  6. says:

    Written in 2001 but still very relevant today Charles Handy describes the challenges of transitioning from being an employee of a large organisation the elephant to running a portfolio career as a flea buzzing around the elephants he describes well the opportunities and challenges this new way of working brings


  7. says:

    one of the best books on the philosophy of business


  8. says:

    Highly recommended by a Korean headhunter who I much admireGreat story of a man who leaves corporate life to start his own small business Good for people making career decisions


  9. says:

    Mary


  10. says:

    Yet another one of my favourites Powerful ideas put into simple buzz free elouent prose


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