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Book review: Hard Facts, Dangerous Half-Truths and Total Nonsense – Jeffrey Pfeffer & Robert I. Sutton

Finished reading “Hard Facts, Dangerous Half-Truths and Total Nonsense” this week. PS 9
Although for me (not American and English being my second language) it was sometimes difficult to follow various phrases; it was nonetheless a joy to read and very useful as reference guide for the future.

This book was recommended to me by Kent Blumberg who has posted an excellent outline of the book and also highlighted the main points of the final chapter.
I can’t better his posts in that respect, so I feel free to highlight those items that will stick with me most.

Jeffrey Pfeffer and Robert I Sutton believe strongly that all businesses should be run with “the attitude of wisdom” - the ability to act with knowledge while doubting what you know. IMHO a healthy base for any venture.

On the subject of tackling/embracing changes they do a much better job than Seth Godin in his “Survival is not enough”. While Seth and others are focusing on the change process itself and how to survive; Hard Facts concentrates on knowing and establishing the right reasons for having to change by asking yourself in those situations the following big questions:

  • Is the new practice better than what you are doing now?
  • Is the change really worth the time, disruption and money?
  • Is it best to make only symbolic changes instead of core changes?
  • Is doing the change good for you, but bad for the company?
  • Do you have enough power to make the change happen?
  • Are people already overwhelmed by too many changes?
  • Will people be able to learn and update as the change unfolds?
  • Will you be able to pull the plug?

Or in other words: do you change for change sake, or even to follow the ‘change-trend’? Or is this change essential to survive as business in this fast changing modern world? Stop and think before you start.

Chapter nine finishes with a heartfelt opinion on leadership: “…we saw leaders who continually asked questions of themselves and others, who were always inquiring, who never left well enough alone, and constantly pressed to impart this spirit of learning, curiosity and inquiry throughout their companies. Leaders don’t have to know everything, nor can they. Their job is to create a place where people constantly learn and teach new things, where people keep discovering what works and what doesn’t and to keep nudging their people to think intensely and face the hard facts along the way.”

My thoughts exactly.
So, once again I’ve learned and will have to change my own personal recommendation on which business books to read in which order. Feel free to disagree of course.


Kent Blumberg


Great review of a great book. And thanks for the links.



Hi Kent

Thank you and you're welcome.
And thanks again for pointing me towards this great book.

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