The Book Corner - Review

Buy-in by John P. Kotter and Lorne A. Whitehead

Buy-in by John P. Kotter and Lorne A. Whitehead

Buy In cover imagebuy*in

By John P. Kottter and Lorne A. Whitehead
Harvard Business School Press, 2010


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1 star: Not worth your timeAs I received this book[1], I anticipated an excellent read based on John Kotter’s prior books and articles. However, I was disappointed in the attempt of the authors to write a fictional book about a serious subject. Sometimes a novel works but this was a clear failure. The strategies to “sell an idea” enumerated in the book have merit and could be covered in a more cogent way in a short article without boring the reader with endless dribble of the “back and forth” situations described in the book. If the objective of the authors was to teach while entertaining, they failed miserably.

I took this book with me on an international trip and read it on the plane. Fortunately, I had other material with me since I discarded this book after the first few chapters. At first I was intrigued by the “attack strategies” they were going to cover such as “death by delay,” “confusion,” “fear mongering,” and “character assassination.” They used fictional characters attempting to convince citizens of the value of a proposal to provide computers, at no apparent cost, to a local library. Each of the strategies discussed are valid; however, the authors should stick with academic articles and books and leave the writing of novels to other authors.

I found a sharp contrast in this book to a previous novel I reviewed by Jay Barney and Trish Clifford[2] in which they provided a solid opportunity to apply business school education to a fictional “real world.”

My recommendation is “thumbs down.” Even John Kotter doesn’t hit a home run every time. I give this book only one star!

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[1] Kotter, John P. & Lorne A. Whitehead. Buy-in. Harvard Business School Press, 2010.

[2] Barney, Jay B. and Trish Gorman Clifford, What I Didn’t Learn in Business School: How Strategy Works in the Real World, Harvard Business School Press, 2010.

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