Foreword Reviews

The Blue Book of Leadership and Management

The Practical Will-to-Good in Everything We Do

Clarion Rating: 5 out of 5

The Blue Book of Leadership and Management is an approachable, straightforward guide for achieving success in business and beyond.

Drawing from his years of experience in the private and public sectors, geologist Ross Fardon presents The Blue Book of Leadership and Management, a practical guide to three-mode business management designed to cut through bureaucracy and optimize efficiency. Straightforward prose, organized sections, and real-world examples converge in a work that should prove useful across the working world.

Fardon starts from a simple premise: organizations experience the most success when the highest possible number of people within them are working toward a common goal. He eschews management models that leave a few people presuming total leadership from the top, instead insisting that all voices be heard, all insights valued, and all managers left recognizing the invaluable nature of the contributors beneath them.

Fardon’s management pyramid is a movable one, with those at the “top” still maintaining final say, though willing to cede the floor to those they manage at earlier points. His business model thus becomes a symbiotic one: everyone plans, everyone brainstorms, everyone reports back, everyone self-reflects on their roles and execution, and everyone is co-responsible for an organization’s successes and failures. The author takes into account the wide range of personalities one is likely to encounter in any venture, and his suggestions make room for both passive and active participation in planning. His suggestions carry over into subsequent sections regarding company reorganizations and new leadership in extant organizations.

Charts are straightforward and concepts well mapped within Fardon’s Blue Book. Though at times the work is too self-referential, he establishes credibility both by drawing on his own diverse background and by using examples from other notable companies and organizations, from Avis and ServiceMaster to the NASA engineers who planned Apollo 11. Some of his recommendations are draconian, and he’s openly not a fan of maintaining employment numbers at the expense of efficiency. Still, Fardon sells the notion that his way is the most practical way to operate, even if it does not always strive to preserve feelings.

The Blue Book models become more appealing when one realizes that they draw upon both Fardon’s experiences of success and failure—as he quotes a Vegas plane-mate, they’re “not [just] built on winnin’s, them’s built on losin’s.” Fardon’s suggestions sometimes seem to border on aphoristic, but such impressions may derive from their reasonable and blunt natures. Helpfully, he recommends supporting, tried-and-true sources throughout.

The Blue Book of Leadership and Management is an approachable, straightforward guide for achieving success in business and beyond, and its roundly beneficial, sensible notions stand to enliven conversations around intelligent management. This is one of four books and twenty-three essays the author says he’s publishing together “as one systematic view of life.”

Reviewed by Michelle Anne Schingler

Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The author of this book provided free copies of the book and paid a small fee to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. Foreword Reviews and Clarion Reviews make no guarantee that the author will receive a positive review. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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