Learning at Work: Excellent Practice from Best Theory
Authors: John Taylor and Adrian Furnham
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
ISBN: 1 4039 4574 8
This book is a curious hybrid, comprising a manual on learning and a standard analytical academic work. As such, the text
is clearly aimed at practitioners, and the book’s hyperbolical and managerial title points to this.
The book aims to give practitioners a valuable quick reference text that provides an insight into, and overview of, the theoretical underpinnings of different aspects of the fashionable sphere of learning.
The book format is sprinkled with entertaining quotes from the great and the good. To paraphrase Lenin, the driving ethos of this book might be summarised as: “Practice without theory; is mindless, theory without practice is useless”.
The book begins with introductory ‘cushioning’ sections. These, like the rest of the book, are well-written and accessible and, importantly, their content is not diluted – always a potential danger in this sort of format but avoided here.
If there is one reservation, and it is a small one, it concerns the absence of a genuine continuous narrative through the text. There is a sense that, rather like a ship constructed in dry dock, it has come together in sections and the joins remain visible. Some sense of replete and infusing narrative might have been helpful in this respect.
Nevertheless, this book will prove a very popular theory-into-practice device for practitioners of all kinds. While it is very likely to find a place on managers’ bookshelves alongside populist guru tomes, unlike those, it is likely to be well-thumbed.
Useful? Five stars
Well-written? Four stars
Practical? Four stars
Inspirational? Four stars
Value for money? Five stars
Reviewed by Dr Peter Stokes, senior lecturer, Lancashire Business School, University of Central Lancashire