The Rise of the Player Manager by Philip Augar and Joy Palmer

This useful and well-structured book provides a good mix of management theory and practical advice to those attempting to balance several conflicting demands on their time.

The Rise of the Player Manager
By Philip Augar and Joy Palmer
Publisher: Penguin Books
Pages: 309 Price: £12.99 ISBN: 0-140-28665-9 Reviewed by Gareth Jones
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The authors begin by examining the background of the emergence of the player manager – people who manage while they work. If you identify with that situation you may be asking how, as the book maintains, you can “look in two directions at once”.

Several stories are told relating the experiences of six types of player manager at work. These are developed as work circumstances change and as the characters decide on their course of action. The short, third part sums up and looks to the future – of organisations and the role of the player manager within them.

The characters in the stories are not fully factual or fictional but represent a combination of real people and real experiences gleaned by the authors from working with more than 500 hundred people over four years.

The result could easily have been dull, dry research. The decision to present their findings through the medium of storytelling was inspired.

The stories kept me interested and I wanted to know what happened to the characters, both in the short-term and months later, when we see if their lives had been changed.

The progression from the initial presentation of the problem through guided self-analysis and sound advice is a great strength of the book.

Those looking for answers to their own work problems could claim that each work situation (and related outcome) did not happen as described. That does not invalidate the authors’ approach as their stated methodology was “intended to inform without being prescriptive”.

So if you are a player manager needing help, there are certainly enough tools to extract from this book and use for yourself.

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Gareth Jones is a training consultant, corporate learning and development department, Hertfordshire County Council. He has recently read Britain in 2010 by Richard Scase and Your Personal Survival Guide to the 21st Century by Roy Sheppard

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