From Nuke Spook to Business Guru in one simple step! Author James Heaphey is a fascinating guy, in his first book Legerdemain he introduced us to some modern history concerning the deployment of ‘The Bomb’ in Morocco in the early 1950’s. His revelations have caused the rewriting of many history books.

When I discovered that he was working on a new book, I had to investigate. Through cunning and guile I managed to get a sneak peek at part of the manuscript. Actually that is not strictly true, I groveled and asked nicely and Jim was gracious to send me a part of the first draft!

Now I am not much of a fan of business books in general, they tend to be self serving, and list oriented ’27 things to do in the shower to become a better manager’, etc. In fact in my opinion business books should be like Elk hunting, only a limited number of tags should be handed out each season.

My fears were unfounded with How To Survive In An Organization. James Heaphey is a natural born story teller and could not write a boring book on a dare. Using vignettes from real life Jim shows us the follies that even the largest organizations have made. He sums it up for us very well with the statement, Top managers commonly blame lack of success on bad luck though they seldom attribute success to good luck.

How To Survive is so radically different from Legerdemain that I decided to ask Jim about it.

Jim, where did the idea for How To Survive come about?

The idea for writing “How to Survive. . .” evolved over the years of teaching “Organizational Behavior” and hearing the complaints, the anguish, from so many students (I’ve never taught undergrads; my students have always been graduate students who have had some experience in large organizations) and from people in organizations where I consulted. I started out, I think (who really knows in an endeavor such as writing a book), wondering if I had prepared any of my five children for the “organization as jungle.” They certainly didn’t learn anything about it in high school or college. Not even one of my sons who graduated from the Cornell School of Industrial and Labor Relations. Thus the dedication of the book to “My Children and Theirs.”

The world is a very changing place, have the rules of engagement, when working in a corporation changed?

The rules of engagement when working in an organization have changed because of public policy changes, as I mention in parts of the book I’ve not sent you yet, and unions. The biggest change in public policy is that prior to the 1960s workers did not have any standing in court. Now, a worker is protected under various constitutional provisions and court rulings. But owners and management have fought back successfully, due in part to the Government and because of the demise of unions.

Are you anti Organization?

In my book I’m not trying to foment a revolution against organizations — how knuckleheaded that would be. I’m trying to talk to people, trying to help them realize the nature of the beast, trying to help them cope with it.

What sort of reaction are you getting from people that have read the manuscript?

I am honestly amazed, Simon, at the reaction of people who have read portions of, or all, of the book. No matter what their level when they worked, or where they work now, they say “right on!”

What is the current plan for publication?

The publisher History Publishing Company/Todays Books are aiming to have it on the book shelves in June.

Jim thanks for chatting with us, and good luck with How To Survive

Simon Barrett

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