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Up the Organization: How to Stop the Corporation from Stifling People and Strangling Profits, Commemorative Edition

ISBN: 978-1-118-04736-1
208 pages
January 2011, Jossey-Bass
Up the Organization: How to Stop the Corporation from Stifling People and Strangling Profits, Commemorative Edition (1118047362) cover image


Although it was first published more than thirty-five years ago, Up the Organization continues to top the lists of best business books by groups as diverse as the American Management Association, Strategy + Business (Booz Allen Hamilton), and The Wharton Center for Leadership and Change Management. 1-800-CEO-READ ranks Townsend’s bestseller first among eighty books that “every manager must read.”

This commemorative edition offers a new generation the benefit of Robert Townsend’s timeless wisdom as well as reflections on his work and life by those who knew and worked with him. This groundbreaking book continues to remind us not to get mired in all those sacred organizational routines that stifle people and strangle both profits and profitability. He shows a way to humanize business and a way to have fun while making it all work better than it ever worked before.

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Table of Contents

Contents, Commemorative Edition v

Foreword vi
Warren Bennis

Publisher's Note xi

Robert Townsend's Cure for Management Heartburn xiii
Jim O'Toole

How Robert Townsend Talked Me out of Getting an MBA xvii
Bob Davids

Up the Publisher: On Editing Robert Townsend xxii
Robert Gottlieb

Contents,Original Edition xxxi

Up the Organization, Original Edition 1

Appendix A:Townsend's Third Degree in Leadership 161

Appendix B: No Reserved Parking:The Guerrilla Life of Robert Townsend 170
Robert Townsend Jr.

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Author Information

Robert C. Townsend (d. 1998) drew upon his early experiences as a banker at American Express Co. to redirect Avis Rent-a-Car as president and chairman. Under his leadership, Avis experienced a celebrated turnaround, fueled by the "We Try Harder" advertising campaign. Townsend also worked as an executive at 20th Century Fox and was director at several companies, including Dun and Bradstreet and Radica Games. Townsend was a celebrity in his own right, and a frequent lecturer and talk-show guest.
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"Townsend shouldn't just be read, he should be memorized."
Tom Peters

"The sagest (and even most outrageous) book ever written about how business should be run."
—Harper’s Magazine

"Bob Townsend's words still ring true, truer than they seemed almost 40 years ago."
Warren Bennis

"Robert Townsend's book continues to light up the business world with straightforward and practical management advice that is as pertinent today as when originally published. A must-read for all managers!"
Ray Davis, president and CEO, Umpqua Holdings Corporation

"Townsend proves that the best business wisdom is timeless. In an era filled with business buzzwords and ethical misdirections, Townsend's bluntness makes for refreshing and hilarious reading for the next crop of CEOs."
Ben Casnocha, chairman, Comcate, Inc., author, My Start-Up Life

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