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Putt's Law and the Successful Technocrat: How to Win in the Information Age

Putt's Law and the Successful Technocrat: How to Win in the Information Age

Archibald Putt

ISBN: 978-0-471-71422-4 April 2006 Wiley-IEEE Press 184 Pages


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"Technology is dominated by two types of people: those who understand what
they do not manage, and those who manage what they do not understand."
—Putt's Law

Early Praise for Putt's Law and the Successful Technocrat:

"This is management writing the way it ought to be. Think Dilbert, but with
a very big brain. Read it and weep. Or laugh, depending on your current job
—Spectral Lines, IEEE Spectrum, April 2006

"It's a classic. It reads at first like humor, but one eventually realizes
that it's all true. The first edition changed my life. I loaned my copy to
a subordinate at IBM, and he didn't return it to me until he was my boss."
—Dave Thompson, PhD, IBM Fellow (retired), Member National Academy of
Engineering, and IEEE Fellow

"Putt's humor ranges from sharp to whimsical and is always on target.
Readers will be reminded of many personal experiences and of lessons in
life they wish they had learned earlier in their careers."
—Eric Herz, former IEEE executive director and general manager

"Anyone who thinks 'engineering management' is an oxymoron needs to read
this terrific book — then they will know."
—Norman R. Augustine, author of Augustine's Laws and retired Chairman & CEO
of Lockheed Martin Corporation

Putt's Law is as true today as it was when techno-everyman Archibald Putt
first stated it. Now, in Putt's Law and the Successful Technocrat: How to
Win in the Information Age, Putt is back with the unvarnished truth about
success in the modern, technology-driven organization.

As you learn the real rules of the technology world, you'll meet such
characters as the successful technocrat, Dr. I. M. Sharp. You'll find out
how he wrangles career victories from corporate failures, nearly
bankrupting the firm with his projects while somehow emerging the hero.
You'll also meet such unfortunates as Roger Proofsworthy, top-level
perfectionist yet low in the hierarchy, and come to understand how he
assiduously preserves his spot near the bottom of the totem pole.

Whether you work in business, IT, or are a freelance technocrat, you'll
want to study Putt's hard-won wisdom and laugh—all the way to the bank!


Part One: Putt’s Primer.

Putt’s Law and Corollary.

Two Laws of Crises.

The Law of Failure and Putt’s Ploy.

Three Laws of Innovation.


Part Two: The Successful Technocrat.



A Lucky Engineer.

Genesis of a Manager.




Publish and Perish.

Where the Money Is.

Tools of the Trade.

Thank You, Dr. Sharp.

Part Three: Basic Putt.

Laws of Innovation Management.

Four Laws of Advice.

The Consultant’s Law.

Five Laws of Decision Making.

Laws of Communication.

Laws of the Information Age.

Information Technology Laws.

Part Four: Advanced Topics.

Project Selection.


Evaluating Ideas.

Punishment and Reward.

Can Putt’s Law Be Broken?

Putt’s Corollary to Murphy’s Law.

Part Five: Putt’s Canon.

Putt’s Primer.

Basic Putt.

Advanced Topics.

"If you like Dilbert, you'll love 'Putt's Law and the Successful Technocrat.'" (Phil Windley's Technometria, March 14, 2007)

"...humorous at times, cynical at times, this book is a must read for those interested in understanding how some technocrats got up in technological hierarchies." (PerlMonks, December 29, 2006)

"The book remains an enjoyable and worthwhile read for anyone affiliated directly or indirectly with high-tech industry." (IEEE History Center Newsletter, November 2006)

"Although Putt's Law is an excellent read for those of us who grew up working in technology companies, it should be required reading in colleges and universities. I refer to both engineering and management programs." (Chip Scale Review, August/September 2006)

"...contemporary and apropos...Putt is a veritable fountain of wisdom." (Civil Engineering, July 2006)

"The book is clever and gently humorous…" (Computing, February 13, 2006)