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From Harvard Business Review articles on entrepreneurship, to New York Times bestsellers on leadership and innovation, to the top management consulting firms’ whitepapers on effective change and transformation, management knowledge is a labyrinth more daunting than the discipline itself. One could probably fill an entire career with sorting the knowledge available on management, with no guarantee that at the end one would master the discipline of management.

And so, is there a twenty minute read that would capture the essence of what Gary Hamel appropriately calls the “technology of human accomplishment”?

I propose there are two such manuscripts which would give an interested reader more about that essence of management in twenty minutes than he or she is likely to get out of a four year MBA program at a prestigious Ivy League school: Russell Ackoff’s “A Systemic View of Transformational Leadership” and Dave Snowden’s “Multi-ontology Sense Making: a New Simplicity in Decision Making“. If you are interested in finding out what management is as well as what management is not, I invite you to make the well worth investment of twenty minutes. You will not only understand what management is about, but also the historical and philosophical context, the nature of cyclical management fads, and other such invaluable insights.