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The Delicate Art of Bureaucracy: Digital Transformation with the Monkey, the Razor, and the Sumo Wrestler Paperback – 13 October 2020

4.7 out of 5 stars 27 ratings

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Product details

  • Language : English
  • Paperback : 288 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 1950508153
  • ISBN-13 : 978-1950508150
  • Customer reviews:
    4.7 out of 5 stars 27 ratings

Product description


"Mark Schwartz turns the tables on bureaucracy, offering a practical guide to stripping out a labyrinth of rules and replacing them with simplicity, ease, and automation. His version of a benevolent bureaucracy paves the path for digital transformation and facilitates creativity and innovation."--Kimberly Jonson "COO, Fannie Mae "

"A must read for leaders trying to break the vicious circle of 'it can't be done' in complex organizations. Based on history, sociology, and his own experiences, Mark Schwartz explains the different perspectives on bureaucracy and how to bust it with practical steps. The perfect handbook for transformation under constrained circumstances."--Renato Garcia Pedigoni, CDO, Grupo Boticário

"A remarkable and eye-opening journey on bureaucracy written with spark and wit. It will give you a completely different perspective on bureaucracy--particularly entering the next normal. A must-read for all who want to realign and shift bureaucracy towards learning instead of using it as a Schimpfwort (a great word)!"--Eveline Oehrlich, Chief Research Director, DevOps Institute

"A shrewd and entertaining account of how bureaucracy becomes entrenched in social organizations and of its encumbering effects on the process of change. But its greatest value is in the sharing of strategies and tactics for knowledge workers trammeled by bureaucracy to--like Sumo wrestlers--turn the weight of the red tape to their advantage and become innovator-makers."--Renata Brogan, Solutions Architect, Women in Tech, Women in IT

"As someone that has been a cog in large, faceless corporations, I found bureaucracy stifling enough to abandon the heavy-handed rules and processes of large enterprise for the startup world. But even startups can become victims of senseless and unbending rituals. I discovered that bureaucracy has no preferred host. You may not come to love bureaucracy, but you will appreciate the wisdom in Mark's sage advice. In his battles with the Leviathan that is the USCIS, he brings levity and plenty of Moby Dick references as he deftly avoids the traps set by the devilish MD-102 by channeling the ways of the Monkey, the Razor, and the Sumo Wrestler and become a force for positive change."--Mark Birch, Founder, Enterprise Sales Forum; Founder DEV.BIZ.OPS

"Bureaucracy has long been a major impediment to transformation. With his usual style of complementing his progressive thinking with a variety of literary references and wit, Mark provides an engaging, insightful, and balanced view on a topic that could easily make one's eyes bleed! In this book you will find a practical guide to busting bureaucracy and turning it into a force for good, all while staying true to the modern techniques of Agile and DevOps--with the help of a Monkey, a Razor, and a Sumo Wrestler."--Keith Madsen, SVP, Cloud and Advanced Technology, Bank of America

"Bureaucracy has never been discussed in such an entertaining and educational way before. Learn how to clean out the organizational 'scar tissue' that is slowing you down."--Adrian Cockcroft, VP Cloud Architecture Strategy, Amazon Web Services

"I identified with every chapter. Although we tend to think that bureaucracy is a disease and there are no magic recipes to change our way of thinking, we can always think of leaving it on the light side of the force."--Laura Caceres, Operations Director, DevOps LATAM

"Informative, interesting, and thought provoking piece that raises the veil on bureaucracy. It elucidates bureaucracy's history, evolution, practices, approaches, perceptions, and learnings. This book comes with a great deal of objectivity that propels the mind to seek innovative ways to create an enabling bureaucracy!"--Ikoabasi Akpan, Sales Manager, Air France-KLM

"It takes great curiosity to deeply understand organizational bureaucracy, great courage to challenge it, and pure genius to know how to bend it to your will. In this book, Mark delivers a razor-sharp analysis on all of the above and then shares with us a comprehensive roadmap to a better future, where bureaucracy finally becomes the organizational enabler it was always intended to be."--John Walsh, Business Relationship Manager, PepsiCo

About the Author

Mark Schwartz is an iconoclast and CIO and a playful crafter of ideas, an inveterate purveyor of lucubratory prose. He has been an IT leader in organizations small and large, public, private, and nonprofit.As an Enterprise Strategist for Amazon Web Services, he uses his extensive CIO wisdom to advise the world's largest companies on the obvious: time to move to the cloud, guys. As the CIO of US Citizenship and Immigration Services, he provoked the federal government into adopting Agile and DevOps practices. He is pretty sure that when he was the CIO of Intrax Cultural Exchange he was the first person ever to use business intelligence and supply chain analytics to place au pairs with the right host families. Mark speaks frequently on innovation, change leadership, bureaucratic implications of DevOps, and using Agile practices in low-trust environments. With a BS in computer science from Yale, a master's in philosophy from Yale, and an MBA from Wharton, Mark is either an expert on the business value of IT or just confused and much poorer.Mark is the author of The Art of Business Value, A Seat at the Table, and War and Peace and IT and the winner of a Computerworld Premier 100 award, an Amazon Elite 100 award, a Federal Computer Week Fed 100 award, and a CIO Magazine CIO 100 award. He lives in Boston, Massachusetts.

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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com

Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews
Mark Birch
5.0 out of 5 stars How to Battle the Leviathan of Bureaucracy and Win!
14 October 2020 - Published on Amazon.com
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5.0 out of 5 stars How to Battle the Leviathan of Bureaucracy and Win!
Reviewed in the United States on 14 October 2020
Why would you read a book about bureaucracy?I I have lived inside the machinations of big, slow moving enterprises for many years. So for me, there is nothing that I found exciting about the beast that is corporate bureaucracy. It got to the point that I jumped from the soulless drudgery of corporate life to the fast paced world of startups.

Even startups can become victims of rigid and nonsensical rituals. Bureaucracy is not about the form of organization, it is about people and how we organize ourselves and our work. That is the lesson that I took away from The Delicate Art of Bureaucracy. Mark Schwartz does an excellent job through the many funny and sometimes maddening stories he shares that we humans are all bureaucrats of species Homo bureaucraticus.

You may not come to love bureaucracy after reading Mark's book, but you will appreciate Mark's wisdom and sage advice through many years leading IT as the Chief Information Officer of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services. In his battles with the Leviathan that is the USCIS, he brings levity and plenty of Moby Dick references as he deftly avoids the traps set by the myriads of confounding policies and procedures like the infamous MD-102 by channeling the ways of the Monkey, the Razor, and the Sumo Wrestler and become a force for positive change.

Who is this book for then? For anyone looking to break through the redtape and silos and inertia that prevent innovation and stall transformation. Once you understand the nature of bureaucracy, Mark's insights can help you navigate around the roadblocks and leverage the power of bureaucracy to usher along organizational change.
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3 people found this helpful
Teri Patrick
5.0 out of 5 stars A technologist's guide to human transformation
24 October 2020 - Published on Amazon.com
One person found this helpful
Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars More great advice from Mark Schwartz
16 October 2020 - Published on Amazon.com
One person found this helpful
Thomas M
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful, relevant, fun to read
24 October 2020 - Published on Amazon.com
One person found this helpful