Successful project management

Successful project management

114 Long Range Planning Vol. 12 October unimaginative to discount the potential effects ofthe need for using soiar energy, the decreasing price in...

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114

Long Range Planning

Vol. 12

October

unimaginative to discount the potential effects ofthe need for using soiar energy, the decreasing price in micro-electronics, a new input from science (e.g. enzyme catalysis) etc., as a source for a new burst of growth in ‘technical progress’. JOHN LANGRISH,Dean, Institute of Advanced Polytechnic

Studies. Manchester (548)

Succesful Project Management, W. J. TAYLORand T. F. WATLING. Business Books, London (1979), 269 pp. A8.95 (hardback).

Any book which contains in its title the word ‘successful’ and runs to a second edition 9 years after the first must have something of value to offer the reader. ‘Successful Project IManagement’ has a double attraction because of the emotionai bias toward projects rather than processes, i.e. the management of small, selfcontained packages appeals to the ego rather than the management of ongoing processes. Because the book is 1970 vintage (even if it has been modified) any special features should have by now become standard tools for aspiring project managers. It is diflicult to highlight anything special about the book, Because the area of project management is an integration problem, any number of perspectives is permissible. In this book the personality of the authors appears to provide the vehicle for the journey through what appears to be a disjointed ramble. In its second edition the book should appeal to beginners rather than experienced planners because the approach is not fully comprehensive in spite of a bold attempt to achieve this. The writing is stylish but is too frequently laced with uncertainty. Because cf the many check lists the weaknesses of uncertainty are camouflaged. The illustrations are quite detailed and are effective for a beginner usefully to apply. Comparing this book with other attempts to cover the same ground, it is clear that it compares favourably within the space and price constraints. NORMANK. POWELL,Lecturer in Operations chester Business School

Management,

Man(544)

Coal and Crisis: The Political Diltwmus of Energy Managetxent, W. A. ROSENBAUM,Praeger/Holt-Saunders, Eastbourne (1979). 109 pp. LlO.50 (hardback). This book examines the environmental consequences of an expansion in coal production in the U.S.A., especiaily from strip mining in the Northern Great Plains and from air pollution through coal consumption. It concludes that major adverse environmental impacts can only partially be ameliorated by regulatory programs and seeks to show how regulatory processes will need to be modified if the adverse impacts are to be minimized. The author argues that as expansion gets under way, it tends to acquire its own momentum and snowball as more and more people get vested interests in its continuation. There is, in his eyes, a rnajor danger that this will lead to far more permanent damage being inflicted on the environment than is really justified. He shows how Government action, inevitably influenced by the political system, has a major effect on who benefits from coal’s expansion and to what extent.

1979 The author makes a notable attempt to be realistic, starting from the fact that the energy crisis is a reality-‘to believe otherwise is to invite 3 national energy catastrophe in less than a generation’. He accepts that coal has no effective substitute (as a bridge from the oil age) in the near term, and that an ‘ideological war’ by ecologists against nuclear power can only increase coal development, with greatly increased environmental ‘ravages’. But his treatment is much less balanced when he questions the need for economic (and energy) growth and pins his faith-beyond the next few yearson energy conservation and more efficient new energy systems: he goes on to recommend public policies that assist pubhc interest groups, environmentalists and others embodying the quality of life ethic to remain active and visible in national, state and local political life. This sounds to the reviewer like a recipe of maximizing the energy crisis unless the environmental lobby attacks the problem where it begins-in the excessive use of energy. Are they prepared to campaign against gas-guzzling cars, and against too high standards of heating and air conditioning for example? The book deals with the U.S.A. and the detail is inapplicable in other countries, but there are many parallels elsewhere and those not directly concerned with the U.S. scene would find the book well worth reading. In any case. the U.S.A. is such a large element in the world’s energy economy that the rest of us elsewhere have a vital interest in the U.S.A. taking adequate steps to avoid an energy crisis, since almost inevitably that would react on us in greater measure. C. IANK. FORSTER, Central Planning Unit, National Coal Board, London (555)

Poverty- %‘ealtir of Mmkind, A. T~VOBDJRE,Pergamon, (1979), 182 pp. ~10.00 (hardback) and A5.60 (softback).

Oxford

The Objectives of the Nero International Economic Order, E. LASZLO, R. BAKER,E. EISENBERG and V. RAMAN, Pergamon (1978), 257 pp. E8.00 (hardback).

What sort of world are we !iving in? What sort of world do we want to live in? Albert Tfroidjre, who is Director of the International Institute for Labour Studies, Geneva, and Deputy Director General for the IL0 has, with encouragement from Ivan Illich (whose works should be essential reading for all involved in Long Range Planning), produced a remarkably persuasive book. The arguments are partly put forward through the most effective distillation of a wide variety of sources which unashamedly merge poetry, philosophy and economics. A few quotations will give some flavour of the authors approach: ‘the challenge of avoiding the terrible ambiguity of idealising that consumer society which unbridled profit-making turns into a hell on earth and which is already rightly called a society of waste and suicide’. The three perils involved in the competitive struggle of modem man to maintain the social status imposed by the psychosis of accumulation (quoted from The &&otic Personality of our Time by Karen Homey, 1937) ‘-aggressiveness grown so pronounced that it cannot be reconciled with Christian brotherhood; -desire for material goods so vigorously stimulated that it cannot be satisfied; -expectations of untrammeled freedom soaring so high that they cannot be squared with the multitudes of responsibilities and restrictions that confine us all’. ‘0 God, grant that I iive poor and die poor’ (the prophet Mohammed).