About the Blog

This is my diary....what I make sense of, around me. You'll find short prose on contemporary topics that interest me. What can you expect - Best adjectives? …. hmm occasionally, tossed around flowery verbs ?…. Nope, haiku-like super-brevity? … I try to. Thanks for dropping by & hope to see you again

May 15, 2010


The Brazilian way of life is well known, and its very thought brings in images of samba dances, colorful & lively carnivals and the yellow jerseys symphonising with the white ball on the football field. So a book on a relatively unknown company called ‘Semco’ and its unusal workplace would rather stick out like a odd man out in this common perception of this part of the world. And Ricardo Semler makes a valiant effort to change the perception through this book- ‘Maverick : The success story behind the world’s most unusual workplace’.

Its very unusual to hear of companies that allows its employees to set the rules of engagement at the workplace. And it will sound almost weird if a company does not have any reception desk, follows no standard policies, and a worker decides how much to work; when and where all determined by his discretion and also practically has a say in every aspect of its functioning. But that’s how Semco is and Ricardo Semler , its promoter & chief decodes its success story in this book.

‘A company where traditional corporate dogma was being discarded and unpredictability was a way of life’ says Semler in chapter 13 of the book and that pretty much sums it up. It all begins with Semler taking over the reins of the company from his father and his effort to address the moribund company . He says ‘ there was a lifelessness , a lack of enthusiasm, a malaise at Semco that i had to change ’. So he sets out with a change agenda and what does he do? He strips away all the ‘managerial mumbo jumbo’ and brings in a culture where business is done in a simpler way, a more natural way. A company with a philososphy akin to socialism , in the old eastern European sense; Nonsenseskaya.

A very readable book for someone interested in understanding how the nuts & bolts of running a business could be rearranged and yet successfully managed by dumping the Peters, Porters and Kanters, of the traditional business world.


Nona said...

I have read this book and liked it!

One of the boldest things to from Ricardo's side is to eliminate the security checks. That requires a lot of courage and trust!

AnaVar said...

Thanks for review! I have to read this book!

sujith said...

The book sounds interesting, hv not been able to read though, but after this review will surely do it

Shankar Nath said...


I read the book some years back and always wondered, "how tough is it to implement these in companies?". Listed companies will mostly not go the Semco way but private companies can try. I've read of one entrepreneur in India (from Gujarat) who has religiously used Semco's principles in his company and is paying good dividends.

A related area of note is what I call the 'positivity bias' - a situation where the memory reproduces more goodness than negativity items. With all due respect to Ricardo Semler, it is possible that the book talks more about the goodness of his management principle rather than the downside of it. This is akin to any person who writes his resume and only puts down his successes and never his failures. We have to account for this bias before implementing it in our companies.


Feedburner Count