Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The New Alchemists

I’ve have just finished reading ‘The New Alchemists’ by Charles and Elizabeth Handy

I recently had the pleasure of seeing Professor Handy speak in Birmingham. I was impressed by his knowledge and experience as well as his relaxed style and delivery. His use of metaphor is wonderful. I was not surprised therefore to find this book very readable.

It describes the attributes of 29 Alchemists – innovative people that Mr and Mrs Handy interviewed.

The book reminds us that it is not always easy to understand and accommodate people who ‘rock the corporate boat.’

This book emhasised something I have always believed - that in order to survive and develop our businesses and organisations we must find ways of not only accepting and celebrating people who are ‘different’ - but as Professor Handy himself says we must ‘grow more alchemists.’

All the people interviewed have been successful in areas where they were in control and I have no doubt all of them would be desperately unhappy to work in an environment where their innovative ways are not welcome. They would leave very quickly methinks.

The book is written in engaging language and the photographs that were taken by Elizabeth Handy are wonderful. Mr and Mrs Handy obviously make an excellent team.

I highly recommended this book.


Mike said...

I've read some of Charles Handy's work and I have always come away with some new insights. His book "Age of Unreason" had a significant impact on me and how I have planned for my current work and my future. I look forward to reading his latest. Without ever having met the man, I get the impression he would be fascinating to share an evening and a couple of pints with. Here in the US we would call his style "down home," which means informal, quiet, unpretentious, --like chatting with a neighbor.

Trevor Gay said...

That is precisely how I would describe him too Mike. Well said.

It was wonderful to see him in Birmingham in his very relaxed style. He even used the old type overheads that one writes on rather than any jazzy modern PowerPoint stuff that all the other presenters used. Professor Handy simply spoke from the heart without notes - it was inspiring and yes it would be great to have a couple of pints with him in a quiet English Pub methinks!

omm said...

By the looks of the comments this book by Mr. & Mrs. Handy is simplicity also, right? I am glad to confirm that the author of "Simplicity is the Key" is still leading by example showing up to be consequent with the path by him exposed on his book. This BTW given all the time spent in the NHS makes it more valuable to everyone.
Thanks for sharing that thoughts on "The New Alchemist" with us, it certainly seems like a nice reading!

Trevor Gay said...

Thank you for your kinds comments Omara.

In his many writings Charles Handy has always tried to simplify things. I like his writing style. We can all learn much about simplicity from him.