Tom Peters where are you?

Remember Tom Peters? The 1996 Guinness Book of World Records listed him as the world’s most highly paid management consultant. His In Search of Excellence was one of the earliest mega-hits among management books, you might recall that he flirted with various Hayekian ideas about the market as a discovery mechanism. Today’s Financial Times looks at Peters today and asks, quite literally, whether he has lost his mind. It describes a Tom Peters seminar as “a combination of Billy Graham and Sid Vicious.” Peters admits to being proud of the inconsistencies in his thoughts, but to my mind the FT evinces no evidence of real craziness. Several years ago Fortune magazine raised the same issue, I cannot find an on-line copy but again I am waiting for the smoking gun.

Make up your own mind, visit Tom’s web site. Be warned that not all of it is rigorous, consider the following:

An Aussie reporter asked me recently about the origins of “Re-imagine.” I answered in terms of war & peace & commercial effectiveness alike. The following leapt from my lips, and I was intrigued by what I’d said. Dangerous, I well know; and it may wear off. But herewith, not a bad rationale, at the highest level of abstraction, for what we’re about and the possible importance thereof…

Tom admits that he was overoptimistic about Silicon Valley — at least he will admit he was wrong — and says that the increased difficulty of valuing intangible assets is behind the recent corporate scandals.


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