Book Review: How to Win a Conference by William D. Ellis and Frank Siedel

JANUARY 01, 1956 by F. A. OPITZ

New York: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 214 pp. $3.95

Nearly everyone is willing to let the other fellow be the good loser. This is true on the football field, but it is just as true around the conference table. The old idea that a conference is an intellectual love feast belongs to another era. In this Age of Irritation the conference is a contest, and if you enter one like sheep you’ll come out like mutton.

This book was written with businessmen in mind. In this workaday world, conferences are held for the purposes of putting a policy across or lining up people behind a program; not for the purpose of gaining the sense of the meeting. The authors have assembled the various techniques used by successful negotiators to carry a group with them; knowledge of these same strategems should give the individual strength to stand by his own convictions.


January 1956

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September 2014

For centuries, hierarchical models dominated human organizations. Kings, warlords, and emperors could rally groups--but also oppress them. Non-hierarchical forms of organization, though, are increasingly defining our lives. It's no secret how this shift has benefited out social lives, including dating, and it's becoming more commonplace even in the corporate world. But it has also now come even to organizations bent on domination rather than human flourishing, as the Islamic State shows. If even destructive groups rely on this form of entrepreneurial organization, then hierarchy's time could truly be coming to an end.
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