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Book Review: The Art of Demotivation

Donna Brown1168 views
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About The Art of Demotivation
The Art of DemotivationMotivation has become a multi-billion dollar industry, courtesy of the patronage of corporations and the noble intentions of executives who lead them. At the heart of this colossal confederation of inspirational speakers, platitudinous posters, parable-filled management books, and increasingly complicated incentive programs lies an alluring promise: that with enough encouragement, empowerment, and esteem, employees will become productive and loyal, to the benefit of both their employers and themselves.

Yet, in spite of the staggering expenditures on packaged esteem, polls show that worker morale has reached critical lows, with a majority of employees even claiming to hate their jobs. How is this possible? And more importantly, what can executives do about this crisis of employee dissatisfaction?

In this revolutionary new management book, Despair, Inc. founder Dr. E.L. Kersten plumbs the depths of employee discontent and identifies its root cause. Though most employees live lacklustre lives full of wasted opportunities and trivial accomplishments, they grow ever more certain of their enormous worth and glorious destinies. This is because they are the products of a narcissistic age, the results of a grand social experiment that has gone terribly awry. As a result, they are afflicted with an irrational sense of entitlement that simultaneously increases their dissatisfaction with their jobs and prevents them from accepting responsibility for their lives. Thus, in a terrible irony, managers who attempt to motivate employees by bolstering their self-esteem have only compounded the problem. By reinforcing the delusions of grandeur that imprison and torture the average worker, management has only further reinforced their sense of entitlement to the wealth, statue and privilege that justice dictates be reserved for the truly accomplished and inarguably worthy: namely, executives.

The The Art of Demotivation, former professor and current executive Kersten offers not only a comprehensive analysis of the problem but a prescriptive solution; one grounded not in the humanistic fantasies of infinite human potential so often embraced by the motivation industry, but in the grim realities of a broken world. Managers who seek a productive, loyal workforce must first seek to liberate their employees from their prisons of narcissism by forcing them to confront that which they expend enormous energy to avoid: their true selves.

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The Art of Demotivation

I’ve had the misfortune of encountering a number of these sure-fire demotivational techniques at one time or another and this is the ultimate how-to guide if you want to make your emloyees feel devalued, sap their creativity, make every day feel like a wet and grey Monday, and generally foster a complete disregard for their wellbeing.

In all seriousness, though, this book makes the point very effectively: it’s not that hard to demotivate someone but it can be much harder to turn it around. The parody style of the book makes it entertaining and funny but also slams home, in no uncertain terms, the things every good manager must avoid and the repercussions if they don’t.

Incredibly effective.

Verdict: 5/5

Source: reviewer’s own copy

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Donna Brown
Avid reader/audiobook listener, fan of podcasts, prone to the odd Netflix binge. Mum to six crazy and incredible rescue cats. Occasional writer of short stories and poetry.

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