Making Things Happen, Mastering Project Management

by Scott Berkun

Reviewed by Dwayne Phillips, March 2009

This is a second edition book. The first edition was titled "The Art of Project Management." The original text was "cleaned-up, enhanced, updated, and expanded."

I am disappointed in this book. I am really disappointed that I am disappointed in this book. I subscribe to Berkun's blog, enjoy it, and learn from it. Perhaps that is why I am so disappointed. The book lacks much of the quality I find in Berkun's blog.

The book is written in a manner that grates my teeth. It seems that someone would have edited this. It is plagued with endless verb-preposition combinations. I don't understand how those "get past" or "elude" editors.

I also tried to find a theme in the book. It seems to me that you can take hundreds of blog entries and write a good book,a as long as you tie the blog posts together with a theme. I can't find a theme in this book.

Berkun used to work at Microsoft. Perhaps this is the source of my disappointment. This is like a couple of other books I have read that were written by current or former Microsoft employees. The theme is that "this person worked at Microsoft (when Microsoft was doing great software - whatever that means), so they must really know something. Well, it seems that someone at Microsoft at the time had a good idea for a product (solve the right problem), and Microsoft had some good, smart people working there who could build the product (solve the problem right). The Microsft employee wrote a book wrote about what they saw, but they didn't seem to notice what I wrote in the previous sentence. Instead, the went on and on for 200 or 300 pages about stuff. None of the stuff is new or ground breaking or enlightening or anything else.

The vast majority of the content has been expressed elsewhere, long before, and in better prose. This leads me to believe that the author did little research in writing the book. Again, I love Berkun's blog, so I am disappointed to be so disappointed with this book.