Book Review: Consulting Demons
If you’ve ever been a management consultant you’ll love Consulting Demons by Lewis Pinault. My first company (Feld Technologies) did a lot of work for and with a major east coast consulting firm between 1988 and 1993 and I got to see the consulting industry from the inside. In addition to writing all of their back office software (stuff like accounting, recruiting, expense management, time tracking) we worked with them on a number of their client projects as their “IT specialists.”
Pinault’s book totally nails the life, the industry, and the experience of management consulting. It’s cynical and not that pleasant, but it’s a classic confessional that – if you identify with the business – is enthralling. BusinessWeek had a short review when it came out titled First, Let’s Kill All the Consultants and CIO Magazine had an except on one of the great sections titled The Devil You Don’t Know.
At the end of the book, Pinault steps off the consulting treadmill in 2000 to go follow his dream (getting a JD with an emphasis on Space Law and working toward a PhD in Planetary Geosciences and Future Studies.) A short trip on the web determined that he got back on the treadmill at some point, establishing himself as a “Guru” (there is a hysterical chapter on this – Chapter 10 – The Great Centurion) via his book The Play Zone: Unlock Your Creative Genius and Connect with Consumers. He’s chairman of BOX and is a Senior Client Partner in Korn/Ferry’s Leadership Development Solutions practice.
The book – plus Pinault’s trajectory through his consulting career – helps reinforce any cynicism one might have about management consulting.