Book Review: GUST – The “Tale” Wind of Office Politics

Gust - office politics handbookHere’s a slight detour from the job search, career management or networking books that I usually review. I got a copy of GUST at last year’s Successful and Outstanding Bloggers conference and have had a number of communications with the author, Timothy L. Johnson.

I’ve only read one other business book like GUST, which is written like a novel, complete with characters and drama. Have you ever read The Goal? I think every business student in my era had to read it in their senior year. It was a cool book, and I was impressed to see a VP or HR at a $3B company with The Goal on his bookshelf. Anyway, back to GUST.

My first impression as I’m reading this book is “man, this office setting is so draining that there is no way I would work here!” But then I remembered how long I stayed at my draining job. No matter how bad things got (and they got bad), I always thought they would get better.
I think a lot of people put up with bad jobs for a variety of reasons – fear of the job search, is the grass really greener on the other side (pretty sad thought, if all jobs suck as bad as “this one”), worried about tarnishing resume, worried about not returning any loyalty that you felt from your company (training, transfer, etc.), worried about letting your boss or coworkers down (either because you respect them or because of peer pressure), concern about a bad employment market (will I be able to land again), etc.

And so we stay in poor work conditions.

GUST is about office politics, not any of these other things that make a job miserable. The main character is a consultant brought in to manage a project to completion while unraveling the political problems, and help the CEO understand what needs to change. And the company is a mess.

The consultant walks her team through various aspects of identifying politics, the reasons behind political behavior, and tactics to work around this behavior (to keep your sanity and keep the project moving forward).

Timothy L. Johnson does a great job of making my stomach churn, while giving me tool after tool, technique after technique, and arming me to prepare with office politics.

If you are currently living with office politics, and want to figure out how to weather them, pick up a copy of GUST. Check out Scot Herrick’s review here.

3 thoughts on “Book Review: GUST – The “Tale” Wind of Office Politics”

  1. Jason – thanks for the great review. I’ll be sure to send a bottle of Tums your way. 🙂

    The tools for addressing office politics politics are relatively easy. For many, it’s the stamina it requires to get up and do something about it that is the challenging part. Your review did a great job of hitting on that aspect.

  2. GUST is one of the best business books out there for people working in cubes. It is the first time that I have seen a methodology for identifying the motivations behind the actions, ways to effectively work with other people engaged in the politics, and still get to a successful outcome for your work.

    Timothy tells the story with characters written right out of your worst company and ties it all together with the good actions to take in a summary at the end of the book.

    And, as Timothy notes, it is the stamina to get up and do something to work through the politics that is the challenge.

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