A HUGE thank you to Tom Peters for reviewing my upcoming book, The Successful Lawyer: Powerful Strategies for Transforming Your Practice and providing a commentary that will appear on the back cover. Candidly, my thank you was going to be strictly private but he generously mentioned my book in his June 9th post entitled Fall Reading Preview so I think it is quite appropriate that I express my gratitude here. Tom Peters has been one of my serious heroes since his first masterpiece, In Search of Excellence. His work inspired my partners and me as we built Edge International into a global consultancy. It is not uncommon for us to informally discuss his ideas at our internal meetings. I know many lawyers do not read business books, even a significant number of Managing Partners don’t, but to tempt you into exploring the mind of the person who likely has had more impact on business than any other thinker of our era, read this recent short bio on Tom Peters prepared for a leaders conference in London.

thb_peters.jpgTom Peters is the world’s leading management guru. His first book, In Search of Excellence, co-written with Bob Waterman, launched a management revolution and was ranked in a recent poll carried out by Bloomsbury Press as the “greatest business book of all time”. Since then, he has remained at the forefront of the movement to radically change organisations and how they are led in the face of new consumer, global and technological realities. His books, including his latest work, Re-imagine! Business Excellence in a Disruptive Age, have topped sales charts for over twenty years, with Peters becoming the best-selling business author of all time. Fortune calls him the Ur-guru (guru of gurus) of management, while the Economist tags him the Uber-guru. Business Week describes him as business’ “best friend and worst nightmare.” Tom, meanwhile, describes himself as “a prince of disorder, champion of bold failures, maestro of zest, professional loudmouth, corporate cheerleader, lover of markets and capitalist pig.”

Apologies to those in the legal profession who are also business graduates and cannot comprehend the possibility that there is any literate person who is not already familiar with Tom’s work. The sad truth is that far too many in the legal profession are not — to their detriment, in my view. While law is first a profession and second a business, in order for a larger firm to thrive it is going to have to maintain its stellar ethical base but then compete as a business with zest and imagination. Note the reference in his bio to the effect that “he has remained at the forefront of the movement to radically change organisations and how they are led in the face of new consumer, global and technological realities”. The major law firms (as well as the not-so-major) are facing the same challenges as business — after all, they serve business. I believe competitive advantage belongs to those who listen to Tom, think about what he is saying, and then creatively apply his ideas where appropriate and with courage. If you don’t have time to read all his books, check out his blog and wire service. By the way, I am delighted to see that the content from his book Re-Imagine! has been used to create four small-format books: Leadership, Talent, Design, and Trends. They’re called the Essentials Series. Trusting Tom’s marketing savvy, this will get the message to a lot more people (including, I suggest, those in the legal profession for whom the larger tome seems like too big a distraction from the “billable hour”). Thank you again, Tom — your taking the time means a great deal to me.