Book Review: Commitment

ShissoFeeling trapped by your circumstances?

You might be looking at some of your options as commitments.

In Commitment, Olav Maasen and Chris Matts write that deferring a decision until the last possible minute may give you a better range of options to choose from.

They call this idea: Real Options.  The authors explain the idea in 3 bullet points:

  • Options have value
  • Options expire
  • Never commit early unless you know why

What’s interesting about Commitment is how the authors present Real Options.  This is not your standard business book with eight chapters starting with quotes and ending with action plans.  Instead of just reading about the idea, you see it play out in the panels of the manga.  Project cancelations, Audits and ‘Come to Jesus’ meetings seem closer to us because we can see the reactions of the project manager, her team and her sister panel after panel. Similar to The Goal, the authors explain their Real Options theory using a down on her luck project manager who has to cope with a large project dumped in her lap after her boss, who led the project, was fired.

I liked the book in part because of the manga format – it feels like less of chore to flip back through to reread.  Watching Rose address the challenges that are thrown her way as she learns the Real Options theory is entertaining and educational.  The book’s ‘real life’ walkthrough of scenario planning gives you a model to use if you need to hold your own scenario planning session. When I reached the last frame of the manga, my only thought was that I wanted see more examples of how to use Real Options in my professional and personal life.

If you’re looking for a new way to approach project or scenario planning from a professional or personal perspective, this book will give you some food for thought. Unfortunately, the book is not offered by Amazon, but is available for purchase on the authors’ website:  They offer the book in pdf and hardback or both.  If your preference is digital books, it’s worth the purchase, but the effort to download the 247MB file and copy it to your reader of choice may require some creativity. [8/4 Update: Amazon is now offering the book here.]

If you read Commitment, let me know your thoughts.  Leave a comment or send me a tweet, my id is jgodfrey.


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