Book Report: Parkinson’s Law by C. Northcote Parkinson (1957)

Book coverThis book was a pretty fun little read for a British midcentury version of Dilbert with slightly less absurdity.

The author was a naval historian who also dabbled in the study of organizations, and this book collects some of his essays that examine elements of bureaucracy and poke some fun at them. The schtick is that of a very serious scientific study, but the tone is tongue in cheek. The author’s “law,” sometimes quoted, is that work expands to fill the time and effort available to do it, but Parkinson also takes a look at perfect buildings, hiring practices, the proper time and method of conferring retirement on the elderly, and other things.

As with Dilbert, a certain amount of truth rings through the humor, and it’s funny and educational because it’s true. And note that I brought up yesterday’s post because Parkinson also recommended checking out the bathrooms of places when considering a position there, but he did it fifty years before I did, when bathrooms were all steampunk by nature.

I got the book via ILL because of the Instapundit post linked above, ultimately, and I’m glad I did. Although I seem to have hit a bit of a library book period interspersed amongst my longer reads (I’m currently working on a couple of books over 1000 pages and a 700 page collection of short stories), so I’m not knocking off any of the books on my to-read shelves these days. In my defense, the accummulation has slowed quite a bit, too.

Books mentioned in this review: