The Great Game of Business

Unlocking the Power and Profitability of Open-Book Management

by Jack Stack

Number of pages: 252

Publisher: Doubleday

BBB Library: Business Classics

ISBN: 9780385475259

About the Author

He is the founder and CEO of SRC Holdings, a company comprising more than 35 separate companies. SRC's companies do everything from consulting to packaging to building high-performance engines. Stack went to SRC in 1979 as the Plant Manager of International Harvester after eleven years of direct management experience. In 1983, Stack and the SRC employees bought the company from IH. Stack is a national and world judge for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards Institute and has served as an advisor for the group since 1998. INC. Magazine has called him the “smartest strategist in America” and named him one of twenty-five entrepreneurs selected to represent the 25 years INC. has been published. Inc. Magazine dubbed him "The Father of Open-Book Management", a business practice of sharing financial and decision-making duties among all employees. Stack was also listed among the “top 10 minds in small business” in Fortune Small Business Magazine.


Editorial Review

The Great Game of Business has become the most celebrated approach to Open-book Management, a unique and well-proven approach to running a company, based on a simple, yet powerful, belief; “When employees think, act and feel like owners… everybody wins.” In its simplest form, The Great Game of Business is a way of running a company that gets everyone focused on helping the business be successful. Employee goals and accountabilities are tied directly to the success of the company. It teaches all employees the Critical Numbers of the company and how they can make a difference—both individually and as part of a team.

Book Reviews

"In the Great Game of Business Jack Stack provides a primer for managing any size company, including overarching principles and detailed actions. All small business owners should read this book. If you run an ESOP, it probably should be mandatory.”— Coherent Coaching

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Wisdom to Share

1. The only way to be secure is to make money and generate cash. Everything else is a means to that end.

The ignorance of the people on the shop floor usually means they have no idea why managers do what they do and chalk up every mistake in the company to a combination of greed and stupidity.

The ignorance of the middle managers means they are constantly torn between the demands of top management and those of the work force. They really have the most difficult role in the company because they have to please two masters. If they side with their people, they're against top management. If they side with top management, they're in conflict with the work force. Consequently, they can never please themselves.

The ignorance of top management assumes that people down the ladder are incapable of understanding its problems and responsibilities.

How do you start the Great Game of Business? By creating a series of small wins—by showing people how it feels to be a winner.

No company can play the Great Game of Business with people who feel like losers. Even if people believe the numbers, they won't respond to them if they don't care about what they're doing.

Having fun should be a job responsibility. Nobody can do a job well if he or she doesn't have fun doing it. Winning is a lot of fun, but people may not know how to be winners in their jobs. So you have to show them.

Most of the problems we have in business today are a direct result of our failure to show people how they fit into the Big Picture.

You will always be more successful in business by sharing information with the people you work with than by keeping them in the dark.

The biggest obstacle does not lie in the board room or in the corner office, but in ourselves.