Book review: Will There Be Donuts?

Will There Be Donuts? is staunchly anti-meeting, but a few essays – rather than a book of 290 pages – could have done the trick.

Will There Be Donuts?
David Pearl (Harper Collins, 2012), $34.99

book review will there be donutsI loved this book. A lifetime of attendance at countless (often pointless) meetings has bred an intense dislike of both the gatherings and the curious people who seem – on the surface, at least – to enjoy the experience.

As you’ve no doubt guessed the theme of Will There Be Donuts? is staunchly anti–meeting, but I’m not sure that it needed to be a book of some 290 pages to say so, when a few essays could have done the trick.

However, it’s well written and not too didactic, so it’s an easy read.

It pillories meeting culture and the bureaucratic mentality that drives it, but has balanced this with remedies and positive solutions on how to make meetings purposeful, short and successful.

David Pearl’s recommendations alone are worth the price of a copy and belong up there with Dilbert cartoons – although the message is more serious, even if coated in humour.

Pearl echoes the witty insights of C. Northcote Parkinson, author of Parkinson’s Law in 1955, whose observations are as pertinent now as they were almost six decades ago.

In fact that’s one book that should be re-published and handed to every politician, (national or local) civil servant and bureaucrat, along with a companion copy of Will There Be Donuts? These two books should be compulsory reading at all levels of education in Civic Studies, Politics and Sociology – that way earnest try-hards and over-educated under-achievers will be warned off before they infect bureaucratic organisations with a need to meet.

Less hui, more doey, I say!