How Big Things Get Done by Bent Flyvbjerg & Dan Gardner [9/10]

If you self-style yourself as the “world’s top project manager,” and then write a book, you had better deliver. Bent Flyvbjerg certainly does that with “How Big Things Get Done: Lessons from the World’s Top Project Manager,” a fascinating and highly readable look at projects (mostly very big, but occasionally individual-sized): why they typically vastly overrun their deadlines and cost far, far more than promised at the start. Backed by a huge database of project statistics and brilliantly chosen case studies, Flyvbjerg has allied with a polished writer of business/how-to bestsellers, Dan Gardner. The fusion of those two professionals, one a project manager, one a writer/researcher, proves to be magical. In this review, I refrain from plot spoilers, but be assured that the underlying chapter-by-chapter thesis on how to hit deadlines and budgets, to the benefit of society (and companies/individuals), is compelling. Even if you are far removed from major projects, arm yourself with How Big Things Get Done and as an informed member of the public, help judge the grandiose plans of politicians and companies, all for the betterment of all of us. In summary, if this superb read fails to win awards in its categories, I will be most disappointed.

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