100% PP 100%25%20PP
Currently unavailable.
We don't know when or if this item will be back in stock.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more.
See this image

Parkinson's Law: Or the Pursuit of Progress (Penguin Modern Classics) Paperback – Import, 5 Sep 2002

See all 2 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
New from
Hardcover, Import
"Please retry"
Paperback, Import
"Please retry"
click to open popover

What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?

Product description

About the Author

C. N. Parkinson had a varied career as a writer. He is best known as the author of Parkinson's Law, but among other books he also wrote a biography of Horatio Hornblower, a series of naval novels and several history books (including Britannia Rules and The Rise of Big Business).

Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone

To get the free app, enter mobile phone number.

Product details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd; New edition edition (5 September 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141186852
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141186856
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 0.9 x 19.9 cm
  • If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?

Customer Reviews

There are no customer reviews yet on Amazon.in
5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star

Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars 64 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still relevent. 6 May 2014
By Patrick C. Powers - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Unlike technology, administration hasn't changed much since man created bureaucrasy. Parkinson adds amusing and insightful information to understanding bureaucrasy. I mentioned this book to a management instuctor a few months ago and he immediately added it to his reading list for his students.
Since there is no correlation between the actual objectives or outputs of the bureaucrasy, One might read something like "The Banality of Evil" to understand the bureaucratic mentality and its potential hazzards to the real world.
5.0 out of 5 stars Parkinson still rules 14 May 2010
By GFMcDonough - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
I bought tis book to explain to my MD son how organizations function, regardless of their purpose. Parkinson used the British Navy and a maiden lady as examples; I found from experience that his laws were equally applicable to American industry and civil service as well as to our universities. I believe my son will find them equally applicable to the medical clinic. I was fortunate to have the experience of hearing Parkinson speak to our department when he was visiting professor at our university fifty years ago. His thoughts on the birth, maturing and eventual withering of organizations was scary in that we were just achieving his pinnacle indicator, a new building. His idea of how to tell the important people at parties has fit every major event I've ever attended and has given me pleasurable evenings of observation which might have been dreary times. Hats off to you, C. Northcote Parkinson, and to your tongue-in-cheek laws. I feel honored to have an autographed copy of your book and will cherish it together with your memory.
5.0 out of 5 stars New Law Discovered! 1 March 2017
By Ross McMullen - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Professor Parkinson turned light onto a situation that no one else seemed to have noticed. His commentary is vital for anyone involved in management.
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Satire on the Ineffectiveness of Bureaucracy 23 September 2010
By T. Sznigir - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Heaven forbid that students should cease to read books on the science of public or business administration -- provided only that these works are classified as fiction...intermingled with volumes about ape men and space ships, these textbooks could harm no one"

This quote, from the preface, sets the tone for the rest of the book. We've all seen just how efficient government and corporate bureaucracy is, but Parkinson shows us that we still give them too much credit. This devastating and witty satire goes after every aspect of administration and really makes one wonder how anything ever gets done at all. And it was written in the 50s. Given the expansion of government and the rise of multinational corporate conglomerates since then, this book is as relevant now as when it was written. Pick it up and find out just how deep the rabbit hole of incompetence goes.

Parkinson begins, appropriately enough, by describing Parkinson's Law: "Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion." Thus, a retired old lady can spend hours writing and mailing a postcard, while a busy man will get it done in a few minutes. Closely related is the steady expansion of bureaucracies: every bureaucrat wants assistants both to increase his importance and lighten his workload, but it turns out that managing these assistants (who will eventually want assistants of their own) takes up any time he might have saved, and before long there are five people doing a job that one man was perfectly capable of doing himself. Bureaucrats create work for each other. To illustrate this point, Parkinson points out how the staff at the Colonial Office swelled while the Empire was losing its overseas colonies and how the Royal Navy hired more clerks and officials at a time when most of the capital ships were decommissioned and the number of seamen fell by 30%.

That's all in the first chapter. Later, Parkinson shows how budget committees spend their time. Nobody on those committees knows much about nuclear reactors, so there's not much to discuss about a $10 million proposal for a new reactor; it's approved within minutes. However, most of the committee knows about bicycle sheds, so they can have a lively debate on how to cut costs on a proposed bicycle shed for employees--and everyone knows about coffee, so naturally they'll have the longest, best-informed debate on the subject of whether to get a new coffee machine. Penny wise, pound foolish.

Later chapters detail the inverse ratio between the size of a cabinet and its effectiveness as well as why the best indicator of an organization's decline is the construction of a new headquarters, among other morsels of wisdom. Some of the content might be a bit dated (and one chapter is arguably racist), but the rest of the book more than compensates. I highly recommend it.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good old book republished 23 August 2014
By Jon P. - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
A good old book republished. The book itself is an excellent classic, but the proofreading of this edition stinks! It looks like STELLAR CLASSICS scanned the text of an earlier edition and left the original page numbers embedded in the text.

Where's My Stuff?

Delivery and Returns

Need Help?