There are famously two activities that no-one is willing to admit they are bad at: sex and driving. L-plates on a car are bad enough, but a Learner Lover label is social suicide. Men, in particular, like to imagine they know all there is to know in these areas. The truth, of course, is that we are learning all the time, even at the office.
Bob Garratt is concerned with the last of these. The Learning Organisation (a revised version of the book, first published in 1987) lacks the colourful title of his previous work, The Fish Rots from the Head, but it beats the pants off most of the mountain of volumes on skills, knowledge and intellectual capital.
For a start, Garratt does not pretend that the need for companies to learn is new. He also recognises that becoming a learning organisation is a journey without a destination. The book rightly criticises the 'impulse to action rather than to reflection and learning', which is especially welcome in a world gone dot.com mad.