Monday, April 9, 2012

MBR: Bureaucratically Incorrect: Letters to a Young Public Servant

I decided I was going to read a book a week for a year, here's a quick review of this week's book.  You can see the ongoing list here.

Basic Info

Why I bought it

Although I had been looking for this book for a while now, I haven't been able to locate it (its out of print) until recently.  As it happens my friend Laura found herself with two copies and she was kind enough to give me one.

The author, Bob Chartier, is a Canadian civil servant, a leader in his own right, and a friend.  I've had the pleasure of sharing the stage with Bob a couple of times in my career and he has always been kind enough to share his knowledge with me the old fashioned way; through real conversation.

How it connects to the Public Sector

The book takes the form of a series of letters from an experienced public servant to a young one (whom Bob affectionately addresses as Grasshopper).  Each letter focuses on particular lesson and the book covers a gamut of public sector issues and if Bob was more technologically inclined he probably would have published the book as a series of blog posts.  They are short, poignant, and to the point.  

What I got out of reading it

Given that I have spent time with Bob in the past, I was familiar with some of the stories he shares in the book, but that didn't detract from the experience at all.  

I put down the book feeling like the book should be online somewhere (maybe I will speak to him about that) or a should establish another site that takes the premise to the next level; a fictitious exchange of letters (emails?) between those at opposite ends of the spectrum of public service experience.

If you can't get your hands on a copy of the book, you can always check out this article he wrote to get a better sense of where he is coming from.

Originally published by Nick Charney at
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