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The Secrets of Consulting:
Giving and Getting Advice Successfully

by Gerald M. Weinberg
foreword by Virginia Satir

ISBN: 978-0-932633-01-9  
©1985  248 pages   softcover  
$29.95 (plus shipping)

Subject(s): Computer Consulting

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Find Jerry's eBook nonfiction and novels listed at Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords stores, and at www.geraldmweinberg.com.

Proven Techniques and Strategies to
Help You Succeed As a Consultant

About the Book

If you are a consultant, ever use one, or want to be one, this book will show you how to succeed.

With wit, charm, humor, and wisdom, Gerald M. Weinberg shows you exactly how to become a more effective consultant. He reveals specific techniques and strategies that really work.

Through the use of vividly memorable rules, laws, and principlessuch as The Law of Raspberry Jam, The Potato Chip Principle, and Lessons from the Farmthe author shows you how to

  • price and market your services
  • avoid traps and find alternative approaches
  • keep ahead of your clients
  • create a special "consultant's survival kit"
  • trade improvement for perfection
  • negotiate in difficult situations
  • measure your effectiveness
  • be yourself

You will also find straightforward advice on marketing your services, including how to:

  • find clients
  • get needed exposure
  • set just-right fees
  • gain trust

The Secrets of Consulting—techniques, strategies, and first-hand experiences—all that you'll need to set up, run, and be successful at your own consulting business.


"This is a fantastic book on giving advice, receiving advice and getting your advice accepted. . . ."

Dr. Heinz M. Kabutz
The Java Specialists' Newsletter

". . . an irreverent, funny, provocative, satirical but true look at those thousands of professionals, as well as con men, who call themselves consultants."

Martin A. Goetz
President, Applied Data Research, Inc.

"Whether you are an independent consultant or an employee consulting internally, you'll find a lot of wisdom in this book. As with most of his books, Gerald Weinberg illustrates his points with entertaining and memorable stories."

—Elisabeth Hendrickson,
Quality Tree Consulting

"Much of the advice given in this book can be applied across all areas of the spectrum, both in job classification and function.

"Weinberg knows this arena very well. He dispenses invaluable advice in the form of simple folkish sayings that you should post on the wall and repeat several times a
day. . . . The best advice often has a homespun flavor, and these consulting aids, sometimes complex only in their simplicity, will help you plot a path to a successful business as a consultant . . . If you want to know what makes a consultant work, either because you want to use one or be one, then this is the book you must read. By seeing the view from both sides of the fence, you can plot a successful strategy, independent of whether you are the giver or receiver of the advice."

—Charles Ashbacher
Charles Ashbacher Technologies
posted on Amazon.com

". . . exciting and provocative, bringing fresh insights and perspectives."

 —Consultants News

"It really does contain those little secrets . . . should make you far more effective for your clients, and far more comfortable with yourself."

Micro Cornucopia

". . . a great learning experience. There are some pointers for everyone!"

 —Data Processing Digest

"There is much of value in this book for the system professional . . . and highly practical help to anyone who must advise others."

 —Journal of Systems Management

". . . an outstanding guide for anyone who has thought of becoming a 'consultant.'"

 —Management Accounting

". . . educative, entertaining, and thought-provoking."

 —ICCA's the Independent

"In this book Gerald Weinberg uses entertaining prose littered with humorous paradoxes, dilemmas and contradictions to share his ideas on how to deal with people and organizations to help them change. This book is full of ideas on how to work with people to get them to adopt new ideas."

 —Mary Sakry,
The Process Group

"Secrets of Consulting, by Gerald Weinberg, is much more than about giving advice successfully. It's a guide that recognizes and respects the individuality and freedom of each person you deal within business and social dealings. It's a clear-eyed and clever and fun to read. Highly recommended."

Harry Browne,
from How I Found Freedom In An Unfree World:
A Handbook for Personal Liberty

"Even though Gerald M. Weinberg wrote this masterpiece about twenty years ago, you will be amazed to discover how accurate and up-to-date the content is according to today's agreed upon standards and practices. . . .the author harmonizes his wisdom with crispy war stories coming right from the trenches and introducing the how's and why's of a given rule or saying."

—Valentin Crettaz
Val's Blog
posted on Javaranch.com

"This is a classic. Like the best and most serious books, it is very funny. It is also, needless to say, true -- how true, you will learn only from experience. The book does indeed contain many secrets, but they are secret because they are hard to hear, not hard to tell -- like many things in consulting. Weinberg is an experienced consultant and incidentally quite a dab hand at Requirements Engineering as well."

—Ian Alexander

"Weinberg has been providing expertise to organizations for decades. His particular areas of expertise is at the intersection of how organizations develop and deploy technology. Along with Block, Weinberg is one of the best and most down-to-earth, accessible thinkers about the challenges of connecting your expertise to organizational action. This is among his best compilations of advice relevant to any of us faced with the problem."

—Jim McGee
consultant and author of the weblog McGee's Musings

"I have owned many books on consulting, but none of them have helped me as much as Gerald Weinberg's The Secrets of Consulting. I can't say enough good things about the book, but I credit the wisdom in this book for a great deal of my success. . . . Every time I read it, I learn more. . . .

"And if you are getting started freelancing or consulting and need to know how to price your work, consider these rules. Then go buy that book. Really it's that good. "

—James Crossman
consultant and author of the weblog JamesCrossman.com

". . . I thought, 'I've been doing this for 15 years, why do I need to read someone else's impressions of what it's like to be a consultant?' . . . After just a few pages, I kind of got the feeling I was back sitting on the sofa next to my grandpa and he was telling me some great stories. Only thing is, I'm a grown up now, and this guy was telling me interesting, entertaining stories about how to be a better consultant. . . .

"I read A LOT of books -- this one is clearly a 'must read' for anyone who's a full time consultant, part time consultant, or has been asked to give someone advice (even once) in their life. . ."

—Jay Brummett
consultant and author of the weblog
OMS Consulting Partners

Table of Contents
Foreword by Virginia Satir

Dorset House Catalog
This Book's Flyer

By this Author
An Introduction to General Systems Thinking: Silver Anniversary Edition
The Psychology of Computer Programming: Silver Anniversary Edition

Also Recommended
Five Core Metrics: The Intelligence Behind Successful Software Management, by Lawrence H. Putnam and Ware Myers
More Secrets of Consulting: The Consultant's Tool Kit, by Gerald M. Weinberg
Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams, 2nd ed., by Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister
Project Retrospectives: A Handbook for Team Reviews, by Norman L. Kerth

Waltzing with Bears: Managing Risk on Software Projects, by Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister

How to Order

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