It's really a relatively new market - perhaps just a subset of the ''me generation,'' or that demographic cluster of Yuppies and Yumpies. But today's book-buying market is defined less by age than by ambition.
''Supermanagers'' is timed to hit this market, offering a how-to book, complete with case studies, encouragement, admonitions, and theory. It's for and about people who are making, or want to make, a big success of their corporate groups, divisions, departments, or entrepreneurial ventures.
In the book's epilogue, Mr. Heller astutely describes the reason so many people are consuming the new populist class of management books, where business buzzwords become the everyday jargon: ''Not so long ago, management was a specialized art, craft, or racket. The only people (almost all of them male) who needed management's arts and crafts worked in businesses, and those mostly of the larger variety. Even inside the corporations, management was the prerogative of an elite, a minority even of the men in the gray flannel suits. Not so today. Now the majority of white-collar occupations, male and female, demand some degree of management skill and knowledge - and not just in businesses alone.''
Robert Heller is editor of the British magazine Management Today. In the book , he makes copious references to articles published in the magazine.
The book is centered on 10 steps to supermanagement. Each step is a course in itself. Taken together they are the closest thing on the market to a one-book MBA program. It is useful to managers and would-be managers because it presents a marvelous collection of formulas that have worked. At the same time, Heller seems to eschew formulas and to encourage creative solutions tailored to individual circumstances.
Heller himself identifies the keynote to his book and to success in today's business environment: '' 'Positive' is the basic word. Things have to be made to happen. Without management, without the intervention of organized willpower, the desired result simply cannot be obtained.''
So to some degree it's PMA (a positive mental attitude) pushed to the point of will that drives the supermanager to the top of the heap, one might conclude. But it could also be argued that it's just this element that is troublesome to those who wince at the potential abuses of willpower. Many would feel that good ideas should and can win their way through the maze of an organization and in the marketplace just because they're good ideas, without the aggressive exercise of will.
Heller probably wouldn't disagree with this ideal. What he seems to suggest is that supermanagers must also be supersalesmen - of their ideas, and of themselves.