The Elephant and the Flea (Charles Handy)
The Elephant and the Flea is both a poignant personal memoir and a deep reflection on the past and future of world capitalism, with all its possibilities and pitfalls. In a tone that is at once learned, genial, witty, and wise, Handy takes us on his life’s journey, looking back to his childhood and education and how they prepared (or, rather, did not prepare) him for a career in business, the changing nature of organizational life within the context of the old economy and the new, the great variety of capitalism around the world, and through it all, his struggle to find meaning and fulfillment in work. Handy uses the quirky, powerful metaphor of the elephant and the flea to describe vividly and critique the great shift from the prevalence of behemoth, slow-moving, bureaucratic organizations that provided a lifetime of security and not much freedom or room for creativity, to a world in which we are much more independent and flea-like, flitting from job to job, latching onto elephants when we need to, but mostly flying solo and without a net.