The Zero Hype Bundle
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The Zero Hype Bundle

About the Bundle

The world of organizational change and process improvement is a world full of theories, philosophies, N=1 extrapolations, hero worship, generalizations, and wise-sounding advice that's often sold as evergreen, eternal even. It's also a world full of hype, promises of change, hopes of transformation and other hard-hitting buzzwords, trainings, and certifications on the latest-and-greatest framework, methodology, tools and--failing all that--mindset.

This bundle consists of two "business fiction" books that are based on my own professional experience in this world, hyperrealistically satirize its all-too-frequent extremes, and expose its negative aspects from two different angles: from the angle of a fictional organization faced with inoculating itself against the latest in a series of miracle-cure fads, and from the angle of a well-meaning individual who discovers and becomes infatuated with one of those fads, proceeding to adopt all of its vestiges, and to turn the fad and its tenents into the core of his newfound professional identity.

The first book of the bundle, The Incredible Story of Deft, is a satirical exploration that aims to inoculate you against the perils of the endless hype, pedantry, hollow promises, and artful manipulation of "business miracle cures", such as Lean, Agile, Six Sigma, TQM, etc. It casts you in the role of an observer of a 2-day corporate training workshop and its participants' fun interactions around change and improvement initiatives. It's a book that focuses on the organizational perils of Deft caused by the cottage industries that sprout with and are reinvegorated by every new of its many iterations.

The second book of the bundle is the first book of the Lo and Behold, X! saga, a tongue-in-cheek pseudo-medieval tale of a young and impressionable scholar who stumbles upon a hallowed anthology of articles describing "X"—a fabulous set of ideas, an array of tenets, a set of methodologies, a cornucopia of tools, a strategy, nay, a veritable model of enterprise and leadership that has the potential to change the world of organizations. You will learn about the motivations of the main character, his allies and his adversaries, and observe the ups and downs of people caught within the aforementioned world.

Together, the books represent more than a decade of experience within this world of organizational design and change, process change and improvement, and fighting against the "dragons" of hype and BS in order to get great things done regardless. They provide an enormous amount of insights on the pitfalls to avoid when it comes to using methods, frameworks and the like, both on the professional and on the personal level.

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  • Categories

    • Business
    • Management
    • Humor and Satire
    • Agile
    • Digital Transformation
    • Lean
    • Lean Six Sigma
    • Enterprise Management
    • Quality Management
    • Organizational Psychology
    • Career
    • Consulting
    • Leadership

About the Books

The Incredible Story of Deft

What Nobody Told You About Business Hype (Lean, Agile, etc.)
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This book will inoculate you against the perils of the endless hype, pedantry, hollow promises, and artful manipulation of the world of "business miracle cures", such as Lean, Agile, Six Sigma, TQM, etc. -- in one word: "Deft".

This business novel is a satirical exploration of the perils of hype and relying on passionate but narrow-minded methods experts, miracle-cure frameworks, and alluring narratives of success at inspirational organizations that happen to be intriguingly different to those that you have worked for.

The Incredible Story of Deft lays bare the #1 root cause behind failed initiatives for sustainable change and lasting improvement. It will surreptitiously teach you to identify anti-patterns to avoid, while also providing you with a nuanced understanding of common pitfalls—so that you can focus on what’s important, prevent busywork, and achieve better business results in a pragmatic manner.

"Whatever it is that you want to achieve, Deft can help you achieve it faster, better and more sustainably than comparable approaches and methodologies." — Jobelina "Lina" Theemaux, Betovlax Head of Learning & Development, and trainer of the workshop in the book

Written in a conversational style between numerous fun and different characters attending a 2-day training workshop of Betovlax Corporation, this is a long but easy read that hammers home numerous points that trouble businesspeople who want to improve how their business operates for the better, but find themselves stuck after relying on the latest framework-du-jour, regardless of the industry, the business, or its products.

"The very use of the word 'buy' in 'buy-in' implies a transactional relationship. As if I need to sell you on something, in this case Deft." — Nick, SBU Marketing Manager, Betovlax Corporation

So don your cape of critical thinking and jump into the incredible story of Deft: the satirical eternal management paradigm that, for decades now, has been enabling organizations to address every kind of business challenge under the sun. Discover Deft through its interwoven tales and sympathize with or disavow the quirky figures in its cast of visionaries, such as the hero of Waseigo Corporation, the firebrand band of brothers, the maverick academic, or the data-driven engineer.

"Dude, Erin, I am at awe. Your previous company was *totally* missing the point!" — Fredrik Erksøm, Global Strategic Initiatives Manager at Betovlax Corporation, avid metalhead, and Mashers fan

Marvel, rage, scoff, laugh or cry, by observing the interactions of numerous fun and very different characters attending a 2-day training workshop that progressively uncovers the perils of relying passionately on alluring narratives of success and miracle cures for all that ails a business. Finally, find out the Deft faction you and your colleagues belong to, and ponder its implications for your work.

"It's almost as if it's the 'default mode' for a company. Explore, innovate, grow, exploit, grow, exploit, grow more, lose your edge, stop exploring, stop innovating, stagnate, lose market share." — Mike Paparovicz, Global Strategic Initiatives Manager at Betovlax Corporation, proud owner of a Waseigo W5-GT roadster

Isaak Tsalicoglou deftly weaves a satirical, tongue-in-cheek, hyperrealistic, and entirely fictitious narrative that has been lauded online as “amusing, erudite satire” that “would be flat-out funny if not so true,” while it has had others inquire about more information on how to “do Deft.”     

J. Scott Perry
Tristan Brice Velloza Kildaire

2 reader testimonials

Lo and Behold, X! — Denizens of the Ivory Fortress

Book 1 of a Business Fable of Change and Intrigue
  • 120


  • 100%


  • PDF

  • EPUB

  • WEB

A young and impressionable scholar stumbles upon a hallowed anthology of articles describing "X"—a fabulous set of ideas, an array of tenets, a set of methodologies, a cornucopia of tools, a strategy, nay, a veritable model of enterprise and leadership that has the potential to change the world of organizations.

From deep within the bowels of the capital of a prestigious kingdom of enterprise, Nathaniel Lee Abel, aka "Nate," embarks into an ambitious crusade of vocal persuasion and hands-on impact. The journey of Nate and his team of X acolytes is strewn with great ideas and occassional missteps, unfolding in bursts of progress and in the face of mounting setbacks, as Nate relies on the mischievous, good-natured guidance of the wise Master Robert Daniel McBarkle the Fourth (aka "Bob") and the wavering aegis of the cunning Lord Baron Richard von Kopf. These towering figures of the kingdom's past and present wage a battle over the kingdom's future through Nate, and under the watchful eye of King Augustus Giles.

Will Nate manage to transform the kingdom with X? And what will he learn in the process, about X, the nature of kingdoms, the follies of enterprise, and himself?


While reading this novel, you might sympathize with Nate and his team, or even with Damon; you might wish you had a Bob or two in your life; you might recoil at the idea of working under the aegis of a Richard von Kopf; you might have had the pleasure of working at a place led by an Augustus Giles. Any, some, or all of those characters, their thoughts and words, the situations they find themselves in, and the opinions or views they express, might ring a bell.

Alas, it will have merely been a coincidence. While this novel represents an tongue-in-cheek exploration of the periodic waxing and waning of fads within organizations and across entire industries, sometimes even across the entire business world, and the political ramifications encountered by well-meaning professionals who want to bring any given "X" into their organization, it remains entirely fictional.

In fact, this book is heavily inspired by the torrent of nonsense spread on LinkedIn, such as the breathless hype about any given X, the countless "X is dead" posts, the "my X is better than your X" comments, the "this is not true X, true X is what Waseigo does", etc.

Still, for the maximum enjoyment and learning impact, an imaginative extrapolation of the story onto your own work experiences, should, ideally, be attempted.

Kostas Kefalakis

1 reader testimonial

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