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January 02, 1986|ROSELLE M. LEWIS

No-Nonsense Planning by Richard S. Sloma (Free Press: $14.95).

Like the best-selling "One-Minute Manager" of a few years back, Richard S. Sloma's book is written in short, peppy chapters, advising upper-echelon business people how to get ahead and stay ahead in a competitive world. Some of the chapters have titles like "Go for the Jugular." Other titles are formidable: "Relevant Approximations Are Better Than Inconsequential Minute Measurements."

Sloma's prose style zigzags between the tough-guy colloquial and the incomprehensible. He says planning is a dynamic process, and "through its interactive course, adjustments of parameters in conformity with probability of occurrence will lead to different end results." One would need more than an MBA to understand the level of abstraction in which most of the book is written.

What's missing is the use of specific examples to buttress these high-flying theories. I longed for mention of a familiar product or company to explain why some companies fail, or as Sloma puts it: "The best-laid plans of mice and men gang aft a-gley." Why not look to Ford and its Edsel, or, a more recent example, Coca-Cola and its inability to gauge America's soda-pop preferences with new-formula Coke? Finally, I found the bottom line on the book's dust jacket. "Making plans is not what's important, making money is." Indeed!

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