Charles Handy
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Charles Handy was for many years a professor at the London Business School. He is now an independent writer and broadcaster. He describes himself these days as a social philosopher. Handy was born in Kildare, Ireland, in 1932, the son of an Archdeacon, and was educated in England and the US. He graduated from Oriel College, Oxford, with first-class honors in “Greats”, an intellectual study of classics, history, and philosophy.

After college, Handy worked for Shell International as a marketing executive, economist, and management educator, in South-East Asia and London before entering the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 1967 he returned to England to design and manage the only Sloan Program outside the US, at Britain’s first Graduate Business School in London.

In 1972 Handy became a full Professor at the school, specializing in managerial psychology. From 1977 to 1981, Handy served as Warden of St George’s House in Windsor Castle, a private conference and study centre concerned with ethics and values in society. He was Chairman of the Royal Society of Arts in London from 1987 to 1989. He holds honorary Doctorates or Fellowships from 13 UK Universities and a recent one from Trinity College, Dublin, and was appointed CBE in 2000. He is known to many in Britain for his “Thoughts for the Day” broadcasts on the BBC’s Radio Today program.

Handy’s main concern is the implication for society, and for individuals, of the dramatic changes that technology, demography, and economics are bringing to the workplace and to all our lives. His books on these themes, which he started writing in 1975, have sold well over a million copies around the world in all the principal languages.

A list of his books and articles includes The Empty Raincoat (The Age of Paradox in the US), a sequel to his earlier best-selling The Age of Unreason, which first explored these changes and was named by both Fortune and Business Week as one of the 10 best business books of the year. The popular Gods of Management (Business Books 1992) followed the standard textbook Understanding Organizations (Penguin 4th. Edn.1993). His article for the Harvard Business Review, "Balancing Corporate Power: A New Federalist Paper", won the McKinsey Award for 1992, and his next article for the Review, "Trust and the Virtual Organization", won the second McKinsey Award in 1995. The Empty Raincoat (Age of Paradox in the US) was awarded the JSK Accord Prize for the Best Business Book of the Year in 1994. Beyond Certainty, a collection of his articles and essays, was published in 1995 (1996 in the US), as was Waiting for the Mountain to Move, a collection of his radio “Thoughts” over 10 years. The Hungry Spirit was published in UK in September 1997 and in the US in January 1998. In it he surfaces his doubts about some of the consequences of free market capitalism and questions whether material success can ever provide the true meaning of life.

In 1999 he and his wife, Elizabeth Handy, his business partner as well as a portrait photographer, combined to produce The New Alchemists - a photographic and literary portrait of Londoners who have "created something out of nothing". In 2002 he and his wife collaborated again to produce Reinvented Lives: Women at Sixty, A Celebration. This book is a collection of photographic portraits of 28 women who each described in their own words how they have developed their lives in their 60s – models for a new generation of women. His book The Elephant and the Flea is a very personal reflection on our changing society and ways of working and was published in September 2001. His memoirs of his life Myself and Other More Important Matters was published in May 2006. Handy used episodes of his life as a basis of reflections on our changing society. His latest book, The New Philanthropists, profiles 22 people who have used their professional and entrepreneurial skills as well as their money to found new charitable projects. This is a joint book with photographs by his wife Elizabeth.

Handy and his wife Elizabeth have two grown children and live in London and Norfolk in England. They have what Handy has termed a “portfolio life”, balancing their skills and their time to make the most of their independent careers.


flag Management Education ­ a personal view by Charles Handy
as author at  16th CEEMAN Annual Conference “Management Education for the Realities of Emerging Markets”, Tirana 2008,