Published: 05/12/2002, Volume112 No. 5834 Page 34 35

An A-Z of Management for Healthcare Professionals By Roy Lilley Publisher: Radcliffe Medical Press. ISBN 1857759532. 208 pages.£19.95.

Reviewer Mark Crail Managing Editor, IRS Employment Review

Does anyone (except me) remember the origins of Roy Lilley? Back in 1991, he was a typical example of the self-made Tory businessmen who chaired so many of the first-wave trusts.

He drove a second-hand Roller, was nifty with the media and took on the doctors from the safety of a learning disability trust.

And there it might have ended. But somehow Roy never quite disappeared.

Going to a conference? Roy will be on the platform - he might even bring out his guitar and sing Underneath the Arches. Television or radio?

Roy bestrides the airwaves from To d a y to Newsnight.A book? Roy can knock 'em out quicker than you can read them. And then there is the website - www. roylilley. co. uk - where Roy modestly lets us view his paintings (pictured).

'Why so much about the author?' you may wonder.

First, because it is good practice for when you read the book - like all Roy's works there is an awful lot about him in here, one way or another.

Roy, you see, is a character and he likes people to know it.

And second, because, despite running to 196 pages, this is a book with very little to say, and in particular, very little to say to 'healthcare professionals'.

With a different cover, it could just as well be for architects or engineers. Therefore, there is precious little of substance to say about it.

As the author concedes, this is not even the A-Z of management; it is just an A-Z, and 'the 26 words that take us through this alphabet of management are my choice, highly subjective, personal to me and idiosyncratic!'

And what of the 26 letters? 'A' is for assertive; 'B' is for brag;

and 'C' for confidence. All the way to zzzzzzzzzz.

On each we get a few hundred words: a quick tutorial on how to construct a CV(That is 'B' for brag); 10 steps to becoming a 'face-to-face manager'; a brief page admonishing readers to spend time with their families.

The overall effect is so random that it is possible Roy started with a précis of his next 26 handbooks and accidentally sent it off to be published.

Finally, there are the quotations. These have nothing to do with the subject matter of the chapters on either side, but they do take up space - a whole page each time for, at most, two lines of text.

These may well have been modelled on those desktop calendars that offer a smug little homily for every day of the year, until you finally get so annoyed you bin it. I would give this one until about 12 January.