Book Review: ‘Maverick’ by Ricardo Semler – Unusual Workplace Success

Maverick: About the Book

Maverick is a book that challenges the way traditional organisations are built. It’s a biography written by the CEO and majority owner of Semco Partners, Ricardo Semler.

The book is about the Brazilian company Semco.  Semco went from being a regular industrial company with typical factories and strict rules to becoming a workplace with very few rules at all. Under Semler’s direction, it implemented a strategy of extreme transparency. Secrecy was minimised, and the employees were even able, to a large extent, set their own salaries.

The book takes place between 1980 and 1993. It is, however, way ahead of its time. Lots of the ideas sound more like they come from a top modern Silicon Valley startup than from a 90’s factory in South America.


The book ‘Maverick’ focuses a lot on the individual worker. What does really matter to him or her? How will they be affected by secrets? By getting information, and the possibility to influence?
It will give the reader lots of ideas of how they can implement change in their workplace, and, consequently, how it would alter once the change is implemented.

In short, it’s a log book of dramatic happenings! Such as, tearing out the old organisation chart and replacing it with something completely new with circles rather than a pyramid, as well as how it worked to throughout 90% of all papers and documents that have been stored.

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Ricardo Semler’s Maverick book challenges most things that we consider truth in today’s business world. In doing so, he has put his money where his mouth is. He has tested many drastic ideas and seen a lot of change happen.
Semler has proven that employees can take lots of responsibility and work well with it – when others would have kept them in the dark. Furthermore, he also shows that there are lots of economics in scale, but also tonnes of cost and lost opportunities that are missed out on at the expense of scale.

TED Talks Ricardo Semler

Final Thoughts

Semler’s Maverick book is a very good read for anyone interested in modern organisations. Anyone who either wants to build an organisation or be a part of changing an existing one to something better. There will be a lot of ‘aha moments’ and a lot of ‘you can’t do that!’ thoughts.

I promise it will leave you inspired and give you a new way of thinking.
For anyone inspired by the book, I can recommend checking out to follow the process of our interpretations on how to apply what we have learned from the book.

Book Cover for Maverick by Ricardo Semler

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