Books: Fear Not the Platitude

THE PETER PRESCRIPTION

by DR. LAURENCE J. PETER

224 pages. Morrow. $5.95.

Why are so many high-ranking people incompetent? Dr. Laurence J. Peter, a professor of education at the University of California, provided an answer of admirable simplicity. In The Peter Principle, he stated and demonstrated the thesis that competent people get promoted until they reach a job they can not do, and then they stay there, victims of "the final placement syndrome." Or, as Dr. Peter formally phrased his principle, "in a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence." Bravo, Dr. Peter.

There is a sad tradition, however,...