Just like the title says, it actually is a little black book, which Thomsett says is designed "to help you take charge of and manage a project." Each chapter begins with a relevant quote, and a brief story written as a verbal exchange between managers, presumably to prepare us for the chapter content. At the end of each chapter is a "work project," which is really a short set of questions on the key concepts in the chapter. It reminded me of my old high school texts. Being a bit slow, I read three chapters before I realized the answers were in the back of the book. From that point, since this isn't high school, I changed my procedure and read the work questions at the end of the chapter first, the answers in the back of the book second, and the corresponding chapter last.
Throughout the book, Thomsett reminds us that managing a project is different than managing a department. He details some of the differences and explains specifically how this translates to the way we should manage our projects.
One of the book's strong points is the attention given to the issue of labor expense. Thomsett includes graphs and charts that are easy to understand and help us quickly understand the concepts presented.
He discusses the control forms you might expect—Gantt Charts, pert, cpm, Network Diagrams and flow charts. He also includes a number of Web resources, some of which I visited and found to be quite helpful. And the section on communication is particularly good.
The thought crossed my mind that so much of this is just plain common sense (define standards of performance, communicate with the team, schedule team meetings at critical junctures, etc.). But having seen many projects go awry, I guess a little black book of common sense is a good thing after all.