This is a new kind of book on public management. Using conversations, cases and original sources, it engages, in a challenging and amusing way, with the key themes and problems of the field. After writing many conventional books and articles, Christopher Pollitt has turned to this novel approach in order to offer students, teachers and practitioners alike a refreshing introduction to both the 'classic' and the most fashionable issues in public management. The book provides a vigorous overview of such crucial topics as the differences and similarities between public and private sector management, the nature of the 'New Public Management', the development of networks and partnerships, the impacts of politics and citizen participation on public administration, changes in the ethics and value climate for public servants, and the fundamental question of what kind of advice academics can (and cannot) offer to practising managers. It is international in its scope and draws upon examples and sources from Europe, North America and Australasia. Although the style is lively and informal, the text is built upon a very wide range of academic writing and research. For those who wish to go deeper at any point, each chapter offers a summary of the literature and guidance on further sources. "The Essential Public Manager" offers readers a stimulating journey through the challenges facing those who run the basic systems and services in our societies. It constitutes a valuable new source for students, teachers and practising managers alike.