Friday, November 11, 2011

The Art Of Non-Conformity: Set Your Own Rules, Live The Life You Want, And Change The World By Chris Guillebeau

The Art of Non-Conformity: Set Your Own Rules, Live the Life You Want, and Change the World

The Art of Non-Conformity: Set Your Own Rules, Live the Life You Want, and Change the World
By Chris Guillebeau

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If you've ever thought, "There must be more to life than this," The Art of Non-Conformity is for you.

Based on Chris Guillebeau's popular online manifesto "A Brief Guide to World Domination," The Art of Non-Conformity defies common assumptions about life and work while arming you with the tools to live differently. You'll discover how to live on your own terms by exploring creative self-employment, radical goal-setting, contrarian travel, and embracing life as a constant adventure.

Inspired and guided by Chris's own story and those of others who have pursued unconventional lives, you can devise your own plan for world domination-and make the world a better place at the same time.

Product Details
  • Amazon Sales Rank: #6171 in Books
  • Published on: 2010-09-07
  • Original language: English
  • Number of items: 1
  • Dimensions: .70" h x 5.52" w x 7.44" l, .44 pounds
  • Binding: Paperback
  • 256 pages


  • ISBN13: 9780399536106
  • Condition: New
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly
The underlying message of Guillebeau's book, based on his popular blog, is that "You don't have to live your life the way other people expect you to." Those who are open-minded, ready to challenge the status-quo, hard-working, and personally responsible can lead lives of rare authenticity through radical goal-setting, the author counsels, rewriting motivational standards in edgier prose: "The pathway to world domination, or whatever it is you want to do, begins with clearly understanding what you want to get out of life." Although directed at readers of all ages, his message is likely to appeal most to those without dependents. Although he believes that "competence is your security," many readers may feel a need for more of a safety net than that, such as a retirement plan. The ideas presented here are interesting, the advice grounded in logic and common sense, and, ironically, the outlook based in the same outside-the-box thinking that corporations are coming to adopt. The author challenges the status quo on college degrees, spending and saving, employment, collecting, and other issues, and coaches for success with a likeable, energetic voice. Peppered throughout with stories from his own life, Guillebeau's intriguing guide will motivate readers to listen to their impulses and realize their goals. (Sept.) (c)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

"Chris Guillebeau is the Indiana Jones of career experts. With his signature insight and humor, he tackles a critical question: How do we forge the life of our dreams in the face of overwhelming pressure to conform and avoid risks? In The Art of Non-Conformity, Chris adds a fresh perspective, drawn from his non-conforming adventures, to the lively debate. Those who follow Chris's wildly popular blog will welcome these ideas in the more comprehensive book form—or give it as a gift to people who need it."
-Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project

"This is a direct, honest and truly scary book. I hope you have the guts to listen to what Chris has to say, and not become one of the monkeys he warns you about."
-Seth Godin, author of Linchpin

"The Art of Non-Conformity is like a lightning bolt to the head. Read it and your brain will spark and sizzle."
- Neil Pasricha, author of The Book of Awesome

"The conventional world order has blown up, much to the relief of students, cubicle dwellers, artists and activists who knew there was a better way. This brilliant book will wake you up and inspire you as it guides you to create a new life on your own terms, earn a great living and positively impact your corner of the world."
-Pamela Slim, author of Escape from Cubicle Nation

"Some people are content to report on others' success. Not Chris. He lives and breathes what others dare to dream, pushes the envelope of possibility, then shares his experiences, lessons, tools, ideas and strategies in a way that makes it all seem not just doable...but imperative. Go! Read this book now!"
- Jonathan Fields, author of Career Renegade

"Chris Guillebeau's delightfully rebellious book, The Art of Non- Conformity, teaches us how to live with gusto, on our own terms, and bring excitement into our lives. His encouraging and witty tone will inspire even the least courageous person to make bold steps. I love this book!"
-Barbara Sher, author of I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was

"Here's the way to find your own path, set your own rules and find your own purpose-and all with courage and grace, resilience and style."
-Michael Bungay Stanier, author of Do More Great Work

"Chris Guillebeau is an inspiration. Many people talk about living their dreams, and here's a young person who has actually done it- traveling around the world, giving back to the community, and getting paid to work on his own terms. The Art of Non-Conformity tackles the toughest problems associated with following your passion, and Chris supports the provided viewpoints with eye-opening statistics and anecdotes. He derives valuable life lessons from all of his experiences, and we have been privileged to go along for the ride."
-Alexandra Levit, author of New Job, New You

"Do not be surprised if you start noticing the guy next to you in the coffee shop or the woman seated across the aisle on your plane intently reading a battered copy of The Art of Non-Conformity. It's not just a book, after all, it's a beloved companion for those who know that life is an adventure worth exploring."
-Barbara J. Winter, author of Making a Living Without a Job

About the Author
Chris Guillebeau writes for an army of remarkable people at He is also a regular contributor to, Business Week, Huffington Post, and other outlets.

Customer Reviews

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332 of 372 people found the following review helpful.
5The Art of Non-Conformity: Set Your Own Rules, Live the Life You Want, and Change the World
By Pattie Thomas, Ph.D.
I should start with a disclosure. I have a PhD in Sociology and I teach at a community college. These two facts color my reading of Chris Guillebeau's The Art of Non-Conformity: Set Your Own Rules, Live the Life You Want, and Change the World in a way that other readers might not share.

I spend my days reading about and studying the gatekeepers and vampires that Guillebeau discusses and I am aware of even more devious and negative forces than he identifies. As a sociologist, however, one of the things that pleases me most about the book is the acknowledgment that other people exist. Far too many books in this genre forget the context in which one has to live an unconventional life. Guillebeau does not. He not only understands the need for dealing with those who would pressure a person to conform, but the need for a social structure to succeed (a "Small Army" he calls it) and the understanding of how one's actions affect the lives of others ("world domination"). We do not live our lives in a vacuum and Guillebeau's approach meets this context head on.

The thing that saddens me most about the book is that Guillebeau is not really that unconventional. Much of his advice and approach can be found in basic common sense and old fashioned understandings of how human beings should value their life, their time and other people. Most of what I read in this book I've heard before in other places. (Of course, I've lead a fairly unconventional life up to now and I share an influence in Barbara Sher, most notably her classic book, Wishcraft).

This saddens me because in our society this has become radical. It is radical now for a young person to ask themselves questions about their values, their talents, their desires, their legacy. It is radical to live apart from a centralized social and economic structure that is designed to encourage conformity and consumption. It is radical to question and create. It is radical to explore and discover.

Guillebeau is correct. It is radical and it will be met with resistance.

At community college I meet adult students of all ages who often are in school as an effort to change their lives. Unlike university settings, many of these students have already experienced some of their life and have already experienced disappointments. They have children. They have jobs. They struggle.

And as a sociology professor I have more bad news. I have to tell them that it is not the truth that education and a degree are magic entry into the middle class. I have to tell them that they are competing with other workers who have head starts on them because of social class structures and that the data connecting "a good education" with "a good paying job" is spurious because young people from middle and upper-middle class families with economic and social connections already in place get educations and degrees too, and then rely upon their parent's business connections to find the good paying job. In other words, the conventional life that Guillebeau so eloquently describes is often an illusion, available only to the few and the game is rigged in favor of that few.

But I remind them that there is good news in sociology as well. The good news is that the world in which we live is of our own making collectively. Most of what we perceive to be set in stone is merely the sum total of decisions made by individuals who are accepting scripts about life that can be questioned. In the questioning there is power. There is power to resist, power to drop out, power to change, power to be something different. The answers do lie in the unconventional and the nonconformity.

This book will not make you rich in the conventional sense. It is not a "10-easy steps" to life satisfaction. It is an honest account of a life well lived with some excellent pointers on how to get started living such a life. But in the end we must all live our lives as we choose within the context of everyone else living their lives as they choose.

So I am grateful for this book as a teacher and as a fellow traveler. It is a primer that I think anyone who is considering the question "What do I do?" should read. It is a book that I will be recommending a lot, as I have Guillebeau's website since finding it last year. It is a book that has helped me in making some decisions about my own path. It is a book that is needed in this time and this place.

--Pattie Thomas, Ph.D.

122 of 134 people found the following review helpful.
5"Don't waste your time"
By Etsuko Tsukagoshi
The previous reviewers have done great job summarizing the contents, and I'd simply like to add that one of the key messages of this book is "Don't waste your precious time for doing something you don't love or enjoy". He values his time - "4,440 minutes to fill with things you like to do every week" (from Chapter 9: Radical Exclusion and the Quest for Abundance"). Naturally, he doesn't want to waste your time either, if this book is not for you. On page 7, he has a list of characteristics he wants his readers to have, which I recite here:

1.You Must Be Open to New Ideas
2.You Must Be Dissatisfied with Status Quo
3.You Must Be Willing to Take Personal Responsibility
4.You Must Be Willing to Work Hard

If you read these four points and think "I am not that person", then this book probably isn't for you. For the rest of us, it's a must read. I am a mother of two young children, have my own business and plan to relocate the entire family within a year so our kids can have the experience of growing up in a culture so different from the United States. I encounter lots of questions or sometimes objections when I tell others about my goal, such as "What about your husband's job?" "Why would you leave this (wonderful/comfortable) life here in the U.S.?" "Isn't it risky?" "Aren't you worried?" At times I do think that I might be "crazy" for wanting this, but reading his book gave me a renewed sense of commitment towards my goal. Lastly, it's an enjoyable read as his writing style is very personal, yet direct. He doesn't sugar-code the truth but he also backs up the truth with his own experience and examples. If you have read this review this far, I highly recommend you give it a try.

230 of 263 people found the following review helpful.
By G. Hoffman
I have a hard time believing I read the same book as the rest of the reviewers.

The first problem I have with this book is that it's not three books. I suspect that if the book were split into three, the result would be much better. An autobiography of the author could be interesting. A book on how to travel well and on the cheap would be useful. A book on the art and virtue of non-conformity could be good. Instead, we get one book that fails at all three.

To me, the author came off as self-congratulatory if not condescending, and offered very little that is new or even interesting. The assumption is that if you're not living the way he is, you're doing something wrong. His chapter on building your "small army" could just have easily been titled "how to put people in categories so you can mooch off of them."

I'm a huge fan of bucking trends and approaching life with a non-conformist view. All assumptions should be challenged. All authority should be questioned. There are many paths to many different goals. However, that's not what this book is about, and there is very little here for someone that doesn't want to make money by taking advantage of a "small army".

The author advocates life-long learning (yay!) but thinks universities are pointless. (boo!) His main argument seems to be that since he was able to pass tests without learning anything, then the system is useless. Really? While it's true that the formal education system isn't for everyone, there are many thousands of people that have managed to take full advantage of the opportunities it presents. College isn't for everyone, and you have to try to use the system, not get around it, if you want to get anything out of it.

There are many paths through life, and many ways to embrace non-conformity. The dreaded cubicle life can be one of soul-sucking boredom, or you can make a lot of friends, litter the office with desktop nerf dart cannons, all while working towards a common goal. Many paths to the same goal.

The worst part is the that book starts off so promising. The first couple of chapters are a brilliantly motivational introduction. Too bad the book never gets around to delivering.



The Orange Revolution: How One Great Team Can Transform An Entire Organization By Adrian Gostick, Chester Elton

The Orange Revolution: How One Great Team Can Transform an Entire Organization

The Orange Revolution: How One Great Team Can Transform an Entire Organization
By Adrian Gostick, Chester Elton

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From New York Times bestselling authors and renowned leadership consultants Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton comes a groundbreaking guide to building high-performance teams. What is the true driver of a thriving organization's exceptional success? Is it a genius leader? An iron-clad business plan? Gostick and Elton shatter these preconceptions of corporate achievement. Their research shows that breakthrough success is guided by a particular breed of high-performing team that generates its own momentum—an engaged group of colleagues in the trenches, working passionately together to pursue a shared vision. Their research also shows that only 20 percent of teams are working anywhere near this optimal capacity. How can your team become one of them?Based on a groundbreaking 350,000-person study by the Best Companies Group, as well as extraordinary research into exceptional teams at leading companies, including, Pepsi Beverages Company, and Madison Square Garden, the authors have determined a key set of characteristics displayed by members of breakthrough teams, and have identified a set of rules great teams live by, which generate a culture of positive teamwork and lead to extraordinary results. Using a wealth of specific stories from the breakthrough teams they studied, they reveal in detail how these teams operate and how managers can transform their own teams into such high performers by fostering:Stronger clarity of goalsGreater trust among team membersMore open and honest dialogueStronger accountability for all team membersPurpose-based recognition of team members' contributions

The remarkable stories they tell about these teams in action provide a simple and powerful step-by-step guide to taking your team to the breakthrough level, igniting the passion and vision to bring about an Orange Revolution.

Product Details
  • Amazon Sales Rank: #42894 in Books
  • Published on: 2010-09-21
  • Released on: 2010-09-21
  • Format: Bargain Price
  • Number of items: 1
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • 288 pages
Editorial Reviews

From Booklist
*Starred Review* Why doesn't every corporate leader actively listen to employees and to veteran consultants like Gostick and Elton (authors of the Carrot Principle books)? Though the answer to that question isn't the subject of this book, adopting the how-to's for realizing dreams could indeed provide the solution to staid, stagnant, and unrewarding work in America. As with most human resources type of business books, the authors present ideas in a many-stepped process, with principles to follow, often too many to remember. Yet if readers and executives just stick to their rule of three (wow, no surprises, and cheer), the rewards of an engaged workforce will probably ensue. Examples of great teams, believe it or not, proliferate here; in addition to the well-known cultures of a Zappos, for instance, there are also stories from Medical City Dallas Hospital, Pepsi Bottling Group, the Blue Angels, and Nash Finch, all about the power of teams to transform. And lest you think that the authors simply collected anecdotes, their philosophy is based on valid and overwhelming statistics, thanks to the Best Places to Work database (350,000 employees from 28 industries): 63 percent of workers surveyed found productivity to be positively affected when coworkers are friends outside of work (to cite just one finding). Take a letter to the C-suite: it's all about work that matters. --Barbara Jacobs

"This book can change your business as it teaches you how you can create great teams to WOW your customers, employees and vendors."

—Tony Hsieh, CEO, Zappos, and Author of Delivering Happiness

"Truly groundbreaking. Gostick and Elton take us to new heights in cultivating great teams. This book will bring you world-class results!"

—Marshall Goldsmith, Executive Coach and Author of MOJO and What Got You Here Won't Get You There

"From the first story to the last, The Orange Revolution captivated me. Chock full of solid research, inspiring stories and practical tips on how to turn your group into a breakthrough team. Their 100 ways to bring your team together is alone worth the price of the book.

—Jim Kouzes, coauthor, The Leadership Challenge and The Truth about Leadership.

"This book captures the true essence of leadership and how leaders develop teams that make a difference and truly work."

—GJ Hart, President & CEO, Texas Roadhouse, Inc.

"The book is a blueprint for revolutionary team performance. It is a neo-classic."

—Dave Ulrich, Professor, Ross School of Business, University of Michigan and Partner, The RBL Group

"A rare and extraordinary business book, The Orange Revolution contains everything you need to cultivate a breakthrough team."

—Matt Davis, CEO, Pets at Home (UK's largest pet store chain)

"The Orange Revolution should be required reading for all people leaders wishing to unleash the power of their workforce and create an ongoing fountain of high performance."

—David Kasiarz, Senior VP of Global Compensation and Benefits, American Express

About the Author
Adrian Gostick is the former leader of O. C. Tanner Company's recognition training and publishing practice. He continues to work as a speaker for the program as well as the business. His books The 24-Carrot Manager and A Carrot A Day are sold in more than fifty countries around the world. Learn more at

Chester Elton is coauthor of the bestselling Carrot books, a popular lecturer on motivation, and an influential voice in global workplace trends. He was previously O.C. Tanner's lead recognition consultant and researcher and works with numerous Fortune 100 clients. Subscribe to his weekly podcasts at

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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful.
5How to leverage the power of teamwork to achieve breakthroughs to greatness
By Robert Morris

Those who have read any of Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton's previous collaborations, notably Managing with Carrots: Using Recognition to Attract and Retain the Best People (2001) and The Carrot Principle: How Great Managers Use Employee Recognition (2007), already know that they have exceptional reasoning and writing skills, their observations and recommendations are research/evidence-driven, and they are world-class pragmatists, determined to know what works in the business world, what doesn't, and why so that they can share what they have learned with as many people as possible.

In The Orange Revolution, they share the results of a 350, 000 person survey (involving participants from 28 different industries) to identify the characteristics of the most effective teams. By now, we know a great deal about great non-athletic teams such the Disney animators who created so many film classics (e.g. Snow White, Pinocchio, Bambi, and Dumbo), the Manhattan Project, Lockheed's "Skunk Works," and Xerox's Palo Alto Research Center (PARC). In fact, some of the most important business books written in recent years have focused on teamwork and they include several written by these authors: Chip and Dan Heath (Switch), Jon Katzenbach (The Wisdom of Teams and Managing Outside the Lines), John Kotter (A Sense of Urgency and Buy-In), Patrick Lencioni (The Five Dysfunctions of a Team), and James O'Toole (Leading Change). All are worthy of careful consideration as primary sources for teams involved in change initiatives.

So, why another book on change? No other book of which I am aware, on the subject of breakthrough teams, is driven by research/evidence to the extent this one is. Nor is there a book of which I am aware that explains more thoroughly than this one does what motivates members of breakthrough teams. In The Orange Revolution, Gostick and Elton limit their attention to such teams. (You know when I think about it, ALL teams should achieve breakthroughs to ensure that their organization remains competitive.) They base their observations, insights, and recommendations on the results of the aforementioned survey. "What we found was unexpected - and eye-opening. We were able to statistically establish a pattern of characteristics displayed by members of the best teams, as well as a set of rules that great teams live by. Even more rewarding was the realization that these qualities could be shared with other teams." The business subjects and themes that Gostick and Elton rigorously examine include these:

o Commitments all breakthrough team members share
o The transformational common causes these teams establish
o The four top obstacles related to neglect of leadership basics
o The "Basic 4+ Recognition" formula to achieve enhanced business results

Note: This formula is based on a ten-year study on which The Carrot Principle is based.

o The five areas most likely to indicate positive and productive employee engagement
o How breakthrough team members communicate effectively
o Six "secret" ingredients to achieving world-class results
o Common consequences when violating the "No Surprises" rule
o "Tips on how to ensure an effective recognition program
o Seventeen of the most common teamwork challenges and how to respond to each
o How to establish and then sustain a breakthrough teamwork culture
o How to recruit, hire, train, and retain high-potential workers
o How to develop effective breakthrough leadership at all levels and in all areas

This list is incomplete but, I hope, gives some idea of the nature and extent of the business subjects and themes on which Gostick and Elton focus. They cite hundreds of real-world situations, many of which feature exemplary organizations that are consistently ranked among the best to work for, the most highly admired, etc. It is no coincidence that they are also among the most profitable with the greatest cap value within their respective industries. For example, American Express, Best Companies Group, Friendly Ice Cream Corporation, Medical City Dallas Hospital, Nash Finch Company, NBA, Royal Australian Navy, and Zappos.

I highly recommend this book to leaders in organizations in which there is an urgent need for what can be accomplished by breakthrough teamwork. The wider, higher, further, and deeper that teamwork extends, the greater the number and impact of the breakthroughs that result from results-driven, highly-motivated collaborators who, in Teresa Amabile's widely-quoted words, "do what they love and love what they do."

In my opinion, this is the best book that Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton have written...thus far. They invite those who read this book to visit to obtain several free resources: "The Orange White Paper: Teamwork and Your Bottom Line," "Weekly Esprit de Corps: Fresh Cheering Ideas in Your Inbox," "Film #1: WOW," "Film #2: No Surprises," and "Film #3: Cheer."

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful.
4Orange Refreshment
By Nick McCormick
Carrying forth the successful theme created in their best seller, "The Carrot Principle," the co-authors set out to identify the characteristics and rules that govern great teams. They gathered data from over 350,000 surveys and captured their findings in what they call the "Orange Revolution Model." As expected, there is a healthy dose of recognition mixed in, but there is also much more. You'll learn about the importance of purpose or common cause, the foundational characteristics of great teams encapsulated in "The Basic 4," and how to weave in "The Rule of 3." The authors also apply the same principles as a guide for living our lives.

It's a refreshing, easy, and entertaining read with a lot of good pointers and helpful examples. One important take-away is that the characteristics of great teams are not flashy. They are incredibly fundamental. Too many managers try to leap frog the fundamentals in search of breakthroughs when it's the fundamentals that are required if one has any hope of achieving the coveted breakthrough.

--Nick McCormick, Author, "Acting Up Brings Everyone Down" and "Lead Well and Prosper"

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful.
5Execute better
By Norman Lacasse
As mentionned in " The Orange Revolution ", " The way to win in a sea of sameness is to execute better ". This book will help you do it. In many areas. I realy appreciate when they say : " A leader's greatest success comes by lifting someone else into the spotlight ". One of the greatest key to Success.

Norman Lacasse
Master Of Service



Against All Odds: My Life of Hardship, Fast Breaks, and Second Chances By Scott Brown

Against All Odds: My Life of Hardship, Fast Breaks, and Second Chances

Against All Odds: My Life of Hardship, Fast Breaks, and Second Chances
By Scott Brown

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The extraordinary personal journey of a man who, against all odds, rose to become one of America's most surprising and promising new political figures

Scott Brown's greatest win did not occur on a cold January election night in 2010 when he came from behind to capture the U.S. Senate seat held by Ted Kennedy for nearly fifty years. It began when he survived a savage beating at the drunken, dirty-fingernail hands of a stepfather when he was barely six years old, while trying to protect his mother.

In this gripping memoir of resilience and redemption, Brown tells the story of his difficult, often nomadic childhood, shunted from house to apartment, and town to town, seventeen times over his first eighteen years. He somehow thrived despite a largely absent father, who married four separate times. So did his mother, in relationships frequently stained with alcohol, anger, and even violence. For nearly two decades' growing up, Brown endured innumerable hardships and challenges, even stealing food to eat. He was periodically sent off to live with relatives, his possessions wrapped in a few old blankets. Saved by basketball, he was the boy who shoveled snow from the public courts to shoot hoops alone in the frozen cold.

With clear-eyed conviction and unflinching can-dor, Brown tells the story of his own bad-boy days, of the coaches who mentored him, and of how he found a way out of familial chaos through the swish of a ball in the net, winning a starting slot on the Tufts varsity basketball team as a freshman player and becoming the tenth-highest scorer to graduate in the school's history. His rise from there was even more improbable: a first-year law student and member of the Massachusetts National Guard, he was picked as Cosmopolitan magazine's "America's Sexiest Man" and was vaulted into the glamorous world of New York modeling at the height of the 1980s. But the man who was once ushered into the backrooms of Studio 54 returned to Massachusetts to continue with his military and legal training, settle down, raise a family, and soon found an unlikely path that would lead him to national political stardom. Here, too, are the secrets from the unprecedented Senate race that captured the country's imagination and how Scott Brown won his remarkable victory.

Poignant, heartfelt, humorous, and profound, this is the story of one man's dream and his determination to fight for a better future.

Product Details
  • Amazon Sales Rank: #336633 in Books
  • Published on: 2011-02-21
  • Released on: 2011-02-21
  • Format: Bargain Price
  • Number of items: 1
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • 336 pages
Editorial Reviews

"Powerful stuff. . . .This isn't your typical memoir. It is brutally honest, difficult to read, and important." (The Tucson Citizen )

"A[n] engaging autobiography. . . . A rags-to-riches narrative that sometimes recalls Horatio Alger. . . . Lyricism and occasional symbolic richness emerge in these pages." (The New York Review of Books )

"Dramatic. . . . Poignant. . . . Scott Brown's life could have veered horribly wrong so many times, as he amply demonstrates in his disquieting memoir. . . . A reader will get an everything's-finally-right-with-the-world thrill from his success in life. (The Washington Post )

"A fresh, compelling memoir of a childhood that could have led to a miserable life, but didn't. . . .Brown's straightforward narrative makes for a good read." (Louisville Courier Journal )

About the Author

U.S. Senator Scott Brown was elected by the people of Massachusetts on January 19, 2010, to fill the term of the late senator Ted Kennedy. He lives in Wrentham, Massachusetts, with his wife, Gail, and their two daughters, Ayla and Arianna.

Customer Reviews

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38 of 45 people found the following review helpful.
5Amazing book -- could not put it down
By DC Mom
I stayed up to 2 a.m. to finish this remarkable, heart-wrenching, and ultimately inspiring and uplifting book. My eyes teared up reading the story of Scott Brown as a six year old boy being beaten by his drunken father on the day that Scott's own half-sister was being born. Scott's "crime"? He had been told to wake up his stepdad so that he could go to the hospital. He was a boy who was shunted from home to home, traveling with his few meager possessions wrapped in a blanket. He was picked on and prayed upon. His clothes were too small, and he was desperately hungry. His mother worked multiple jobs, but never kept enough food in the fridge. He could have easily been a sullen bad-boy, but instead after a teacher, a coach, and a judge took a chance on him, he took it upon himself to turn his life around. And he never stopped. The last of his mother's husbands was a horribly abusive man, who terrorized the house and night after night threatened to break Scott's hands -- which would have rendered him unable to play basketball. But Scott answered every call to protect her and his sister, no matter what the risk to himself. Even when he reaches adulthood, the book never flags. He captures the world of New York in the early 80s and you feel like you are with him in the field or on night parachute jumps after he joins the military. When he builds a successful life for himself as an adult, it is a wonderful triumph and although I find most political campaign descriptions boring, I was on the edge of my seat for this one, because it was so improbable at every turn. This book really has something for everyone, a powerful and difficult boyhood, the magic of sports, the thrill of the chase in politics, and the pleasure of watching him win in life. I saw a couple of the TV interviews, and I don't think they begin to do justice to just how great and special this book is. Read it -- you'll come away with a renewed faith in the power of the human spirit.

14 of 16 people found the following review helpful.
5"My Life Is Like A Spiderweb..."
By James R. Holland
A reader has to admire someone who describes his life as being like a spiderweb. He obviously isn't suffering from any kind of Messianic complex. The secret of the young Senator from Massachusetts's success is that he can relate to everyone and he isn't afraid to say "thank you" and share credit for his accomplishments. He reminds many voters of Ronald Reagan in that regard. The 40th President didn't care who got the credit just as long as the work got done.

As far as the spiderweb comparison goes, Brown means each piece of web is an integral part of the overall construction. "The final creation is an intricate combination of perfectly positioned" links that form the whole. "Sever just one key link and the entire web succumbs to capricious winds. With one cut, the entire web is razed."
"My life is like that web. I cannot imagine any piece of its design to be any different; I would not change any part of the experiences that have been woven together to create the larger whole.... If I changed any one of these things, it would change the architecture of my life, and I would no longer be the person I am today."

In the first of 18 chapters in this 325-page memoir the author tells how at age 13 he was busted by store security for stealing popular music albums from a Liberty Tree Mall record store. He had already stolen food from super markets and a suit need to attend a school dance from a clothing store in the years prior to his arrest for record theft. Young Scott Brown seemed headed for an entirely different kind of public record.

Anyone who has heard any news coverage of this new book has probably only learned that as a kid Scott Brown was the victim of repeated sexual abuse and brutal beatings. However, while that naturally attracts the attention of the "headline hunting" media, that's only a small part of the book. This is a book of salvation and redemption. It's the story of how one young man's slide toward a life of crime was deflected back toward the main stream of society.

Brown attended Tuff's University and played basketball there, which provided him with some free clothes. "I got shorts, T-shirts, and sweats. And that was what I wore, to class, to parties...I would do almost anything for extra cash." He recalls earning $10 for a two-minute job of cleaning up some drunk's vomit. "No job was too disgusting or too small."
At the end of 1979, in the middle of his junior year, he went to the armory at "Camp Curtis Guild to officially register to join the Army National Guard." It was the beginning of his long service in the Army National Guard.

Basketball is the love that allowed him to avoid becoming a juvenile delinquent. He recalls how as a child he used to take his basketball to bed with him. He was famous in Massachusetts for being "picked as `Cosmopolitan' magazine's `America's Sexiest Man' and was vaulted into the glamorous world of New York modeling at the height of the 1980's. When he returned to Tuffs he also signed up for the ROTC program. For a while he was in both the Guard and the ROTC at the same time.
Despite the temptations of being a celebrity model at the time he avoided the downward spiral that often comes with the world of private clubbing and continued his education and military service. He also continued his modeling because it provided him the money he needed to attend Boston College Law School.
Like another Massachusetts's politician with a new memoir, Governor Deval Patrick, Senator Brown's life story is amazing. So was Patricks. This is a well written, easy to read tale of personal trial and professional triumph. As Brown states in his lengthy acknowledgements and thank you section at the conclusion of his book, "As soon as I won the election in January 2010, publishers began calling, interested in a book. I had never considered such a project, but the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to tell my story, the good and the bad. My hope in sharing my life is that it will give hope to others, that other people who are struggling will be reminded that things can get better."
Like his service as a Senator from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, this book serves a good purpose and it's nice Scott Brown took the time to see it completed.

(The reader might wish to see the four photos this reviewer uploaded to the customer images of this book listing?)

13 of 16 people found the following review helpful.
5An American Story
By R Duffy
Every so often I get a book that I can't wait to get home to finish reading it. Every couple of pages Scott Brown had another problem to deal with. With each issue, he seemed to get stronger. This autobiography proves that with hard work and the right attitude anything is possible. Light on politics and heavy on personal experiences and life lessons. This is the type of book you purchase and pass around for others to read. It does not belong on a bookshelf.


Good To Great: Why Some Companies Make The Leap...And Others Don't By Jim Collins

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap...And Others Don't

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap...And Others Don't
By Jim Collins

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The Challenge
Built to Last, the defining management study of the nineties, showed how great companies triumph over time and how long-term sustained performance can be engineered into the DNA of an enterprise from the verybeginning.

But what about the company that is not born with great DNA? How can good companies, mediocre companies, even bad companies achieve enduring greatness?

The Study
For years, this question preyed on the mind of Jim Collins. Are there companies that defy gravity and convert long-term mediocrity or worse into long-term superiority? And if so, what are the universal distinguishing characteristics that cause a company to go from good to great?

The Standards
Using tough benchmarks, Collins and his research team identified a set of elite companies that made the leap to great results and sustained those results for at least fifteen years. How great? After the leap, the good-to-great companies generated cumulative stock returns that beat the general stock market by an average of seven times in fifteen years, better than twice the results delivered by a composite index of the world's greatest companies, including Coca-Cola, Intel, General Electric, and Merck.

The Comparisons
The research team contrasted the good-to-great companies with a carefully selected set of comparison companies that failed to make the leap from good to great. What was different? Why did one set of companies become truly great performers while the other set remained only good?

Over five years, the team analyzed the histories of all twenty-eight companies in the study. After sifting through mountains of data and thousands of pages of interviews, Collins and his crew discovered the key determinants of greatness -- why some companies make the leap and others don't.

The Findings
The findings of the Good to Great study will surprise many readers and shed light on virtually every area of management strategy and practice. The findings include:

  • Level 5 Leaders: The research team was shocked to discover the type of leadership required to achieve greatness.
  • The Hedgehog Concept (Simplicity within the Three Circles): To go from good to great requires transcending the curse of competence.
  • A Culture of Discipline: When you combine a culture of discipline with an ethic of entrepreneurship, you get the magical alchemy of great results. Technology Accelerators: Good-to-great companies think differently about the role of technology.
  • The Flywheel and the Doom Loop: Those who launch radical change programs and wrenching restructurings will almost certainly fail to make the leap.

"Some of the key concepts discerned in the study," comments Jim Collins, "fly in the face of our modern business culture and will, quite frankly, upset some people."

Perhaps, but who can afford to ignore these findings?

Product Details
  • Amazon Sales Rank: #924 in eBooks
  • Published on: 2011-07-19
  • Released on: 2011-07-19
  • Format: Kindle eBook
  • Number of items: 1
Editorial Reviews Review
Five years ago, Jim Collins asked the question, "Can a good company become a great company and if so, how?" In Good to Great Collins, the author of Built to Last, concludes that it is possible, but finds there are no silver bullets. Collins and his team of researchers began their quest by sorting through a list of 1,435 companies, looking for those that made substantial improvements in their performance over time. They finally settled on 11--including Fannie Mae, Gillette, Walgreens, and Wells Fargo--and discovered common traits that challenged many of the conventional notions of corporate success. Making the transition from good to great doesn't require a high-profile CEO, the latest technology, innovative change management, or even a fine-tuned business strategy. At the heart of those rare and truly great companies was a corporate culture that rigorously found and promoted disciplined people to think and act in a disciplined manner. Peppered with dozens of stories and examples from the great and not so great, the book offers a well-reasoned road map to excellence that any organization would do well to consider. Like Built to Last, Good to Great is one of those books that managers and CEOs will be reading and rereading for years to come. --Harry C. Edwards

From Publishers Weekly
In what Collins terms a prequel to the bestseller Built to Last he wrote with Jerry Porras, this worthwhile effort explores the way good organizations can be turned into ones that produce great, sustained results. To find the keys to greatness, Collins's 21-person research team (at his management research firm) read and coded 6,000 articles, generated more than 2,000 pages of interview transcripts and created 384 megabytes of computer data in a five-year project. That Collins is able to distill the findings into a cogent, well-argued and instructive guide is a testament to his writing skills. After establishing a definition of a good-to-great transition that involves a 10-year fallow period followed by 15 years of increased profits, Collins's crew combed through every company that has made the Fortune 500 (approximately 1,400) and found 11 that met their criteria, including Walgreens, Kimberly Clark and Circuit City. At the heart of the findings about these companies' stellar successes is what Collins calls the Hedgehog Concept, a product or service that leads a company to outshine all worldwide competitors, that drives a company's economic engine and that a company is passionate about. While the companies that achieved greatness were all in different industries, each engaged in versions of Collins's strategies. While some of the overall findings are counterintuitive (e.g., the most effective leaders are humble and strong-willed rather than outgoing), many of Collins's perspectives on running a business are amazingly simple and commonsense. This is not to suggest, however, that executives at all levels wouldn't benefit from reading this book; after all, only 11 companies managed to figure out how to change their B grade to an A on their own.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist
Collins is coauthor of Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies (1994), the widely heralded book that was the result of a six-year research project conducted by Collins and Jerry Porras. They identified 18 companies that met their rigorous standard for long-term performance. They looked for companies that had outperformed the stock market by a factor of 15 starting from 1926. Then they went about the task of identifying what these companies had in common. Now Collins turns his attention to companies that have made the transition from "good to great." This time the findings are backed by five years of research and data analysis. Starting with every company that ever appeared in the Fortune 500, Collins identifies 11 companies that had 15-year cumulative stock returns at or below the general stock market when, after a transition point, they then demonstrated cumulative returns of at least three times the market over the next 15 years. Collins then looked for similarities among the companies. What he found would both surprise and fascinate anyone involved in management. David Rouse
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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549 of 617 people found the following review helpful.
4Rare Pathways to Exceptionally Increased Prosperity
By Professor Donald Mitchell
This study was stimulated by Mr. Bill Meehan's (head of McKinsey in San Francisco) observation that Built to Last wasn't very helpful to companies, because the firms studied had always been great. Most companies have been good, and never great. What should these firms do?

Jim Collins and his team have done an enormous amount of interesting work to determine whether a good company can be come a great company, and how. The answer to the former question is "yes," assuming that the 11 of 1435 Fortune 500 companies did not make it there by accident. The answer to the latter is less clear. The study group identified a number of characteristics that their 11 companies had in common, which were much less frequently present in comparison companies. However, the study inexplicably fails to look at these same characteristics to see how often they succeed in the general population of companies. If these characteristics work 100 percent of the time, you really have something. If they work 5 percent of the time, then not too much is proven.

How were the 11 study companies selected? The criteria take pages to explain in an appendix. Let me simplify by saying that their stock price growth had to be in a range from somewhat lower than to not much higher than the market averages for 15 years. Then, in the next 15 years the stocks had to soar versus the market averages and comparison companies while remaining independent. That's hard to do. The selected companies are Abbott Laboratories, Circuit City, Fannie Mae, Gillette, Kimberly-Clark, Kroger, Nucor, Philip Morris, Pitney Bowes, Walgreen, and Wells Fargo.

As to the "how," attention was focused on what happened before and during the transition from average performance to high performance. Interviews, quantitative analyses, and business press reports were studied. Clearly, there's a tendency to see things a little bit with 20-20 hindsight in such a situation. Since this study started in 1996, it was dealing with facts that were already quite old while they were being examined. Bias is likely.

The key conclusions as to "how" included the following:

(1) a series of CEOs (promoted from within) who combined "personal humility and professional will" focused on making a great company;

(2) an initial focus on eliminating weak people, adding top performing ones, and establishing a culture of top talent putting out extraordinary effort;

(3) then shifting attention to staring at and thinking unceasingly about the hardest facts about the company's situation;

(4) using facts to develop a simple concept that is iteratively reconsidered to focus action on improving performance;

(5) establishing and maintaining a corporate culture of discipline built around commitments, with freedom about how to meet those promises;

(6) using technology to accelerate progress when it fits the company's concept of what it wants to become; and

(7) the company builds momentum from consistent efforts behind its concept that are reinforced by success.

Then, a connection is made to how these 7 conditions can provide the foundation for establishing a Built to Last type of company that can outperform the competition over many decades.

One potential criticism of the study is that its conclusions could be dated. Former Stanford professor Collins argues that he has uncovered basic facts about human organizations that will be unchanging.

I compared the conclusions in this book with my own studies of top performing CEOs and companies in the 1988-2001 time period. I noticed two major differences that suggest a shift in "best practice" standards. First, those who outperform now have developed processes that create major improvements in their operating business models every 2-5 years. Second, senior management development is focused around improving a culture for defining and implementing such improvements. I suspect that item (4) above was an embryonic predecessor to these new dimensions, which occur much more frequently now than in this study.

Next, I compared the list of 7 items to what I had observed in companies. The biggest point that hit me is how few CEOs have been interested in creating long-term outperformance that lasts past their own tenure in an industry. You also have to be a CEO for a long time with that focus before you have a chance to make a lasting impact. Founders have a special advantage here. Perpetuating outperformance may help fill a psychological need for immortality that fits with founders especially well.

Finally, I thought about what I knew about the companies studied from personal contacts during the study years. My sense is that their stories are far more complex than is captured here. So, I think the data have probably been "scrunched" to fit together in some cases. In particular, I wonder whether these companies will greatly outperform in the next 15 years. In many cases, they expanded to meet an unfilled need that is now largely fulfilled. Can they develop a new concept for (4) that will carry them forward as successfully in the future? My guess is that most will not. If that turns out to be the case, we must conclude that the items on this list may be necessary . . . but may not be sufficient to go permanently from good to great. Time will tell.

Before closing, let me observe that if the research team had also looked at the rate by which their principles succeeded among companies that employed them, this would have been one of the very finest research studies on best practices that I have seen. A book like this will provoke much discussion and thought for years to come. Perhaps that information can be included in a future edition or printing. Then, we will have something magnificent to consider!

Do you want to be the best permanently? Why? Or, why not? Mr. Collins points out that it probably takes no more effort, but a lot more discipline and focus.

314 of 352 people found the following review helpful.
1Neither Good Nor Great
By H. James Madigan
This book by Jim Collins is one of the most successful books to be found in the "Business" section of your local megabookstore, and given how it purports to tell you how to take a merely good company and make it great, it's not difficult to see why that might be so. Collins and his crack team of researchers say they swam through stacks of business literature in search of info on how to pull this feat off, and came up with a list of great companies that illustrate some concepts central to the puzzle. They also present for each great company what they call a "comparison company," which is kind of that company with a goatee and a much less impressive earnings record. The balance of the book is spent expanding on pithy catch phrases that describe the great companies, like "First Who, Then What" or "Be a Hedgehog" or "Grasp the Flywheel, not the Doom Loop." No, no, I'm totally serious.

I've got several problems with this book, the biggest of which stem from fundamentally viewpoints on how to do research. Collin's brand of research is not my kind. It's not systematic, it's not replicable, it's not generalizable, it's not systematic, it's not free of bias, it's not model driven, and it's not collaborative. It's not, in short, scientific in any way. That's not to say that other methods of inquiry are without merit --the Harvard Business Review makes pretty darn good use of case studies, for example-- but way too often Collins's great truths seemed like square pegs crammed into round holes, because a round hole is what he wants. For example, there's no reported search for information that disconfirms his hypotheses. Are there other companies that don't make use of a Culture of Discipline (Chapter 6, natch) but yet are still great according to Collins's definition? Are there great companies that fail to do some of the things he says should make them great? The way that the book focuses strictly on pairs of great/comparison companies smacks of confirmatory information bias, which is a kink in the human mind that drives us to seek out and pay attention to information that confirms our pre-existing suppositions and ignore information that fails to support them.

Relatedly, a lot of the book's themes and platitudes strike me as owing their popularity to the same factors that make the horoscope or certain personality tests like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator so popular: they're so general and loosely defined that almost anyone can look at that and not only say that wow, that make sense, and I've always felt the same way! This guy and me? We're geniuses! The chapter about "getting the right people on the bus" that extols the virtue of hiring really super people is perhaps the most obvious example. Really, did anyone read this part and think "Oh, man. I've been hiring half retarded chimps. THAT'S my problem! I should hire GOOD people!" Probably not, and given that Collins doesn't go into any detail about HOW to do this or any of his other good to great pro tips, I'm not really sure where the value is supposed to be.

It also irked me that Good to Great seems to try and exist in a vacuum, failing to relate its findings to any other body of research except Collins's other book, Built to Last. The most egregious example of this is early on in Chapter 2 where Collins talks about his concept of "Level 5 Leadership," which characterizes those very special folks who perch atop a supposed leadership hierarchy. The author actually goes into some detail describing Level 5 leaders, but toward the end of the chapter he just shrugs his figurative shoulders and says "But we don't know how people get to be better leaders. Some people just are." Wait, what? People in fields like Industrial-Organizational Psychology and Organizational Development have been studying, scientifically, what great leaders do and how to do it for decades. We know TONS about how to become a better leader. There are entire industries built around it. You would think that somebody on the Good to Great research team may have done a cursory Google search on this.

So while Good to Great does have some interesting thoughts and a handful of amusing or even fascinating stories to tell about the companies it profiles (I liked, for example, learning about why Walgreens opens so many shops in the same area, even to the point of having stores across the street from each other in some cities), ultimately it strikes me as vague generalities and little to no practical information about how to actually DO anything to make your company great.

128 of 141 people found the following review helpful.
5A book for the ages! Excellent for managers and start-ups
By Dan E. Ross
Jim Collins, co-author of Built To Last, has done it again! This time he spent 5 years trying to find out what differentiates good companies from great companies. This study can be applied to entrepreneurial ventures and to current corporate America. After reading this book you may see your company from a much different perspective than in the past and it may have you thinking about the effectiveness of senior managers within your company. I believe it is a book that business executives will read and keep handy for reference.

This book is a study of companies that exceed their industry, the overall stock market and produce PHENOMENAL returns over a 15-year period (15 of them are very "normal" years and the next 15 years are full of explosive growth). Some key points you will take away from this book include:

1) Growth in most companies came after years and years of trying to adapt / mold a concept into something the company truly believed in. Once this happened the growth engine got going.
2) Great managers worry more about getting the right people on board and the wrong people off board BEFORE they establish a corporate stategy.
3) Most great CEOs came from within their own ranks and weren't recruited from the outside.
4) Executive compensation didn't appear to be a key driver of corporate performance
5) The respective great companies exceeded the overall stock market in creating shareholder value by at least 3x during their 15 year run measured (some for many more years). While some may say this is not much think about the steel industry and how many are filing for bankruptcy. Nucor Steel still managed to beat the S&P by more than 3x.
6) The great companies in this book blew away their comparable peer group. Wells Fargo vs. Bank of America, Kroger vs. other grocery chains, Walgreens vs. Eckerd, etc.
7) Collins describes a Level 5 leader. After reading this section I was amazed at how many CEOs I recognized as not being Level 5 leaders. This may, in the near future, shake up executive compensation plans, CEO searches and potentially affect corporate governance.
8) Technology accelerated a transformation but was regarded as a tool. It didn't define the company.
9) M&A activity played virtually no role in going from good to great.

That is all I will write about the book. I could write on and on about how good this book is. Read it. It will change the way you think about business. Other very good books on the principles of business and entrepreneurship are Leading at the Speed of Growth by Catlin and Mathews and The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing by Jack Trout and Al Ries.



Workarounds That Work: How To Conquer Anything That Stands In Your Way At Work By Russell Bishop

Workarounds That Work : How to Conquer Anything That Stands in Your Way at Work

Workarounds That Work : How to Conquer Anything That Stands in Your Way at Work
By Russell Bishop, David Allen

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Master the Art of the Workaround to Boost Your Productivity! "With the variety of challenges leaders face every day, Russell Bishop has hit on an amazingly simple and highly effective solution: the workaround.' This is a brilliant approach to facing day-to-day business challenges, and it works!  Marshall Goldsmith, world-renowned executive coach and author of the  New York Times bestsellers  Mojo and  What Got You Here Won't Get You There "If you want to succeed big, there is no substitute for sticking your neck out. Russell Bishop shows how to do it without getting your head chopped off.  Workarounds That Work offers practical, down-to-earth advice on overcoming obstacles on the job & both big and small. It's a must-read for anyone trying to navigate the bumpy road of the modern workplace. Arianna Huffington, cofounder and editor-in-chief, the Huffington Post " Workarounds That Work tackles one problem area after another, busting myths and giving practical advice along the way. 

Dave Logan, professor at the Marshall School of Business at USC and best selling co-author of  Tribal Leadership " Workarounds That Work goes where none of the other productivity books go& into the messy,icky, hard-to-control stuff that we all face every single day. You'll finish this book with a fresh take on how to think about productivity and at least a half-dozen new ways to get things done. Les McKeown,  Wall Street Journal and  USA Today bestselling author of  Predictable Success "Today's relentless demands of work require a new model of how we get things done.  Workarounds that Work envisions work as a continuous stream of free-flowing accomplishments instead of the headaches, inefficiencies, and stresses we associate with work today. You'll never experience red tape again. Tony Schwartz, CEO, The Energy Project, and bestselling author of  The Way We're Working Isn't Working  About the Book: You've experienced the frustration dozens of times: you need approval on a project,but a key sign-off person is out of town; a product is on a crash schedule, but you're missing an important detail; you need to move a head in a process, but company rules cause delays.What you need is a workaround. In  Workarounds That Work, Russell Bishop& an expert in personal and organization transformation& teaches the art of the workaround:a method for accomplishing a task or goal when the normal process isn't producing the desired results. Workarounds help you breakthrough the tasks and systems that keep you from the important stuff. They even help you bring lasting change to your organization by doing away with frustrating institutional inefficiencies once and for all.

Workarounds aren't only about getting things done. They're about getting the right things done. To ratchet up productivity, your organization needs someone who will ask the big questions, such as:  How can our systems& from operational infrastructures to management processes& be more efficient and effective? Do we make the most of our talent? Do our teams work in isolation when collaboration would be more useful? Are we wasting time, placing blame, and fighting fires when we could instead be fixing problems? Is our direction clear, aligned,and focused?  Are you ready to be that person& the one who gets things done, no matter what?  Workarounds That Work explains how to identify problems that make work around necessary and then create the best solution available& without sacrificing quality or doing a less-than-stellar job. With Bishop's strategies at your disposal, you can conquer anything that stands in your way at work& even when it seems like your organization's culture is pitted against what you know is best for it.

Product Details

  • Amazon Sales Rank: #44499 in eBooks
  • Published on: 2010-12-18
  • Released on: 2010-12-18
  • Format: Kindle eBook
  • Original language: English
  • Number of items: 1
Editorial Reviews

About the Author
Russell Bishop is an internationally regarded speaker, educator, coach and consultant. His corporate clients include Fortune 500 executives in aerospace, healthcare, information technology, and telecommunications. He is also an editor and frequent columnist for the Living section of The Huffington Post. A recognized expert in personal and organization transformation, Russell has coached thousands of individuals around the world, helping them to create balance and success in their personal and professional lives. Today, Russell is the founder and President of Bishop & Bishop, a consulting and coaching company whose seminars, coaching, and consulting offer individuals and organizations a new approach to integrating values into their personal and professional lives. He has lectured on productivity for the executive MBA programs at UCLA, University of Texas and Washington University in St. Louis.

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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful.
5Finally, a weak team player won't stop you...
By Mike Michalowicz
This book should be called a field guide, more than a book. I have had multiple times that my project involved groups. 4 or 5 people responsible for working together to get something done, and sure enough one person is late (and often finger points). One person late, makes everyone late.

Mr. Bishop's book gives excellent guidance. And for me it all started on page 17... we can't control others, but we can control how we respond and influence others. Lesson 1 - it's you who needs to change (not in a negative way - but in the way you behave) to make the work around.

Chapter 4 gives a strong overview of "framing" - the problem is often how the problem is framed. I found a few new techniques here for framing strategies. This is a pretty impressive section of the book.

All sections (page 167 is a perfect examples) have a "checklist" of questions to use in different workaround strategies.

Email etiquette was really a good read too. I think it is my natural tendency to think of workarounds as a face to face communication, the email section keeps the balance of all communication that is necessary.

While a few parts of the book were not new to me (but a good refresher), I discovered some new stuff. And the overall format was a helpful guide. I plan to use as a reference tool (hence I call it a field guide) going forward.

I recommend the book!

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful.
5Don't let anything stop you!
By Chauncey Bell
In Workarounds that Work, Russell Bishop models - in his way of speaking, in the way he reveals himself, in the examples he brings, and in his recommendations - a way of being that revels in the challenge and joy of work, and does not flinch nor whine about the myriad roadblocks that inevitably confront anyone trying to do anything serious in life. He is a joyful warrior in the middle of the mess of modern working life. Russell shows clearly the power of humility, gratitude, an indomitable spirit, a commitment to find alternatives and not remain stuck in ruts, and the soft underbellies of the enemies we face in everyday working life.

I often say that the last of the five greatest generators of waste in our modern working world - the interpretation that we are doomed to a kind of indentured servitude called `work' - is the nastiest and most destructive of the sources of waste in our working lives. `Thank God it's Friday' - the announcement that we toil away five days of every week just waiting for a brief respite of freedom and meaning each weekend - is our declaration that we consider 5/7ths of our lives wasted. A tragedy.

Russell's book is an antidote to work as toil, and full of good things.

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful.
5A Spiritual Guide Masquerading as a Business Handbook
By Arthur Rosenfeld
Many books in this category work their magic from the outside in. That is to say they examine the circumstances, obstacles and issues and propose external solutions. Other books in the genre turn this around and go from the inside out, looking at the prejudices, presuppositions, habits and addictions we harbor on the inside, and how they manifest in our external life. "Workarounds That Work" is a rare find in that it examines its topic from both directions. Thus, in addition to advice on how to organize your in boxes, we see lines like "What could you do that would make a difference in your job that requires no one's approval, cooperation, support, or agreement other than your own?", concepts like "time management problems are really self management problems", and chapter heads like "Multitasking Our Way to Oblivion", wherein Bishop proposes substituting the setting of multiple goals to the juggling of multiple tasks.

There are many practical gems for business people here, but more you read, the more you realize that "Workarounds That Work" is a personal development guide hidden as a business handbook. Spirituality circulates through the book's business meat and management gristle like blood through bone. It's a treat of a read for a much wider swath of readers than its category feel would suggest. Here's hoping that in his next book, this practical sage will be brave enough to cross the line he only touches with his toe in this one and give us his thoughts on the repurposing of business so that profits are not the Holy Grail, but rather merely a tool for the development of employees and community.



Getting Naked: A Business Fable About Shedding The Three Fears That Sabotage Client Loyalty By Patrick Lencioni

Getting Naked: A Business Fable About Shedding The Three Fears That Sabotage Client Loyalty (J-B Lencioni Series)

Getting Naked: A Business Fable About Shedding The Three Fears That Sabotage Client Loyalty (J-B Lencioni Series)
By Patrick Lencioni

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Another extraordinary business fable from the New York Times bestselling author Patrick Lencioni

Written in the same dynamic style as his previous bestsellers including The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Lencioni illustrates the principles of inspiring client loyalty through a fascinating business fable. He explains the theory of vulnerability in depth and presents concrete steps for putting it to work in any organization. The story follows a small consulting firm, Lighthouse Partners, which often beats out big-name competitors for top clients. One such competitor buys out Lighthouse and learns important lessons about what it means to provide value to its clients.

  • Offers a key resource for gaining competitive advantage in tough times
  • Shows why the quality of vulnerability is so important in business
  • Includes ideas for inspiring customer and client loyalty
  • Written by the highly successful consultant and business writer Patrick Lencioni

This new book in the popular Lencioni series shows what it takes to gain a real and lasting competitive edge.

Product Details
  • Amazon Sales Rank: #14213 in eBooks
  • Published on: 2009-12-30
  • Released on: 2009-12-30
  • Format: Kindle eBook
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Editorial Reviews Review
Written in the same dynamic style as his previous bestsellers including The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Lencioni illustrates the principles of inspiring client loyalty through a fascinating business fable. He explains the theory of vulnerability in depth and presents concrete steps for putting it to work in any organization. The story follows a small consulting firm, Lighthouse Partners, which often beats out big-name competitors for top clients. One such competitor buys out Lighthouse and learns important lessons about what it means to provide value to its clients.

Amazon Exclusive: Q&A with Patrick Lencioni

Q: Why do you use the term naked and where does it come from?
A: Naked consulting is a term that refers to the idea of being vulnerable with clients, being completely open and honest with no sense of pretense or cover. The concept comes from the approach that we adopted more than a decade ago to work with our clients at The Table Group. We help CEOs and their teams build healthy organizations, and we found that by being completely transparent and vulnerable with clients, we built levels of trust and loyalty that blew us away.

Q: What makes naked service different from the way most people provide service?
A: So many service providers and consultants feel the need to demonstrate that they have the right answers and that they don't make mistakes. Not only do clients see this as inauthentic, they often feel that they are being condescended to and manipulated. We've found that what clients really want is honesty and humility.

Q: What are the three fears?
A: People spend most of their lives trying to avoid awkward and painful situations –which is why it is no surprise that we are all susceptible to the three fears that sabotage client loyalty. They include:

1) Fear of Losing the Business – No service provider wants to lose clients or revenue. Interestingly, it is this very notion that prevents many service providers from having the difficult conversations that actually build greater loyalty and trust. Clients want to know that their service providers are more interested in helping succeed in business than protecting their revenue source.

2) Fear of Being Embarrassed – This fear is rooted in pride. No one likes to publicly make mistakes, endure scrutiny or be embarrassed. Naked service providers are willing to ask questions and make suggestions even if those questions and suggestions turn out to be laughably wrong. Clients trust naked service providers because they know that they will not hold back their ideas, hide their mistakes, or edit themselves to save face.

3) Fear of Being Inferior – Similar to the previous fear, this one is rooted in ego. Fear of being inferior is not about being intellectually wrong (as in Fear of being Embarrassed) it is about preserving social standing with the client. Naked service providers are able to overcome the need to feel important in the eyes of their client and basically do whatever a client needs to help the client improve – even if that calls for the service provider to be overlooked or temporarily looked down upon.

Q: What is the impact of naked service on a firm's bottom line?
A: Consulting or service firms that practice the naked approach will find it easier to retain clients through greater trust and loyalty. That is the first and most obvious benefit. But they'll also be able to attract clients better because naked service begins before a client actually becomes a client. It allows firms to be more open, more generous and less desperate in the sales process, and creates great differentiation from more traditional sales approaches. Finally, firms that practice the naked approach will attract and retain the right kind of consultants and professionals who yearn for an honest, natural way of working, both with clients and with one another.

From Publishers Weekly
Author, speaker and management consultant Lencioni (The Three Signs of a Miserable Job) preaches a business model that may seem antithetical to many, which he calls "getting naked": being unafraid to show vulnerability, admit ignorance, and ask the dumb questions when dealing with clients. Lencioni's central argument is that by focusing on sales, rather than communication, consultants miss the key part of their job-consulting-and therefore lose out on valuable long-term client relationships. Presented mostly as a parable about a management consultant trying to reconcile two firms in a merger, Lencioni's latest is entertaining as well as informative, with a message that sticks (heavy-handed though it may be). Straightforward and widely applicable, Lencioni's advice should prove useful not only for business consultants, but anyone trying to build long-term client relationships. END

Author, speaker and management consultant Lencioni (The Three Signs of a Miserable Job) preaches a business model that may seem antithetical to many, which he calls "getting naked": being unafraid to show vulnerability, admit ignorance, and ask the dumb questions when dealing with clients. Lencioni's central argument is that by focusing on sales, rather than communication, consultants miss the key part of their job-consulting-and therefore lose out on valuable long-term client relationships. Presented mostly as a parable about a management consultant trying to reconcile two firms in a merger, Lencioni's latest is entertaining as well as informative, with a message that sticks (heavy-handed though it may be). Straightforward and widely applicable, Lencioni's advice should prove useful not only for business consultants, but anyone trying to build long-term client relationships. (Feb.) (, February 22, 2010)

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews

34 of 34 people found the following review helpful.
5Building Loyal and Sticky Relationships in Business and in Life
By Thomas M. Loarie
Best selling author Pat Lencioni's "Getting Naked" really resonated with me and will with many others. Again, Lencioni has nailed a very simple concept which eludes most of us when building relationships in business and, more importantly, in all aspects of life. While the book was targeted to the business of consulting, the principles outlined are universal and can be applied to many other aspects of living a "meaningful" life. Lencioni himself, at the end of the book, notes the model outlined in the book "applies to anyone whose success is tied to building loyal and sticky relationships with the people they serve"...just about all of us!

"Getting Naked" stems from Lencioni's personal experience in the world of consulting. He has applied the "Getting Naked model" unconsciously for years and has found his clients treating him more like a real partner and team member rather than as a vendor or outsider." As is usual, Lencioni shares the "Naked Service" model through a fable. In it, he outlines the need to:
1. Let go of the fear of losing (business)
2. Let go of the fear of being embarrassed
3. Let go of the fear of feeling inferior

And by shedding these fears, we can:
1. Always provide immediate value to those we serve rather than sell ourselves
2. Give away ourselves (the business) without holding back for something else first (fees)
3. Tell the "kind" truth and not sugar coat the obvious
4. Enter the danger, our zone of discomfort, rather than avoid it
5. Ask the dumb (the right) question that no one else ever asks
6. Make dumb suggestions that stimulates thinking rather than suggest the obvious
7. Celebrate our mistakes, our failures, as these are key learnings for growth
8. Take a bullet for a friend (our client) as taking responsibility and sacrificing is the greatest thing we can do for another.
9. Make everything about the client; focus on the "other"
10. Honor the "other's" work
11. Roll up our sleeves and do the dirty work
12. Admit we are human and have our own weaknesses and limitations

"Getting Naked" is a provocative read, challenging all to be introspective of all relationships, and providing a useful guide for living a good life.

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful.
5More truth from the master
By Mark M. Fallon
Another outstanding book by Patrick Lencioni.

As a consultant, I always recommend Patrick's books to my clients. Usually within the first month, I present them with copies of "Death by Meeting" and "The Five Dysfunctions of a Team".

My firm practices many of principles in this book, and will try harder to implement the rest.

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful.
5Lencioni Hits the Nail on The Head
By Matthew W. Certo
I've read all of Patrick Lencioni's books and have generally enjoyed them. I also heard him speak once at a conference on team dysfunction and found his style and approach to be both engaging and entertaining. As such, I didn't hesitate to pick up this book when I saw it--despite its unconventional title.

Lencioni uses his usual style of writing: putting a concept into the form of a fable. Even though this approach is a bit different that other business titles I'm used to reading, it's unique and Lencioni is able to execute it well. The writing style and voice hit close to home for those that lead or manage others. While sometimes the fable approach can get a bit lengthy, I do find that it allows the author to do his job well. Most specifically, it enables him to draw important contrasts between the conventional (how most people do things) and his approach (a prescribed way of doing things).

The fable contrasts two different consulting firms that are in the process of merging. One firm is the large, international firm located in the city skyline. The other is a small boutique firm located in a re-purposed building where people dress casually and don't work late. It's a cliche disparity that we can all get our minds around. While we expect the big firm to come in and straighten up the little one, Lencioni teaches us some very important things along the way. Perception is not always reality as we learn that the larger firm might learn a thing or two from the smaller one.

Lencioni reminds us that bigger is not always better and that acquiring and retaining clients is not a matter of Power Point slides and glossy marketing materials as much is it is about relationships and authenticity. Getting Naked turns its focus to client relationships and service in a way that they should be teaching today's executives. The word "relationship" is certainly overdone in today's sales lexicon, but Lencioni gives it a new definition--the right definition. We learn, through the experiences of the characters, that client relationships are about a whole lot more than remembering each other's birthdays and talking sports. Client relationships are about truly understanding challenges, working through alternatives as partners, and even sacrificing the short term for the long run at times.

I would highly recommend this book if you work in or manage a professional services firm or are interested in overall career development. I believe that if we had more people in the executive world who looked at relationships in this way, more business engagements would have more success. Well done, Mr. Lencioni.

Matt Certo
WebSolvers, Inc