ISBN: 978470051450

This books reeks of management machismo. That’s how I saw it, after the first page in the Introduction.

“So don’t expect to learn how to get along, how to follow the rules, or ways to accept the world around you as you find this is about getting others to accept what you’re laying down, making the rules for others to follow.”

Turned me off, really. Though I continued reading to see what else the author has to say.

Overall, I think the book provides simple and direct explanations. Perhaps too simplistic, or maybe I’m over-analysing it.

Good tips, like on P98. (“it’s all in the execution”; how good intents turn out bad because of how they were carried through. Barriers to getting people to achieve results).

In the end, a lot is situational and a person’s ability to use appropriate strategies. No formula in compelling people to do what is required. In that sense, this book oversold on the message and doesn’t quite carry through.

His message is that humans are not necessarily logical. To get people to understand and act, you have to appeal to their emotions.

It’s not the principles that I’m against. Indeed they are logical even.

It’s the lack of context and the potential to mislead. Because of it being too simplistic.

P5. he suggests being a leader means being in the driver seat. That’s true in a sense but it is a lot more sophisticated than that (e.g Good To Great).

P8 says the book is different because the goal is “simplicity and effectivenessL, choosing “direct over the subtle”.

Although p43 qualifies there is a darker side to simplification; e.g. Hate groups, labeling people or groups of people.

For instance, it’s possible for someone to take the book literally and liberally. Like P37, where in response to handling external stimuli and information, “the answer isn’t to be considerate, thoughtful, or even logical in choosing what to attend to and what to discard. The answer is to use bias — built-in preferences for, or reversion to, certain types of input.”

I have to admit I’m biased too. The book goes against what I believe, in that action is needed but also mindfulness in actions. Not paralysis by analysis. Mindfulness is to be conscious of our acts.

My problem is that the book meets the direct part but I think falls into the trap of appealing emotionally but not preparing rationally. It’s like a call for a mob to action, and then letting the mob discover the consequences.

Also, the principles he advocates are pretty sound. Like how environment determine actions (how pro-apartheid whites celebrate black athletes) chapter starting p75. The stories are interesting but his propositions are conjectures. Logical even! But I feel (yeah, bias!) he embellishes too much.

To be direct involves a certain degree of sophistication. Otherwise, being direct because you aren’t aware of what you’re doing is called crude. Of course one can argue being crude is OK if you are able to get people to do what you want. Sure. I guess it boils down to what you want.

P48 – 49. some pointers regarding messaging, when taking into what author suggests as “monster bias”. E.g Direct over Subtle; Powerful over Weak; Easy over Demanding; Predictable over Possible; Necessary over Optional. (I say substitute “over” with “VS.” so that we don’t treat this approach as absolutes. Also some bias may be cultural.)

P61. message must have a call for action.

P90. Examples of compelling messages: if selling a slimming product, don’t tout the ingredients but the idea of person being slim. If communicating an organisational reorganisation, don’t push the new org chart but opportunities, better customer service, innovation.

P93 – 96. “we win when others win”. I.e. They will follow if they see benefits for themselves. Examples of good and bad ways to get buy-in. Shows a subtlety and addressing root causes rather than bluntness. E.g. Instead of forcing a teen to spend time with family, empathise and allow self-dignity.

P98. Barriers in getting ppl to comply:
– not walking the talk ourselves
– not giving the tools or training or permissions
– giving conflicting priorities (“draw a square circle”)
– “they are beaten up” (challenges exceed their ability to cope)
– not giving ppl feedback on progress

Mentions Generations by William Strauss and Neil Howe as an insightful book to understanding societal trends of (americans)?