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VINE VOICEon February 7, 2010
The author, Michael Bungay Stanier, was the Canadian executive coach of the year in 2006 and is a business consultant. Core message of the book is that many of us do far too much good work ("treading water") or bad work (energy draining activities) and not enough great work (offering true satisfaction). Stanier opens the book by defining Bad Work, Good Work and Great Work. And then rolls into the 15 short and snappy exercises supported by highly effective visual maps to help guide you through the process via brainstorming, reflection, analysis of actual observations.

1) Where are you now? (Map current mix of bad, good and great work. Assess)
2) What's Great? (Recall peak moments. Assess)
3) What are you like at your best? (Recall emotions at peak moments. Map "I am this...not that")
4) Who's great? (Think of role models that are inspiring and assess why. Choose characteristic. Emulate & Visualize)
5) What's Calling You? (Scan landscape for great opportunities. Analyze. What surprised you? Inspired you?)
6) What's Broken? (Map aggravations that "erode the quality of our lives." Assess. What can you change)
7) What's Required? (Map all the work you do on daily or weekly basis into one of 4 quadrants: a) They Care/You Care (Sweet spot/Do more-convert from good to great work) (b) They Care/I don't care. (Stop doing), (c) I Don't Care/They Care (Must do - delegate or be more efficient-embrace adequacy." (d) You Care/They Don't Care (Do it Elsewhere; do it undercover; re-label it)

8) What's the Best Choice? (Map your options. Rate/rank the options.
9) What's Possible? (Map creative new ideas and explore what can be converted to great work)
10) What's the Right Ending? (Explore different ways forward - What can be, what's changed, new outcome)
11)How Courageous are You? (Map safe to impossible methods to do more great work)
12)What Will you do? (Map (a) what is easiest to do, (b) what would have the greatest impact, (c) what do you want to do, (d) what Will you do)
13)What Support Do You Need? (Map people who have influence, skills, or love you)
14)What's the Next Step? (Map what you will do, by when, what's the first step, what accountability do you need - then analyze)
15)Lost Your Great Work Mojo? (Revert back to steps 1-14 and assess)

And the book concludes with 4 great work truths:
Great Work Truth #1: Things only get interesting when you take full responsibility for the choices you make.
Great Work Truth #2: To do more Great Work, you must both narrow and broaden your gaze.
Great Work Truth #3: Decide what to say no to.
Great Work Truth #4: Stop Making everyone happy.
Great Work Truth #5: Ask for Help.

This is an exercise workbook (more than a book) where Stanier allows reader to work their way forward to a solution to finding their own Great Work. The book also includes relevant and thoughtful quotes (Camus, Edmund Hillary) and passages from contemporary coaches (Seth Godin, Dave Ulrich, Penelope Trunk).
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VINE VOICEon February 26, 2010
This is the second book that I purchased from Michael. Don't be deceived by the notion that this book is about being more innovative, energized, and productive in the workplace. By work, Michael is talking about living a life most worth living. He is talking about bringing the same enthusiasm that you have for Alaskan crab legs and flirtatious conversations with a loved one to every life domain.

I wonder where this book will appear in bookstores. Business book? Self-enhancement book? Psychology book? Do More Great Work transcends categories. I suspect that you are skeptical of these superlatives but I honestly do not take the time to write reviews unless an author inspired me. Michael does (again).

He prods, provokes, and challenges you to answer questions about your life that can often be uncomfortable. He gives you a playground of exercises to uncover values, strengths, and situations governing your behavior, and how to navigate with them to effectively emerge as a mindful, passionate leader.

I am purposely avoiding specific details about what is in the book because it is impossible to cover the broad terrain and I hesitate to emphasize small snippets out of context. There are dozens of questions and exercises that are useful on their own and even more powerfully together. None of these questions are silly, none of them are superfluous, and if you are receptive, this book has the potential to evoke meaningful change.

Are you content with mediocracy or do you want to do something profound with your limited time and stamina in the only life you will ever be given? If you want the latter, get this book. I stake my reputation on the line.

Todd Kashdan, Ph.D.
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on February 9, 2010
"Find Your Great Work" is structured around a series of "maps" that can help you bring more "great" work into your life. The "maps" in this book seem at first glance to be quite simplistic, almost gimmicky. However, if you can get past the fact that they're "written" on a napkin, they seem quite powerful. This isn't the kind of book that you read once and put on a shelf. While the author might disagree, I would recommend reading the book from cover-to-cover once, without responding to the questions associated with each map, to help immerse yourself in the author's thinking. I believe this would be helpful in either returning to the beginning of the book to work with each map sequentially or before working with those maps that seem to speak to you. This book has the potential to affect your thinking in subtle as well as profound ways. In fact, in writing these comments, I realized that today I said something in a meeting of my direct reports that came straight from "Find Your Great Work" without my even realizing it. I look forward to continuing to work with the contents of this book to bring more great work into my life.
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on December 29, 2011
When I purchased this book, I thought it would be on par with works from authors such as Seth Godin and Jason Fried. Boy, was I wrong. This book is basically all about creating even more unnecessary work through creating maps and organizational charts. These things may be useful to people who love creating such things, but the book doesn't get right to the point - that we need to clearly define our goals, follow them and review them from time to time. No fancy charts or maps are necessary.
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on March 30, 2013
This is not your typical self-help book, not at all. This is more like a training manual. If you are one of those people that will read a self-help book to simply feel good about the possibilities and then go back doing the same thing again, then do not waste your money on this book. This book has exercises, yes you heard me, exercises and you should do them to get the most out of the book.

The challenge here is that the exercises require behaviour modification.

My advice. Read it once through and through without doing anything. Then start over again and run through it again and do the exercises. No matter how long it takes, just do the exercises. Even if you suck at them, do the exercises!

Overall, a surprising work.
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on September 11, 2010
I wish I would have had this resource 30 years ago when I was getting ready to graduate from college. I don't know how ready I would have been to actually apply what Michael Bungay Stanier leads people through in "Do More Great Work", but I do know that it would have been a process I would have turned to again and again. This isn't a book you just sit down and read in one day or a weekend. You need to plan to take it in chapters and really sit down and do the mapping exercises that are included. I wouldn't just call this a book or even a workbook. It would fit into the category of WORKBOOK(said in a voice similar to Animal on the Muppets). As a career coach, I'm constantly looking for the highest quality resources to recommend to my clients. This one will now be at the top of my list.

I'll also encourage potential readers to see Michael's [...] website and the Great Work book website. There are three very nicely done Flash videos that are engaging to watch and worth sending along to the people you know. Michael also provides an e-mail course called Seven Questions and another e-mail based support series to go along with the Do More Great Work Book. All told this is an extraordinary package.

One other encouraging word. I read this on Kindle. Of all the Kindle books I've read, this one has had the nicest, most useful design.
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on July 3, 2011
A friend recommended this book, and I got it to see what she was hyped about. I can't say I read it all, but I did play with the exercises. The best thing is that it makes you THINK about what work you really want to do. That is a major breakthrough for most of us. Usually we just rush from thing to thing trying to get stuff done. If that's your dilemma, this book will help.
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on August 19, 2011
This is a good book and will give you some ideas on how to think about doing better work, consulting fears and negative thoughts, recruiting others to help you be more responsible, etc.
I have the book on Kindle. The charts are way too small and difficult to see but luckily the author has them available for download on his website.
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on September 25, 2014
I had high hopes when I purchased this book. I liked the idea of exercises that would help lead the reader (me!) to do more great work. For me, unfortunately, the exercises started to drag on. I dutifully completed the first half of the book and the associated exercises before moving onto a more interesting book (Manage Your Day-to-Day by Jocelyn Glei), and I have never gone back to complete Do More Great Work...not sure I ever will.
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on June 25, 2011
I recently met Michael at a conference where I not only had the pleasure of hearing him speak, but also to speaking to him personally.

Not all authors walk their talk, Michael does. He really does want you to do great work. For me that matters. When I know the author is first motivated by his mission I am more motivated to use his teachings.

If I had any doubt about doing great work before reading Michael's work, I don't now.
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