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Flying Without a Net: Turn Fear of Change into Fuel for Success Hardcover – June 14, 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press (June 14, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 142216229X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1422162293
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.1 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #330,034 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Summing Up: Recommended” — CHOICE

“If you have these types of personalities in your organization, or are one yourself, DeLong’s book will be enormously helpful.” — HR Professional magazine

“As part leadership training and part psychology text, Flying Without a Net takes on the often-overlooked soft side of the leadership vortex, and DeLong’s timing could not be better.” — Korn Ferry Briefings

“The jargon-free book delivers a helpful read that will give you a sophisticated means to accomplish your tasks with grace and aplomb.” “Read Flying Without a Net to reassess your ambitions, restore your sensibilities and inspire you to do more than just checking tasks off a list.” — Small Business Trends (smallbiztrends.com)

“For those who like a little psychoanalysis with their summer reading, this is the perfect book.” — Atlanta Journal-Constitution

“…Harvard Business School professor Thomas J. DeLong’s Flying Without a Net is a must-read.” - Infosys Finacle Connect

About the Author

Thomas DeLong is the Philip J. Stomberg Professor of Management Practice in the Organizational Behavior area at the Harvard Business School. His research focuses on the challenges facing individuals and organizations in the process of change.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
In the Preface, Thomas J. DeLong observes, "The old model for high-need-for-achievement personalities was invulnerability - being opaque, emotionally detached, risk averse, and coldly analytical. This book will make the case for a new, vulnerable, model and offer directions for professionals who no longer know which way to turn." The new model that DeLong offers bears stunning resemblances to Robert Greenleaf''s concepts of servant leadership and to others' concepts of emotional intelligence, notably those of David Wechsler, Howard Gardner, and Daniel Goleman.

What DeLong contributes is a brilliant analysis of (a) why most people fear change, Chapters 1-2; (b) "the big three anxieties" (purpose, isolation, and significance), Chapters 3-5; (c) four "traps" that prevent change (busyness, comparing, blame, and worry, and finally, Chapters 6-9; and (d) what is needed to avoid or escape from the anxieties and traps by "turning fear of change into fuel for success," Chapters 10-14. To assist that process of personal change, he inserts through his narrative sets of direct questions or suggestions that comprise an accumulative self-assessment. In the first four chapters, for example, questions to

o Determine your willingness to do the right thing poorly (Page 34-35)
o Determine if your work is connected to a larger purpose (46)
o Raise your awareness of events that devalue you (52-53-35)
o Maintain awareness of feeling isolated (68-69)
o Determine if you're caught in a "gravitational pull" of your own (78)

I was especially interested in what DeLong has to say about The Blame Trap.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Joel Dobbs on August 16, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A while back I heard a Harvard Business School podcast featuring an interview with Thomas J. DeLong. In it he summarized this book and discussed several of the behaviors of High Achievers. Frankly, he was describing both me and many of the executives I have coached or worked with in the past with frightening accuracy and precision.

DeLong has spent years studying what he calls "high need for achievement professionals." He especially focuses on why change can be so challenging for these people. One of the main points is that for these people to change and learn new things they must go through a period of what he calls "doing the right thing poorly." Because they are fearful of "looking bad" as they attempt to grow and learn there is a tendency to avoid situations in which they may look less than competent even if this means that they limit their growth and development. When they find themselves in these situations, the result is frequently severe anxiety.

DeLong describes four traps that keep high achievers from changing. He describes these as busyness, comparing, blame and worry. He spends a chapter on each and his descriptions of the behaviors and their consequences make for fascinating reading. The many stories and personal reflections included in each chapter add both depth and perspective. The first sections of the book are excellent.

Unfortunately, the final section of the book titled "Getting Over It: Tools for Turning Fear of Change into Fuel for Success" fails to deliver. I had hoped to find some great tools and insights to use both personally and with my executive coaching clients; however, I found almost all of his suggestions to be either vague generalities or overly simplistic exercises.

If you are, or work with, high need for achievement type people you will find the descriptions and insights into common growth-limiting behaviors both interesting and informative. The prescriptions for change may disappoint.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Abbie on June 16, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This book got right to the heart of the issues my husband and I have been experiencing as of late. He is definitely what Professor DeLong would call a "high need for achieve" individual. I bought the book and we both finished it within a few days and have already begun to see improvement, both in our marriage as well as our work lives. You will NOT be disappointed!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Terry on February 6, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book came at the perfect moment offering wisdom that have never heard in my professional life. It has given me renewed interest in finding my true purpose in life. It made me understand that you need a circle of advisors who will tell you the truth. I have always been scared to dance. It is ironic that it is used as a teaching lesson in this book. Isolation has been my enemy. Fortunately my wife had enough kick left to tell me to find the joy in life. I feel like I found a treasure map.
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