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Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box Paperback – January 5, 2010
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—Stephen R. Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
“Extraordinary . . . Five Stars.”
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“Leadership and Self-Deception is a touchstone for authentic leadership. Arbinger’s innovative exploration of what lies beneath behavior uplifts, enlightens, and transforms. We’ve wholeheartedly adopted Leadership and Self-Deception as the foundational material for our administrator development program.”
—Troy S. Buer, Educational Program Director, University of Virginia School of Medicine
“This is probably the most outstanding book that directs us to soul searching and introspection. It teaches us to take accountability for our lives and our destinies in a down-to-earth and bluntly practical manner. The lessons in this book have helped me personally, as well as other people I love.”
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—Heidi Forbes Öste, CEO and Founder, 2BalanceU and Public Relations, Europe Region, Business and Professional Women International
“Because it distills important leadership, spiritual, and life principles into one profound and impossible-to-put-down-book, Leadership and Self Deception is a treasure. MBA students in my classes share my enthusiasm for this rare book. You will surely return to this book again and again; and each time you do, it will be as penetrating a learning experience as the first time.”
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“Leadership and Self-Deception holds up a brutally honest mirror to behavior in which we all indulge to justify our shortcomings. The result is not self-remorse or punishment but a glimpse of a life to be lived with integrity and freed of the boundaries and constraints we inflict upon ourselves and others. I am always excited to watch Arbinger’s thinking help my clients to unlock painful family disputes and lead them to resolution.”
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—Robin Hamill, Chairman, Igility Group
Leadership and Self-Deception uses an entertaining story about an executive facing challenges at work and at home to expose the precise psychological processes that conceal our true motivations and intentions from us and trap us in a “box” of endless self-justification. Most importantly, the book shows us the way out. The book’s central insight—that the key to leadership lays not in what we do, but in who we are—has proved to have powerful resonances not only for organizational leadership, but in readers’ personal lives as well.
This new edition has been revised throughout to make the story more readable and compelling. And drawing on the extensive correspondence they’re received over the years the authors have added a section that outlines the many ways that readers have been using this book.
More About the Author
In the 1970s, a team of scholars led by philosopher C. Terry Warner embarked on an exploration into a core problem at the heart of the human sciences--the "problem of self-deception." The research explored how we end up creating and sustaining problems we don't know we are causing, and how and why people resist helpful solutions.
Initially, all attempts to understand the phenomenon of self-deception failed, just as all attempts had for over 100 years. After years of work, however, the research team discovered a solution no one expected. They discovered the clear and surprising way that people begin to evade responsibility without thinking that they are doing so, and therefore end up blaming others or circumstances they, themselves, are helping to create. More importantly, they discovered how this could be corrected.
Following this scholarly discovery, Arbinger's founding members began teaching the principles in academic circles and within the university environment. This soon led to demand from individuals and families and then to requests for organizational applications. As more and more people and organizations experienced the profound changes that were enabled by Arbinger's work, Arbinger evolved into a full-service consultancy that helps individuals and organizations solve the problems they have never been able to solve.
Arbinger was founded in 1979. Since then, Arbinger has worked with thousands of individuals and organizations and helped them to transform their effectiveness and performance.
Early on, Arbinger's growth was fueled solely by clients who spread the word about Arbinger's impact. Arbinger's public profile was then dramatically increased by the global success of its first book, Leadership & Self Deception, which was published in 2000. The book quickly became a word-of-mouth bestseller. It is now available in 27 languages and has sold over a million copies.
Arbinger's second international bestseller, The Anatomy of Peace, was published in 2006. Available in 14 languages and having sold nearly 500,000 copies to date, The Anatomy of Peace demonstrates the power of Arbinger's work in resolving conflict.
Arbinger is now recognized as a world-leader in improving organizational culture and conflict resolution. Arbinger's clients range from individuals who are seeking help in their lives to many of the largest companies and governmental institutions in the world.
For more information, please visit www.arbinger.com
Top Customer Reviews
* This is a simple story, with a logical message. Yet, the story nicely explains that we all often fail to see that we have a problem. We do engage in self-deception. We do "unwittingly sabotage relationships at work and at home." And our actions do provoke a response that encourages the opposite of our intention.
* Part I explains "Self-Deception and the Box." Part II explains "How We Get In the Box." Part III explains "How We Get Out of the Box." Being "In the box" is seeing others as objects. "Out of the Box" is seeing yourself and others as people. (They make this come alive in the book.)
* As I was reading the book, particularly Part I and Part II, I was impressed at how they framed the narrative and discussion to make me realize how I've been deceiving myself. Several "AHA" moments here. Rather than give too much of the story line away - they use a simple example of a Business Executive sleeping and then hearing his infant crying - he knows that he should get up to help his spouse - he doesn't - he then justifies not getting up by mentally elevating his importance (he needs to get up early in the morning; he's the main bread winner; he's a good dad; he's the victim) while he mentally frames up his spouse who isn't getting up as being lazy, unappreciative, inconsiderate, etc.Read more ›
My main comments:
a. Narrative form. While this can be good, it's overdone in this book. The characters are too flat and designed to be exactly what the authors need to make their point. No depth, no constraints on their actions. Just stick figures. Likewise the story is set up in self justifying little snippets.
b. The authors use the story format to set up strawman arguments and proceed to knock them down. No counterpoints or alternatives are allowed to mess up the narrative. Each time they get to a key point, they put it off for later with a "you're not ready for that yet" statement. Later turns out to be seminars your company can purchase.
c. No data or background research is presented. Mostly pop psychology presented in such a way to resonate with people, and like pop corn fills you up with no substance. The closest thing to data are random notes in the back about someone, somewhere, learning something.
d. The book is not complete in itself. It's a teaser for the seminars offered by the authors.
e. While there are some good points in here, they could as easily been covered in a two page white paper (or 862 PowerPoint slides)
Bottom line, if you read the reviews here, you will be given the entire message from the book.
Most people are jerks. In fact, YOU are probably a jerk. Even though you don't think so, it's most likely true.
It's really a suboptimal way to go through life, being a jerk. We shouldn't do it. So you really should stop it. But it's very hard to stop being a jerk. Nothing works! No, not that. Not that, either, I'm afraid. No, not even THAT works. It's almost impossible to stop being a jerk.
If you already know you are a jerk, you can skip to the end of the book. If you don't, then read the first 98.73% in oder to be convinced otherwise. Once you accept that you have lived your life as a jerk and decide you want to change, they've got a training program to sell you...
When I received the books I was surprised to find they were written in narrative form. Because the books were written by an "institution" and not a specific author, I wrongly believed the style of the writing would be more scholarly or at a minimum journalistic. That's what I was looking for.
Because it was written as a narrative, I feel it's only fair to briefly review this aspect of the book. I found all of it very contrived, and I felt like I was being pushed along from point to point to point. All fictional narrative is about manipulating the thoughts and feelings of the reader (movie goer) and that's fine because it's a part of the contract between the narrative creator and the viewer. In the case of narrative in Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting out of the Box I felt manipulation because the message (themes) were meant to be so clear. I think with fictional or journalist narratives the themes aren't supposed to be so on the nose or in the case of journalistic writing it's often just descriptive or factual. There is some room for interpretation. Anyway, for me, the narrative structure wasn't effective because I felt manipulated.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is really great. An easy read and because it is written as a narrative it is easy to relate to the principles and apply them. Read morePublished 4 days ago by Makinzie Hunter
Very interesting manual. Makes you search under your own skin to find self-inflicted issues. It's a little strung out, but interesting.Published 9 days ago by Amazon Customer
Excellent. Easy to read. Appropriate for all levels of leaders and those that don't think they are. Even applicable to family life. Have used in three different contexts.Published 10 days ago by Amazon Customer
Not your typical leadership book with a very important message. Written as a story which helps move it along. Read morePublished 14 days ago by A. Brack
Awesome book! Should be mandatory reading for all managers, supervisors, and leaders.Published 16 days ago by JoJo of Lilburn