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45 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great simple book with high impact
This book was recommended to me by a new friend Rini from BP, and i love it. I read it just in a two hours flight ( i am not a fast reader!), finishing it right when the plane landed, and i kind of feel very motivated and enpowered!

In the simple similar tradition of One Minute Manager, Fish, and other simple to read business book, this one has one great idea...
Published on August 18, 2005 by T SANTOSO

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45 of 58 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Expensive for what you get
I read the entire book (super large print) in about an hour. It had some points of interest. (I bought this off Amazon based on the recommendations). But unless you're the type who'll go into a restaurant and put down $80 for a salad, move on. The whole book could be boiled down to one of those laminated placards leaving enough room left over for VCR programming...
Published on May 17, 2004


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45 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great simple book with high impact, August 18, 2005
This book was recommended to me by a new friend Rini from BP, and i love it. I read it just in a two hours flight ( i am not a fast reader!), finishing it right when the plane landed, and i kind of feel very motivated and enpowered!

In the simple similar tradition of One Minute Manager, Fish, and other simple to read business book, this one has one great idea about how we should ask questions.

In a nutshell:
1. Begin with "WHAT" or "HOW", and not "Why", "When, or "Who".
2. Contain an "I"
3. Focus on Action.

So, instead of: " When are we going to be more competitive?", use: " What can i do today to be more effective?".
Or, instead of " Who will care as much as I do?", use "How can I communicate better?"

QBQ is a simple powerful technique that will improve the way you see life. John Miller has a whole organisation build into training it.

Even that the way they write is way different, i would like to compare the idea of QBQ as such similar power with One Minute Manager. It's easy to teach, easy to implement, and have great return if people start using it.

So, for 2 hours easy reading that might change your life for the better, you have nothing to lose, get a copy.
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66 of 73 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Small book, big impact, December 6, 2004
After reading a few pages, I'm hooked. This book takes about an hour to read and has a lifelong impact. The title implies exploring other questions based on the original question. However, the real story is about personal accountability in work and life.

Rather than doing what comes naturally for many of us and becoming defensive and pointing fingers, the book changes your mode of thinking from "It's his fault" to "How can I fix this?" For example, in a restaurant, a diner is waiting for his waiter to come to the table. He catches the attention of a waiter who says, "This isn't my table" and walks off. The diner can only hope the waiter went to alert the person who is responsible for his table.

A waiter who uses QBQ thinking would help the diner rather than dodging the table just because it's not his table. Such action has positive results on both the waiter and the customer.

In another story, a cashier pays for the customer's under $3 purchase as her register didn't have enough to provide change. This action resulted in the store getting 100 percent of the customer's business.

The book grabbed me and I applied QBQ thinking the day after reading it. It feels much better to take the QBQ route instead of responding defensively. Check the QBQ site for more examples and details ([...]
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Includes some useful tools for success, November 5, 2002
By 
In The Question Behind the Question: Practicing Personal Accountability in Business and in Life, John G. Miller presents an alternative way to look at our problems (or challenges) and encourages us to ask different, but better questions about them.
Miller starts off by illustrating incorrect questions (IQ's). IQ's focus on things or people outside or external to us. Some examples might be "When will he learn to manage better?", "Why can't they see my point-of-view?", "Why can't they hire better workers?". IQ's tend to sap our energy and deflate our spirit.
IQ's do, however, seem to come naturally, perhaps as a result of human nature. Miller often asks groups of people what's the one thing they would like to change in their organizations. The answers always follow the external P's: that is, change the policies, procedures, prices, and other people. "Nobody ever says me." As an example, look at the following questions and see what is the first response that comes to mind.
-A poor subordinate blames the _____.
-A poor executive blames the _____.
-A poor driver blames the _____.
Although these thoughts or questions may be natural, they lead us into blame, complaining, and procrastination. Miller's solution is to discipline our thoughts and to look behind our initial questions to come up with better questions-or, as he terms it, the question behind the question (QBQ).
These are Miller's three guiding principles for better questions or QBQ's. Better questions:
1. "Begin with what or how (not why, when or who)."
2. "Contain I (not they, we, or you)."
3. "Focus on action."
A perfect example of a QBQ is "What can I do right now?" The essence of the QBQ system is that "the answers are in the questions". If you ask the right question you can make positive moves toward achievement and a rewarding life.
The book concludes with a list of lousy questions and the better QBQ's or questions behind the questions. A brief sample follows.
The sales department:
"When are we going to get some new products?"
"Why can't we get better customer service support?"
QBQ's:
"How can I add value for my customers?"
The management:
"Why aren't my workers more motivated?"
"Why do they keep making the same mistakes?"
QBQ's:
"What can I do to help them do their job better?"
To summarize, "The Question Behind the Question: Practicing Personal Accountability in Business and Life" presents some basic, yet powerful ideas about creating a more rewarding and fulfilling life.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy & Effective!, May 8, 2001
By A Customer
GREAT book! QBQ (the question behind the question) isn't a blame book, or a self-flagellation book either! As irritating as work can be at times, when blow-ups occur, this book gives you the tools to work thru these headaches, and dismiss the whining that can accompany tough situations. Similar in speed and impact to 'Who Moved My Cheese?' this book will stick with you long after you pass it on. And remember pass it on because you like it, not because you think others need it!
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A subtle change in language makes a big difference, November 21, 2004
This was a fascinating read because, as other reviewers have said, the change that comes over you when you read this book is gradual but decisive. It is true that a change in the language used often coincides with a change in attitude and action, and it was so with this book.

I found as I read furthur on, I recognized myself in the negative questions or comments posed, and when I thought about what I could say differently to pose the questions or comments usefully rather than complainingly, I had trouble rephrasing them myself, but then said "Aha!" as I read the author's suggestions.

This is almost more of a New Age/ self-help book than a business book in some ways, because it is working to subtly change the way you pose questions to yourself. If you find yourself feeling powerless in any part of your life, I'd recommend this book as a way of taking positive action and taking charge of your reactions to the world.
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45 of 58 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Expensive for what you get, May 17, 2004
By A Customer
I read the entire book (super large print) in about an hour. It had some points of interest. (I bought this off Amazon based on the recommendations). But unless you're the type who'll go into a restaurant and put down $80 for a salad, move on. The whole book could be boiled down to one of those laminated placards leaving enough room left over for VCR programming instructions :). I'd say its worth $2 - $4. Sorry I can't recommend an alternative. On the more positive side, as I said it wasn't a COMPLETE waste of time but any 2 - 3 page article in a magazine would do as much. Not even, imho, a good Cliff notes type thing for those who just want to talk the talk. To paraphrase "Less Filling, More cost"
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A short but interesting self help book, February 27, 2006
This is an exceptionally short and interesting book. I finished it within an hour. Ironcially that's the beauty of it which is just so straightforward and well written that I can remember some stories/teachings long after I closed it, especially the story of the waiter asking his manageress to buy the author a diet coke in a restaurant that served only Pepsi (dare you challenge the company policy to satisfy a customer?), and the one of a Cinderella cashier in Home Depot who bought a $2 stuff for a rich man (the prince who would marry her) who got only $100 notes to keep customers from waiting too long. In short, well worths the price and the time, though QBQ and personal accountability to you (and me) may just be another marketing name, similar to the "5 Whys?" (asking "why?" at least five times for every problem engaged) that Toyota, the excellent auto maker, had adopted for decades.

Below please find some passages I like the most for your reference.

I saw the angel in the marble and I chiseled until I set it free. - Michelangelo

Focusing on what we dont have is a waste of time and energy.....Let's ask the QBQ "How can I achieve with the resources I already have?" pg 40

"When are we going to hear something new?" is the wrong question. The right one is "How can I apply what I'm hearing?" - even if I've heard it before. pg 42

What can I do today to solve the problem? How can I help move the project forward? What action can I take to "own" the situation? pg 46

God grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change, the courage to change the one I can, and the wisdom to know..........it's me! pg 79

Leadership, more than anything else, is about the way we think. It's a moment to moment discipling of our thoughts. It's about practicing personal accountability and choosing to make a positive contribution, no matter what our role or "level." A receptionist, an engineer, a sales person, a temp worker, a cashier: They all can be leaders...Parents? Absolutely. Parenting may be the most important leadership role there is. pg 93

"Servant leadership" is the QBQ way, and it requires a humble spirit combined with a servant's heart. Humility is the cornerstone of leadership. pg 95

We attend too many seminars. We take too many classes. We buy too many books. We play too many audios in our cars. It's all wasted if we're unclear on what learning really is: Learning is not attending, listening, or reading. Nor is it merely gaining knowledge. Learning is really about translating knowing what to do into doing what we know. It's about changing. If we have not changed we have not learned. What have you learned today? pg 110
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How to experience life fully, February 19, 2004
By 
In my opinion, this book is the definitive guide for personal accountability. If you are prone to viewing yourself as a victim, this book will shake you forever of the habit. Wonderful and useful questions to help you take responsibility for creating your own life. A definite must read. I also recommend Optimal Thinking--How To Be Your Best Self as the definitive guide for personal and professional optimization. Optimal Thinking provides the best questions to help you make the most of the present moment, the most of your personal life and the most of your career. With personal accountability and optimization, you have all you will ever need.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Elementary, and 'flavor of the month', January 25, 2011
"The Question Behind the Question" only took about 30 minutes to read, and consists of several 'chapters' that are about 300 words each in length. Each chapter was short thoughts or anecdotes that are relational to the theme of the book, that 'personal accountability' is gone from modern society, specifically modern business.

Though I would agree with Mr. Miller that not nearly enough people prefer to take responsibility for problems, I believe that the book does a poor job of selling the theme of asking better questions and motivating employees to take more responsibility. Mr. Miller doesn't ever assert his point clearly, but rather darts around in a syncopated style that often leaves the reader thinking 'that was a neat anecdote, but why did he share it'.

On a grander scale, this is a management book, for management types who fall in love with self help books. For those types of managers, this book will seem like a godsend, because it focuses on the idea of making your employees want to work, which would be a common complaint from all managers. It also emphasizes the idea that its not the managers job to motivate them, or help them, but rather to ask specific types of questions that should lead their employees to their own idea of 'personal responsibility' about their jobs. I would argue that work is just that, work. And the only way people are motivated to work is by being paid.

Mr. Miller is a salesman, and a savvy one at that. He recognizes that managers complain about a lack of motivated employees, so he wrote a book that speaks to that point. If managers complained that not enough people wore green to work, he'd write a book about that too. His game is not making you a better boss, but selling more books. Remember that with all the self help books people think about buying. Also remember that there is an incredible industry behind 'management consulting' and these sorts of hokey, cheesy things rarely are deep enough to provoke real results. There's no excuse for 'going and seeing' issues, talking to people and gathering opinions, and making decisions.
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Real Deal - worthwhile!, April 12, 2002
By A Customer
Finally, a book without funny characters and parables. One with excellent content that can be applied. QBQ! not only made me AWARE of the need for more personal accountability in my life at home and at work, but it showed me HOW to do it. Refreshing! Miller helped me understand that too often I play victim by asking questions like "Why doesn't my company train me more?" and "When is someone going to clarify my job?" I've learned to pause and simply ask "What can I do to develop myself?" and "How can I adapt?" This is a book that won't let you down. It took me an hour to read ... and then I read it again - twice. Each time I picked up something new. Really enjoyed it ... and then I bought copies for my team and now we're studying it together. Our training department is now using it for everyone! And I'm proud to say I found it first.
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