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One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way Hardcover – June 1, 2004

186 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

Unleash the potent force of kaizen, the Japanese technique of achieving great and lasting success through small, steady steps. Whether the goal is as specific as getting more sleep or as broad as meeting the love of your life, kaizen works because it melts away resistance—in particular, the "fight-or-flight" brain chemistry behind people’s underlying fear of change.

An expert on the art of success, Dr. Robert Maurer has helped countless people and businesses use kaizen to reach their objectives and maintain excellence. Distilling its secrets, Dr. Maurer shows not only how and why kaizen works, but how to make it work for you—how to position yourself for change and make your life more effective, whether at home or in the office; how to address personal changes and career changes; how to realize ambitions by sidestepping any impediments.

As one client succinctly put it, "the steps [are] so small I couldn’t fail." And as far as being too busy to solve a problem, learn a new skill, overcome a fear, or curb a bad habit, forget it—who doesn't have the 30 seconds it takes to get started?

The road to a life of continuous improvement begins with a single step. 

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Robert Maurer, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist on the faculty of the UCLA and the University of Washington Schools of Medicine. He is the founder of the Science of Excellence, a consulting firm, and travels extensively presenting seminars and consulting on kaizen to diverse organizations, including corporations, hospital staffs, universities— even the U.S. Navy. Dr. Maurer lives in Spokane, Washington.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 182 pages
  • Publisher: Workman Publishing Company; 1 edition (June 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0761129235
  • ISBN-13: 978-0761129233
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.8 x 7.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (186 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #202,948 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Robert Maurer is the director of behavioral sciences for the Family Practice Residency Program at Santa Monica UCLA Medical Center and a faculty member of the UCLA School of Medicine. He travels extensively presenting seiminars and consulting on Kaizen to diverse organizations, including corporations, hospital staffs, universities, theater companies, spas--even the British government.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

122 of 122 people found the following review helpful By Michael Erisman on May 29, 2005
Format: Hardcover
The philosophy of small can produce big results. The topic of this book is how the big things in your life, your business, your relationships are really no more than a series of very small things. The key to change is the ability to make the minute course corrections over time, not big changes all at once.

The book starts with some great examples of how our mindset typically works when faced with major change or obstacles. We freeze. We are unable to grasp the enormity of what is required and therefore have less likelihood of success. The strategy is then in breaking the situation down to smaller segments and executing them. For example, anyone can exercise three minutes a day. Now by itself this won't change your life, but what if three turns into ten, ten into twenty, twenty into thirty? Now major change is underway.

The other essential element to this approach is the ability to understand root causes. This is a critical step in any Quality effort in business, but is also just as relevant and perhaps more important in life. Start by asking small questions. These will eventually lead to the root or core issues to be addressed.

The other sections lead from these basic premises. Take small actions, for example. Once the problem or change desired is broken down into smaller segments, don't try to change all at once. Take small steps and watch them grow. I think a big reason this is so difficult to do, is that many of us hard charging type-A types lack the patience to allow change to happen through the one step at a time mindset, and want to rush it all at once. We do so often with faster results that over time achieve less, and therefore in the end are in fact slower than if we were patient to begin with.
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195 of 199 people found the following review helpful By Jerald Lazar on November 25, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I am not a fan of self-help books, but this parcel of wisdom is an exception. Dr. Maurer gently guides you through a whole new way of perceiving your life, and towards the path to making those improvements you've been putting off indefinitely. The key? Baby steps. Sounds so simple, and it is. But you'll want to read Dr. Maurer's explanation for WHY this works, and HOW you can make it work for you. Forget about doing 20 pushups -- get down on the floor and do ONE. Floss ONE tooth. I'm oversimplifying, but that's the point -- Dr. Maurer encourages you to take monumental tasks and break them down into small manageable digestable morsels. Big problems? He teaches you how to ask small questions that will get them solved. I can't do justice to the genius of his presentation. This is well organized material, based on a series of lectures he has delivered around the globe to big companies and small organizations -- as well as his experiences as a psychotherapist in private practice. It gets proven results. The writing is engaging, the quotes and anecdotes are entertaining, and instead of the usual vague advice one typically gleans from this genre, you'll learn from an abundance of scientific and historical evidence (entertainingly presented), as well as receive hardcore action steps that YOU can undertake today. You'll be looking at life through a whole new set of lenses -- and with less stress and more productivity. Most powerfully, it demonstrates how each one of us can dramatically affect not only our own lives, but also exert positive influence over those around us. Buy a copy for yourself, and another batch as gifts for your friends, family, and colleagues. It's that good! Enjoy!
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184 of 199 people found the following review helpful By Diego Banducci on January 2, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Because I have several criticisms of this book, I should say at the outset that I found it helpful and worth purchasing. Stripped to its essence, Dr. Maurer's program consists of taking a series of very small incremental steps towards self-improvement instead of taking on the entire project with one gulp. Good advice, and it works. While he engages in the typical doctor/author approach of telling little stories about his patients (Do doctors all go to the same "Famous Authors School?"), his stories are shorter and more to the point than those of others. Overall, I found the book to be helpful.

Now for the criticisms:

1. This is not a book about Kaizen, which is a collection of Japanese manufacturing techniques involving the elimination of waste, Just In Time delivery, production load leveling, standardized work, paced moving lines, and right-sized equipment. There is some small overlap with the program described by Dr. Maurer, but his is aimed at personal improvement and is much simpler.

2. Like many doctor/authors, Dr. Maurer suugests that he has found the solution to all of the reader's problems, the key to the universe, rather than a simple, useful tool.

3. The book is way too long. Fortunately, there are chapter summaries at the end of each chapter for those who prefer a quick read. An executive summary at the beginning of the book would be a welcome addition.

Readers who would like to see how the same approach can be applied to business should consider The Mind Of The Strategist: The Art of Japanese Business by Konichi Ohmae, one of the few great business books.
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