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Smarts: Are We Hardwired for Success? Hardcover – Bargain Price, January 15, 2007

33 customer reviews

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Book Description

"Twelve specific and very important cognitive functions begin developing in the brain at birth. These ""skills” are built in to every individual and are fully developed -- and unchangeable -- by adulthood. Everyone has these same capabilities, but to varying degrees. And it is this unique and unalterable combination of one’s strengths and weaknesses that determines success or failure in any given role.

Smarts contains the groundbreaking Executive Skills Profile: a powerful self-assessment tool that will identify, once and for all, a person’s innate strengths and weaknesses. The results offer tangible proof of why we gravitate to certain tasks and struggle with others. With this newfound clarity, readers will learn to play to their stronger skills, and avoid wasting time on lesser ones they can never improve upon. Most important, they will discover their own unique potential for excellence.

Supported by proprietary primary research and grounded in widely accepted principles of clinical and neuro-psychology, Smarts is a truly eye-opening book that will change how we think about ourselves -- and others."

From the Inside Flap

It remains one of the great mysteries in life--what qualities truly define successful people? While we are all destined for greatness, we also possess one or two weaknesses that may be holding us back. While you consider yourself to be highly focused and cool under pressure, you may lack flexibility. You know that you are talented, gifted, and great at what you do, but in trying to overcome your shortcomings, you may be frustrating yourself and others and neglecting those strengths that will lead you to excellence. We all possess twelve specific and very important cognitive functions, including Time Management, Organization, Working Memory, and Stress Tolerance, which begin developing in the brain at birth. Everyone has these same capabilities but to varying degrees. These skills are largely unchangeable by adulthood, but the good news is that they can be enhanced. Smarts reveals what separates those people who continue to excel in their lives and in their careers. These highly successful people know that the real opportunities lie in playing to their strengths, not trying to improve their shortcomings. And in understanding their own innate assets and limitations, they are more tolerant and more patient with the strengths and weaknesses of others, making them better bosses, exceptional workers, and more understanding partners.

Using groundbreaking new research, best-selling author Chuck Martin reveals how embracing our two or three strongest Executive Skills can help us achieve excellence, while denying our weaknesses can undermine our progress. This book includes the revolutionary Executive Skills Profile you can use to spot your own strengths, and leverage them both at work and at home. You will begin to understand why you--and those around you--act or behave the way they do. Smarts shows you how to nurture your positive skills; identify, accept, and deal with your own weaknesses; and manage those characteristics of the people with whom you live and work.

Impeccably researched and grounded in proven scientific principles, this is a truly eye-opening and empowering book that redefines the way we understand the potential for greatness--in ourselves and others.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: AMACOM (January 15, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0814409067
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,898,813 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Robert Morris HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 6, 2007
Format: Hardcover
In one of Chuck Martin's previous works, Tough Management, he recommends "seven winning ways to make tough decisions easier, deliver the numbers, and grow the business in good times and bad." None of the "ways" is a head-snapper, nor does Martin make any such claim. The substantial value of this book is derived, rather, from responses by more than 2,000 senior executives and managers in 50 countries who participated in a survey conducted by NFI Research, Martin's firm. They completed a brief survey segment every two weeks over a period of 24 months. That is a key point because, over time both circumstances and respondents' reactions to them change. The final survey results thus have much greater credibility. Martin operates a global idea exchange and research engine with a network base of more than 2,000 senior executives and managers from more than 1,000 companies in more than 50 countries, including half of the Fortune 500. His observations and recommendations are thus based on an abundance of real-world data that he and his NFI associates continue to accumulate and then evaluate with meticulous care.

In this volume, which he co-authored with Peg Dawson and Richard Guare, Martin develops in much greater depth many of the core concepts introduced in his previous books. For example, insights concerning how both individuals and collaborative teams can achieve and then sustain superior performance by leveraging their strengths (i.e. talents, skills, temperament, and experience) when completing tasks for which those strengths are most appropriate. In this volume, the authors assert that there are certain brain functions starting at birth "and they are "`hardwired'" into every individual. Brain researchers have found that these skills are fully developed by the time you become an adult.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Kenneth L. Myers on January 3, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Like other experiences in this mind business, Chuck Martin has supplied us with the evidence to support the gut instincts we all use to navigate our daily lives. I am glad that the book does not simply present the problem. It goes on to acknowledge the difficulty in correcting executive behaviors and then provides concrete ways for both self-correction and to assist others in maximizing their strengths and controlling their weaknesses. One of the quotes he used included the phrase, "rises to the level of their incompetence." We have all watched this happen and lamented the bad fortune of someone caught in this trap. What you realize is that the blame is not always the failure of the individual but a failure to recognize a good fit from a bad one.

One of the most glaring examples that reinforces everything this book has to say is the problem most companies face when they advance top performers into management. I know my own company fights the problem that some top performers don't manage as much as they continue trying to contribute doing what they do best. Through promotion you can turn your top performer into your greatest problem or your most depressed employee. It is easy to think of this as a failure for the employee. It is really a failure to look more closely at the fit between employee strengths and the requirements of the job.

I have often lamented that there is a diminishing level of craftsmanship in our world. Here is a new opportunity for craftsmanship -- fitting job requirements to the person rather than shaping the person to fit the job. Martin has offered these new craftsmen a powerful set of tools, background information and realistic examples that will help them maximize their business skills and knowledge.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Peter F. Eder on January 7, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Chuck Martin has taken the insights he has accumulated from the ongoing executive panel of his NFI Research efforts and has created an insightful, practical Executive Skills Guidebook.

Identifying twelve "built-in" specific brain (cognitive) functions which he labels as "Executive Skills", the book in a clear and concise fashion provides readers / users a very useful tool to assess their own strengths and weaknesses of each function.

The book goes on to provide guidance and a map on how to maximize one's strengths and minimize one's weaknesses, as well as how to consider positions that intensify and reward the strengths.

Throughout, the authors reinforce their findings and guidance with practical quotes from a wide array of executives, the commentary gathered from the 2000 senior executives and managers globally that have participated in NFI Research during the past eight years.

Using the book in an internal organization seminar format would provide considerable strenghtening of a management team.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By S. Sloan on April 23, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Here's my take on this book: I already believe in excellence; I want to know how to achieve it for myself and build it in others. This book does that.

Martin, et al., use a scientific research approach to self-evaluation and overcoming weaknesses in one's self and team members based upon recognition of how our brains are wired. The mix of science and practical application is a breath of fresh air! For example: I've already applied their strategy for overcoming my chronic lateness to meetings (yes, it s about my fear of being unproductive).

I find most business excellence books to be long on inspiration and short on useful tools. This book has so much meat to it that I'm going use in my work and in my studies. The evaluation tools, teaching skills suggestions and skills alignment concepts are all immediately transferable to my work context. The executive skills concepts certainly bear more research and study as to how this thinking impacts the art/science of management theory as well.

In summary, I generally find few business press books to be of enduring value, but I think Martin and colleagues have written an important one in SMARTS. I think they have really broken new ground in management science thinking, and I am looking forward to applying SMARTS wherever possible in work and life.
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