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The Shibumi Strategy: A Powerful Way to Create Meaningful Change Hardcover – November 16, 2010


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The Shibumi Strategy: A Powerful Way to Create Meaningful Change + The Laws of Subtraction: 6 Simple Rules for Winning in the Age of Excess Everything + In Pursuit of Elegance: Why the Best Ideas Have Something Missing
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (November 16, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470769505
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470769508
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #395,052 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

With this short, simple fable, Matthew May manages to illuminate an all-too-common career crisis with Zen insights and concepts that not only provoke thought but also give readers powerful strategies to tackle change, challenge, and opportunity.”
—Gretchen Rubin, author, The Happiness Project

"Matt May has written a little book full of big ideas.  Drawing from ancient Zen practice and applying those principles to modern life, he shows how you can turn the obstacles in your path into opportunities to transform your career, perhaps even your life."
—Daniel H. Pink, author, Drive and A Whole New Mind

“Matt's done it again: shown us how to break out of constraints and get the job done. He's also proven how Japanese practices and Zen principles that are difficult to translate can explain everything.”
—Guy Kawasaki, co-founder, Alltop.com and author, Reality Check

"The holy grail for any leader is to reach a state of clarity and peak performance. Through the power of story, The Shibumi Strategy shows us how, and sheds an invaluable light on the role (and potential) of the everyday struggles we face."
—Scott Belsky, founder & CEO, Behance and author, Making Ideas Happen

"What an exquisite story! Matt May deftly weaves ancient wisdom with modern realities, revealing how each of us can embrace the struggle inherent in any meaningful breakthrough—and use it to transform our own potential in work and life."
—Sally Hogshead, author, Fascinate: Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation

“This is a treasure of a book, and just the kind of uplifting medicine that’s needed right now. It’s about something that in the west we don’t even have a name for, and yet it holds the key to finding our way in challenging times. When you know how to look at the events of your life, everything is there to show you what you can’t see on your own, and offer you opportunities that you normally walk right by. No matter your life circumstances, this is the kind of book that can (and almost certainly will) change your life.”
— Sarah Susanka, author, The Not So Big Life and The Not So Big House series

The Shibumi Strategy is a simple but affecting tale—a must-read for anyone looking to make sense of breakthrough change at work and in life.”
— Ori Brafman, coauthor, Click: The Magic of Instant Connections

The Shibumi Strategy tells a touching story with a universally resonant message you’ll want to keep close to your heart and share with others.”
— Maddy Dychtwald, author, Influence: HowWomen’s Soaring Economic Power Will Transform Our World for the Better

“This exceptional book is a game-changer. Read it. Apply it (fast). And step into your next level.”
— Robin Sharma, author, The Leader Who Had No Title and The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari

From the Inside Flap

"What if we are constantly being sent signals and offered opportunities, but because we are so involved in our mad rush to survive the day that we simply don't receive them? What if we're stuck, asleep at the wheel, and we just don't know it, because our conventional ways of thinking, rigidly structured routines, and solidly set minds block us from discovering what the universe is calling us to do?"

From the introduction

The Shibumi Strategy is a little book about a big breakthrough. It tells the story of Andy Harmon, a hardworking family man who finds himself in crisis when his company closes. Through his struggle, and guidance from unlikely sources, he learns subtle lessons in Zen principles, coming to understand that it is often the unexpected setbacks that harbor the power to transform. When approached as an opportunity, these unforeseen trials can often result in a life-changing breakthrough. For Andy, it comes in the form of shibumi—a Zen concept without direct translation in English but connoting effortless effectiveness, elegant simplicity, and the height of personal excellence.

Engaging and enlightening, The Shibumi Strategy provides a pathway for a five-phase cycle, encompassing lessons on commitment, preparation, struggle, breakthrough, and transformation. Also included are short insights, practical takeaways, and exercises for incorporating this philosophy in everyday life.

Designed to strike a universal chord, Andy's journey toward shibumi enables individuals to adopt their own interpretations of the concept and create meaningful changes in their lives. For those navigating difficult transitions, struggling to overcome internal setbacks, seeking to regain balance, or simply taking new directions, The Shibumi Strategy offers a fresh perspective on the challenges we all face at some point in work and life.


More About the Author

MATTHEW E. MAY is is the author of THE LAWS OF SUBTRACTION: 6 Simple Rules for Winning in the Age of Excess Everything, as well as three previous, award-winning books: The Elegant Solution, In Pursuit of Elegance, and The Shibumi Strategy. A popular speaker, creativity coach, and close advisor on innovation to companies such as ADP, Edmunds, Intuit, and Toyota, he is a regular contributor to the American Express OPEN Forum Idea Hub and the founder of Edit Innovation, an ideas agency based in Los Angeles. His articles have appeared in national publications such as The Rotman Magazine, Fast Company, Design Mind, MIT/Sloan Management Review, USA Today, Strategy+Business, and Quality Progress. He has appeared in The Wall Street Journal and on National Public Radio. A graduate of the Wharton School of Business and Johns Hopkins University, he lives in Southern California.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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The Shibumi strategy is a well written and engaging small novel.
Bas Vodde
I already knew most of these terms because of my lean thinking background in business, but still learned a lot from the book.
Bosnjak Dragan
It's a quick read with a really interesting point: sometimes we have to do less to do more.
Phil Simon

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Robert I. Sutton on December 16, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am one not a Zen or touchy-feely guy, so I began reading this book with considerable skepticism. But once I got past the first page or two, I was hooked, the story is great, it feels authentic and emotionally compelling, and as it unfolds it teaches you how to apply the Zen mindset and concepts to be more effective at what you do, more patient, to avoid pushing too hard, to keep pressing forward during tough times, and always, to chip away at small wins. It is nothing like a typical business book, and as a result, far more fun, satisfying, and useful then most other business books. It is a bit like Randy Komisar's The Monk and the Riddle, which is a great book that sold a lot, but it is even better and I think even more useful for most of us.

Bob Sutton
Stanford Professor and author of Good Boss, Bad Boss
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Format: Hardcover
Einstein's observation correctly suggests the importance of eliminating non-essential complexity. Rather, focus on whatever is most important to achieving the given task, to answering the given question or to solving the given problem. This is what Marcus Aurelius has in mind when suggesting, "Constantly regard the universe as one living being, having one substance and one soul; and observe how all things have reference to one perception, the perception of this one living being; and how all things act with one movement; and how all things are the cooperating causes of all things which exist; observe too the continuous spinning of the thread and the contexture of the web." Therefore, "Look to the essence of a thing, whether it be a point of doctrine, of practice, or of interpretation."

In his latest book, Matthew May offers a business parable and this is quite a bold departure from his approach in two previous books, In Pursuit of Elegance and The Elegant Solution. Briefly, the protagonist (Andy Harmon) is in his 40s, married with a family, and suddenly finds himself unemployed in Twin Falls, a "one company town" that has lost its largest employer, Mega Box Electronics. Should he relocate to another area in which jobs are more plentiful or remain and take his chances, such as they are? Either way, the risks are daunting. After giving the situation a great deal of thought, he decides to work for a local automobile dealership.

In this context, I am reminded of one of the most thoughtful books I have ever read on the subject of coping with setbacks, delays, frustrations, "crucibles" and even tragedies: Seth Godin's The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick), published by Portfolio/Penguin in 2007.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Meyer on November 2, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It is amazing how a small book can hold so many life-changing thoughts. A quick read, but don't fool yourself - you'll be thinking about what you read for days - weeks - months. Sort of the opposite of traditional business books that are long reads but could be condensed down to a few pages. Highly recommended if you want a different perspective on your life and career and are willing to change.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By John W. Burns on January 22, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
well worth reading for those interested in rekindling their imagination on bringing about personal change and seeking to do it in an effective and calming manner. Practical, concrete steps described through a management fable that enables one to access inner strength and create a balanced approach.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Michael P. Maslanka on November 27, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I am not a big fan of business fable books. Usually too much fable, too little substance. But I enjoyed May's last book and so got this one. Glad I did.He clearly communicates the basics of Buddhist business thought:continuous improvement; relfection on performance (even when---especially when---you are doing well);understanding that what may appear as failure is often a disguised opportunity. It is a different and effective way of thinking.The message:it is simple but simple is hard. Buddhist bottom line:change the way you think and you change the way you act Short and can be read in one sitting,and so will be re-read. Useful appendix.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Phil Simon on February 24, 2011
Format: Hardcover
The only other "business fiction" book that I read was Death by Meeting. By way of background, I absolutely loved May's second book - In Pursuit of Elegance. May's style consistently leaves me wanting more. Like "Elegance", "Shibumi" says quite a bit in relatively few pages. It's a quick read with a really interesting point: sometimes we have to do less to do more. You could apply its principles to many pursuits and, as someone marketing his own books, should heed the advice of the book. Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By I. Rosenblatt on October 26, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition
If anyone you know and care about doubts that big things come in small packages, I suggest you pick-up a copy of this book for them. It delivers a poignant message -- relevant to everyone except those lucky few out there who are already "acing" life in all respects -- in a very "easy read" format. Further, and this is the best part for my money, Matt May includes a virtual Shibumi tool box in the back of the book, empowering (perhaps even challenging) readers to go off and build their own life improvements, whatever form they may take. This is a deep message, delivered in a gentle way, replete with a practical how-to kit. What more can one ask for? At the risk of sounding cliche, this is the gift that keeps on giving. Literally!
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