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The Three Big Questions for a Frantic Family: A Leadership Fable About Restoring Sanity To The Most Important Organization In Your Life (J-B Lencioni Series) [Kindle Edition]

Patrick M. Lencioni
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)

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Book Description

In this unique and groundbreaking book, business consultant and New York Times best-selling author Patrick Lencioni turns his sights on the most important organization in our lives—the family. As a husband and the father of four young boys, Lencioni realized the discrepancy between the time and energy his clients put into running their organizations and the reactive way most people run their personal lives. Having experienced the stress of a frantic family firsthand, he and his wife began applying some of the tools he uses with Fortune 500 companies at home, and with surprising results.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Lencioni (The Three Signs of a Miserable Job) makes an eloquent case for applying business tools to manage scattered and stressful home lives. He observes that even successful people who apply strategies and long-term thinking at work neglect to implement plans and goals for their own families, noting that family chaos is just part of life and so we accept levels of confusion and disorganization and craziness at home that we would not tolerate at work. Lencioni invites readers into the lives of a fictional family, describing how overwhelmed stay-at-home mom Theresa brings greater serenity into her home by integrating business pointers into a three-step plan in which her family identifies what makes them unique, their top priority or rallying cry (a big project that can be worked on in two to six months) and a regular time to discuss their progress, preferably 10 minutes a week. Although Lencioni admits that his own family's experience using these tools has been limited, his book is a worthwhile if brief attempt to grapple with a particularly thorny problem facing overextended families. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Memo to mom: "if my clients ran their companies the way we run this family, they'd be out of business." So says the management-consultant dad in this slim but thought-provoking volume. BlackBerrys are blurring the line between work and home. Why not apply business principles to "the most important organization in your life"? It's hard to argue with the idea that family goals should be carefully articulated. Likewise, a weekly family meeting can only help team spirit. But please, let's draw the line at pink slips.

Product Details

  • File Size: 576 KB
  • Print Length: 236 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0787995320
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (October 3, 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001FA0GJO
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #279,941 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great BOOK!!! September 4, 2008
First I will admit that I am a fan of Lencioni's previous titles. The author's style of writing is to teach trough a story of characters that you can identify with. The sub-title of the book is "A Leadership Fable". This is not a book that proposes a lesson through theory but through application.

I found myself able to identify with the characters in the story from the first page all the way through the entire book. I completed the book in three hours because I could not stop reading once I picked it up.

If you find yourself asking when does the chaos end between work, home, personal life then the 3 Big Question approach may just a tool that can get you pointed in the right direction. Is it earth shaking knowledge? No, but rarely are most practical approaches to dealing with business or family.

Is the approach by the author a silver bullet. No! But I believe the concept is simple enough and profound enough for almost any family that it will at least bring the family to the table to start discussing what is important and what is the priority for your family.

It's a great book. I would recommend for anyone no matter if you are a single, couple, family with small children or those who have no children at home.

If I could I would give everyone a copy. It's that good.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Change Your (family) Life September 20, 2008
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Reactive? Scattered? Frantic? Chaotic? Stressed?

When I read Verne Harnish's recommendation of this book, I knew I had to read it. Verne's book "Mastering the Rockefeller Habits" on how to tame the chaos of a fast growing company has helped our business immensely. I even applied what I learned about running our company to my family--with good results. I don't know if Verne had that objective in mind, but it just made sense that if we clarified our values, purpose, and goals as a family, we should all be able to move in the same direction, just like we strive to do every day at work.

The 3 Big Questions for a Frantic Family specifically takes business health principles and applies them to the family. Very few families think of themselves as an organization that should strategically and systematically pursue improvement. But they should! We have 5 kids, ages 2 to 16, with a lot of activities in and out of the home. Do we have chaos? Absolutely. Can we tame the madness and live in peace and alignment in purpose? Patrick Lencioni says "yes," and the plan is far more simple than you might think.

Simple? Really? Can a business consultant and writer really make these concepts accessible to an average dad or mom who doesn't define and implement strategy at work? Yes. How? First, by telling how it's done in fable form from the perspective of a stay at home mom. And second, Theresa not only learns how to tame the chaos and bring sanity back, but she teaches the method to her friends, which gives us several examples of what it looks like in different families with various problems.

Theresa and her husband Jude answer the 3 big questions:

1. What makes your family unique?
2. What is your family's top priority?
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Waiting Until Your Family Implodes? October 17, 2008
In "The Three Big Questions for a Frantic Family," fabled Pat Lencioni offers us a fable focusing on the most important organization in life, our family. Motivated by his own experience and observation of his contemporaries, Lencioni concludes today's parents are stressed out and overwhelmed because they operate by the seat of their pants. The long term costs are real but go unappreciated until the family implodes. Unfocused day to day living increases rates of depression, substance abuse, and psychological illness leading to serious dysfunctions and divorce.

Lencioni offers a prescription for restoring sanity and ensuring more purposeful, less frantic lives. It centers on three key questions:
1. What makes your family unique?
2. What is your family's top priority - rallying cry - right now?
3. How will you use the answers? And how will you keep the answers alive?

The fundamental principal applied by Lencioni is context. Once a family knows the context in which it operates, they will have an agreed-upon guide for family decision-making.

My wife, who read this in one sitting, loved the book as well. She noted that Lencioni's model provides couples with an exellent methodology for dialogue on child rearing and day-to-day living. "The model leads to consistency on decisions and a way to judge a couple's response to unplanned events. Most importantly, it will knit couples closer together as it leads to better coordination and mutual support."

This is an excellent book for all families. Prior to the publication of "The Three Big Questions for a Frantic Family," Lencioni tested his prescription and provides outcomes from a number of families who tried the medicine.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A breath of fresh air for the family! October 6, 2008
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
My wife and I have really grown with the simple steps outlined in The 3 Big Questions for a Frantic Family. Our 7 year old is totally involved as well.

I'm a successful business professional, and have always been experiencing mixed feelings during personal life because of the chaos.

At the times our family is disappointed when things aren't living up to our idea of the "perfect day," or month, or year, I have many feelings including:
- Sadness the family is disappointed - seeing the long faces of my wife and kids. I want us to be happy.
- Hopeful since I wait for my family to "finally" realize a little bit of team communication can go a long way to producing the results we want.
- Openly excited that maybe there will be some family buy-in to my desires to focus on teamwork now that we, once again, feel the pain of "what we are doing is not working" - so how about a change in how we do things around the home?

Patrick Lencioni's book has changed that! I read the book first, being a huge fan of all of Lencioni's books. By reading excepts to my lovely spouse, she became interested enough to read the book herself. Soon my wife was saying, "that's me! that's us!" and she read the book as fast as she would read her People magazine!

We are actively participating in the three steps as a family and the results are amazing. Short meetings, once a week, limited to 10 minutes, and our family is so much happier and functional than ever before.

This is a wonderful book for any family. Lots of books have "the right stuff" for families, and what sets The 3 Big Questions apart from other books in my mind is that the story of the fable format will appeal to people who ordinarily wouldn't read a book like this.

I hope to some day meet Mr. Lencioni and thank him in person. Our family life has gone to a whole new level around here!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Book is really good. Easy to read/understand
I would make this a 4.5 stars. Book is really good. Easy to read/understand. Lencioni perfectly describes what life was like when my children were younger: over-scheduled, frantic,... Read more
Published 12 days ago by kdm
5.0 out of 5 stars Our church small group of married twenty-something's enjoyed doing a...
Our church small group of married twenty-something's enjoyed doing a study of this book together right after the new year. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Ashley Rickard
4.0 out of 5 stars If you run your family like a business is the best ROI you can get!
This book has been very popular in cj Advertising's meetings. You know that it's going to be a good book when the very first page got me thinking. Read more
Published 3 months ago by lauren head
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good to evaluate what is important to your family. Nice conversation starter.
Published 4 months ago by jj
5.0 out of 5 stars ... young family to make it right and it's a fun thing to try the...
a big help for us as a young family to make it right and it's a fun thing to try the questions in our family
Published 6 months ago by Octavianus Gautama
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very usefull book.
Published 7 months ago by Daniel Urban
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book!
Simple reminder of concepts we know but too many times we forget or don't implement in our daily lives. I loved it!
Published 8 months ago by don
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Patrick's best books! Written in a fable style of writing
One of Patrick's best books! Written in a fable style of writing. I have all of his books on my Kindle reader so that I can share with my management team in their growth. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Lee Arkansas
4.0 out of 5 stars Informative.
Very well written and had lots of useful information. I am a slow reader but was able to breeze through this book.
Published 15 months ago by Andy Felts
5.0 out of 5 stars dude is a genius
Got family? Read this book twice. Then tell all your friends families to read it. Then make a plan and stick to it.
Published 15 months ago by jsboian
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More About the Author

Patrick Lencioni is founder and president of The Table Group, a firm dedicated to helping leaders improve their organizations' health since 1997. His principles have been embraced by leaders around the world and adopted by organizations of virtually every kind including multinational corporations, entrepreneurial ventures, professional sports teams, the military, nonprofits, schools, and churches.

Lencioni is the author of ten business books with over three million copies sold worldwide. His work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, Fortune, Bloomberg Businessweek, and USA Today.

Prior to founding The Table Group, Lencioni served on the executive team at Sybase, Inc. He started his career at Bain & Company and later worked at Oracle Corporation.

Lencioni lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife and their four sons.

To learn more about Patrick and The Table Group, please visit


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