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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 Hardcover – September 9, 2008

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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 + The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else In Business + The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive: A Leadership Fable
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1st edition (September 9, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0787995320
  • ISBN-13: 978-0787995324
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.9 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #49,449 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

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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Customer Reviews

I am recommending the book to ALL of my congregation!
Thomas C. Wrenn Jr.
The method taught in this book is simple and if the parties are disciplined and share a common goal success will definitely be the result.
Matt Mowery
I enjoyed the antidotal evidence used throughout the book and the style of writing (from one families perspective) was very helpful.
K. Fong

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By J. K. Brown on September 4, 2008
Format: Hardcover
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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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By J. Klaus on 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?
Read more ›
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Thomas M. Loarie TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 17, 2008
Format: Hardcover
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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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By M. Foster on 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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