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on 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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on September 20, 2008
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?
3. How do you talk about and use the answers to these questions?

Theresa and Jude learn how to answer these questions and then apply the answers to their lives. Sanity and quality return to their family. They learn that "running a family, though difficult, should not be complicated. Like most things in life--marriage, parenting, leadership, physical fitness, financial stability--it comes down to mastering a handful of simple concepts, which requires more persistence and dedication than it does intelligence."

Now it's time for us to answer the 3 big questions, apply the answers in the context of our situation, and to achieve the clarity that will help us live our family life to the fullest.
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VINE VOICEon 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. He notes every family plan will be different and will not alleviate all stress, as some chaos is inevitable.

I read "The Three Big Questions for a Frantic Family" with my children's families in mind only to discover that Lencioni's sage advice is hard to ignore for any couple, regardless of age.
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on October 6, 2008
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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on August 12, 2012
I think most families are like ours. We simply react to circumstances as they arise and this leaves us feeling like our wheels are spinning and we're just going through the motions of life. As new issues come up, we deal with them as best we can without any real goals in mind or common ground to start from. This is the first time in 8 years that my wife and I feel like we have a real opportunity to grow our family with intentional direction rather than wafting in the wind. All families should read this. It should be required reading for pre-marital counselling.
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on April 17, 2016
My wife and I had discussed taking a similar approach previously but have never done it. It just makes sense to me and the book articulates the idea of focusing on higher goals and aligning your actions below that to it. Things that don't fit, well they don't fit. This book has us moving forward with a plan and I think it will help us make better decisions on some big and small picture items because the basis of what we want to do as a family is clearly defined. I'll post updates in a few months but for now, I enjoyed the book.
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on July 20, 2015
If you have a family, you better read this book. As a long time fan of Lencioni, this one follows right in line with his previous works. The plan is easy to follow and we have adopted it for our family. After many of our friends saw the difference in our family, they have asked what we are doing. I may even be teaching a class at church to teach other families how to follow Lencioni's plan. Like any plan, you have to work it.
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on March 16, 2013
My husband and I are both working professionals in highly demanding jobs. We met and were married in our early 30's and from there had 2 children - boys. They are now 7&5. I am an avid reader of business books, but less so of 'parenting' books. I was checking my LinkedIn account and there was a link to an article on 'great books you have to read'. I perused the list and the title of this book jumped out at me. Given our hectic lifestyle, I don't have time for a complete life makeover, but I certainly have time to answer 3 questions - if they are useful.

And these are useful! Due to my background, the way the book was written and the sample answers it gives, made complete sense. As I got through each chapter, more and more of the thoughts and ideas seemed so simple, yet something I never would have applied to my family - work… yes / family…no. And yet for most of us our family is the most important aspect of our lives.

This book takes you through how the questions were developed - in the story the person who comes up with them is a mom (very relatable) - and the people who answer them are parents. This makes them useful examples of how you might answer them rather than some PhD theory of how families "should" work.

Even better - there are no judgments leveled in this book as to how a family 'should be'. It only gives you:
• Easy tools to define your family
• Talks specifically about an extremely important concept "context" (big one)
• A way to begin focusing your efforts as a family

I highly recommend it as an easy read (only took 4 days to get through - which is about 4 hours on a regular schedule), but an extremely useful read for chaotic, harried families.
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on January 7, 2013
My daughter is a very busy person with a full time position teaching high school biology and four very active children. She was thrilled when she opened the package and was looking forward to reading it. Later, she told me that the book was excellent and applicable to her family's overly busy situation.
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on September 12, 2012
Recently, Katie and I spent some time reading through Patrick Lencioni's book The 3 Big Questions for a Frantic Family and I can't say enough good things about it. Like almost all of Lencioni's books, it is written as a fable with the principles woven into the story. It is a fast read, easily done a couple of evenings.

The point of the book is: families run from one thing to the next and they aren't sure why. Very few families are focused and intentional about how they spend their time, how they spend their money, what they pass on to their kids. The one character in the book said, "If most companies ran themselves the way families run themselves, they'd be out of business."

Katie and I took the 3 questions and worked through them for our family.

By the end of talking through it, we've been able to articulate a mission statement for our family, the core values of who the Reich family is, what we will embody, give our time and money to, what we will pass on to our kids. It also helps you to articulate what you will spend your time on as a family in the next 3-6 months. Answering this question, "If you as a family accomplish only one thing in the next 3-6 months, what would it be? What 5 things do you need to do to accomplish that?"

If you are married, whether you have kids or not, you are probably too busy and unfocused in how you spend your time. This book is well worth the time to work through as a couple.
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