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What to Ask the Person in the Mirror: Critical Questions for Becoming a More Effective Leader and Reaching Your Potential Hardcover – July 19, 2011
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Leaders don’t have all the answers When you’re unsure what to do next, it’s time to answer the questions that Kaplan poses in his seven steps.” Dallas Morning News
Kaplan's business philosophy, applicable to everyone from CEOs to new college graduates, begins with a willingness to ask questions.” Chicago Tribune
the key strength of the book is its practical approach. People Management
In his timeless book, What to Ask the Person in the Mirror, Kaplan offers seven basic types of inquiry or areas of focusactually a system of inquiry that ties the leadership function togetherthat you should be looking at on a regular basis.” - LeadershipNow
Kaplan is part of a refreshing vanguard of management scholars who no longer view the CEO as a superhero, the corner office Zeus who creates value by force of will and top-down edict. Rather, the modern executive is reflective, empathetic, full of self-awareness, someone who leads by example and by motivation, not by power and fear.” BNET
Kaplan argues against the notion that great leadership is about having all the answers. He believes that leadership skills can be learnedand that many of these skills require executives to rethink their conception of what a superb leader actually does. Developing and practicing these skills requires hard work and may demand that talented executives overcome some degree of discomfort and even anxiety in order to raise their game.” HBS Working Knowledge
Throughout the cabinet file of information stacked into these pages, challenging questions are asked that will make you ponder the success rate of leadership strategies you employ.” Kennedy Book Reviews
Grab a copy of this easy-to-read yet deeply insightful book.” 800 CEO READ
Reading Rob Kaplan’s brilliant new book is like being coached by a great mentor. Written clearly and lucidly, with dozens of real-world examples, Kaplan’s savvy and practical advice results from hundreds of outstanding leaders he has mentored successfully. Don’t just read itincorporate his ideas into your leadership.” Bill George
Author, True North; professor of management practice, Harvard Business School
Rob Kaplan is an outstanding leader and business executive. In What to Ask the Person in the Mirror, he provides a valuable and adaptable framework that can be used by business and nonprofit leaders. This book lays out the important questions that leaders should ask in order to achieve their goals and reach their potential.” Henry M. Paulson, Jr.
Seventy-fourth Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Treasury; Chairman and CEO , Goldman Sachs (19992006)
Kaplan succeeds in translating his vast knowledge of the leadership field into clear, graceful language, almost as if he is having a conversation with the reader. He tells engaging stories to illustrate his general pointsthe most effective way to give abstract concepts life. This book should have a wide readership.” Doris Kearns Goodwin
Pulitzer Prizewinning presidential historian and author, Team of Rivals
About the Author
More About the Author
Prior to joining Harvard Business School in September 2005, Rob served as Vice Chairman of The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. with oversight responsibility for the Investment Banking and Investment Management Divisions. He was also a member of the firm's Management Committee and served as Co-Chairman of the firm's Partnership Committee and Chairman of the Goldman Sachs Pine Street Leadership Program. During his career at the firm, he also served in various other capacities including Global Co-Head of the Investment Banking Division (1999 to 2002), Head of the Corporate Finance Department (1994 to 1999) and Head of Asia-Pacific Investment Banking (1990 to 1994). Rob became a partner in 1990.
Rob is the founding Co-Chair of the Harvard Neuro Discovery Center Advisory Board. He is also Co-Chairman of the Board of Project A.L.S., Co-Chairman of the Board of the TEAK Fellowship, Co-chair of the Executive Committee for Harvard University Office of Sustainability Greenhouse Gas Emission Implementation Planning, and is a member of the Boards of the Harvard Medical School, Harvard Management Company (served as Acting President and Chief Executive Officer, November 2007 to June 2008), the Ford Foundation, and the Jewish Theological Seminary. Previously, Rob was appointed by the Governor of Kansas as a member of the Kansas Healthcare Policy Authority Board (2006-2010) and also served as a member of the Investors Advisory Committee on Financial Markets of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
Rob is a member of the Board of the State Street Corporation, is a Senior Advisor to Indaba Capital Management, LLC, is an Advisory Director of Berkshire Partners LLC and is chairman of the Investment Advisory Committee of Google, Inc. Previously, he was a member of the Board of Bed, Bath and Beyond, Inc. (1994-2009). He also serves in an advisory capacity for a number of companies.
Rob received an M.B.A. from Harvard in 1983 and a B.S. from the University of Kansas in 1979.
Prior to attending business school, Rob was a certified public accountant at Peat Marwick Mitchell & Co in Kansas City.
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Robert Steven Kaplan has carefully organized his material within seven "areas of focus" that are most relevant to the fulfilling the career ambitions and personal fulfillment of aspiring leaders. He devotes a separate chapter to each and then, in Chapter 8, he explains how to "bring it all together" in the proper perspective. His stated purpose is to formulate a "menu of potential inquiry" and create a process by which key questions can be framed and debated. I fully agree with Kaplan that the challenge is twofold: "framing the right questions, and, getting in the regular habit of stepping back and asking them." It's that simple...and that difficult.
How so "difficult"? Consider the nature of a crisis: It frequently occurs unexpectedly and requires immediate attention. With rare exception, there is an insufficiency of information initially; pressure and stress intensify exponentially while a response is being determined. The right answers, the best decisions, require asking the right questions.Read more ›
As a relatively junior professional in a large American corporation, I have found Kaplan's book incredibly helpful. "What to Ask the Person in the Mirror" has helped me create a framework in which to think about problem solving and my career and life goals. Kaplan's knowledge and advice have provided me with what I believe to be a powerful approach to management and leadership as I continue my career and hopefully expand my role. I plan to reread Kaplan's book in the future in order to evaluate myself and to refresh his timeless lessons.
I enthusiastically recommend this book!
The first statement in the introduction starts this superb book off on the right reflection in the mirror, "Great leadership is not about having all the answers-it is, more often, about having the courage to ask the critical questions." Throughout the cabinet file of information stacked into these pages, challenging questions are asked that will make you ponder the success rate of the leadership strategies you employ; in addition, this book educates you on how to ask the right questions to produce the desired answers.
This book is divided into eight main parts: Visions and Priorities, Managing Your Time, Giving and Getting Feedback, Succession Planning and Delegation, Evaluation and Alignment, The Leader as Role Model, Reaching Your Potential, and Bringing It All Together. Picturesque stories are told, which work to illustrate the key points and present the situations discussed in real-world examples. Suggested follow-up steps are skillfully placed among the 264 pages of this book, which will work to assist you at fully grasping the concepts discussed.
In the appendix of this book, there is a page that illustrates What to Ask the Person in the Mirror: A Framework, which can prove to be a beneficial resource when working your way through the text. Bound in a durable hardcover, this book would make an exceptional treasure in your personal library, conveniently placed on your desk, or given as a gift.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Harvard Business Review Press book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255vf: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A very through guide and experiential book about the leadership traits needed to evaluate and define your own leadership stylePublished 6 months ago by Geovanie Galan
Good book. Parallel s "Good to Great" book. Read both and you will have a good vision of how to run a company.Published 14 months ago by Robert Colin Ucman
"What to Ask the Person in the Mirror" was referred to me by a trusted friend and it did not disappoint. Read morePublished on December 19, 2013 by Daren Moon
I love reading peoples different views on how to lead and how people operate. I've only read the first chapter and cant wait to read more!Published on September 4, 2013 by sarah
Personally I left challenged to become better at coaching my staff, for that I'm grateful for the read. Read morePublished on August 21, 2013 by Adam Huschka
Book Review: What To Ask The Person In The Mirror By Robert S Kaplan: Great Lessons For A Leader
Recently I read a good book from Robert S. Read more
Read this book with a note pad and pen by your side . It has great references that you may want to revisit and having good notes will prove to be most valuable.Published on February 13, 2013 by BERNARD G NOSEWORTHY
As a leadership book I'd say this one is OK, but that's as far as I'd go. I don't think it goes into grass-roots leadership anywhere deeply enough. Read morePublished on August 17, 2012 by Gary Pittard