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egonomics: What Makes Ego Our Greatest Asset (or Most Expensive Liability) Paperback – September 9, 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone; Reprint edition (September 9, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416533273
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416533276
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #262,866 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this flawed, uneasy mix of business analysis and psychological study, business consultants Marcum and Smith offer a defense of ego and its broadly misunderstood counterpart, humility, along with a discussion of how to maneuver ego to effectively encourage individual talent and sound business practice. Though the very word has negative connotations, the authors see ego as a vital asset to business growth. Employees who handle ego effectively are more confident, assertive and willing to listen to others and thus more equipped to compete and excel. Those who don't are forced to work from a place of defensiveness and an oversensitivity to outside judgment. Marcum and Smith effectively demonstrate the benefits of successful ego management in situations as varied as Fred Rogers's fight to keep government funding for PBS and Sojourner Truth's Ain't I a Woman speech, but their plans for ego management in the workplace are vague, confusingly organized and unspecific. The authors have backgrounds in business and psychology, but skim too swiftly over both to be satisfying on either level. Without firm strategy, this is a magazine article stretched to book length, neither informative nor particularly entertaining. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Intelligent and wise...a beautiful job describing ego's strengths and pitfalls."

-- Dr. Amy C. Edmondson, Harvard Business School

"I loved this book. Reveals in depth and originality how to deploy this basic force for self-development and the common good."

-- Dr. Warren Bennis, distinguished professor of business, University of Southern California

"A wonderful book...addresses the greatest challenge faced by successful people."

-- Dr. Marshall Goldsmith, New York Times bestselling author of What Got You Here Won't Get You There

"Should be required reading in every MBA program."

-- Christine M. Pearson, Ph.D., Thunderbird School of Global Management

"Engaging and well-written."

-- Dave Ulrich, Ph.D., professor, Ross School of Business, University of Michigan

"This book is quite an accomplishment."

-- Jon Kabat-Zinn, professor of medicine emeritus, University of Massachusetts Medical School; author of Coming to Our Senses

"Refreshing...a compelling case for the practical importance of humility in the business realm."

-- Alan Deutschman, senior writer, Fast Company; author of Change or Die

"Pay attention when Stephen Covey calls a book 'brilliant and vitally important'... [Egonomics] reinforces the overwhelming presence of ego in business these days." -- Diane Brady, BusinessWeek Magazine

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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It will be a required read for everyone on my team.
Michael
When it comes to understanding ego and how to manage our ego as well as the egos of those around us: what Marcom and Smith have to say really works.
Jeff
Egonomic is a fresh look at a sensitive topic which is rarely addressed in business or leadership books.
P. Brooks

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By J. Lundquist on September 4, 2007
Format: Hardcover
When I read this book I had two thoughts: 1) as the leader of my company, why haven't I looked more closely, until now, at my own ego, and 2) why is it that, as the authors ask in the book, we get so protective of our egos when the topic surfaces? What are we afraid of? It's soon clear in the book that the authors have no interest in removing ego from anyone or anywhere, especially business; just better management of it.

I think everyone will find very individual answers in this work; it became clear to me the further I read that the "answers" in this book have as much to do with self-reflection and a precise self-awareness as they do for the methodologies of communication and teamwork that they purport. In terms of that awareness, for me at least, it's difficult to let go of what's worked in the past to try something new, and the authors are clearly asking us to consider a different way to work. Not unimaginable, but certainly a different "level." The three principles they focus their work on--humility, curiosity, and veracity--seemed a very solid balance to the "power of ego." The four early warning signs of mismanaged ego outline why ego gets the best of us at times.

I expected a more pure psychological read, and instead found myself comparing their writing along the lines of investigative business journalists rather than psychologists. If you're interested in the purely academic/Freudian side of ego, this isn't for you. I don't think the authors intended it for that (very much focused on the workplace). If you're looking for more of a "Blink" or "Wisdom of Crowds" POV, then this book is terrific.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By P. Brooks on September 3, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Egonomic is a fresh look at a sensitive topic which is rarely addressed in business or leadership books. Most of us see the negative impact of the ego in our daily settings. Rarely is there a book which emphasizes the positive power and impact of the ego as a business resource. The organization's which leverage this valuable resource as an asset will have more positive trends on their financial results.

The first chapter presents compelling evidence from business people's estimate on how the ego negatively impacts annual revenue. It also demonstrates how the ego gives leaders confidence to demonstrate their greatest strengths, however, these same strengths can become counterfeit weakenesses. When an organization invests in our greatest strengths, it also inherits the potential of the counterfeit weaknesses as well.

What really got my attention is the statement toward the end of the first chapter which points out how "when the pervasive power of ego shakes, everything on our task list--the way we collaborate, think, decide, execute--shakes with it." How true this is. The book then goes on to objectively explore three core principles and how to ensure the ego is an asset.

I really appreciated how the three core principles of egonomics and the "deep dive" into each one provided the reader clearer understanding of how to minimize the shaking of our own egos or to recogize when someone else's ego is shaking. This books is a good read for anyone who desires to have a continual positive impact on the organization and it's business results.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Oscar Herrin on September 4, 2007
Format: Hardcover
David Marcum and Steve Smith may have stumbled on a perspective many ignored for its complexity and raw form. I find the ideas insightful and relevant to Leaders in many levels. It is a great discussion on EGO and its unique ability to shape the environment. Egonomics transforms a hard to tackle topic into an everyday measure of performance and business relevance.

Egonomics is an awareness of truth in Leadership.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By J. Mark on September 4, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The strength of this book lies in its explanation of the concepts that each of us has experienced in our day-to-day interactions. Much of the content we intuitively understand to be true, but the authors do an excellent job of providing research-based examples that illustrate the root causes of such behavior and what can be done to overcome, or in other cases encourage, the behavior.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By JJP on September 4, 2007
Format: Hardcover
All too often in teams we are unable to exceed expectations. Instead of multiplying talents to achieve superior results, we bring our team down to the lowest common denominator of each member's weaknesses. Egonomics breaks this paradigm by giving teams the tools they need to maximize effectiveness through the power of ego. You will be hard pressed to find a book with as many ah ha moments, and bent pages to mark all the items you will want to use as examples. You will find your leaders skeptical of these methods, but the dynamics of a team that uses it effectively are amazing. This book goes beyond business, and extends to how to be better in life.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By M. Smith on September 4, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Egonomics operationalizes the idea of leadership humility that Jim Collins brought out in Good To Great and presents it as a quality of strength rather than weakness. The book really uncovers the hidden costs of ego and what the alternative looks like. Each of the warning signs discussed in the book -- showcasing brilliance, being defensive, being comparative, and seeking acceptance -- I have seen many times over in my career (and been guilty of myself) and they have always gotten in the way of effectiveness. Egonomics is a must read.
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