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Change or Die: The Three Keys to Change at Work and in Life Paperback – December 26, 2007
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About the Author
Alan Deutschman is a senior writer at Fast Company and the author of two previous books, The Second Coming of Steve Jobs and A Tale of Two Valleys. He lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with his wife.
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Top Customer Reviews
Relate, Repeat, Reframe
Those three keys to change will be meaningless outside the context of the book, but they are very powerful principles that Deutschman brings into clear focus for your business and your life. One of the things that really brought this book home for me was the examples that he chose as the models for how the change process works, they were unexpected yet very relevant.
If you've ever wondered how to create real change in your organization or even to achieve a goal like weightloss (as the author did) this book shows you a clear path to success based on sound psychology and solid thinking.
If you've ever set goals you didn't reach or have any significant dream or desire to change something in your life or your business, this book is a handbook that you'll use over and over again. I'm buying it for everyone on my team and in my personal mastermind group.
Author: Persuasion The Art of Getting What You Want and The Power of an Hour Business and Life Mastery In One Hour A Week.
We label more and more acts as criminal. We build more prisons. But crime doesn't go away.
We keep asking, "Who should pay for health care?" when in fact over nearly 80% of health "care" costs could be reduced (or even eliminated) by iifestyle changes.
Psychologists have long known that change is rarely a matter of willpower. Karen Pryor's Don't Shoot The Dog warns that most of our education and training systems are not based on sound psychological guidelines.
Deutschman, as a journalist, presents case studies showing how groups of people changed following a few key principles. They identified with a person, leader or community. They got to practice, over and over again. They learned to think "as if" they had already changed. And they learned to reframe their experiences.
So prisoners at Delancey Street become members of a community. They learn to act "as if" they're ordinary, law-abiding citizens. They develop what Deutschman calls a middle-class mindset.
Dieters who followed Dean Ornish's program first joined a support group. They practiced new styles of eating and exercise. And they reframed their views about health, moving from helpless patients to strong achievers who took charge of their own health.
These two examples are most powerful, although Deutschman includes a few others (a parole officer learns to talk to clients a new way and businesses absorb cultures). In fascinating first-person narratives, he recounts his own struggles with mastering college French and with his own weight loss. In each case, he failed with credentialed teachers at Princeton and a high-priced gym, respectively, but mastered French and exercise when he connected to teachers with whom he shared interests.
As a former professor myself, I would add that the university system combines learning with assessing. Sometimes those goals conflict. Faced with limited time and an expectation that not everyone can earn A's, not to mention consequences of getting too friendly with students, few teachers can create the connection that Deutschman describes.
Ironically, as a society, collectively we're like the patients in the Dean Ornish study. His patients knew they should lose weight and exercise. We know we're implementing programs that don't work. Why do we keep doing it? Why do we keep building prisons and creating health programs that don't address the causes of the problem?
And do we really need to learn from credentialed experts? Ornish's own change agent was the man who taught his sister's yoga class. It seems that relationships lead to therapy, not a particular set of techniques. It's little wonder that lightly-trained coaches, without the cloaks of power and professionalism, have been successful as change agents for many of their clients.
If institutions and widely held beliefs don't change, more of us may die, literally or metaphorically. That the unintended lesson of this deceptively simple book.
There are so many authors out there offering false hope in many of these areas. Their books sell, but their readers are unlikely to make any lasting changes in their communities, companies or lives.
Deutschman analyzes why change is so hard and shows concrete lessons gleaned from the exceptions. This is not the wishful thinking of a feel-good TV therapist or infomercial peddler. These are the insights of a journalist who has interviewed leading thinkers and "doers".