- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (March 10, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0471714402
- ISBN-13: 978-0471714408
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.8 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #985,351 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Just Enough: Tools for Creating Success in Your Work and Life 1st Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
Defining success, learning how to achieve it and feeling satisfied with the resultsall in a world where nothing ever seems to be enoughare the challenges addressed by the authors of this volume. Nash and Stevens, both of the Harvard Business School, believe that "everyone seems to be struggling with the Tantalus effect. This mythological character was punished with an eternal, raging thirst." As they point out, such constant striving means perpetual stress and no contentment. Per their definition, success isnt measured by money alone; it involves four pillars of professional and personal life: happiness, achievement, significance and legacy. Illustrating their ideas with real examples (of both celebrities and non-celebrities), as well as with the ponderings of a few ancient philosophers, the authors explain what these pillars mean, how to define them for oneself, why "going for the max" is dangerous and how to calibrate ones own version of "just enough." Though the prose seems excessively wordy for a book teaching readers how to eliminate excess, the topic is interesting and well researchedand likely to strike a chord with people juggling many demands in a fast-paced, success-hungry society.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
"the best of this crop of books." (The New York Times, April 11, 2004)
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Top Customer Reviews
This is a review of the article but of course the concepts are the same.
Success can be so elusive. The authors compare it to an Escher drawing of a staircase! They propose an interesting framework to help us capture our own definition of success. After all we are the ones living our lives. Why let anyone else decide for us?
In their view success comes from 4 irreducible components:
happiness (feelings of pleasure or contentment about your life); achievement (accomplishments that compare favorably against similar goals others have strived for); significance (the sense that you've made a positive impact on people you care about); and legacy (a way to establish your values or accomplishments so as to help others find future success).
But they note that unfortunately, "you cannot neatly categorize the realms of your life, assigning happiness to self, achievement to work, significance to family, legacy to community."
So, "no matter how noble, one goal can't satisfy all of a person's complex needs and desires." Actually, they say that since we have limited time and energy, we need to find a balance, something along the lines of less (in any one category) is more (overall).
To capture this, the authors have developed an interesting metaphor: The Kaleidoscope Strategy. It combines the four components with the realms of life: self, work, family, community. It brings structure to our exploration of what success means to us. The Kaleidoscope comes with a set of questions, to help us shed light on our findings.
Honorable Robert H. Bohn
Massachusetts Superior Court
Authors: Laura Nash and Howard Stevenson
Published: NJ: John Wiley, 2004
This is a welcome book on defining and explaining success through a refined paradigm of living a life of 'enough.' The authors a framework that incorporates 4 commonly used benchmarks in order to restate what true success means.
- Happiness is both in the 'here and now.'
- Achievement must be directly related to one's 'desired goals.'
- Significance is done via making a 'difference' in the lives of others.
- Legacy means leaving something behind that will contribute to the success of others.
MAIN POINT - The authors felt a need to contrast the world's notion of success being 'infinitely more' versus a framework of 'just enough.' Their core message is that "success is not about one thing nor an infinite number of things; it is about 'just enough." (x)
It is the authors' conviction that understanding authentic success is the key to unlocking impediments to overcoming difficulties in today's business environment. When these goals of happiness, achievement, significance and legacy are achieved, one will feel satisfied and will be able to say 'just enough.' These four categories will help one to ANTICIPATE, SET LIMITS, LEARN what shapes the goals, and how to DIRECT the right resources toward each goal.
THINGS TO APPLAUD
I especially appreciate the clarity Nash and Stevenson brings toward the understanding of success. People have used the word 'success' so loosely that we often needs to be refreshed on the need to understand its true meaning. Firstly, the work is realistic as it is based on a study of more than 150 business case studies at the Harvard Business School. Secondly, the study is broad, and aims to achieve multiple goals. Thirdly, it is pragmatic as it recognizes that many business goals are like moving targets in a fast changing world. Fourthly, it is written in layman's language and ought to appeal to a wide audience, not only business executives. The use of bold letters to stress their main points are helpful. Moreover, the use of stories and examples in the book make for enjoyable reading. Fifthly, their use of memnomics are helpful from a pedagogical standpoint:
Happiness = Enduring
Achievements = Winning
Significance = Counting (to others)
Legacy = Extending
WHAT IS LACKING
The second part of the book is quite an effort to go through. That alone will discourage some readers. The authors tried hard to link the four categories into one model. I think they tried too hard to the point if there are any natural cohesiveness, they become lost in the spaghetti of information. Despite the use of models and efforts to link their framework together as one, I still feel a little disconnected, like the 4 categories are 'forced into' a mold in order to project the philosophy of 'just enough.' I am not sure how non-business school trained individuals will take to it. The framework when drawn to detailed analysis can risk one into entering the trap of 'analysis-unto-paralysis.' the work is long on general examples and explanations but short on specific detail. There is also a risk of confusing the reader with the multiple diagrams of the four categories. It leaves me a feeling of too-much-to-handle at one time. In a nutshell, the first part of the book lays a strong case against the notion of 'more-is-better.' However, the second case is a feeble counterpart to a strong beginning. It is a good effort to present a framework. What it really lacks is the example of whether it works.
Like many software versions, "Just Enough" is version 1.0 and will need more work to test out the framework in order to overcome initial bugs and crashes. The redefinitions of the meaning of success is commendable. The review of the current confusion over what success means is admirable. The solution to it all via the Kaleidoscope strategy seems reasonable on paper, but I am not sure if it is tenable (framework) in practice. Perhaps, a follow up (with results from use of the framework) will be useful.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
They seem to address the book to the "power and money mad" reader.Read more