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The Last Word on Power Paperback – September 25, 2015
"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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From Library Journal
For over 20 years, consultant and lecturer Goss has been working to help senior executives in her intensive seminars to "transform" themselves into another state of being. Now, she offers her reinvention process for those willing to commit to a lifetime of hard work required to make this process real. She explains her seven transformative steps: uncovering your winning strategy, understanding the limits of the "universal human paradigm," putting everything at risk, inventing a new master paradigm, inventing an impossible game to play, breaking the addiction to interpretation, and operating beyond the limits of your winning strategy. Goss offers powerful information, far above the glib self-help mush that already lines the shelves. She answers the fundamental question of why management fads do not work: the personal work has not yet been done. Her unique approach is as significant a work in this genre as Peter Block's Stewardship (LJ 6/15/93) and Steven Covey's Seven Habits of Highly Successful People (S. & S., 1989). Highly recommended for all libraries.?Dale F. Farris, Groves, Tex.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Publisher
Today's leaders are reinventing everything but themselves, and this is why so many attempts to revolutionize business fail. The last word on power is the key method in reinventing executives so they can take on "a mission impossible" based on a course designed and run exclusively for the past fifteen years by Tracy Goss. Do you want to do work that is worthy of your time and talent? Do you want to make your mark on your company, industry, community? Are you dissatisfied with the fact that reengineering, quality improvements, and other changes never make a lasting impact? Then you need to go beyond the techniques of improvement and learn the skills of being extraordinary. The power to be extraordinary is not one we are born with. It's not the power to fix what's wrong or improve what's right. It is a power one learns in a course that for the past fifteen years has been designed and run exclusively for top executives by consultant Tracy Goss. For the first time, Goss makes her coursework available to the general reader in The Last Word On Power. Goss's unique methodology shows how "you can put at risk the success you have achieved for the 'possibility' you can be." She positions executives to take on the future they dream about. She teaches how to behave differently so you can be free of constraints from the past. She shows how you can be at home in an environment in which you are constantly surrounded by threats, and how to transcend the ordinary so that you can make the impossible happen. Her work has resulted in important life changes and organizational reinventions throughout the world. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Let's try to pull out some of the value from the rest of the steaming pile because there ARE very powerful ideas lurking amidst the rest.
The core concept is that you can make the impossible happen by completely reframing your perspective on life and how that informs your journey through it.
We have been successful in life so far by deploying a "Winning Strategy" which uses our best attributes to carve through the path of least resistance to 'success' but has also firmly wedged us in a narrow canyon of defining what is "possible" and "impossible" as a result. Clinging to that same strategy, once you've hit a point of impossibility, is more harmful than good and will prevent you from achieving the impossibility.
Your Winning Strategy typically involves implicitly asking a question of the world and then performing an action based on the answer you've heard. Your first step to addressing it is to identify the question you're implicitly asking and the action you take as a result.
We frame everything in life as a reaction to what "should" and "should not" be, which naturally puts us in the frame of subjective reasoning and excuses. Instead, we should just casually examine the facts in a sort of Zen way -- they are just stones in the river that happened and we will keep flowing as needed.
One of the best references was to the Samurai 'dying before going into battle', an exercise in which they fully and completely accept all of the emotional pain associated with their death prior to engaging in battle so they have fully accepted the worst possible case into their hearts. That allows them to have exceptional power to take risks. The corollary to your own life should be obvious.
Clinging to hope for the future is the worst thing you can do… you must own the worst possible case fully and then you are freed to act without consequence. Not only that, you must literally own that you will die and they will throw dirt on your face regardless of how your life goes. You must accept a certain meaninglessness in life to be truly free to live it however you wish.
As part of your path toward fulfilling the impossible, you must declare that it is possible, that you ARE exactly whatever it is that you must be in order to manifest it, and that nothing that occurs along the way will stop the inevitability of this occurring.
Further, you need to create your own version of the Jobsian "Reality Distortion Field" whereby you ARE the symbol of your new movement and the key player in the game of reality which you have redefined to be whatever it takes to realize your impossibility. This also allows you to build a strong enough frame to draw others into the game with you because the rules are clear (and you are clearly committed to making it happen). It also allows you to view your whole life through this frame, processing information, relationships and action through a lens you never otherwise could have. Finally, this game takes place in the frame that your impossible future is the starting point and you simply need to work backwards from it rather than moving incrementally forward from the present as we typically do. All of these things make you act bigger and more creatively.
The only game worth playing is one where you are 100% committed and where you have 100% accepted that it will certainly not work out like it should but that's okay because it's worth playing anyway. This bears repeating -- it's only worth pursuing this audacious impossibility if the 'failure' case you have accepted is still a success to you. That's the best way to guarantee commitment.
As a process, you need to get comfortable making tons of requests of other people and leaning into the results (whether positive or negative). This is just Hustle 101, but if your frame is sufficiently strong then this is really the only option anyway, so it all comes back to fully embracing who you need to BE and what your reality needs to look like to make this happen.
Finally, spend lots of time practicing these concepts on a small level to build awareness of them. For instance, look for multiple times a day when you deploy your "winning strategy" and think about what impossibility you are trying to avoid. Think about how your past is really just a narrative and you are always thinking in terms of how things "should" and "shouldn't" be instead of properly stepping above.
Hopefully that's a roughly useful accounting of some core concepts. Many of them seem powerful to put in practice, if not quite in the exact framework presented. Again, I can't get over the poor style of this book, which presented a significant barrier towards the concepts within (and much frustrated gesticulation along the way). The examples are very broad and not well supported but seem designed, like a good horoscope, to give everyone something to see themselves in. Many of the theories don't hold up to any kind of reasonable analysis or are essentially platitudes wrapped up in false dichotomies and straw man arguments. The terminology used to describe the concepts is incredibly obtuse and seems designed to confuse rather than educate. Lots of time is spent unpacking totally inane concepts (like enumerating the dozens of ways you can make a request of someone) that really takes away from the core messages.
But… well, hopefully you can find a better summary than this to unpack the ideas without having to suffer through the path to them so you can achieve your impossible dream.