- Paperback: 192 pages
- Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers; 1st edition (February 9, 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9781576751749
- ISBN-13: 978-1576751749
- ASIN: 1576751740
- Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 1,316 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #65,745 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Leadership and Self Deception: Getting Out of the Box 1st Edition
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Using the story/parable format so popular these days, Leadership and Self-Deception takes a novel psychological approach to leadership. It's not what you do that matters, say the authors (presumably plural--the book is credited to the esteemed Arbinger Institute), but why you do it. Latching onto the latest leadership trend won't make people follow you if your motives are selfish--people can smell a rat, even one that says it's trying to empower them. The tricky thing is, we don't know that our motivation is flawed. We deceive ourselves in subtle ways into thinking that we're doing the right thing for the right reason. We really do know what the right thing to do is, but this constant self-justification becomes such an ingrained habit that it's hard to break free of it--it's as though we're trapped in a box, the authors say.
Learning how the process of self-deception works--and how to avoid it and stay in touch with our innate sense of what's right--is at the heart of the book. We follow Tom, an old-school, by-the-book kind of guy who is a newly hired executive at Zagrum Corporation, as two senior executives show him the many ways he's "in the box," how that limits him as a leader in ways he's not aware of, and of course how to get out. This is as much a book about personal transformation as it is about leadership per se. The authors use examples from the characters' private as well as professional lives to show how self-deception skews our view of ourselves and the world and ruins our interactions with people, despite what we sincerely believe are our best intentions.
While the writing won't make John Updike lose any sleep, the story entertainingly does the job of pulling the reader in and making a potentially abstruse argument quite enjoyable. The authors have a much better ear for dialogue than is typical of the genre (the book is largely dialogue), although a certain didactic tone creeps in now and then. But ultimately it's a hopeful, even inspiring read that flows along nicely and conveys a message that more than a few managers need to hear. --Pat McGill --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"... not just another book on leadership. It identifies the central issue of all performance. I recommend it very highly." -- Brad Pelo, President and CEO, NextPage
"... shows why the truth about failure is so difficult to see, and explains how to overcome such self-deception." -- Dave Checketts, President and CEO, Madison Square Garden Corp.
"Arbinger taught our leadership team at LensCrafters and the difference...was remarkable. This is the...key to productivity and creativity." -- Dave Browne, former President and CEO, LensCrafters
"Don't be fooled by the title--this book is for everyone. I can't think about my life the same way again." -- Jack Anderson, Syndicated Columnist and Pulitzer Prize Winner
"Fascinating, thought provoking, and insightful! Once I started reading, I couldnt put it down." -- Steven C. Wheelwright, Professor and Senior Associate Dean, Harvard Business School
"From boosting the bottom line to increasing personal joy, this book shows the way." -- Bruce L. Christensen, former President and CEO, PBS
"I love this book. Like truth itself, it reveals more with each re-examination. I recommend it highly." -- Doug Hauth, Sales Vice President, Lucent Technologies
"I've known the work of the Arbinger Institute for years. Arbinger's ideas are profound, with deep and sweeping implications for organizations. Leadership and Self-Deception provides the perfect introduction to this material. It is engaging and fresh, easy to read, and packed with insight. I couldn't recommend it more highly." -- Stephen R. Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
"This is significant, original stuff. This book is a terrific introduction to Arbinger's groundbreaking material. I enjoyed it immensely." -- Robert C. Gay, Managing Director, Bain Capital --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
* This is a simple story, with a logical message. Yet, the story nicely explains that we all often fail to see that we have a problem. We do engage in self-deception. We do "unwittingly sabotage relationships at work and at home." And our actions do provoke a response that encourages the opposite of our intention.
* Part I explains "Self-Deception and the Box." Part II explains "How We Get In the Box." Part III explains "How We Get Out of the Box." Being "In the box" is seeing others as objects. "Out of the Box" is seeing yourself and others as people. (They make this come alive in the book.)
* As I was reading the book, particularly Part I and Part II, I was impressed at how they framed the narrative and discussion to make me realize how I've been deceiving myself. Several "AHA" moments here. Rather than give too much of the story line away - they use a simple example of a Business Executive sleeping and then hearing his infant crying - he knows that he should get up to help his spouse - he doesn't - he then justifies not getting up by mentally elevating his importance (he needs to get up early in the morning; he's the main bread winner; he's a good dad; he's the victim) while he mentally frames up his spouse who isn't getting up as being lazy, unappreciative, inconsiderate, etc. He elevates his own importance over his wife; he rationalizes why he is justified in not getting up to help the baby; he gets angry and this ultimately leads to a response which is opposite to what he was looking for. Even though no words are spoken.
* The "answer" will not be found in a new leadership strategy. It will not be found in developing a new communication skill or changing your behavior. It will not be found in trying to change someone to your way of thinking. The answer is changing "your way of being."
* I'm not a fan of parables because I have often found this format either too contrived or generally not relevant to me. Yet, I believe this story, the message and the anecdotes are universally applicable and true and will resonate with many readers.
* The < 200 page book is a quick and easy read. It should take you less than 3 hours.
* While the book is framed in a business context, it will benefit all readers: leaders, non-leaders, professionals and individuals in for-profits and non-for-profits.
* Any cons? I have two "nits." (1) You reach the end of the book to learn that Part II (Accountability Transformation System) and Part III (Monitoring System) are not discussed or included in the book and you would need to enroll in Arbinger's seminars to learn this. This was a bit deceptive and unnecessary in my opinion as the core message in the book remains powerful. They should have stripped these references from the story and included it in the appendix. (2) Later editions of the book were revised to include a section on "How to Use Leadership and Self-Deception" including hiring, team building, conflict resolution, accountability and personal growth and development. This section added very little utility - but again, it does not detract from the value of the book.
* So many self-help books leave no lasting value or impression - you get a quick high (if you are lucky) and the message evaporates. Not this one. This one will stick. Highly recommended.
One response to reading this book is to get those people around you to read the book also, which could very well be detrimental if not pursued with the right spirit and motive.
A simply written book with the possibility of making a huge impact.