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Maximum Success: Changing the 12 Behavior Patterns That Keep You From Getting Ahead Hardcover – September 19, 2000
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From Publishers Weekly
Superbly suited to write an authoritative book on career success, these two Harvard Business School psychologists have developed an Internet-based career assessment program used in business schools and have amassed considerable insight into the realities of workplace behavior patterns through their research and executive coaching. In this comprehensive book, they strive for a tone that's authoritative but not too academic, and succeed in creating a thoughtful book that is helpful, though curiously blandAespecially compared to Stephen Covey's Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, whose market the authors seem to target. Arguing that people can learn from their failures, Waldroop and Butler focus on personal weaknesses rather than successes, identifying a dozen behaviors and attitudes that can sabotage career growth in otherwise talented individuals, such as feeling inadequate, seeing issues in black and white, trying to be a hero who can do everything, avoiding conflict at any cost, operating out of fear, being a rebel or too much of a risk-taker, and losing focus. They describe these Achilles' heels in colloquial terms before analyzing the psychology behind them, using case studies from their practice to illustrate common patterns and show the effect on organizations. Readers who find themselves or their colleagues depicted here stand to gain insight into dealing with their own weaknesses and handling others who exhibit them. The authors' credentials, along with the book's accessibility and right-on positioning, is likely to propel this book onto business bestseller charts, though some readers may wish for a more compelling presentation. Agent, Kris Dahl at ICM. (Sept.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Break bad habits before they break you.
Advance Acclaim for Maximum Success
"An intelligent and insightful guide to that essential task: managing your own career."
-Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence
"In a world full of self-help books, it is high time someone addressed the issue of identifying and correcting the 'fatal flaws' that derail many executives in the midst of apparently promising careers. Maximum Success takes you step by step through a process to identify and correct the key negative behavior patterns that can throw you or your high-potential employees off track. Invaluable!"
-Stephen R. Mercer, Vice President of Learning and Leadership Development, Boeing
"Dead-on accurate in its diagnoses and enormously helpful in its recommendations. A must-have for every manager and every employee."
-Eileen Grabowski, Vice President, Firmwide Recruiting, Morgan Stanley Dean Witter
"Every day I have the privilege of reading about the accomplishments of some of the world's great young leaders. No matter what you aspire to do, this book should help you stay on track and reach your potential. A must read."
-Kirsten Moss, Managing Director, MBA Admissions, Harvard Business School
"Maximum Success is maximally useful. Based upon the authors' many years of experience, this book tells us about the most common mistakes people make and shows how they can correct them. Written in a strong, straightforward style, this book can save careers, save businesses, save individuals from the tragedy of wasting great talent because of a fatal flaw. It shows what to do-before it is too late."
-Edward Hallowell, M.D., author of Driven to Distraction
Top customer reviews
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This is a valuable book if you can get past the annoyance that it is a book by and for, the elites of society.
The people interviewed for the counseling case studies are all either Harvard/Ivy League/MIT, or 'brilliant', 'very bright' or high society. None of them are average or middle-class. The authors are from Harvard Business school.
In other words, this book is about analyzing why these good folks, the cream of the crop stumbled in their race to the top.
I wish, the authors had shown more compassion for the desperate, average people and helped them also - janitors, unwed mothers and people with an unsavory past - like jail or drug addiction.
Then it might have been a best seller and a household name - observe that people in general have never heard of it.
This book is different. While there are thousands of ways to succeed, there are a limited number of traits that lead to failure. The authors of this book highlight those failure points, describe how these traits are created, and give some solid steps on how to confront those traits. One thing that you should realize when you buy this book is that the authors don't believe in quick fixes, and those readers who are looking for quick fixes will be disappointed. To overcome each of the 12 bad habits highlighted in this book will take a lot of self-examination, observation of others in your work environment, and assistance from friends or co-workers to help you pinpoint your weak areas. If you're willing to put in the work, then the advice in this book is very helpful.
I really recommend this book to anyone who is looking to advance in their company. Without realizing your weaknesses, you may be stuck at the level you now work at. To get a promotion will take lots of hard work and effort, but with the advice in this book, you'll be able to reach your goals
Rather than repeat a summary of the book, I would just caution the reader on the experience of reading it. To say this is dry is an understatement. It is just not engaging and on top of that, each personality flaw is a separate lecture. I could not get through this book cover to cover, and I'm the stubborn type that persists normally. The book has a lot of good information. It is not the type of book to read through as much as a reference book in my view.
There is something for everyone. Certainly we all have some or many of these bad habits in full or partial degrees. Authors do a nice job in defining the habit and providing examples.
You will find a number of "ah-has" along with sharp piercing observations. For example, for the Meritocrat:
"one of those people who insist that proposals, ideas, products - virtually everything in life - must be considered strictly rationally, on their inherent merit, their absolute, true value. They see the world in black and white - without colors or shades of gray. If the meritocrat ruled the world, all decisions would be put through some sort of merit-weighing machine. Emotions, politics, sentimentality, loyalties, favoritism would play absolutely no part...he or she consistently talks about the ways things "should" be, about the unfairness of life, railing about how the well connected, the meretricious, and the conniving rise to the top, while the honest and the principled fall by the wayside...the meritocrat fails to see that people are complicated, with many shades of gray...sometimes to win the battle you have to negotiate and compromise - promise something to someone to get him or her to join your side - which goes against the code of rationality...the person who thinks this way is acting almost as an anti-Machiavellian, someone who loathes politics and flattery and the compromises of deal making. Most of us, it is true, would rather deal with the meritocrat than his polar opposite, the unprincipled schemer for whom ideals have no value. The schemer is loathsome in his treachery; the meritocrat insufferable only in his self-righteousness.
While there is something for everyone, I found myself skipping many sections of the book that I didn't find applicable or perhaps at the farthest end of an extreme of my bad habit.
While the book does an excellent job in describing and giving examples of bad habits, it falls short on practical ways to change.
The book is dense, thick and slow moving - while examples were used liberally, I found it to read like an academic textbook and found it difficult to stay engaged.
Finally, who says good packaging doesn't work. My eyes locked in on the sharp fire engine red packaging on the shelf and I had to have it.
The 12 bad habits that Hold Good people back are:
1. Never Feeling Good Enough (The "Acrophobe")
2. Seeing the World in Black and White (The "Meritocrat")
3. Doing Too Much, Pushing Too Hard (The "Hero")
4. Avoiding Conflict at Any Cost (The "Peacekeeper")
5. Running Roughshod Over the Opposition (The "Bulldozer")
6. Rebel Looking for a Cause (The "Rebel")
7. Always Swinging for the Fence (The "Home Run Hitter")
8. When Fear is in the Driver's Seat (The "Pessimist Worrier")
9. Emotionally Tone-Deaf ("Mr. Spocks")
10. When No Job is Good Enough ("Coulda-been")
11. Lacking a Sense of Boundaries ("Loose Lips")
12. Losing the Path (losing sense of direction or enthusiasm) ("Dig Deeper")
Part II: The Psychological Issues behind the 12 Behavior Patterns:
1. Taking Others Perspectives (Not being able to take/see other people's perspectives)
2. Coming to Terms with Authority (Not coming to terms with authority)
3. Using Power (Inability to use power comfortably, skillfully, effectively)
4. Looking in the Mirror: Examining Your Self-Image (Having a negatively distorted self image)