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Mojo: How to Get It, How to Keep It, How to Get It Back If You Lose It Hardcover – February 2, 2010
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"Marshall is a great coach and teacher." -- J.P. Garnier
"Marshall's proven improvement process Rocks! -- Alan Mulally
"Perhaps the greatest teacher of leadership on the planet." -- Jim Moore
About the Author
Marshall Goldsmith is widely recognized as the world's leading authority in helping successful leaders achieve positive, lasting change in behavior: for themselves, their people, and their teams. In November 2009, he was named by The (London) Times and Forbes as one of the fifteen most influential business thinkers in the world. The American Management Association has listed Dr. Goldsmith as one of the fifty great thinkers and leaders who have influenced the field of management over the past eighty years. He is one of a select few executive advisors and coaches who have been asked to work with over 100 major CEOs and their management teams. Marshall teaches executive education at Dartmouth's Tuck School and other leasing business schools. His books have sold over one million copies and have been translated into thirty languages. He has regular blogs on Harvard Business, BusinessWeek, and The Huffington Post.
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I have not met Marshall Goldsmith personally but I presume he excels at this type of verbal communication because he has the rare quality to do this with the written word. This is why there is little doubt this book will be a best seller like his earlier book "What Got You Here Won't Get You There."
Here are just 10 excerpts from Mojo that resonated with me.
1. "The good news is that nearly all of the challenges we'll deal with here have simple--although not easy--solutions (there is a difference between simple and easy)." Goldsmith provides these tools in the latter sections of the book.
2. "...but sometimes no matter how positive we feel about what we are doing, we fail at showing it on the outside. We are so focused on completing our task that we assume people can read our hearts and minds. We think our good intentions should be obvious. They can't possibly be misconstrued."
3. "...the Mojo Paradox...Our default response in life is to not experience happiness. Our default response in life is to not experience meaning. Our default response in life is to experience inertia...our most common everyday process-the thing we do more than anything else-is to continue doing what we are already doing."
4. "Very few people achieve positive lasting change without ongoing follow-up."
5. "As you go through your day...evaluate every activity on a 1 to 10 scale...on two simple questions. 1. How much long-term benefit or meaning did I experience from this activity? 2. How much short-term satisfaction or happiness did I experience from this activity?"
6. "One of the greatest obstacles to changing our Mojo is here-in the paralysis we create with the self limiting definitions of who we are."
7. "...we confuse our need to consider ourselves to be smart with our need to be considered effective by the world...One of the most pernicious impulses of successful people is our overwhelming need to prove how smart we are...I say its pernicious because the need to be "the smartest person in the room" often leads to some incredibly stupid behavior."
8. "A company named DDI did some fascinating research that showed the average American spends 15 hours a month criticizing or complaining about their boss."
9. "These four "losing" arguments all have the same results...only lower our Mojo... 1. Let me keep talking... 2. I had it rougher than you... 3. Why did you do that... 4. It's not fair."
10. "If I could write a headline that sums up the last ten years of the American (and other rich country's) workplace-and the next thirty years as well-it would be this: "That Job is Gone!" That's the cold water I'd throw in the face of every man or woman who thinks his or her future can be understood by looking nostalgically to the past."
Goldsmith is a master at integrating and emphasizing his points with stories. He unequivocally states in Chapter 16 "This is a self help book."
I have learned the cost of a self help book is not the price you pay...that cost is simply out of pocket costs. The time you invest in reading and applying what is inside is the real price and this book is well worth your time and effort.
Dr. James T. Brown, PMP PE CSP
Author - The Handbook of Program Management
This has led me to consume an awful lot of self-help and personal growth books. And let's face it, there are a lot of them out there, from emotional-mental books to career-success books, from metaphysical books to highly practical books, from brazenly cheerleading books to "tough talk and tough love" books.
Most of them are, of course, crap. This I learned early on. But the search for pearls of wisdom remains a valuable pursuit.
From a library of dozens, possibly even a hundred or more, books from one-sort-of-coach-or-another, each with piles of four-and-a-half- to five-star reviews, this is the one that I've returned to the most and that, when things get really tough, I return to again. Several things set this book apart from the rest.
(1) The diagnosis is simple and plausible. It's not about the nature of the universe or some fundamental dimension of your constitution. If you're not where you want to be, it's because you're not actually positive about what you're doing (i.e. not being honest with yourself, not having the courage to do what you need to do, or sabotaging your own acceptance of what you've chosen to do). And because you're not positive about it, you're not doing what you're doing well. And because you're not doing what you're doing well, nobody else is positive about it either.
(2) The cure is neither pointless optimism nor ineffective gimmicks or mental tricks nor oversold tough talk or tough love. Rather, the cure is simple. You have to deal honestly with yourself, make some choices, embrace the consequences, and live with all of that. And if you can't, you'd probably better repeat the process again, starting with being honest with yourself.
This two-point summary may or may not immediately resonate with the details and structure of the book (which are worth having—the two points above won't get you anywhere without all of the scaffolding, reasoning, and discussion that Goldsmith provides), but after repeated readings, these are the two things that it all boils down to in my opinion.
The bulk of the book is Goldsmith demonstrating to you how this plays out (because if you're like me, the tendency is always to want to try to fudge it somehow to avoid risk) and what the steps forward might be, step one being to recognize that you must actually proactively take steps because, as Goldsmith argues,
"Our default response in life is not to experience happiness. Our default response in life is not to experience meaning. Our default response in life is to experience inertia."
To help you to move beyond this inertia, Goldsmith provides in Section III of the book a "mojo Toolkit" with concrete suggestions based on past interactions with clients to help you to address the "low mojo" problem. Unlike so many other books whose advice often boils down to "get more exercise, think positively, stop sabotaging yourself" and a bunch of other overgeneral, non-actionable or obvious claptrap, in this one Goldsmith gives you a decent list of actionable ideas in every chapter, and there are enough of them (more than a dozen overall) that you can do some picking and choosing of those that seem to make sense to you without feeling as though if you don't put any one of them into action, you've basically wasted money by buying the book. These range from the practical, rational frameworks ("adopt a metrics system") to everyday lifestyle changes ("eliminate something big from your daily schedule") to frame-of-mind tasks ("live your mission in...small moments, too").
The net effect is a book that—each time you read it—leaves you feeling as though there are things that you definitely need to do, and as though you have some idea about how to do them and the results that they will produce.
I always finish a re-reading of this book with the desire to open a notebook and begin making a lot of notes, then to take some of the steps that he describes. And they do work. The challenge, as always, is to stick with them and redeploy them anew as circumstances change. It's easy to forget and get lost in the inertia once again.
Point being—I can count on one hand (and really I don't even need that) the number of books from this genre that I've actually read more than once after buying them. I'm starting my seventh or eighth complete reading of this one in as many years, not because I've scheduled such readings like some sort of devotional task, but because I've recently found myself feeling frustrated with the course of things yet again and when that happens, this book invariably bubbles to the surface as "what I need to look at once again."
This is the rare self-help/self-improvement book that bears buying, keeping, and re-reading over time.
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