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Triggers: Creating Behavior That Lasts--Becoming the Person You Want to Be Hardcover – May 19, 2015

4.7 out of 5 stars 277 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Advance Acclaim for Marshall Goldsmith and Triggers

"Triggers provides the self awareness you need to create your own world, rather than being created by the world around you."
-- Alan Mulally, CEO of the Year (US) and #3 on Fortune magazine's 50 Greatest Leaders in the World (2014) 

"Reading Triggers is like talking with Marshall. You get clear, practical, and actionable suggestions."
--Ian Read, CEO, Pfizer

"Triggers inspires us to be better people, better leaders, better fellow travelers. 'Creating behavior' is our new battle cry for a bright future."
--Frances Hesselbein, President and CEO, The Frances Hesselbein Leadership Institute, 1998 Presidential Medal of Freedom Award Recipient

"Marshall is a valuable coach and partner in driving organizational change and performance improvement. Triggers will guide a new group of executives looking to reach their full business and personal potential." 
--Brian C. Cornell, Chairman and CEO, Target Corporation

"Marshall Goldsmith is one of the world's foremost experts at helping people get better. In this new book, he provides a rich set of new, practical, life tested ideas, concepts and frameworks that will help those of us who want to change, be the best that we can be, and be the person we want to be."
--Hubert Joly, CEO, Best Buy

“I have had the great fortune of working with Marshall for several years. He has helped me in so many ways. Triggers represents a natural progression in Marshall’s work and many of the ideas in it have already helped me and many of his other clients. As with all of his books, I know that Marshall’s focused, practical and insightful approach will help you in leadership, but even more important, it can help you in life!”
--Jim Yong Kim – 12th President The World Bank
“Marshall Goldsmith is a great author and world-renowned executive coach. His contribution to our group has been immense and we have greatly benefited by his unparalleled experience and his knowledge. In Triggers he shares illuminating stories from his work with great global leaders. He helps us transform our lives and helps us become more holistic human beings. This is a book worth reading for every practicing professional and for those who aspire to leadership.
--GM Rao – CEO GMR Group (India), Indian Entrepreneur of the Year
“How do we create the change we need for our organizations and for ourselves? Marshall Goldsmith is the master of helping us all find that path, avoiding the negative triggers and building upon the triggers that bring out our best. Here, again, he teaches with his unique insight, warmth and positive energy. Our job is to learn and do better, for a better outcome for all, which this book helps guide.”
--Tony Marx – CEO New York Public Library
“You can’t teach an old dog new tricks…without Marshall Goldsmith’s help. With his coaching, you can change your old behavior to create new outcomes.”
--Deanna Mulligan – CEO Guardian Life, Fortune 50 Most Powerful Women in Business
“We place a premium on developing strong leaders at McKesson and over the years we have relied greatly on Marshall’s leadership insights to support our executive talent development across the company. No matter what role a person plays in an organization, Triggers provides a hands-on framework for helping people live with intention and greater purpose, both professionally and personally.”
--John Hammergren – CEO McKesson, Harvard Business Review 100 Top Performing CEOs in the World
“No one can match Marshall’s massive footprint in helping people become what they want to be. He is the top thought leader in executive coaching because he drives new thinking about self-motivation. The importance of self-awareness, self-engagement and positive behavioral change is best captured in Triggers. It will help light up many lives!”
--Fred Hassan – Managing Director Warburg Pincus, former CEO Pharmacia and Schering Plough, Chairman Bausch & Lomb
Triggers is fantastic! It is a summary of all the things that Marshall has taught me over the past years...that we can’t really reach our personal goals until we move away from self-centered goals. In order to become the person we aspire to be, we need to embark on a journey of awareness that requires attention, action and discipline.”
-- David Chang - James Beard Foundation Outstanding Chef Award winner, Founder and CEO Momofuku Group
 “I’ve known Marshall for years and loved working with him. Reading Triggers reminds me of being coached by Marshall. It makes me laugh, causes me to reflect, and, most importantly, gets me to do something positive.”
--Liz Smith, CEO Bloomin’ Brands (Outback, Fleming’s, Roy’s, Carrabba’s and Bonefish restaurants)
 “This is a great book. Building on his brilliant career as an author and executive coach advising CEOs on how to be more successful leaders, Marshall here tackles a much more important and fundamental challenge: "How can we each become the person we really want to be?" Read this book and find out.”
--Mark Tercek, President and CEO The Nature Conservancy, former Managing Partner, Goldman Sachs, author Natures Fortune
“I had the great privilege of being coached by Marshall. He has been able to trigger change in my life and help me move to the next level of leadership. He has changed my life and my career. Triggers could do it for you!”
--Regis Schultz – CEO The Darty Group (France), one of Europe’s top electrical retailers
“Marshall has taught me the importance of making a positive difference in every aspect of my life. His coaching techniques and valuable lessons empower you to extract greater meaning from interpersonal relationships and provide a superior understanding of the great results that can be achieved through positive leadership.”
--David Kornberg – CEO Express
“Another phenomenal book from Marshall, full of practical advice to change behaviors for the better. A fun and very enlightening read.”
--Jan Carlson – CEO Autoliv (Sweden), world leader in auto safety
“Imagine that for the cost of a book, you can receive personal, career guidance from World's Best Coach? Marshall Goldsmith is that Coach. Triggers is that book. Marshall reveals how you can identify and remove blockers to your personal growth. But the key is the doing not the planning. So buy the book and start the doing!”
--Jim Lawrence – CEO Rothschild North America
“Marshall continues on his journey of creating tools to develop effective leaders. In Triggers he presents simple and effective methods that we can use to reinvent ourselves. Once there's an understanding of the behaviors that will get you to the next level, Marshall showcases how to ensure continued success. A must read for leaders and those who aspire to be very successful leaders.”
--Joe Almeida – CEO Covidien
“Marshall's coaching invites leaders to focus relentlessly on our behavior. The leader's behavior as well as the team's behavior become the basis for great results and continuous improvement. This will be a key to success for the connected, global, knowledge-driven companies of the future. Triggers accelerates our focus on creating the change we need to succeed.”
--Aicha Evans – VP and General Manager, Intel, Fortune Top Ten Next Generation Female Leaders
“Triggers is just like Marshall – a combination of great coaching and a fun personality!”
--Jonathan Klein – Founder and Chairman, Getty Images
“Marshall Goldsmith’s Triggers is a wonderful read. By using real world examples to teach key leadership points he adds tremendous credibility to the valuable leaders’ lesson contained throughout the book.”
--Nils Lommerin -- President & CEO, Del Monte Foods, Inc.
“Once again Marshall Goldsmith proves why he is not just one of the top 10 business thinkers but one of the top 10 all around thinkers! What I love most about this book is that it’s not just for business leaders, it provides a clear path to improvement for anyone who wants to make positive change in their lives. Thanks again Marshall for helping me make positive and lasting improvements in my behaviors and my life – my family thanks you too!”
--Fred Lynch -- CEO Masonite International
Triggers is this year’s must-read for leaders who want to learn what they can do to generate lasting, meaningful change for their organizations—and themselves.  Marshall has this seemingly effortless way of guiding people to what really matters. He has taught me, as he has countless others, how to bring rigor and compassion to being a leader. For me, life is good because Marshall is in it.”
--Sandy Ogg -- Operating Partner, The Blackstone Group
“Marshall is an amazing coach who helped me become a better leader and a better person. He has a unique blend of intelligence, insight, and practical steps to improve performance. As he says in his new book, Triggers, there is a big difference between understanding and doing — we all understand what to do, but Marshall gives us the tools to actually change for the better.”
--Robert Pasin, CEO Radio Flyer
“In Triggers Marshall helps us understand behavioral traps we are constantly exposed to, and how to either avoid them or turn them into positive experiences.  As usual, he is logical and intuitive --it all makes sense, but that does not mean that change is easy. You have to want it. I enjoyed reading this book.  As with my coaching sessions with Marshall, I have come away with valuable insights which will help nudge me toward becoming the person I want to be. Life is good.”
--Soren Schroder – CEO Bunge
 “Triggers is Marshall at his story-telling best. Marshall has a unique ability to enable leaders to put down their well-developed guards, to see not what is wrong, but what is possible if they dedicate themselves to getting better. This is a must read for anyone who wants to get better at work and life.”
--Brian Walker, President and CEO Herman Miller
“If you want to change your behavior, become the best person you can be, overcome bad habits that get in your way, and have less regret in your life then read this book—and apply its advice immediately. Marshall Goldsmith’s Triggers is the most straightforward, clear, candid, no-fads, practical advice you’ll ever get on how to make change happen in your life. Marshall brings to this book the full force of his nearly four decades of coaching experience and shares profound insights, compelling stories, and powerful techniques that you can put to use now that will benefit your career, your relationships, and your peace-of-mind for years to come. His questioning routines are alone worth the price of the book. Triggers is Marshall Goldsmith’s finest work yet, and I highly recommend it.”
--Jim Kouzes, coauthor of the multi-million seller, The Leadership Challenge, and the Dean’s Executive Fellow of Leadership, Leavey School of Business, Santa Clara University
“At the Thinkers50 we have long appreciated Marshall Goldsmith's blend of practical advice and timeless human insight. Triggers is his best book yet.”
--Stuart Crainer and Des Dearlove, co-founders of Thinkers50, world leaders in the evaluation and dissemination of management thinking
“I’m a raving fan of Marshall Goldsmith—and you will be, too, when you read Triggers. Marshall promises that if he does his job as author and you do your job as reader/learner, you will move closer to becoming the person you want to be and also have fewer regrets. Not too bad! So read it!”
--Ken Blanchard, one of the bestselling non-fiction authors in history, co-author of The One Minute Manager and Refire! Don’t Retire
“I have known and worked with Marshall for thirty years. Packed with awesomely real truths about how we are with ourselves and how to make life better, Triggers is the next step forward in his amazing career.”
--David Allen, world leader in personal productivity and multi-million selling author of Getting Things Done
“In Triggers, Marshall Goldsmith distills wisdom gained from decades of helping people – clients and friends – struggle with truly changing their behavior. Though the book is written in an engaging, approachable way, it is nonetheless profound.  Marshall is more than just a coach. He’s a provocateur, a humorist, and a challenger. If it’s feedback you need to hear to ‘trigger’ the change you need to make, Marshall would be my top choice.”
--Rita Gunther McGrath, Thinkers50 – Most Influential Strategic Thinker in the World, author of The End of Competitive Advantage

“There are things about myself that I want to change or improve but I always flame out after a little while, blaming work, travel, family responsibilities, etc. Well now I have no excuse! In Triggers, Marshall not only distills the obstacles to change, he provides a simple (but not necessarily easy) process that allows us to overcome the main roadblocks to positive change: consistency and the environment. After reading this book, I am ready to try!”
--Chris Cuomo – Emmy, Peabody and Edward R. Morrow award-winning news reporter and host of CNN’s New Day
“I have seen Marshall perform magic, helping an executive break through and realize her potential and now in Triggers he generously shares his secret sauce. A must read.”
--Keith Ferrazzi - #1 New York Times bestselling author of Whose Got Your Back and Never Eat Alone
“My professional career has been devoted to helping organizations create strategy, implement strategy and achieve breakthrough innovation. Triggers can help you create a strategy for your life, implement your strategy and achieve breakthrough innovation.”
--Vijay Govindarajan - Coxe Distinguished Professor Dartmouth Tuck School of Business, Marvin Bower Fellow at Harvard Business School and the New York Times bestselling author of Reverse Innovation
“There is a reason Marshall is the world’s #1 Executive Coach, it's because he understands people and how to get them performing at their best. This book is a breakthrough in how you and your people reach your peak levels of performance and then stay there. Just one strategy we implemented has the productivity of my executive team soaring. As the Chairman of the world’s largest business coaching company, I read a lot of books on business and personal success, very, very few deliver the way Marshall has here.”
--Brad Sugars – President, Chairman & Founder of ActionCOACH
Triggers is your must-read roadmap to become the person you deserve to be! It’s like having the world’s top executive coach as your personal mentor, with rich stories and breakthrough research that give you just the practical tools you need to take your career to the next level.”
--Mark Thompson – New York Times bestselling author of Admired, Success Built to Last and Now, Build a Great Business!
“No one applies the principles of quality and continuous improvement to human interaction better than Marshall. Triggers represents a fantastic next step in his thinking!”
--Subir Chowdhury – first recipient of the Philip Crosby Award from the American Society for Quality, author of thirteen books on quality

“A wise book with delightful stories on how to self-actualize.”
--Philip Kotler, SC Johnson Distinguished Professor of Marketing, Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management, the world’s leading thinker in marketing
“Marshall Goldsmith is well known as one of the world’s top thinkers on leadership. Once you read Triggers, you’ll realize that he is also one of the world’s top observers of smart, driven people and their many behavioral quirks. I promise you, you’ll recognize your own tics in many of Marshall’s telling anecdotes—I sure saw many of my own--and if you pay attention to what Marshall says, you’ll see what you need to do to change that behavior for the better.”
--Eric Schurenberg – President and Editor-in-Chief, INC magazine
 “Marshall Goldsmith is the most disciplined thought leader I know. He personally practices what he preaches, with great results. Triggers is his latest gift to leaders who want to achieve positive behavioral change.”
--Geoff Smart, Chairman of ghSmart, New York Times bestselling coauthor of Who and Power Score
“Triggers is both a powerful wake-up call to be the extraordinary person you were meant to be as well as a pragmatic blueprint for self-renewal, restoration and realization. Get ready for a roller coaster ride on the most important adventure of your life.”
--Chip Bell – author of Sprinkles and Managers as Mentors

“Marshall and Mark have done it again!!! They have “done their best” to prepare insightful, useful, and practical tips to ensure sustainable behavioral change. Reading this book feels like having Marshall “knee to knee” coaching me. What a privilege to learn from his insights, savor his stories, and fully engage in positive personal change. Marshall is truly a gift to all of us who want to get better.
--David Ulrich – Professor, University of Michigan, bestselling author and world’s #1 thinker in human resources

“The book is anything but preachy… and Marshall offers up his own past challenges and changes… to personalize the process, and perhaps let you know that it’s okay not to be perfect, if in some ways what you are is “good enough” for you and those around you. And, of course, there’s a wealth of stories from his executive clients to bring all these lessons home, as well. What they all demonstrate is that, regardless of how “stuck in your ways” you’ve become, there is hope to become unstuck, to change, to become the best you that you can be, to become the person you want and know you can be. So, whether you want to be less dictatorial or distanced at home, more friendly and easier to approach to your employees at work, or you just want to be a better neighbor, with Marshall’s help and methodology, perhaps we can teach old dogs, and ourselves, new tricks.”
– 800 CEO READ

About the Author

Marshall Goldsmith is the leading executive coach in the world and the author of the New York Times bestsellers What Got You Here Won’t Get You There and Mojo. He received his PhD from UCLA Anderson School of Management. His client list is a who’s who of American CEOs. He and his wife live in San Diego.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Business (May 19, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804141231
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804141239
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 0.9 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (277 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,967 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J. Al-hashimi VINE VOICE on April 21, 2015
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is a really good book, written by an executive coach, about changed behavior and regret.

A few concepts:

-Fate is the hand of cards we've been dealt. Choice is how we play the hand.
-Regret should be used to grow, embrace the pain and the message.
-We do not appreciate inertia's power over us.
-Meaningful behavioral change is hard.
-No one can make us change.
-Some people they want to change, but they don't.
-Achieving change is not necessarily easy but it may be easy.
-There is a difference between understanding and doing.
-We are superior planners and inferior doers.
-Change doesn't happen overnight.
-Success is the sum of small efforts repeated day in and day out.
-If we make the effort, we will get better. If we don't, we won't

While these might sound like platitudes (and they are a little), the real wisdom is in the advice and examples.Solid advice given for implementing change and reducing regret in your life. A very good book that is potentially life-changing.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
If you are good at setting goals but not that good at achieving them, then this is a must read. If you are a coach/mentor/leader that works with people to help them become a better version of themselves, then you will gain valuable insights from this book. You will learn valuable insights into what works and what doesn’t when it comes to changing human behavior.

It is okay to be skeptical about such bold claims. But consider the accomplishments of the author, Marshall Goldsmith. He is one of the most respected coaches in the world. Mr. Goldsmith works with the elite leaders in industry and government. One simple fact about the way he conducts his business should give you sufficient reason to trust everything he says about changing human behavior. His minimum time frame for working with clients is eighteen months. And he collects his fee at the end of the period. No results, no fee. That is a powerful testimony to his effectiveness.

While the title suggest that the book will be mostly about what triggers behavior, that is actually a rather small part of the points covered in this book. There are several very significant observations which will help the reader make changes that will last.

One insight is – “We are superior planners and inferior doers”. We make plans, set goals and fail to achieve them. If we hope to achieve the plans we make, we need structure. “We do not get better without structure.”

One of the key concepts of the book is that we should ask ourselves active questions on a daily basis. And, we need to track the answers. The active questions can start with “Did I try my best today to ____________________”. This introduced a concept that effort is more important than results. We can control our effort.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This book contains nothing new. The funny thing is, that's not a weakness. Goldsmith talks about that in the very beginning of the book. People read his books and say "I already knew all that." His point is, that we may know it all but we do not do it all. That is exactly the dilemma this book is addressing. This book is about bridging the gap between what we do and what we want to have done.

My copy is now covered with sticky notes and tabs. That is always the sign of a well loved book. I have not been implementing it very long. But it is already impacting my thinking. The entire book is worth reading just for the list of things that keep us from making the changes we need to. Again, it was something I "knew". But after Goldsmith's simple clear list I was more clear on some subtle aspects of my own behavior.

Goldsmith's insights on the discrepancy between my planning and implementation was also very helpful. A lot of of self help and productivity books focus on scheduling and planning. But that isn't where I fall short.

It's hard to write something new for the self help market. Goldsmith manages to make Triggers valuable by helping readers understand how to better use the information that we have been awash in for years.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Where even to begin with this review?

I'll start with something positive. Goldsmith is a smart guy with some valuable things to say. I got a lot out of his previous book "What Got You Here Won't Get You There." I recommend that book highly. "What Got You Here..." lists a number of behaviors and attitudes that aren't helpful in the workplace, even if they might have been useful as an entry level person. If you identify even one of those in yourself, and put some effort into working on that, it pays off a lot. For example, I had a problem with "adding too much value," as Goldsmith delicately put it. Recognizing that, I worked on it, and had very positive results. Goldsmith is a skilled coach and writer with demonstrated effectiveness and I truly believe that.

Nevertheless, "Triggers," in contrast to the structured, focused and empowering content of "What Got You Here...", is a confused, disempowering mess that spends its first third telling you why you are powerless to change in the face of your environment. We are caught in a behaviorist nightmare, a planet-sized Skinner box that determines our behavior. Chapter 3 ends with a bald statement that "If we do not create and control our environment, our environment creates and controls us." So we don't have any choices about our own behavior unless we control our environment. But if we are in an environment in the first place (as we all necessarily are), which "creates and controls us", how could we ever formulate a choice to "create and control" our environment in a different way?

But then Goldsmith backs off the uber-behaviorism and introduces his AIWATT acronym.
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