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Unstuck: A Tool for Yourself, Your Team, and Your World Hardcover – April 22, 2004

3.7 out of 5 stars 46 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This graphically modern and interactive volume demands that readers get themselves—and their businesses—out of whatever rut they’re in. By first encouraging the acknowledgment of being stuck, Yamashita and Spataro, a consultant and business school professor, respectively, pave the way for escape. They describe the seven emotional manifestations of being stuck (feeling alone, overwhelmed, directionless, battle-torn, worthless, hopeless, exhausted) and provide guidance for moving past them, through case studies (from the U.S. Postal Service to Apollo 13), exercises, charts and mantras such as "find the quiet rock star" and "write the headline from the future." It’s alternately funny and thought provoking; and with rarely more than 200 words per page, it doesn’t resemble a typical dense business tome. Yet somehow, in its succinctness (and despite its overuse of catchphrases), this book renders specific and practical points as well as enough inspiration to help all kinds of individuals and teams break through mental walls.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Unstuck is roadside assistance for leaders—a tool for turning information into action. -- Gary VanSpronsen, Senior Vice President of Business Development, Herman Miller

Unstuck really walks its talk. -- Ivy Ross, founder of Project Platypus at Mattel Inc.

A new manifesto from two of our most original, most amazing thinkers (and more important, practitioners). Right now. -- Seth Godin, author of Purple Cow and Free Prize Inside

He may be one of the most influential consultants you've never heard of. He's certainly one of the most creative. -- Fast Company

Insightful and creative….In just a few minutes I got more than enough good ideas to last a long time. -- David Allen, author of Getting Things Done and Ready for Anything

One of the pioneers working on technology's cutting edge. -- The Wall Street Journal

Part action manual, part tool, part dojo, Unstuck is unfailingly inventive….a fresh, fun, and serious-minded guide to moving forward. -- Polly LaBarre, contributing writer, Fast Company

Strategy, brand, culture: Keith Yamashita puts them together. -- Fourtune

Wonderfully engaging….Packed with practical guidance on how to restore momentum to your teams and organization. Hard to put down! -- Jay Conger, author of Winning 'Em Over

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 179 pages
  • Publisher: Portfolio Hardcover (April 26, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591840376
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591840374
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1.1 x 7.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #268,629 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book covers three principles: Admitting you're stuck, Diagnosing why you're stuck, Getting unstuck.

It does provide an excellent insight into systemic repair using aspects of a system: Purpose (central), Strategy, Structure + Process, Metrics + Rewards, People + Interaction, Culture

There are many organizations that don't get this, and center their efforts on only one aspect. The book, I found, more applicable to senior or departmental management rather than individuals.

The conscious employee that reads this would become more knowledgeable (actually more valuable) than their supervisor. Using the knowledge in this book, they would then become threatening to insecure management (of which I would say most management is - merely because most people go into management not because they wish to help others succeed, but rather because they are simply tired of working themselves).

If you are going to purchase the book, purchase it for your department supervisor, CIO, CFO, COO, CEO as well. Otherwise you're going be seen as a problem raising such enlightened ideas in an unenlightened environment.

This, is not the fault of the book, but rather the structures of organizations.

The book advocates identifying informal leaders, making use of silent influentials. However, it also advocates cultural change activities that require the kind of power that only formal leaders have in an organization. The problem is that most dysfunctional managers will not be interested in change, they will not seek out this kind of awareness and if you (as a less powerful employer) try to bring things like progressive awareness into the arena you will be punished.
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By A Customer on June 16, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I've actually read the book twice since receiving it as a gift (from my boss!). The first read took me cover to cover. On the second read, I "navigated" the book based on our organization's current challenges. I got the sense that this is how the book was written by the authors. For example, almost every page in the second half of the book contains 2-3 suggestions of where to go next based on how and why you are stuck. One of the final pages, cites "Recommended Paths" the authors have chosen for various types of being stuck. It's a brilliant book - whether you read it from start to finish or jump around. I recommend both!
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Format: Hardcover
I have found this book to be a unique road map for working through problems.
I am currently using this book to try and solve some problems where I work.

At first glance, the book catches your eye for its bright cover, and inside as you leaf through it, it boasts unique images and in addition to the typical black and white, they employ a light green to add interest and help stimulate the senses as you work through the book.
The book can be used in a number of different ways. You can read it like any other book from front to back, or you can use the extensive Contents to find specific areas that appeal to you and go from there. This book definitely is non-linear. It is very well organized and the ideas and concepts are linked together very creatively. Everywhere you go in the book, there are links to other parts of the book that may help in solving your problems.
There are two distinct sections of the book, but again they end up linking back to each other.
The first section is the how and why. Identifying that there is a problem and finding the reasons for it. They describe these as: "Step 1: Admitting you're stuck" and "Step 2: Diagnosing why you are stuck". This is done by giving illustrations of a well oiled organization and allowing you to figure out where your shortcomings are in relation to it. Then it goes on to describing the "serious seven" reasons that teams get "stuck". You can start here and identify which of the serious seven apply to you. For each of the seven, they then point you to pages that can help you fix that specific problem.
The second section of the book is all about getting unstuck. They describe this as: "Step 3: Getting unstuck".
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By A Customer on May 12, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I have not stopped returning to Unstuck since I read it 2 weeks ago. In very clear terms, the book helps you craft a road map to get your team (or your entire organization) on track. The first quarter of the book walks you through a series of diagnostic tools in which you assess your predicament. You leave with a clear diagnosis of how you're stuck - or, at the least, important insight into some of the "root causes." The authors call these the Serious Seven. The remainder, and majority of the book, provides dozens of tools, ideas, and examples for the reader to weave together based on their goals. Each page is a refreshing look at leadership, problem-solving, and system dynamics. Unstuck provides no overall panacea (read: if you need someone to tell you what to do, Unstuck is probably not for you). Rather, it presents the reader with a fresh, inventive toolkit to approach the all-to-familiar snags in work and life.
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