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Upstream: The Quest to Solve Problems Before They Happen Kindle Edition
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“Dan Heath has written the ultimate primer on the power of prevention, a work that deserves a prominent place on every leader’s bookshelf. Packed with vivid stories and practical examples, Upstream is the rare book that can both revitalize your business and make our world a better place." —Daniel H. Pink, #1 New York Times bestselling author of When, Drive, and To Sell Is Human
"Upstream contains research and storytelling that informs, engages and, above all, entertains. If you want to stop firefighting problems and prevent them from happening in the first place, then you should read what Dan Heath has to say." —Charles Duhigg, New York Times bestselling author of The Power of Habit and Smarter Faster Better
“Upstream draws on examples from across the spectrum, from sport to business. But Heath is clever enough to focus on significant societal issues, such as sexual harassment, climate change, and school shootings, which gives the book a substantial feel that some more superficial problem-solving manuals lack.” —Financial Times, Best Book of the Month
“Psychology meets neuroscience and self-help in this engaging study by business writer Heath. . . . A smart, provocative book that guides readers to better decision-making when confronting seemingly intractable problems.” —Kirkus Reviews
“[An] elegant manifesto . . . With the frenetic pace of modern life, Heath observes, it’s easy to become accustomed to putting out fires instead of looking for the spark that’s igniting them. . . . This is a pragmatic guide for those seeking big changes on either an individual or organizational level.” —Publishers Weekly
“Heath presents a convincing argument for shifting resources ‘upstream’ and focusing on prevention rather than cure.” —Booklist
PRAISE FOR THE POWER OF MOMENTS:
"I read this cover to cover and learned something new on each page. Beautifully written, brilliantly researched—I'm recommending it to everyone I know!"—Angela Duckworth, New York Times bestselling author of Grit
“The most interesting, immediately actionable book I’ve read in quite a while. I walked away with new ideas for motivating employees, delighting customers, engaging students, and even planning family vacations. If life is a series of moments, the Heath brothers have transformed how I plan to spend mine.”—Adam Grant, New York Times bestselling author of Give and Take, Originals, and Option B with Sheryl Sandberg
“A sincere introduction to how readers can shape and improve the peaks in their own experiences. Infused with positivity and enthusiasm . . . Readers hungry for a bigger slice of life will find this book valuable. Heuristic advice and life-affirming direction form a gratifying combination in this motivational handbook.” —Kirkus
“This terrific book is bursting with practical insights and memorable stories on every page. It's as relevant to product designers and meeting planners as it is to teachers and parents. I've already put many of its novel suggestions to work. Don't miss it.”—Eric Ries, author of bestselling author of The Lean Startup, The Startup Way
"Flat out amazing."—Jake Knapp, New York Times bestselling author of Sprint
About the Author
- File Size : 3623 KB
- Publication Date : March 3, 2020
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Publisher : Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster; Illustrated Edition (March 3, 2020)
- Print Length : 315 pages
- Language: : English
- Enhanced Typesetting : Enabled
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- ASIN : B07THBM1M6
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #47,024 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Plus, those stories are a major issue. The vast, vast majority are hugely inspirational from very powerful people or those in authority positions looking to change the world, and while you might feel inspired by these tales there is only one single little chapter that tries to make the connection to ordinary people. After a while, I didn't care about CEOs or government authorities or powerful school districts - I just want to solve my own problems.
I think the graphic on page 247 sums up the problems here - it is entirely an after-thought, and not very useful and not something anybody will study. That's disappointing.
This book isn't terrible - hence the 3 stars - but I won't be buying the many multiple of copies of Decisive with this one. Overall, if endless anecdotes are your thing you might like it, but this is the first Health and Health book I've ever struggled to finish. Maybe you will feel different.
"Upstream" espouses that radical shift in thinking: going to the source of the problem, as far back as we can go, to solve it *before* it arises. Prevention is like a vaccine: having nothing bad happen may not be as sexy as heroic corrective measures, but it is far cheaper and more efficient.
For example, there's a firm called P3 that uses complex motion capture technology "to micro-analyze athletes as they run, jump, and pivot." It then tells them which injuries they're most susceptible to, and re-trains them to prevent those injuries. Magic!
But how? "To succeed upstream, leaders must: detect problems early, target leverage points in complex systems, find reliable ways to measure success, pioneer new ways of working together, and embed their successes into systems to give them permanence."
Before you can do that, you need to overcome three obstacles:
1) Problem blindness: "You can’t solve a problem that you can’t see, or one that you perceive as a regrettable but inevitable condition of life.” If you think 'athletes just get injured', you'll never prevent injuries.
2) Lack of ownership: 'Ain't my problem!' Got to own it to solve it.
3) Tunneling: "I just can't deal with that right now." The more stressed you are (e.g. because of poverty), the more you're reacting to immediate concerns ("Can't pay the bills gaaah!") and the less you can engage in the "systems thinking" required to see the bigger picture.
Two concepts that particularly resonated with me:
• "Surround the problem": Realize that problems are embedded in systems, and recruit all the stakeholders to solve the problem. For example, to reduce teenage delinquency from 50% to near zero in Iceland, they brought on board parents, coaches, teachers, and the kids.
• "Immerse yourself in the problem": Med students at Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine at Seton Hall go into the community and spend hours with patients *in their homes* from day one. That way, they find out about the social determinants of health, e.g. how a patient's diabetes can go uncontrolled because he can't go to the store himself.
Heath shares many inspiring stories of heroic, effective problem solving that stay with you long after finishing the book (which I did in one sitting): how Jacquelyn Campbell's "Danger Assessment" tool prevents deadly domestic violence; Anthony Ramirez-Di Vittorio's "Being a Man" homicide prevention program in Baltimore; and Rockford, Illinois's successful eradication of homelessness.
Of course, "nowhere is the need for this shift [from reaction to prevention] more evident in the $3.5 trillion healthcare industry." I really appreciate Dan Heath's clarion call of moral responsibility, instead of merely making the business case that prevention saves money:
"Nothing else in health care, other than prevention, is viewed through this lens of saving money... This is madness. The reason to house the homeless or prevent disease or feed the hungry is not because of the financial returns but because of the moral returns. Let’s not sabotage upstream efforts by subjecting them to a test we never impose on downstream interventions."
If you're a problem-solver of any kind -- parent, teacher, scientist, politician, entrepreneur -- this book is required reading. The shift from reactive to upstream thinking is also the shift from small-scale to systems thinking, undergirding our success as families, societies, and a species (think: climate change). I'll be re-reading this one regularly.
-- Ali Binazir, M.D., M.Phil., Happiness Engineer and author of The Tao of Dating: The Smart Woman's Guide to Being Absolutely Irresistible , the highest-rated dating book on Amazon, and Should I Go to Medical School?: An Irreverent Guide to the Pros and Cons of a Career in Medicine
Hurricane Katrina could have been much, much worse. In the year prior to Hurricane Katrina, a team simulated a hurricane scenario with a resulting loss of 60,000 lives. Because of planning ahead, only 1700 lives were lost compared to the 60,000 lives estimated in the simulation. That’s “upstream” thinking.
So many of our programs, whether in our nations or our organizations, are reactive instead of proactive. We spend many times more for the cure than we do for prevention.
Upsteam provides a guide for anticipating problems before they become problems.
And the most difficult challenge identified by Upstream is the malaise of the status quo. Reaction has heroes; prevention rarely does. But with prevention, disasters just fail to occur.
Top reviews from other countries
As per previous Heath Brother books, there are loads of great stories. The author introduces characters doing work that is often not glamorous or well financially rewarded, but nonetheless incredibly important.
Some insightful examples that stuck in my head are:
- The story of why the travel website Expedia got to 20 million people calling them up for their itinerary before they started to take positive action
- The story of the school that drastically reduced drop out rates by letting go of a flawed tough-love approach.
And the fascinating story of how some nations have allowed their rate of C-section births to the level it has become a health problem.
To mess with a quote from Henry Thoreau, do we want to spend our time hacking away at the leaves of a problem or do you want to be someone striking at its root?
Overall, the idea that resonated with me the most is that you can’t help a thousand people until you understand how to help one. And the best way to do that is to see the problem up close so that you really understand it. To have a big impact, we need to start small.
A fascinating book. While reading it, I thought it wobbled a bit in the middle, but picked up well & ended with deep learnings.
This is why you MUST get this book:
- It's a nice & light read vs many of the heavy books I recommend 🙂
- The principal concept is to investigate, act, think AHEAD of occurrences.
- Ask "Why do these things happen" vs "Oh, that's the way it is. (The Expedia example is brilliant).
- Why solutions need to VERY carefully thought of. The "Cobra Effect" case is stunning.
- So many real-life cases of how careful study & planning has WORKED. The example of the Katrina Disaster Management plan deserves a standing applause.
- I learned a great productivity trick! It is to “score" meetings.
- The Boston Sidewalk repairs case is brilliant.
- How the concept of Upstream applies to Spam-Mails, Mentoring young mothers, handling student-teacher relationships and more.
- The Carpet Entrepreneur's moment of truth is stunning and scary 🙂 It's inspiring how the entrepreneur pivots!
- It's a solid, productive, self-help Book.