A sharp, habit-forming leadership manual.

The Coaching Habit

SAY LESS, ASK MORE AND CHANGE THE WAY YOU LEAD FOREVER

A trenchant guide to coaching for business managers.

Books with clever titles and pithy, time-saving concepts fill the crowded management and leadership genre, which targets busy executives, and too often, they overpromise and underdeliver, like empty-calorie snacks. But Bungay Stanier (Great Work Provocations, 2013, etc.), the founder of Box of Crayons, a Toronto-based training company, has produced something closer to an engineered nutritional bar, in which each ingredient contributes to the whole. The author explains why coaching is vital for managers and reviews reasons why they shy away from it, including the notion that dispensing answers and advice seems faster and easier than empowering subordinates. He persuasively argues that changing such habits can free managers to “work less hard and have more impact.” The book refines the coaching process into “Seven Essential Questions” and gives each its own chapter: “The Kickstart Question,” “The Focus Question,” “The Strategic Question,” and so on. Each one asks readers to note a situation that triggers the urge to dispense wisdom rather than coach, and gives cues to replace that habit with a new one. The questions then build naturally toward conversations about coaching. The book tailors its organization and length to time-pressed readers, who can finish it easily in a couple of hours or in 15-minute increments. Bungay Stanier writes with verve, effectively incorporating humor, surprise, and parables. Subheads are numerous, and pull-quotes often fill entire pages, but readers shouldn’t mistake the book’s compact size, slide-deck–style presentation format, and breezy tone for a lack of substance. It’s packed with actionable tips derived from training classes; on-point observations from leading business thinkers, such as Daniel Pink and Charles Duhigg; supporting research citations; and recommended resources for further study. Each chapter steers readers to the Box of Crayons website, where lively videos will reinforce the messages. In this way, the book serves as either an appetizer for a whole course on coaching or as a satisfying small meal on its own.

A sharp, habit-forming leadership manual.

Pub Date: Feb. 29, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9784407-4-9

Page Count: 242

Publisher: Box of Crayons Press

Review Posted Online: April 4, 2016

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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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UNTAMED

More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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Clever and accessibly conversational, Manson reminds us to chill out, not sweat the small stuff, and keep hope for a better...

EVERYTHING IS F*CKED

A BOOK ABOUT HOPE

The popular blogger and author delivers an entertaining and thought-provoking third book about the importance of being hopeful in terrible times.

“We are a culture and a people in need of hope,” writes Manson (The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life, 2016, etc.). With an appealing combination of gritty humor and straightforward prose, the author floats the idea of drawing strength and hope from a myriad of sources in order to tolerate the “incomprehensibility of your existence.” He broadens and illuminates his concepts through a series of hypothetical scenarios based in contemporary reality. At the dark heart of Manson’s guide is the “Uncomfortable Truth,” which reiterates our cosmic insignificance and the inevitability of death, whether we blindly ignore or blissfully embrace it. The author establishes this harsh sentiment early on, creating a firm foundation for examining the current crisis of hope, how we got here, and what it means on a larger scale. Manson’s referential text probes the heroism of Auschwitz infiltrator Witold Pilecki and the work of Isaac Newton, Nietzsche, Einstein, and Immanuel Kant, as the author explores the mechanics of how hope is created and maintained through self-control and community. Though Manson takes many serpentine intellectual detours, his dark-humored wit and blunt prose are both informative and engaging. He is at his most convincing in his discussions about the fallibility of religious beliefs, the modern world’s numerous shortcomings, deliberations over the “Feeling Brain” versus the “Thinking Brain,” and the importance of striking a happy medium between overindulging in and repressing emotions. Although we live in a “couch-potato-pundit era of tweetstorms and outrage porn,” writes Manson, hope springs eternal through the magic salves of self-awareness, rational thinking, and even pain, which is “at the heart of all emotion.”

Clever and accessibly conversational, Manson reminds us to chill out, not sweat the small stuff, and keep hope for a better world alive.

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-288843-3

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: April 1, 2019

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