A sharp, habit-forming leadership manual.

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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

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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The book would have benefited from a tighter structure, but it’s inspiring and relatable for readers with depression.

THE HILARIOUS WORLD OF DEPRESSION

The creator and host of the titular podcast recounts his lifelong struggles with depression.

With the increasing success of his podcast, Moe, a longtime radio personality and author whose books include The Deleted E-Mails of Hillary Clinton: A Parody (2015), was encouraged to open up further about his own battles with depression and delve deeper into characteristics of the disease itself. Moe writes about how he has struggled with depression throughout his life, and he recounts similar experiences from the various people he has interviewed in the past, many of whom are high-profile entertainers and writers—e.g. Dick Cavett and Andy Richter, novelist John Green. The narrative unfolds in a fairly linear fashion, and the author relates his family’s long history with depression and substance abuse. His father was an alcoholic, and one of his brothers was a drug addict. Moe tracks how he came to recognize his own signs of depression while in middle school, as he experienced the travails of OCD and social anxiety. These early chapters alternate with brief thematic “According to THWoD” sections that expand on his experiences, providing relevant anecdotal stories from some of his podcast guests. In this early section of the book, the author sometimes rambles. Though his experiences as an adolescent are accessible, he provides too many long examples, overstating his message, and some of the humor feels forced. What may sound naturally breezy in his podcast interviews doesn’t always strike the same note on the written page. The narrative gains considerable momentum when Moe shifts into his adult years and the challenges of balancing family and career while also confronting the devastating loss of his brother from suicide. As he grieved, he writes, his depression caused him to experience “a salad of regret, anger, confusion, and horror.” Here, the author focuses more attention on the origins and evolution of his series, stories that prove compelling as well.

The book would have benefited from a tighter structure, but it’s inspiring and relatable for readers with depression.

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-20928-3

Page Count: 304

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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