Every once in a while a book comes along that packs a lot of value into a quick read. Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting out of the Box is just such a book and it’s one that we find ourselves recommending to clients frequently.
I’m skeptical when reviewers claim that books are “transformative.” Transformation happens more as a result of the reader than the book. No book has the ability to transform the way that you see things if you aren’t ready to have your view transformed.
However, when a client who is smart, savvy, self-aware, and not prone to hyperbole tells me that a book changed her life, I read it. When I read this one, I saw the potential for readers to have their eyes opened – if they were ready to open them. Many clients have since told us that this book helped open their eyes.
We love books that are quick reads and yet give us a profoundly different way of looking at things. According to the book, much of the trouble that we have with our work, our lives, and our relationships stems from living in self-deception and, while blaming others, failing to see that we hold the power to “get out of our boxes” and do the right things for the right reasons.
The book is yet another in the leadership fable genre but we seem not to tire of them. We have been learning our most important lessons from stories presumably long before the brothers Grimm. Besides, as I discussed in my last post, Why you should read, fiction helps us build our emotional intelligence by allowing us to share the lens of the story’s protagonist.
I loved the way this story skillfully demonstrated that we are not victims of other people’s behavior and that only we have the power to rewrite the story of our relationships with others. Written from a business leadership perspective, the story includes enough personal examples to help the reader see the applicability in all types of human relationships.
It’s an easy read – you can polish it off in an afternoon – but it packs a powerful punch as it tells the story of one man’s journey “out of the box.” Clients often tell us that they go back to reread it more slowly; having had the stage set by their first reading, they want to go back and really take it in.
This is one of our favorite books. You can check out more of our favorites here.