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Juggling Elephants: An Easier Way to Get Your Most Important Things Done--Now! Hardcover – Sep 11 2007


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Portfolio Hardcover (Sept. 11 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591841712
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591841715
  • Product Dimensions: 14.2 x 1.7 x 21.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 272 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #286,630 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

In this fun parable written by corporate trainers Loflin and Musig, the hero, Mark, gets more than just an afternoon of family time out of a visit to the circus with his daughter—he gets a new way of organizing his life. Using the extended metaphor of the three-ring circus, this short volume is written as a dialogue between Mark and his ringmaster mentor, who teaches him how to better coordinate the activities happening in each ring. Readers who take themselves too seriously might have trouble getting past the large print, circus illustrations and a dialogue style more commonly found in children's books. But the book passes along several circus maxims that easily translate to balancing professional and personal relationships as well as one's personal pursuits, such as the ringmaster cannot be in all three rings at once and the key to the success of the circus is having quality acts in all three rings. While the advice is not new, the presentation helps it stick in your head, increasing the odds of keeping your act together. (Sept. 6)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Jones Loflin is an internationally recognized speaker and corporate trainer. He has helped many companies deal with change more effectively with concepts from the bestselling book Who Moved My Cheese? Todd Musig has over twenty years' experience in business development, leadership, training and marketing. He is the CEO of Previdence Corporations. www.jugglingelephants.com --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Mark smiled. Read the first page
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By Robert Morris HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on Jan. 18 2008
Format: Hardcover
Jones Loflin and Todd Musig assert (and I agree) that with regard to achieving and then maintaining "balance" in one's life, the objective should not be to balance everything; rather, to balance only what is most important. Theirs is a modern fable about a situation in which Mark, the protagonist, struggles without much success in three areas: his career, his relationships (as husband, father, colleague, and friend), and his personal development (e.g. he is overweight, has no recreation). Then one day, he reluctantly takes his wife and daughter to a circus, engages in a conversation with an off-duty ringmaster (Victor) from another circus, and then....

The extended metaphor (i.e. life is a circus) is very clever. It creates all manner of opportunities to correlate components of a circus with counterparts in one's career and personal life (i.e. the need for preparation, order and structure, division of labor, mutual trust and respect, effective supervision and coordination, timing, proper execution, teamwork, and yes, balance). The narrative (or plot) introduces the main characters, explains the situation, introduces conflicts that create tension and engage the reader's interest, and proceeds from one development to the next until the climax occurs.

I realize that comparisons and contrasts are sometimes unfair but, that said, Aesop and Jean de La Fontaine, then George Orwell and E.B. White, have demonstrated how effectively a fable can dramatize wisdom that is both eternal and universal. More recently, Stephen Denning and Patrick Lencioni have written fables that extend that tradition within the contemporary business world. Together, classic and contemporary fabulists have set the standards by which Loflin and Musig should be measured.
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By Glenn Simon Inc TOP 500 REVIEWER on Jan. 10 2009
Format: Hardcover
To continue with the circus metaphor, this book was a pretty light act to juggle. I like a story that is quick and to the point- especially if the message is valuable.

This book is a whopping 144 pages (including the blank ones- and there's lots of them) of BIG text. Essentially the message is: pretend you are the ringmaster of your own circus (meaning life). Divide your three most important 'shows' into three rings. Focus only on one ring at a time.

That's it more or less. It's a good, cute book that you should buy used/new and spend about $7 bucks on. The story is simple and easy to understand but don't expect much detail.

If you're looking for something more, check out Brian Tracy 'Eat That Frog' or 'Getting Things Done' by David Allen - the latter which is almost too much detail.

Todd Millar, Glenn Simon Inc.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 36 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Getting Your Act Together Sept. 6 2007
By Miranda N. Brothers - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
With a heartwarming approach to the all too common problem of how to manage a hectic life, Jones Loflin and Todd Musig have successfully collaborated to present a workable solution in their easy to digest and retain, Juggling Elephants. Recognizing that sometimes life is like a circus, the authors offer the memorable story of Mark who, using the three ring circus analogy, rediscovers his family, free time, and in the end, himself, again.
This gem, with its rejuvenating story, likable characters, and attractive presentation, culminate in, what I am sure will be, a much respected and well utilized tool across both the professional and personal realms and adopted as a "must read" throughout the business spectrum.
Kudos to Loflin and Musig for their creative solution and efforts to help others succeed in life.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Ever think your life is a 3 ring circus? Here is a way to become your own ringmaster. Sept. 15 2007
By Craig Matteson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I think that these kinds of business parables sell well to a certain audience because the images are so easy to remember and are fun to visualize. It doesn't matter that they always seem to follow a the pattern of someone being out of control in some aspect of the business, their life, or whatever and they meet some mysterious stranger who gives them the KEY that solves their problem and gets their life back in order.

This story is about a man whose daughter comes to him with her life in disarray. She can't manage her work life, her family life, and her personal life. He talks with her about how going to the circus with her helped him with the same problem. We often refer to something in a crazy and disordered state as a three-ring circus. However, a circus is really a very ordered system of acts. This is often NOT true of our lives.

The title of the book refers to the situation when we are out of control. Trying to juggle elephants doesn't help anyone. You can't do it, the elephants aren't having any fun, and the audience isn't enjoying an act going nowhere. So, Victor, a ringmaster Mark (the dad) happens to meet guides him through the steps of becoming the ring master of his life and the three rings being Work, Family, and Self. The ideas presented are really quite good and the images are memorable. If you are already in complete control of your life, you probably don't need this book. However, most of us could use some time thinking about these issues and this is a pretty painless to entertaining way of considering what it takes to get the right acts on stage when.

A simple, helpful little book.

Reviewed by Craig Matteson, Ann Arbor, MI
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Actually, 3.5 Stars Sept. 6 2007
By Robert Morris - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Jones Loflin and Todd Musig assert (and I agree) that with regard to achieving and then maintaining "balance" in one's life, the objective should not be to balance everything; rather, to balance only what is most important. Theirs is a modern fable about a situation in which Mark, the protagonist, struggles without much success in three areas: his career, his relationships (as husband, father, colleague, and friend), and his personal development (e.g. he is overweight, has no recreation). Then one day, he reluctantly takes his wife and daughter to a circus, engages in a conversation with an off-duty ringmaster (Victor) from another circus, and then....

The extended metaphor (i.e. life is a circus) is very clever. It creates all manner of opportunities to correlate components of a circus with counterparts in one's career and personal life (i.e. the need for preparation, order and structure, division of labor, mutual trust and respect, effective supervision and coordination, timing, proper execution, teamwork, and yes, balance). The narrative (or plot) introduces the main characters, explains the situation, introduces conflicts that create tension and engage the reader's interest, and proceeds from one development to the next until the climax occurs.

I realize that comparisons and contrasts are sometimes unfair but, that said, Aesop and Jean de La Fontaine, then George Orwell and E.B. White, have demonstrated how effectively a fable can dramatize wisdom that is both eternal and universal. More recently, Stephen Denning and Patrick Lencioni have written fables that extend that tradition within the contemporary business world. Together, classic and contemporary fabulists have set the standards by which Loflin and Musig should be measured. That said, I think they offer a clever extended metaphor but fall short as storytellers. The dialogue sometimes seems contrived, there are awkward transitions from one development to the next, and the human characters resemble stick figures. Re the last point, soon after reading the book, I could not remember any of the characters' names. Hence my rating: Five Stars for the core concept and Two Stars for the didactic and frequently lifeless presentation of it.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
CD Version Review - Something to Listen to Several Times Over Years Aug. 22 2009
By Citizen John - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Juggling Elephants is another VERY short story book on organizing your life and becoming more effective, another in the genre that we've come to associate with Ken Blanchard, who has given it his blessing. This story, another collaboration of authors, is worth listening to several times spaced out over a long time period but certainly, in my opinion, not sufficient by itself to become life-changing.

The reason this genre sells so well, I believe, is that our lives are filled with information overload and we have extreme pressures to achieve financial security. Information overload has added extraordinary complexity to our lives, and the gradual erosion of middle class real income has added a general cultural sense that our lives are out of control. Even our unemployed are stressed out with out-of-control to-do lists and do not experience respite from information overload. Therefore, there is a need for this genre to help us to understand why our lives are so difficult and give us small but usually short-lasting bursts of hope.

You'll see that Oliver Wyman, the reader, is listed as "Contributor." I am a big fan of the excellent readers. Wyman didn't do an excellent job here, but that doesn't mean he can't be excellent in other situations. He just didn't do a good job with voices of characters, which was required for this book but not all books. I believe he'd be excellent reading books that don't require voices of characters.

The story is Ok. I'll never think of circuses the same way again! It makes sense because being a ringmaster requires talent, experience and even wisdom. This type of story could be reproduced in a sense for many types of jobs, but a ringmaster is a great example for the lessons of the story.

We're seeing more and more of these types of books being produced. They are always very short, teach using a simple story and stick to basic lessons that we probably already know but tend to lose sight of when we respond to the demands of daily life. They might even be a secular substitute for many people, although I am speculating when I say that.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Good Book for Newly Promoted Managers/Supervisors Jan. 31 2008
By Jason G. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
It is true that the style and metaphors of this book may be basic for a lot of people, especially if you have been in a leadership position for a while. I have found it useful to help educate new leaders on the importance of establishing a work/life balance early on in their new endeavours before they burn themselves out. I've seen many of them devote far too many hours to the first few weeks on the job, only to fail because they aren't given enough tools to be successful. Given the lack of management talent in many industries, there's a never ending search for anything to assist those who have never led before. This book gives a clear cut and simple way to determine what should and should not be on your radar and plate to increase one's productivity--both personally and professionally.

The HR world does a very good job of talking about the importance of having a work/life balance, however there's not much to start people off in the right direction. New leaders need all the guidance and assistance they can get, and this book helps them sharpen their focus, decide their priorities, and engage their teams. There's not a leader out there that cannot benefit from the sage advice offered in the book to "constantly offer positive reinforcement for good behavior" as it's one of the top reasons people leave their jobs. Getting knowledge and skills on how to improve that recognition is almost worth reading the book alone.


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