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Leadership And Self-Deception: Getting Out Of The Box [Audiobook, CD, Unabridged] [Audio CD]

Arbinger Institute , William Dufris
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (80 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 24.95 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Book Description

Dec 10 2004
When Tom Callum, a troubled executive struggling with his new job, is asked to spend two days meeting with the executive vice president at the Zagrum Company, he unexpectedly learns about self-deception. Self-deception results when someone acts contrary to what they know is right. By ignoring that altruistic, internal voice, one triggers a chain of events that ultimately result in destructive behavior.

The "disease" of self-deception underlies all leadership problems in today’s organizations. However well intentioned they may be, leaders who deceive themselves always end up undermining their own performance. This straightforward audio uses Tom Callum's story to demonstrate that while knowing how to avoid this problem is central to business relationships and success, awareness is equally important in one's personal relationships.

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Using the story/parable format so popular these days, Leadership and Self-Deception takes a novel psychological approach to leadership. It's not what you do that matters, say the authors (presumably plural--the book is credited to the esteemed Arbinger Institute), but why you do it. Latching onto the latest leadership trend won't make people follow you if your motives are selfish--people can smell a rat, even one that says it's trying to empower them. The tricky thing is, we don't know that our motivation is flawed. We deceive ourselves in subtle ways into thinking that we're doing the right thing for the right reason. We really do know what the right thing to do is, but this constant self-justification becomes such an ingrained habit that it's hard to break free of it--it's as though we're trapped in a box, the authors say.

Learning how the process of self-deception works--and how to avoid it and stay in touch with our innate sense of what's right--is at the heart of the book. We follow Tom, an old-school, by-the-book kind of guy who is a newly hired executive at Zagrum Corporation, as two senior executives show him the many ways he's "in the box," how that limits him as a leader in ways he's not aware of, and of course how to get out. This is as much a book about personal transformation as it is about leadership per se. The authors use examples from the characters' private as well as professional lives to show how self-deception skews our view of ourselves and the world and ruins our interactions with people, despite what we sincerely believe are our best intentions.

While the writing won't make John Updike lose any sleep, the story entertainingly does the job of pulling the reader in and making a potentially abstruse argument quite enjoyable. The authors have a much better ear for dialogue than is typical of the genre (the book is largely dialogue), although a certain didactic tone creeps in now and then. But ultimately it's a hopeful, even inspiring read that flows along nicely and conveys a message that more than a few managers need to hear. --Pat McGill --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"It is engaging and fresh, easy to read, and packed with insight. I couldn't recommend it more highly." -- —Stephen R. Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Deceptively simple yet remarkably deep July 22 2009
The last time I was inspired by a 'simple' book with a fictional narrative was when I read 'The Little Prince' almost 17 years ago.

This is the leadership / self development book I recommend most to people in my professional as well as personal life. It describes the road down negative thoughts and assumptions as an iterative process. If one gains self awareness to identify where these processes actually start (at self betrayal) one can harness the true sincerity and empathy needed to become an effective leader.
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5.0 out of 5 stars What a wake up call! Jan. 13 2007
After you read this unique leadership book you will begin to reflect on past conflicts and re-examine what happened and what was really your or the others individual's role and its implications. Essentially you will come to terms with the rationalization that people make to justify feelings and behaviours that festers, leads to the escalation of conflicts, malicious obedience and stagnation in families and organizations.

The book is very easy to read and will leave you with great insight as to what is really going on and introduce you to what you can do to be different.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Remarkable May 18 2004
So much of this kind of writing is common sense once you're done the book... but this kind of common sense needs to be reinforced over and over again.
Written in an easy to follow narrative you find yourself relating to the main character, coming up with the same questions he has, and feeling the same feelings as he finds the truth about what he is living, feeling & learning.
A quick read and a remarkable look into how you can live & work everday.
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2.0 out of 5 stars I suppose it could be useful ... May 17 2004
By A Customer
... but like most "leadership" books, it presents material that is more common sense than anything. However it may be the most obvious things that people overlook.
Nonetheless, the book can inadvertently create even more of "a box" between those who believe in the book's mantra and those who don't. The former will accuse the latter of "being in the box" while the latter may argue how the content oversimplifies things. In reality, like most philosophies, the answer is probably in the middle somewhere. The book recommends that we should evaluate our relationships as those between people, rather than objects, and that any problems we see may really be problems with ourselves. This ignores the fact that there are in reality (albeit hopefully uncommon) low performers, disrespectful, and dishonest people, and sometimes the problem really is with them.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Get Out of The BOX May 11 2004
This book is outstanding in helping with judgements and self-deception. The principles are taught and reflected in a business relationship enviorment. The new guy ends up learning how to deal more effectively with people at work and at home.
This book is not just for business people. Leadership of Self-Deception is about every relationship. The story and concepts in the book help to open the veil that covers our minds and hearts which cause difficulties with people.
The ideas within this book take you to the deepest levels of judging and dealing with people. You learn how to change your viewpoint to have healthy vibrant relationships with coworkers, family, friends, and anyone you meet. This book took me to a deeper level then Who Moved My Cheese and The One Minute Manger.
There are twelve inches which seperates are head and heart. This book helps to bridge the gap and open us to better relationships.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Hard to Read March 31 2004
I had to force myself to stick with it until the end and the secret is revealed. Long, weak stories aren't really necessary. Why not use short, interesting anecdotes to make your point? It's such a wonderful point. I bought this book and Shar McBee's "To Lead is to Empower" and found her's delivered WAY more than promised. This book left me a little disappointed.
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This very thin book's premise is that we are mostly trapped in "the box". This is a state of mind where we think of ourselves and not of others. By objectifying others and by filtering our perceptions to protect our self image, we get locked into couterproductive interactions with other people.
It reminded me of two other similar books "Who moved my cheese" and "Seven Habits of Highly Effective People". All three books feel life changing and inspiring, but they fail to change lives. The common element is the simplistic notion that one simple thing (or 7 things) is the magic bullet that is going to change everything.
The 'religious' flavour is consistent with the reviews that say "this stuff is all in the bible".
There is no practical advice about how to deal with abusive and exploitative people, how to balance your own needs with the needs of others etc.
I don't dispute the need for everyone to be self aware and aware of their effect on others, to question their assumptions about themselves and to look at themselves as part of a social system. But there are plenty of better books about that. For example "The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work" by John Gottman - which has much wider applicability than just marriage.
The Arbinger group runs courses and seminars to fill in the blanks. However given the cost of the book it should have more practical detail to deminstrate that this is not just a bunch of nice sounding words.
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