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

BBC Audiobooks
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (80 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 29.95 & FREE Shipping. 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 the Hardcover edition.

Review

"... not just another book on leadership. It identifies the central issue of all performance. I recommend it very highly." -- Brad Pelo, President and CEO, NextPage

"... shows why the truth about failure is so difficult to see, and explains how to overcome such self-deception." -- Dave Checketts, President and CEO, Madison Square Garden Corp.

"Arbinger taught our leadership team at LensCrafters and the difference...was remarkable. This is the...key to productivity and creativity." -- Dave Browne, former President and CEO, LensCrafters

"Don't be fooled by the title--this book is for everyone. I can't think about my life the same way again." -- Jack Anderson, Syndicated Columnist and Pulitzer Prize Winner

"Fascinating, thought provoking, and insightful! Once I started reading, I couldnt put it down." -- Steven C. Wheelwright, Professor and Senior Associate Dean, Harvard Business School

"From boosting the bottom line to increasing personal joy, this book shows the way." -- Bruce L. Christensen, former President and CEO, PBS

"I love this book. Like truth itself, it reveals more with each re-examination. I recommend it highly." -- Doug Hauth, Sales Vice President, Lucent Technologies

"I shared...this book with my family and friends. The concepts are powerful. Read it and...see what I mean." -- Steve Young, two-time NFL Most Valuable Player

"I've known the work of the Arbinger Institute for years. Arbinger's ideas are profound, with deep and sweeping implications for organizations. Leadership and Self-Deception provides the perfect introduction to this material. 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 is significant, original stuff. This book is a terrific introduction to Arbinger's groundbreaking material. I enjoyed it immensely." -- Robert C. Gay, Managing Director, Bain Capital --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
Format:Hardcover
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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5.0 out of 5 stars This book saved our marriage Dec 11 2003
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
The title of this book is rather misleading. The concepts so clearly and beautifully explained here apply to far more than just leadership. This book would be tremendously helpful to anyone in any sphere of life. My father sent it to us when my husband and I were on the brink of separation. I thought he was way off-base when I first got it, but we both read it to humor him. Once we started, we couldn't put it down. It has transformed both of us and saved our marriage. We're sending it to friends and family for Christmas. Although there's nothing really new, something about the way these ideas are presented enabled us to profoundly alter how we look at ourselves and the way we think about and deal with others. It was as if someone had given me emotional eyeglasses. Suddenly, emotionally complex situations looked clear and simple. Not necessarily easy to remedy, but atleast I could see where I was going. It's hard to imagine anyone this book wouldn't benefit. And, no, I am not related to, nor do I know, anyone associated with this book. It probably won't be as life-changing for everyone else out there, but it's inexpensive, short, and easy to read. Do yourself a favor and get it!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Nothing new, but good nonetheless Nov. 23 2003
Format:Paperback
The way this book presented the idea of in-the-box and out-of-the-box is what makes this book's ideas seem new and cutting edge. However, look deeper into the meaning of the book, and you'll see that you really get nothing more out of this book than if you had read something like the Bible, which has been around a bit longer than the "Box" theory. I am not pushing for everybody to read the Bible, but just to present a perspective on the kinds of ideas you can learn from reading such a widely available religious book that you may already have lying around the house.
For instance, according to this book, you're only really out of the box when you examine yourself and view other people as people and not as mere objects. And looking at the faults of others is of no benefit while examining yourself with a more critical eye can help you get out of the box.
"And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not perceive the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, 'Brother, let me remove the speck that is in your eye,' when you yourself do not see the plank that is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck that is in your brother's eye." Luke 6:41-42
In the box, you're forgetting about the plank in your own eye and only noticing the speck in the other person's eye. Therefore, you're not seeing clearly. Because the whole purpose of this book is to allow people to perceive correctly, I believe what this book is trying to say is very simple. As a result, there are any number of ways you can achieve the aims of this book without necessarily following the exact steps laid out in this book to get out of the box.
And the other major precept in this book?
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5.0 out of 5 stars The essence of true leadership is revealed Jan. 18 2003
Format:Paperback
This is a most unusual book on leadership. The premise here is not about leadership approaches, methodologies for managing employees in the workplace, or other business strategy, but is instead a close and powerful look at how we view others and how that view impacts our ability to lead them.
The first unusual aspect of this book is the manner in which it is written. It is basically a novel. It starts with contextual story written in first person, of a man who has recently joined a successful company as an executive and is called in to meet personally with the Company senior leader. From the first few pages I was anticipating and wanting to know what would happen next. It is within this method that the leadership principles are revealed. This is an extremely important way to deliver a message. I know a few people who do not read novels, but stick to non-fiction types of books. This is a tremendous loss, as truth is most eloquently and powerfully conveyed within the context of a story. In the New Testament for example, Jesus taught most powerfully in parables, weaving truth into a common story people could relate to. In that manner this book weaves some powerful messages about leadership into a modern day parable of a business executive.
The concept presented in this book of what leadership is, is also a more unusual one in that the focus is not on "what" we do behaviorally to others, our outward leadership style, as most leadership books focus on, but rather our inward view of these individuals as people. The foundational question is whether we are "in the box" or not. "In the box" refers generally to viewing others as objects through our own biased lens, which often without our knowledge inflates our self-importance while diminishing theirs.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Deceptively simple yet remarkably deep
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. Read more
Published on July 22 2009 by SMB
5.0 out of 5 stars What a wake up call!
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... Read more
Published on Jan. 13 2007 by Caroline Williams
5.0 out of 5 stars Remarkable
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. Read more
Published on May 18 2004 by Daniel P. McCarthy
2.0 out of 5 stars I suppose it could be useful ...
... 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. Read more
Published on May 17 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Get Out of The BOX
This book is outstanding in helping with judgements and self-deception. The principles are taught and reflected in a business relationship enviorment. Read more
Published on May 11 2004 by Scott McKenzie
3.0 out of 5 stars Hard to Read
I had to force myself to stick with it until the end and the secret is revealed. Long, weak stories aren't really necessary. Read more
Published on March 31 2004 by Veronica White
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterful
I have read "Leadership and Self Deception: Getting Out of the Box" and think it would make the old Sophists of ancient Greece proud, in that it is a masterful... Read more
Published on Oct. 31 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars trying to live out of the box
An institute is credited as the author of this book. I find it troublesome in a way. It is too impersonal for such a personal topic. Read more
Published on Oct. 12 2003 by Stephen Sherlock
1.0 out of 5 stars Another Covey-like cult book
I was encouraged to read this book by my boss. I did not enjoy it. Instead coming across as a book that encourages you to improve leadership skills and interpersonal relationships,... Read more
Published on Aug. 26 2003 by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars In the box
I think the "Light on content" reviewer is in the box! The concepts in this book COULD perhaps be contained in a small pamphlet, but Terry Warner's book guides the reader... Read more
Published on July 14 2003 by Jacob Findlay
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