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Positive Intelligence: Why Only 20% of Teams and Individuals Achieve Their True Potential and How You Can Achieve Yours [Hardcover]

Shirzad Chamine
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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5.0 out of 5 stars Transforming individuals one sage at a time March 4 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
Positive Intelligence audio-book is a very warm, pleasant rendition, and very engaging. When I finished listening, I was enthralled by the significance of your work. Everything was said in such a candid and clear way, that it almost felt like a conversation with the listener. In this audio-book, you presented your image and voice to the world, which added even more credibility.

You are a natural storyteller, Shirzad. You are able to capture the listener's attention right from the beginning. The stories and PQ come alive by the tone, pace and inflection that you used throughout, and the rhythm is well paced until the very end. You truly are a master communicator.

Positive Intelligence is delightfully written, and after first reading, one discovers it has a life of its own, even a personality. It is infused with the most riveting insights in neuroscience and cognitive therapies, which succeeded at striking a chord at the very essence or my being. The timely use of metaphors and rich descriptions mediated the understanding of complex ideas, and the stories lent themselves as vivid portrayals of human nature, courage, wisdom, and celebration. One of my favorites was the piece with Kian your son; I was able to picture the whole exchange.

Most interestingly, through the development of the 21-day program, PQ shows the way to unseat the most nefarious league of saboteurs of all times and transform them into docile assistants.

Positive Intelligence is one seminal book with the power to transform individuals, teams, families, and society at large, one sage at a time.
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Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  109 reviews
43 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational yet Pragmatic: A Must-Read! March 28 2012
By Michael Terrell - Published on Amazon.com
What a gold-mine of a book! An extremely useful text for increasing performance, success and happiness. As the author states: much like Sisyphus--the mythological king who was forced to roll a boulder to the top of a hill every day only to watch it roll back down in the evening--our best efforts to achieve our goals or increase our happiness often unravel. Though we frequently try to attribute our failure to others or uncontrollable circumstances, Shirzad Chamine shows in this book that it's usually due to our own self-sabotage.

Over the course of his engaging and incredibly pragmatic text, Chamine hammers home the point that though our minds are sometimes our best friends, they are often our worst enemies. He describes our minds as having both Sage and Saboteur powers, each corresponding to different regions of our brains: the PQ Brain (Sage) and the Survivor Brain (Saboteurs). The more we are able to activate our PQ Brain and our Sage, the higher our Positive Intelligence Quotient (PQ) becomes. Chamine uses numerous research and anecdotal examples to make a compelling argument that people and teams with higher PQ achieve more and are happier across all aspects of their lives. Through both his sound argument and a myriad of my own personal experiences, I believe it!

The thing I love most about this book is how serious it is about affecting positive change. It's not some loose framework or a series of things to "think about." It's actually about giving the reader an accessible toolkit to improve the way they experience life, affect their colleagues, and pursue their goals. From tools like Sage Power Games to the Three Gifts Technique, Chamine presents easy-to-do, CEO-tested techniques that actually make a difference. In fact, I've been so pleased with his PQ Reps technique (10 second intervals of returning my focus to my breath and five senses) that I've shared it with multiple of my fellow entrepreneurs, friends, and family.

Chamine states at the beginning of the book, "I encourage you to have high expectations for this book...[it] can change your life and be a game-changer for your team. Please don't settle for anything less." I haven't settled and, thus far, it's been a terrific ride!
25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Simple, but effective. Helped prepare me for a disaster I didn't see coming. July 25 2012
By Jamie Wilson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
UPDATE: The day after I wrote the following review, my Brooklyn apartment building caught fire and I had to escape via fire escape. The fire became a 6-alarm fire and involved about 200 FDNY firefighters, 26 of which were injured. The entire 117-apartment building is now uninhabitable. Not only did we lose our homes, but many of us lost just about everything we own. Having read this book shortly before this disaster helped prepare me for what is, essentially, a life-changing event. It made me aware of my thoughts, especially the negative ones, and I realized immediately that I could either let this disaster become one of the worst things that ever happened to me or find a way to turn it into one of the greatest things that ever happened to me. That level of thinking has proven to be invaluable in staying mentally and emotionally strong through something like this. For me, the greatest value of this book is that it opened my eyes to identify negative thoughts, even the ones I wouldn't normally recognize as negative, and nip them in the bud before they grew into something bigger. No, positive thinking alone doesn't get someone through life's worst curveballs. That would be naive. But it did give me the strength to accept the situation and start working toward the next steps. It allowed me to support others. It allowed me to show gratitude to those who helped. It has allowed me to become a better person as a result of this.

Here's my original review:

It's not surprising to me to learn that only about 20% of individuals and teams are performing at a "true potential" level. It's the Pareto Principle, the 80/20 Rule. What's interesting is that Shirzad Chamine found this to be true through his own research. He also cites several other independent studies, using different criteria, that found the same basic percentage of high performers versus everyone else. Put simply, most people don't reach their full potential because they're caught in a cycle of self-sabotage without even realizing it.

A lot of the value of this book comes from Chamine's defining of 10 specific mental "Saboteurs." It's easy to say "don't think negative thoughts," but a number of the things he considers saboteurs are things that a lot of people, myself included before reading the book, think are actually beneficial ways of thinking. The author's belief, and I agree, is that these mental Saboteurs not only keep most people, to varying degrees, from reaching their full potential, but also keep a lot of people from truly enjoying life, relationships, careers, pretty much anything to the extent that they could and should. By defining them in specific terms and giving them names (e.g. "The Judge"), he makes it easier for readers to identify those types of thought processes when they arise and begin to increase what he calls "Positive Intelligence" or PQ.

Chamine's "system" is actually very simple, yet produces almost immediate results. There's no elaborate formula here. He understands that most of the people this book is written for don't have the time or patience for complex, time-consuming systems--and that most people wouldn't stick with them long enough to develop long-lasting habits. So he focuses on what works, and produces great results in a short amount of time. He offers real-life examples and case studies in the book, but readers can test his system themselves and draw their own conclusions within a few days.

The book is made even more useful by the free self-assessment quizzes and other resources on the companion website. It's one thing to read the book and self-evaluate, but getting an objective and impartial analysis of one's thought processes can be revealing and much more helpful.

All in all, I'm impressed. I've read a number of self-help books, but I like that this one is driven more by results and data than "touchy feely" fluff. Reading the book has made me more aware of my own thinking, especially the so-called "saboteurs." That alone makes reading the book worth it.
43 of 51 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Repackaged Wisdom June 17 2012
By Ken C. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
As is true with psychotherapy, self-help books seldom work unless the reader meets the author halfway. Meaning? You have to buy in. You have to want to believe. You have to suspend your cynic or, as author Shirzad Chamine would say, your "saboteurs."

And there's the rub. Criticizing a book like this leaves you open to the very symptoms Chamine rails against -- negativity in the form of various "saboteurs" such as the stickler (hoo, boy -- is this a "stickler" review?), the pleaser, the hyper-achiever, the hyper-rational, the victim (lots to go around here), the hyper-vigilant, the restless (no mention of the young), the controller, and the avoider. Worst of all, though, is the Judge. That would be you judging yourself (negatively) and others (just as negatively, if not more). Like I said, the usual cast of characters, only repackaged.

On the other shoulder (angel vs. devil, anyone?), we have the Sage. This guy counsels peace and love, happiness and harmony. There's a lot of Eastern religion hidden in here, as Chamine talks about the inevitability of change, the need to accept it as part of life, the advisability in finding silver in every lining. Here we get a lot of familiar exercises such as focusing on little things and feelings -- the sensation of water hitting your shoulders in the shower, the taste of a piece of chocolate slowly melting in your mouth, the warmth of hugging a loved one. If you remember any "Stop and smell the roses" posters from the 60s, you're with me.

A few case studies are provided to illustrate the possibilities among people who buy this version of sanity, and I cannot fault Chamine for his advice because common sense dictates that he is right. I particularly liked the Three Gifts Technique, in which someone who just received very bad news creates three ways that this disaster actually might turn into an opportunity or gift. The Buddha would approve (can you hear his one hand clapping?).

So, yes, if you're looking for a "system" other than religion or philosophy, if you want the advantage of on-line tools (provided in the book), and if you'd like a bit of business spin added to the mix, you might like this method of purging negativity and embracing your inner happy child. If, on the other hand, you're skeptical and feeling all deja vu about this selp-help stuff running around under new aliases... maybe not.

P.S. Any "unhelpful" votes given to this review are the work of judging saboteurs. I suggest they read the book sooner rather than later. That or get in touch with their inner sage....
24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful, Exciting Information, Highly recommended April 18 2012
By John Chancellor - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
One of the real mysteries of life is why so many people fall short of their potential. Shirzad Chamine, the author of Positive Intelligence, has studied the difference between potential and accomplishment and gives some very compelling insights into the causes and solutions to the problem.

According to Mr. Chamine, "Your mind is your best friend. But it is also your worst enemy. The reason so many of our attempts at improving our success or happiness fizzle is that we sabotage ourselves. With Positive Intelligence you can both measure and significantly improve the percentage of time that your mind is serving you rather than sabotaging you."

For a long time we have known about IQ and the impact intelligence had on success. A couple of decades ago, we were introduced to the concept of emotional intelligence - EQ - and the fact that EQ had more impact on our success than IQ. Now Mr. Chamine has introduced the concept of PQ - Positive Intelligence and shows that we can measure PQ and by following some simple exercises, dramatically improve PQ.

Most who have studied personal development have been exposed to the concepts of different parts of the brain. Mr. Chamine takes a simple and easy to understand way to describe the conflict that happens in the brain. The primary function of our limbic system - the emotional part of the brain - is to ensure our survival. The prefrontal cortex - the rational, reasoning, thinking part is designed to help us grow and thrive. He calls the two basic parts the survival brain and the sage brain. And unfortunately they are often at conflict. When we are under stress, angry, feel pressure, the survival brain hi-jacks the sage brain, controlling our actions.

There have been studies that show that our ability to reach our potential greatly increases when the sage brain is in control at least 75% of the time. 75% is the tipping point - any time the sage brain is controlling at that level or above, our ability to perform close to our potential greatly increases. Operating below that percent guarantees that we will fall significantly short of our potential.

If you are familiar with the concepts of judger/learner in the book, Change Your Questions, Change Your Life by Marilee Adams, you will find this books goes into much greater depth exploring the Judge operating in our brains and all the other saboteurs - stickler, pleaser, hyper-vigilant, restless, controller, avoider. hyper-achiever and victim.

There are plenty of examples of PQ in real life applications. You will come away from this book with a much greater understanding of why we do not achieve our potential. You will also learn some very simple steps to help you move away from the survivor brain and more into the sage brain.

The book is well written and a breeze to read. It is based on Mr. Chamine's years of experience as an executive coach and his own struggles with his own personal development. He learned PQ firsthand from his own experiences - and he generously shares his knowledge in this book.

There is also a link to the Positive Intelligence website where you can take a Saboteur Assessment which will reveal how the various saboteurs are showing up in your life. In addition you can take a Positive Intelligence Assessment to discover your own PQ score. Actually I recommend taking both these assessments before reading the book. I believe you will get a more meaningful reading from the assessments. Then taking the assessments after reading the book will show some immediate change.

This book provides some exciting insights which I feel have been missing to solving the gap between potential and performance. I believe that anyone who wants to improve their own performance would gain significantly from reading this book. It also should be read by all those responsible for managing/leading others, including parents.

Very Highly Recommended - should be required for all coaches, managers, leaders and parents.
27 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Having a huge impact on my personal and professional life... March 28 2012
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
I have been experiencing some challenges recently in my business and personal life and I have been looking for something to help me regain my focus. This is exactly what I have been looking for.

The tools in this book are simple yet have had a tremendous impact on my personal and professional life. I was able to have a productive conversation with my son tonight by focusing on my sage voice and quieting the saboteurs. He opened up to me and I was able to guide him without him feeling judged.

The impact on my professional life has been just as amazing. I sell real estate and the challenges in the market have really brought out the worst in everyone. I can see how my low PQ (positive intelligence score) has a tendency to bring out the judge saboteur in my clients and prospects. This past week as I met with new prospects and spoke with my clients, I was able to truly listen from a sage perspective and connect with them on a deeper level. Now, instead of trying to convince them, we are working together to find solutions where everyone wins. I have been able to get a yes on each of my last 7 presentations. Prior to reading this book, I was listing about 50% of my presentations.

I have already recommended this book to some co-workers and as soon as it is published, I plan on buying it for each of my children. Thank you for teaching this concept so simply and effectively. This will be a staple on my short list of resource books.
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