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The Only Way to Win: How Building Character Drives Higher Achievement and Greater Fulfillment in Business and Life [Hardcover]

Jim Loehr
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 8 2012
Why Winning with Character Is the Only Way to Win

The conditioning begins early in our lives. Great achievements will bring lasting happiness and fulfillment; great achievements form the bedrock of stable self-esteem and strong character; great achievements will become the foundation for a successful life. If these well-intentioned promises are true, why does winning never seem to be enough?

In The Only Way to Win, Jim Loehr draws upon two decades of work with Fortune 500 executives; world-class athletes such as Monica Seles, Dan Jansen, and Eric Lindros; and other high achievers at the Human Performance Institute (HPI) to reveal surprising insights about achievement motivation. Specifically, Loehr finds that the blind pursuit of external achievement often results in emptiness, addiction, and, ironically, poor performance. It's not really about what you achieve, he argues, it's about who you become as a consequence of the chase.

As Loehr powerfully demonstrates, success at work and fulfillment in life require a complete re-purposing of achievement, one where value is derived from growth in areas such as integrity, honesty, gratefulness, humility, optimism, and compassion. To help readers start this process, he provides them with the tools they need to develop these character traits, as well as the plan they need to use them effectively.

A compelling, practical, and hopeful read filled with relatable stories and useful exercises, The Only Way to Win will serve as a powerful wake-up call for business leaders, employees, teachers, and coaches. It will also provide inspiration for readers looking to perform better, achieve more, and change both their own lives and those of the people they influence. Jim Loehr is a world-renowned performance psychologist, co-founder of the Human Performance Institute, and author of fifteen books, including his most recent, The Power of Story. He also co-authored the national bestseller The Power of Full Engagement.

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Product Description


"Jim takes the challenge to achieve success to a new level--one where winning with character and values leads to a life of significance and long-term happiness."—Steve Reinemund, Dean of Wake Forest Schools of Business and Former CEO, PepsiCo

"Jim's latest book, The Only Way to Win, builds on his four decades of work with high achievers in sport and business linking character and purpose in an extraordinary way."—Chip Bergh, CEO, Levi Strauss & Co.

"If you read no other book this year, give this gift to yourself, to those you lead, your family, and to anyone for whom you wish to make a positive impact on their lives."—Phebe Farrow Port, Senior Vice President, Global Management Strategies, The Estée Lauder Companies

"Over the years of working with Jim, I have learned how to make a deep investment in character and push my employees and colleagues to achieve more. Jim has it exactly right--character trumps everything!"—Charlie Kim, CEO, Next Jump

"Jim Loehr has plumbed the depths of human endeavor and offers us an opportunity to confront our most cherished life goals and come out a winner."—Rear Admiral Ray Smith, US Navy (Ret), Former Commander, US Navy SEALs

About the Author

Jim Loehr is a world-renowned performance psychologist, Co-Founder of the Human Performance Institute, and author of 15 books including his most recent, The Power of Story. He also co-authored the national bestseller The Power of Full Engagement.

Over the course of his career, Loehr has worked with hundreds of world-class performers from the arenas of sport, business, medicine and law enforcement including Fortune 100 executives, FBI Hostage Rescue Teams, and military Special Forces. Corporate clients of the Institute represent hundreds of Fortune 500 companies including Procter & Gamble, The Estée Lauder Companies, Dell, FBI, GlaxoSmithKline, PepsiCo, and Citigroup Smith Barney. A sampling of his elite clients from the world of sport include: golfers Mark O'Meara and Justin Rose; tennis players Jim Courier, Monica Seles, and Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario; boxer Ray Mancini; hockey players Eric Lindros and Mike Richter; and Olympic gold medal speed skater Dan Jansen.

Loehr and his work have been mentioned in leading national publications including the Harvard Business Review, Business Week, Fortune, Newsweek, Time, US News and World Report, Success, Fast Company and Omni. He has appeared on NBC's Today Show, ABC's Nightline with Ted Koppel, The CBS Evening News with Dan Rather and CBS Morning News and the Oprah Winfrey Show. He lives in Orlando, Florida.

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic May 6 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I read it in one day. I couldn't put it down. It was a page turner. Thanks for a great read
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5.0 out of 5 stars Are you truly successful? April 19 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
If you believe you have truly attained success in your life, read this book. Then re-evaluate. You might think differently. This is a great book for anyone who has reached achievement, yet still walks away not feeling satisfied and fulfilled. Author Jim Loehr gives you the chance to create a new success scorecard - one that totally changes your perception of what you think is important and meaningful.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.6 out of 5 stars  28 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Definitely worth reading May 30 2012
By Pat J. - Published on
This book deconstructs the popular idea of "success" and reformulates a new definition that ultimately serves a more personally rewarding and socially important agenda. If the cultural scorecard for success was formulated on the basis of morality and ethical behavior, and less on the basis of wealth and fame, then the world would certainly be a different place. And if this new scorecard was merely a reflection of character strength, then everyone would have a shot at achieving "success" because we control our own behavior. Dr. Loehr shows that moral and ethical "success" leads to real happiness. It's interesting to see that winning on the "character" scorecard often leads to traditionally accepted notions of success, too!

I like this book because it's based on thorough research and first-hand experience. Dr. Loehr's ideas are articulated well and supported with fascinating research and examples. I'm not a CEO, Navy Seal, or a professional athlete but I appreciate the mental, physical, emotional and ethical challenges these folks address on a daily basis. There is no shortage of bad behavior out there, but Dr. Loehr provides remarkable examples of the good, too. The book breaks down the biggest human challenges and provides a solid roadmap for creating a meaningful and rich life that is rooted in individual values and beliefs. The ideas in this book apply to everyone. Recommending "The Only Way to Win" is a no brainer. It's worth reading.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Should Be Required Reading for Every Member of Congress, CEO and Parent March 12 2013
By Glen Cooper - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is an inspiring, yet practical, book. It's about discovering our own values. It's about why a life devoted to them is "the only way to win." It's about how to make that happen before you have finished reading the book.

I am a business coach and I will use the powerful questions and scorecard in this book in my coaching starting tomorrow!

It is filled with real-life stories that are moving. It also offers practical ways to evaluate and teach yourself and those around you about moral character strengths, performance character strengths, how to tell the difference and why that's important.

Sadly, most folks dismiss the discussion of moral values as too idealistic and unrealistic, despite the overwhelming evidence that they are the only enduring legacy anyone ever leaves. Most of us cannot recognize that every daily difficulty is an opportunity to build something of value in our lives. Most of us have no clue that our character really is our destiny.

This book should be required reading for every member of Congress, every chief executive officer of a business and every parent.

Moral leadership is the strongest kind of all, but the one most missing in our political and business arenas. Teaching moral character to children is the most important parental job, yet the most neglected.

Building one's own character is the key to life fulfillment, yet most of us seek happiness everywhere else first.

This book is for everyone of us in life who is struggling with great life and death challenges. Really, who isn't?

But, there is a strongly worded message in Chapter 10, page 216. It comes from a sign on the hospital door of a seriously wounded Navy SEAL and echos the message of this book.

The sign on the door reads:

"Don't feel sorry for me. The wounds I received I got in a job I love, doing it for people I love, supporting the freedom of a country I deeply love. I am incredibly tough. I promise to fully recover. This hospital room is a place of fun, optimism and instense and rapid re-growth. If you are not prepared for that, GO ELSEWHERE."

This book is a place where moral character strengths count. If you can't handle it, DON'T READ IT.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a special book June 15 2013
By Robert Kirk - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Alright, I have to admit that I wasn't prepared for what this book is truly about but this is an quote on the top of the cover "it will change your life" and I sheepishly have to agree. I am a driven and competitive guy and this book does expose some of the deep and dark secrets to winning at all costs. It is a great guide on how to develop more balance and meaning to your successes and it's wisdom in evaluating the short term nature of "wins" is astonishing. Luckily I took many of the self quizzes and I seem to be in a good balance (I feel that way too!) but I can look back at my own history and it's amazing how we can lose our "true north" for short term gain and success. I can't recommend this book enough and it should be read by all.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Are you truly successful? April 28 2013
By Dave Warawa - PROSALESGUY - Published on
If you believe you have truly attained success in your life, read this book. Then re-evaluate. You might think differently. This is a great book for anyone who has reached achievement, yet still walks away not feeling satisfied and fulfilled. Author Jim Loehr gives you the chance to create a new success scorecard - one that totally changes your perception of what you think is important and meaningful.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Only Way to Win is one of the best of 2012 March 4 2013
By Allan Schweyer - Published on
I've often wondered whether professional athletes, top politicians, A-list actors and highly successful business people can compete in today’s ultra-competitive and demanding world while maintaining values and character. Jim Loehr answers the question almost definitively. He argues convincingly that you’ll win more often and achieve more if you lead a character-driven life and connect your work and life to a purpose. By winning the right way, you’ll feel the satisfaction that eludes winners who achieve only to acquire more, impress others, or earn external acclaim.

From the time we’re young and trying to make a sports team or gain acceptance into college, we’re under tremendous pressure to succeed. The stakes are high, the rewards can be enormous and the cost of failure is sometimes devastating. Dr. Loehr, points out that ‘winning is the only thing’ for too many people. More to the point, he argues that competing vigorously and winning is good, but if we win the wrong way we always lose.

“The Only Way to Win” might be the most important book of the year for anyone who questions what our society has become and wants to achieve to a different, better and more sustainable standard. Loehr reveals that 80 percent of high school and college students admit to cheating to attain higher grades. Worse, most high-level athletes admit that they would not only take performance-enhancing drugs if they could not get caught and would attain their goals by doing so, but they would take those drugs even if it were to cause their certain death in five years. Of course, the depressing fact is that none of this will surprise anyone who follows the news.

The best thing about Dr. Loehr’s book is that it does not preach ethics for goodness sake alone. Instead, he tells us how we can strive to win the right way and still win our share. He points out that the goals we’re most often measured against are not our own, but society’s goals – the nice house, fancy car, job title and corner office. There’s nothing wrong with those things but when those goals are also your “ends”, you’ll be unsatisfied even if you accomplish them (and even if you achieve them honestly). Whether you work in high finance, lead armies into battle or make decisions about how to spend public money, you’ll have plenty of opportunity along the way to lie, cheat or otherwise make unethical choices in order to further your goals. If you don’t have a greater purpose -- one based on values and character -- you’ll have very little reason not to cheat and lie. Indeed, as Loehr infers, cheating in those circumstances might only be logical.

Even with all the unethical behavior around us, Loehr demonstrated that we can compete while being a person of character. Indeed, as he points our. you’ll actually win more often and in a way that sticks. Better yet, you’ll finally feel fulfilled and happy because you will have won the right way.
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