on April 18, 2011
Mr. Bungay Stanier's book 'Do More Great Work' truly spoke to me.
Indeed. It sang to me. I have just recently subscribed to the Box of
Crayons great work blog, and learned of the Kindle contest there.
I readily gravitated towards the author's affable and precise style of
writing. He takes a topic that I have found difficult to understand,
presented it in a way that has allowed me to grasp, and readily apply
to my own circumstances.
I believe that the Zen saying applies here: When the student is ready,
the teacher appears' I am presently at a point in life where I want to
learn strategies that will allow me to 'Do More Great Work' I am
recovering from a severe illness that requires I change career
I wanted to make the most economy of my time and effort, and I needed
a guide that would be practical, and yet at the same time be
challenging, and straightforward 'Do More Great Work' presents the
steps one must take to achieve the gratification of doing something
that is meaningful.
I find the outline is something that I can follow. The series of maps
is a comprehensive way to present a great deal of information in a
manner that the reader can easily assimilate. The topic is addressed
in a brave and authentic manner.
But most significantly, in my estimation, 'Do More Great Work' really
crackles with emotional intelligence. There have been many books
written in this vein, but this author so clearly has empathy for, and
genuinely respects, his readership.
This allowed me to put myself into a very trusting frame of mind, and
subsequently go through the exercises in a more dedicated and thorough
way, because I have been made to feel so inspired.
There is no pandering, preaching or cynicism. But most enjoyable of
all, this book is written with humor and regard for those who want to
improve. I came away feeling like I had a one to one coaching session
with Mr. Bungay Stanier. This has me really excited, because normally
I am rather detached, and skeptical, and this book has allowed me to
evolve out of my limited way of learning.
Even though the book clearly stands on it's own merit, I have found
that using it, in concert with the well timed emails (which provide
new directions to take my studies) a truly holistic approach to
eventually achieving my personal best.
Thank you very much for allowing me the privilege of reviewing this book.
on May 13, 2012
There is likely a reason why you considered buying this book - you might feel stuck, frustrated, or just have a deep sense in your gut that you are capable of doing more. This book provides a very practical link that moves from thinking to doing. It's not just more of the same - if you are serious about doing great work, then get pencil in hand and start working through the sheets. The author's offbeat sense of humour also helps us understand that while the work is serious, sometimes your approach to great work should be less serious and focus more on possibility and potential.
As Michael Bungay Stanier explains, "This book is the sum of my work with thousands of people around the world as a coach and facilitator. It uses just fifteen key tools - conceptual maps to help you identify what really matters to you, what drives the choices and the actions you take, and how you can get onto a path to more creative, motivated, and inspired work that's good for you and for those you work for." Presumably some purpose-driven people can be happy, content, and fulfilled by obtaining great wealth, power, etc.
As I worked my way through Stanier's narrative, I was again reminded of Teresa Amabile's admonition, "Do what you love and love what you do." In her various writings, she also stresses the importance of having a purpose that includes but is not limited to achieving personal goals. For Dave and Ulrich, this means "the why of work." For Simon Sinek, it suggests the imperative to "start with why." Stanier joins the discussion when expressing the first of six "Great Work Paradoxes": You don't need to save the world but you do need to make a difference...a positive, productive, beneficial difference. More about the other paradoxes later.
Stanier invokes the journey as his central metaphor and presents his information, observations, insights, cautions, caveats, and recommendations within the framework of a journey that involves both sustained effort (e.g. reflection, completing separate but interrelated exercises, maintaining commitment and focus) and significant discovery (i.e. revelations of what really is -- and isn't -- most important). The ultimate objective is to Do More Great Work. This is not a destination because the journey of discovery should never end until one's life does.
The reader is asked to complete a series of exercises in a sequence of 15 Maps, each posing a question. The first, logically enough, asks "Where are you now?" because "you need to know your starting point" and the last asks "Lost your Great Work mojo?" if and when "you wander off the oath." The 15 Maps are organized within Seven Parts: Laying the Foundation, Seeds of Your Great Work, Uncovering Your Great Work, Pick a Project, Create New Possibilities, Your Great Work Plan, and finally, Continuing Your Great Work Journey. It is important to note that Stanier immediately establishes and then sustains a direct, personal rapport with his reader and throughout the "journey" serves several different functions: instructor, mentor, travel agent, bodyguard, cheerleader, and for some of the "pilgrims" who read this book, he also serves as a mirror that offers reflections that may be unpleasant to behold.
With regard to the map exercises, Stanier offers four tips: (1) make them yours, (2) find five minutes in your day to work on them, (3) use the maps in the order that makes the most sense to you, and (4) don't worry abut getting everything perfect. As for the "Six Great Work Paradoxes," the first asserts that "you don't need to save the world" but " you do need to make a difference," followed by Great Work Can Be Either Public or Private, Great Work Is Both Needed and Not Wanted, Great Work Is Both Easy Difficult, Great Work Is About Doing What's Meaningful But Not Always About Doing It Well, and finally, Great Work Can Take a Moment or It Can Take a Lifetime. Here's my take:
1. Start now.
2. Do the best you can.
3. Keep doing the best you can.
4. Expect surprises.
5. If you get knocked down, get back up.
6. Keep going.
7. Review 3-6.
This is a visually stimulating book, with the material well-organized and exercises clearly explained. That said, I should also suggest that it really will require a great deal of rigorous thinking and therefore I strongly recommend that key passages be highlighted and reviewed frequently. Actually, this is not a book; it's a WORKbook. Bon voyage!
on January 5, 2015
Fantastic Book! Practical, down to earth, hard-hitting, simple, makes you sit up and take notice, and IT WORKS! Love the continuing nature of the reminders for this book and the daily Provocations that go along with this. I shake my head every day when I get it, because it just always seems so relevant. Ordered a couple of extras of this book, as well as the Provocations as Christmas gifts for my colleagues.