- Paperback: 272 pages
- Publisher: Bloomsbury USA; Reprint edition (Sept. 13 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1632861054
- ISBN-13: 978-1632861054
- Product Dimensions: 14.1 x 2 x 21 cm
- Shipping Weight: 249 g
- Average Customer Review: 8 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #19,798 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas Paperback – Sep 13 2016
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"Questions have literally moved mountains, powered rockets, and instantly developed images . . . Berger focuses on what he calls ‘Beautiful Questions’ . . . ‘that can lead to game-changing answers and results. These are questions that, once raised, tend to get people thinking in a different way." ―Steven Heller, The Atlantic
"A fascinating look at the power of questioning to ignite change--in our companies, schools, careers, and in our daily lives." ―Huffington Post
"One closes Berger’s book newly conscious of the significance of smart questions." ―The New York Times Book Review
"We know that the art of asking questions is at the heart of discovery in science, philosophy, medicine--so why don’t we extend that power to all areas of our lives? The thoughtful, provocative questions Warren Berger raises in this book are indeed the kind of 'beautiful questions' that can help us identify the right problems and generate creative solutions." ―Daniel Pink, New York Times bestselling author of Drive and To Sell Is Human
"This potential game-changer will help readers identify where opportunities lie and how to seize them." ―P ublishers Weekly
"This thought-provoking book offers important insights." ―Booklist
"A practical testament to the significance of the questioning mind." ―Kirkus Reviews
"In the old economy, it was all about having the answers. But in today’s dynamic, lean economy, it’s more about asking the right questions. A More Beautiful Question is about figuring out how to ask, and answer, the questions that can lead to new opportunities and growth." ―Eric Ries, New York Times bestselling author of The Lean Startup
"In this wise book, Warren Berger shows us how crucial it is to question every aspect of our lives, from business to school to our choice of toothpaste. My question: Why wouldn’t you read this book?" ―A.J. Jacobs, New York Times bestselling author and Esquire columnist
"The genesis of many great startups is the simple question, 'Wouldn’t it be cool if?' Warren Berger helps you understand the power of questions to change the world. Real men ask questions, they don’t spout out answers." ―Guy Kawasaki, former chief evangelist at Apple and author of Ape: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur
About the Author
Warren Berger has studied the world's leading innovators, entrepreneurs, and creative thinkers to learn how they ask questions, generate original ideas, and solve problems. His writing has appeared in Fast Company, Harvard Business Review, and Wired. He is the author of the internationally acclaimed book Glimmer, and has appeared on NBC's "Today Show," ABC "World News," CNN, and NPR's "All Things Considered." He lives with his wife Laura E. Kelly in Westchester, New York. www.AMoreBeautifulQuestion.com.
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WOW! This was the best book I read in 2014! I have already bought three more copies to give to friends, and plan to buy some more to give to my child's teachers. This book provides a framework for coming up with powerful questions that have the ability to make improvements in your life and business. It was extremely well laid out and I really thought the index at the rear of the book was super interesting in that it provided an index of questions as well as topics! Well done!
There are lots of real life examples given and the flow of the book is quite easy in that I had about 3/4 of the book finished in one - two hour flight.
This book is definitely on my re-read list for 2015.
Very few of us are pursuing our lives with such conviction that there is no room for improvement. Those who are leading such lives do so because they are already master questioners. What these master questioners know for sure is that they have to keep questioning in order to keep forging ahead.
This is why "A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas" by Warren Berger is a book for the 99.999 percent.
Whether you are facing a tough challenge, searching for a new career, looking for a little inspiration, a sense of purpose or just want to shake things up a bit, this book will help you to find the path through the lost art of questioning. If ever there was a book that you need to read to work through problem-solving or change, this is it. Examples in the book span both personal and business questions as well as those wicked problems we all face such as climate change.
What the author noticed when researching “Glimmer: How Design Can Transform Your World” is that the designers and successful innovators he interviewed knew how to ask better questions. This led him to explore the art of asking questions by researching master questioners. The kinds of questions he writes about are those actionable questions that move you forward - from questioning What is, to thinking about What If (What might be or What is possible) to How that might be.
In a world that seems dangerously divided by poor and seriously biased, uni-dimensional communication that leads to a lack of understanding never mind new ideas or resolution, questioning can open doors that would otherwise remain slammed shut.
This is a book that cultivates both thought and action; a balancing act that propels you forward. And the point of engagement is simply questioning.
There is something to learn and to master here that takes you beyond your current doing, knowing and comfort zone.
“A More Beautiful Question” offers concrete tools and examples to help you to become a better questioner. Read it with a question journal to jot down questions, ideas and inspiration as you move through it.
If change is the only constant, then mastery of questioning should be your constant companion.
Whatever your pursuit, the road to all good things and breakthrough ideas is, most certainly, paved with more beautiful questions.
Finally, Warren Berger’s books are easy to read and most definitely thoughtful and inspirational. As an aside, I loved the creative Index of Questions and the Index of Questioners.
A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas
What would be a beautiful question for you? How might that help you in your studies, work or personal life? Read the book review and you may be on a path to becoming an expert questioner.
The book, “A More Beautiful Question” by Warren Berger caught my attention because of the importance of being able to ask the right question when working on a challenge. Too often people are too quick to come up with a question which may not address the underlying problem or they may simply select the easiest, quickest way to address the challenge at hand. It may also be that one simply doesn’t know how to ask the right question. With knowledge of the importance of starting the creative problem solving process with a focused, informed question, I was keen on developing a skill in this arena.
Throughout the book, as you read the research, findings, case studies and insights from many expert questioners, you begin to see the value in following a fairly simple approach or process for finding the right question.
What is a beautiful question? What if your question was able to ask something no one else had thought of? What if it started you on your way to a game-changing idea or allowed you to pursue an opportunity in your life? A beautiful question may be able to help you identify and solve a problem by digging deeper into the issue.
How does Berger approach this topic? Berger sets out the book in a tidy format starting with,” The Power of Inquiry”, a chapter that delves into what can a question do and where we might need an expertise in questioning; business today is full of uncertainty and entrepreneurs are needing to look at their business strategies differently in order to keep up with the rapid change and complexity of the global marketplace. The chapter provides case studies and parameters demonstrating the value of thinking about what we don’t know; one way is to turn a question around to view challenges from a different perspective.
Chapter two starts with the question, “Why do we stop questioning?” Berger digs in to the fall-off of questions from childhood to adulthood. Interviewing Professor Paul Harris, a Harvard child psychologist, he states that research shows that a child asks approximately forty thousand questions between the ages of two and five years. Professor Kyung-Hee Kim researching the decline of creativity in school-aged children notes that preschool children ask their parents approximately one hundred questions a day which drops to almost none in middle school. The Right Question Institute, (Did you know there was an institute for asking the right questions?), used the 2009 U.S. Nation’s Report Card, to create a graph which shows that “questioning falls off a cliff” from ages three to eighteen. This chapter will be of special interest to academics or those in education from preschool to post-secondary.
If we know we should ask more questions and our questions should be deeper, more-developed questions, how do we do this? Chapter three provides a process, “The Why, What If, and How of Innovative Questioning.” The process is divided into three main parts starting with the Why stage. This stage asks you to be curious and to see things as a young child might; with openness and questioning your questions. You may see something that others have missed. One way to achieve this is to step back and re-examine the question. You might do this by asking why again, in fact as many as five times. This process allows you to question your assumptions and wonder as a young child might.
Paul Bennett, creative director at IDEO, believes that part of the beauty of asking naïve questions is that it forces others to respond with simple explanations which helps to bring simplicity to complex problems.
Once you have settled on why, you have a direction to move forward and you can have fun exploring the “what if” stage. What if you could not fail? What if your restaurant was like a library? What if your dog were to teach your class? This exploratory phase encourages openness of thought, building on ideas and trusting others to allow you or the team to grow with your imagination. Techniques are provided and case studies demonstrate how wild connections may result in a new, innovation solution or product. Berger has interviewed many contemporary prominent business leaders as well as academic researchers. His scenarios place you in his model for easy interpretations and an enjoyable read.
The final phase is the how stage, which is about doing. It’s great to have a hundred ideas but at one point you must converge and set priorities with the idea to move forward with. This stage consists of many attempts/failures to reach your solution. At each point one must ask why and what if to keep moving forward. It will often move into a prototype which Diego Rodriguez, IDEO designer, describes as, “A prototype is a question embodied.” This phase should start with quick, rough solutions with short feedback loops. When a failure occurs, ask what went wrong but also turn the question around and ask what went right.
However, you don’t stop questioning when you arrive at a solution. The questions don’t end. As Min Basadur, author of the Simplex process suggests, that in this dynamic business world, one should follow a never-ending circle of questioning.
The Why, What if and How process will help one to identify where opportunities lie and how to embrace them. Just by asking a question you’ve opened up the opportunity for others to build on it. What might you achieve by releasing your questions; a solution, a product, an insight, a new perspective, a direction, a laugh?
The fundamental approach is to fearlessly look at challenges with a sense of wonderment and curiosity generally found in the naïve exploration of a young child. How might your inner child find space in your life for daily questioning?
This may vary for each challenge, however, the basis of a “beautiful” question allows you to focus on your pursuit providing insight and developing your own personal culture of questioning; a tool that has been available to us since childhood.
Is there a connection between creativity and innovation and the skill to ask “a more beautiful question?” Innovation is dependent on curiosity, playfulness, a confidence to ask questions without knowing the answers and the ability to remove yourself from your deeper neural pathways and “jump the river”. By following the Why, What If and How process Berger lays out, you will be on your way to engage in meaningful innovation. Examples of innovation such as the Polaroid camera and AIRBnB are provided throughout the book.
How might I be rewarded for selecting this book? I feel that it has been a prize or reward because it has made me laugh, wonder out loud and highlight terrific examples for my story-telling in class. There are many aspects to this book that are pertinent for my studies and work. The process and simple examples provided in the book have stimulated me to add many more questions to the Creative Problem Solving process incorporated into my classes and I am able to add the why behind questioning in a more thoughtful, succinct manner. Gallup studies has shown that as questioning in students decline so does engagement in school. How might we engage our students more in the classroom? I am going to thoughtfully implement or enhance my student’s ability and desire to ask more developed questions.
Although questioning has been a part of our everyday lives from childhood to adulthood, we might wish to pick up the pace or enhance this skill as most of our education system has generally taught us to memorize facts. Fact-finding in our contemporary digital world is simple and quick, however, questioning the context, reliability, and how this might apply to our challenge is a skill which needs developing. Although people may recognize this they may not know how to arrive at the most pertinent question.
As I read the book I found that there was so much that I wanted to go back to and that I might want to reference in the future that I began to organize the information by making notes in the border. Some of my headings were: business, education, personal, people of interest to review, BCIT, (my workplace), process and quotes. This book appears as if I have used it for years.
Of particular interest was the methodology and how it mirrored the Creative Problem Solving process as well as the Human Design Centered process by IDEO. A pattern of settling on the most informative, detailed or deeper question at the onset of a challenge, progressing through the idea generation and thoughtful selection of an idea, and then working through the prototype or implementation of the idea resonates in some format with all the processes above. Each one adds to your arsenal of tools when involved with a challenge. Questioning at all stages becomes endemic to the process.
In Appendix A, I have included a list which resonated with me, of case studies and their page numbers, a list of some of the experts that Berger interviewed, some of the blogs or books that are noted and a few questions that Berger asks in his book. This might be a quick reference for you to look up someone or a case study that peaks your curiosity. They are a diverse group of people and we know that diversity sparks creativity.
Providing a small background on Mr. Berger is difficult because he has worked in many arenas including publishing, editing, business, writing and advertising. Warren Berger is a journalist and innovation expert. He has worked as a magazine editor for CBS and independently writes articles for The New York Times. He also was a contributing editor at Wired during the 1990’s. He has written several books:” Glimmer”, 2009: Penguin Press and” The Best Business Stories of the Year”, 2001: Pantheon.
His website www.amorebeautifulquestion.com is a plethora of information on, around and about questioning. Interviews, reader’s questions, quotes, articles are found in a fun, graphic, playful website. I spent a great deal of time there on my first visit. I didn’t want to leave. The Book, A More beautiful Question, “was generated by the response to his website.
Would you like to read more about the beginnings or ideas that sparked Netflix, Google, the Square, or Twitter? This is a small sampling of innovative products, services and businesses that are used as case studies demonstrating the off-beat, deeper and often very simple question that generated the original ideas. What simple question would you pose? To do so, look around you with the simple curiosity of a child, the core approach offered in, “A More Beautiful Question.”
Berger, W. 2014. A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas. New York, N.Y.: Bloomsbury
The power of inquiry....powerful indeed...all by asking questions...but more importantly...the right questions.
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