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An invitation to obtain "an exquisite sense" of who you are

  • Apr 18, 2008
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This book is a "great gift" from Marshall Goldsmith to his reader. How so? In the Coda, he suggests this exercise:

"Imagine that you are 95 years old and ready to die." By then you (i.e. the reader) understand what is really important and what isn't, what matters and what doesn't. "What advice would this wise `old you' have for the `you' who is [receiving the advice]? Take your time and answer the question on two levels: personal advice and professional advice. Jot down a few words that capture what the old you would be saying to the younger you. Once you have written these words down, the rest is simple: Just do whatever you wrote down. Make it your resolution for the rest of the current year, and the next. You have just defined your `there.'"

Everything Goldsmith provides in this volume can help his readers to develop or reactivate what he aptly characterizes as "a built-in GPS mechanism" so that they will "be blessed with [both a map and] an internal compass that orients them automatically. They will [always] make the correct turn and end up where they intended via the most economical route...[because they possess] an exquisite sense of who they are, which translates into perfect pitch about how they come across to others."

It sounds easy, doesn't it? All you have to do is read this book and (like a magic carpet) it will get you from where you are now to where you want to be. On the contrary, for most people who read this book, the challenge is formidable. First, they must accept the fact that Pogo was right: "We have met the enemy and he is us." Then, they must focus on correcting those faults and breaking those habits that currently control their interpersonal behavior. And then they must focus each day, each moment, on avoiding those faults and habits. They cannot do it themselves. With all due respect to the value of Goldsmith's counsel, those who commit to this difficult process of self-improvement must seek the assistance of members of their family as well as associates in their workplace.

Goldsmith identifies twenty of the most common flaws, none of which is a flaw of skill, intelligence, or personality. (That's a key point). "What we're dealing with here are challenges of in interpersonal behavior, often leadership behavior. They are the egregious everyday annoyances that make your workplace more noxious than it needs to be. They don't happen in a vacuum. They are transactional flaws performed by one person against others." Throughout the narrative, Goldsmith cites dozens of real-world examples to illustrate key points but, for obvious reasons, changes the names of those involved. It should be noted that, for several decades, Goldsmith career has primarily involved providing executive coaching services to senior-level executives and he does so on a one-on-one basis. To the extent possible, he establishes the same relationship with each reader. To his credit, he has a clear sense of who he isn't (e.g. a judge of others' behavior) and what he doesn't do (e.g. define anyone else's "there"). As Goldsmith frequently acknowledges, it remains for each reader to determine which flaws are most detrimental to her or his interpersonal relationships. He also points out that many people are either unaware of their faults or unaware of the extent they are resented by others. Hence the importance of continuous feedback from family members and business associates.

The first portion of this review identifies the "there" to which the title refers. It is important to understand that you can get there only if you fully understand both what your "here" is and why. (It may not be where you think it is.) Read the book, then complete the exercise briefly described earlier so that you can obtain "wisdom" that you already possess. "Use that wisdom now. Don't look ahead. Look behind. Look back from your old age at the life you hope to live. Know that you need to be happy now, to enjoy your friends and family, to follow your dreams.

"You are here.
You can get there!
Let the journey begin."

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More What Got You Here Won't Get Yo... reviews
review by . October 05, 2010
Pros: well written, concepts clearly explained        Cons: Very little worthwhile information that isn't already common knowledge      The Bottom Line: While the concepts are important to recognize, the road to further achievement is not through this book.      Throughout my time in sales, I have worked extensively with other salespeople.  Due to my success in my industry, I have been pulled from time to time to work …
review by . August 26, 2010
Had I had access to the ideas in Marshall Goldsmith's book years ago, I would probably be better off.      At my advanced age, I have spent too much time working for myself. Sure, I recognize the importance of teams and team work. But I refer descending from my aerie, joining the team, completing the project and returning to the solace of personal contemplation Years ago, I found this works best for me.      Goldsmith, an executive coach, argues in his …
review by . October 28, 2007
It's easy to believe that if you've been successful in some area of life, the process of getting to the next level is just getting better at what got you there. But Marshall Goldsmith makes the point that doing more of the same won't work in the book What Got You Here Won't Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful. I'm inclined to agree with him after reading the book...    Contents:   Section 1 - The Trouble with Success: You Are Here; Enough …
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Robert Morris ()
Ranked #169
Professionally, I am an independent management consultant who specializes in accelerated executive development and breakthrough high-impact organizational performance. I also review mostly business books … more
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Goldsmith, an executive coach to the corporate elite, pinpoints 20 bad habits that stifle already successful careers as well as personal goals like succeeding in marriage or as a parent. Most are common behavioral problems, such as speaking when angry, which even the author is prone to do when dealing with a teenage daughter's belly ring. Though Goldsmith deals with touchy-feely material more typical of a self-help book—such as learning to listen or letting go of the past—his approach to curing self-destructive behavior is much harder-edged. For instance, he does not suggest sensitivity training for those prone to voicing morale-deflating sarcasm. His advice is to stop doing it. To stimulate behavior change, he suggests imposing fines (e.g., $10 for each infraction), asserting that monetary penalties can yield results by lunchtime. While Goldsmith's advice applies to everyone, the highly successful audience he targets may be the least likely to seek out his book without a direct order from someone higher up. As he points out, they are apt to attribute their success to their bad behavior. Still, that may allow the less successful to gain ground by improving their people skills first.(Jan. 2)
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ISBN-10: 1401301304
ISBN-13: 978-1401301309
Author: Marshall Goldsmith
Genre: Business & Investing, Health, Mind & Body
Publisher: Hyperion
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