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Someone went and crapped on a perfectly good tree

  • Oct 5, 2010
  • by
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 on creating training manuals, developing people, and even doing in the field evaluations with feedback.  One of the most important things that I do in these situations is not only give those that I am working with hands on training, but also give them material that will allow them to better themselves.  I find that in sales it is more about self betterment than anything else.  If you have the drive to better yourself, then you are going to have the same drive to push for sales and that is the main purpose behind it.

One of the books that i chose to look into for training purposes was What Got You Here Won't Get You There by Marshall Goldsmith.

The Concept
The book is pretty simple in concept.  The author attempts to talk about how many seemingly successful people can be very self destructive and prevent themselves from advancing even further.  The idea is that we prevent ourselves from further advancement once we reach a certain level more by our actions and our own behavorial issues than by anything else.

The author goes into further detail about these different types of behavorial issues that affect us and talks about how we can get around these issues in order to enable ourselves to succeed.  Some of the principles such as 'not communicating while angry' and 'using sarcasm' are major concepts that he discusses throughout the book. 

Toilet Paper with Writing
While the author discusses very valid concepts, I don't think that he covers anything that is fresh or even remotely unknown to the common person.  Most of the concepts are things that we have all been taught and are pretty obvious.  I think more than anything the book is a simple reminder to ourselves of what we shoudln't do in life. 

I do have issues with the book in several areas however.  While the book talks about numerous self defeating problems, the author doesn't really address these issues in a manner that would actually lead to succeess.  Rather than experimenting with his own ideas, the author simply took very common ideas and tossed them in as the end all solution to the problem.  One of the most obvious examples of this is the usage of money as a punishment for negative actions.  For example, you place a quarter in a jar each time you swear, say something sarcastic, talk down to someone, etc.  While this is a punishment for negative action, I have found that change is so inconsequential to most people that it has no real negative impact when lost.  I understand part of the concept is awareness, but in being aware there needs to be reaction and action.  You need to understand the problem, be able to catch yourself doing it, formulate a plan, and then implement that plan.  It also has to be measurable and sustainable to truly be effective.  I didn't find any real mention of anything that would be sustainable for much longer than a few days or a week at most.

My biggest issue with the book is that Goldsmith states that those that the book is supposed to help will only help them if someone else purchases the book for them.  He states that those that really need the book feel beyond the need for the book so it is up to their supervisors to assist them in reading it.  If someone is so successful in their own mind that they aren't seeking assistance, then they are probably content in their current status and that is why they aren't seeking out the book.  I think the author makes too broad of an assumption that they aren't helping themselves simply because they think they are above and beyond seeking help.  While this may be true for some, I see the majority as having reached their equilibrium and are content where they are at. 

While the concepts in the book are important to understand, I do believe that this understanding can come through better reading.  There are hundreds of other books out there that will provide much greater results and actually give value to the individual.  This book however, falls incredibly short, providing very little to help an individual expand upon what they already know with.  While it is well written and the ideas are explained clearly, I don't believe it is worth the money that it costs, nor do I feel it is adequate as a reference for achievement or goal obtainment. 


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More What Got You Here Won't Get Yo... reviews
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 . April 18, 2008
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 …
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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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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