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Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box

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The "disease" of self-deception (acting in ways contrary to what one knows is right) underlies all leadership problems in today's organizations, according to the premise of this work. However well intentioned they may be, leaders who deceive themselves always end up undermining their own performance.This straightforward book explains how leaders can discover their own self The "disease" of self-deception (acting in ways contrary to what one knows is right) underlies all leadership problems in today's organizations, according to the premise of this work. However well intentioned they may be, leaders who deceive themselves always end up undermining their own performance.This straightforward book explains how leaders can discover their own self-deceptions and learn how to escape destructive patterns. The authors demonstrate that breaking out of these patterns leads to improved teamwork, commitment, trust, communication, motivation, and leadership.


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The "disease" of self-deception (acting in ways contrary to what one knows is right) underlies all leadership problems in today's organizations, according to the premise of this work. However well intentioned they may be, leaders who deceive themselves always end up undermining their own performance.This straightforward book explains how leaders can discover their own self The "disease" of self-deception (acting in ways contrary to what one knows is right) underlies all leadership problems in today's organizations, according to the premise of this work. However well intentioned they may be, leaders who deceive themselves always end up undermining their own performance.This straightforward book explains how leaders can discover their own self-deceptions and learn how to escape destructive patterns. The authors demonstrate that breaking out of these patterns leads to improved teamwork, commitment, trust, communication, motivation, and leadership.

30 review for Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box

  1. 5 out of 5

    Alan

    This is a hard book to read - not because the language or ideas are lofty (just the opposite, the ideas have been made extremely accessible) -- the reason this book was hard to read, is because it nearly forces you to take a hard look at the way you live, the way you treat others, and the way you navigate through business, personal, and other situations. The biggest take aways from this book, in my humble opinion, are that we often are at least part of the cause of the problems that we *blame* o This is a hard book to read - not because the language or ideas are lofty (just the opposite, the ideas have been made extremely accessible) -- the reason this book was hard to read, is because it nearly forces you to take a hard look at the way you live, the way you treat others, and the way you navigate through business, personal, and other situations. The biggest take aways from this book, in my humble opinion, are that we often are at least part of the cause of the problems that we *blame* on others. The blame game is how we deceive ourselves... and effectively undermine any solution to the problem. We then *need* things to go wrong in order for us to feel justified in that blame --- that's not a very easy truth reconcile oneself with. You come away from this book not self-condemning, but enlightened, and with a renewed vigor in trying to mend personal relationships, and thence professional ones. This book *can be* deeply good for not only yourself, but for all of those who surround you. Read it, understand it, think about it, live it, and then pass it along to those around.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    Good principles, a good teaching tool for organizations, but painful to get through. I assume the story format is aimed to make the read easier to get through and understand, but instead it felt like a local TV commercial with a bad script. I would prefer that the narrator was straight, to-the-point and speaking to the reader. Examples are helpful, but following Tom's slow learning process made me feel like I was in a math class that I was too advanced for, ready to move on to the more complicate Good principles, a good teaching tool for organizations, but painful to get through. I assume the story format is aimed to make the read easier to get through and understand, but instead it felt like a local TV commercial with a bad script. I would prefer that the narrator was straight, to-the-point and speaking to the reader. Examples are helpful, but following Tom's slow learning process made me feel like I was in a math class that I was too advanced for, ready to move on to the more complicated stuff but being held back by other students. The box metaphor also began to irk me. In certain sections, I wrote a note to myself to replace "in the box" with "acting like a selfish jerk" and "out of the box" with "being considerate of other people." I just wanted to be spoken to in real terms. The box metaphor and story format will hopefully be condusive to a group discussion among team members of an organization, but if you are reading on your own to improve your relationship skills at work, there must be something better.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I know a lot of people who really love this book. It takes complex ideas and presents them in an easy-to-follow format. Which is fine if you're 10 years old. I felt like it was dumbed-down and assumed the reader is less than intelligent. Despite its big print, simple sentences, and few pages, it was a struggle to make it to the end. Want the same ideas presented to competent adults? Check out "Bonds that Make Us Free" by C. Terry Warner. I know a lot of people who really love this book. It takes complex ideas and presents them in an easy-to-follow format. Which is fine if you're 10 years old. I felt like it was dumbed-down and assumed the reader is less than intelligent. Despite its big print, simple sentences, and few pages, it was a struggle to make it to the end. Want the same ideas presented to competent adults? Check out "Bonds that Make Us Free" by C. Terry Warner.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Antoinette Perez

    Really struggled with this book, and I see from the average rating that I'm in the minority here. The contrived fable format... the condescending, read-my-mind closed question interrogations... the shallow introspection... the insistence on the reader forgetting what he or she knows about the phrases "in the box" and "out of the box" to adopt a new meaning just for this book... long-winded (pages-long) pseudo-explanations of new concepts and jargon that only muddy the waters more, like this exce Really struggled with this book, and I see from the average rating that I'm in the minority here. The contrived fable format... the condescending, read-my-mind closed question interrogations... the shallow introspection... the insistence on the reader forgetting what he or she knows about the phrases "in the box" and "out of the box" to adopt a new meaning just for this book... long-winded (pages-long) pseudo-explanations of new concepts and jargon that only muddy the waters more, like this excerpt: “By blaming, I invite others to get in the box, and they then blame me for blaming them unjustly. But because, while I’m in the box, I feel justified in blaming them, I feel that their blame is unjust and blame them even more. But of course, while they’re in the box they feel justified in blaming me and feel that my further blame is unjust. So they blame me even more. And so on. So, by being in the box, I invite others to be in the box in response. And others, be being in the box in response, invite me to stay in the box.” Say what?! Maybe another way of saying that is, "Blame often creates a self-perpetuating victim spiral." More than anything else, it embarrasses me that the moral of the story, as far as I can tell, is that businesspeople need to remember to treat other people like humans, with respect and care. Is it the state of business today that leaders need this heavy-handed reminder?

  5. 4 out of 5

    Trevor

    There was a part of this right near the end of the ‘book’ where the authors say ‘Don’t use the vocabulary—“the box,” and so on—with people who don’t already know it’ - and I thought, ‘oh yeah...here we go.’ In the afterword they say that one of the impacts of the book has been how it has helped people all over the world in various ways - and that they even have ‘out of the box’ parties in Japan. If you are keen to join a HR cult - this is one that is perhaps not as bad as some others you might f There was a part of this right near the end of the ‘book’ where the authors say ‘Don’t use the vocabulary—“the box,” and so on—with people who don’t already know it’ - and I thought, ‘oh yeah...here we go.’ In the afterword they say that one of the impacts of the book has been how it has helped people all over the world in various ways - and that they even have ‘out of the box’ parties in Japan. If you are keen to join a HR cult - this is one that is perhaps not as bad as some others you might find yourself in. It has all of the metaphors you can use to be able to talk in code and stroke your own ego knowing what being ‘in the box’ means or ‘self-betrayal’ or ‘collusion’ are - none of which, of course, quite have their standard meanings. The metaphor of being in or out of the box is particularly odd. Not least since it is never entirely clear what the ‘box’ is. The idea behind it is that we self-justify our own actions and blame others for what we then perceive they do wrong. I found the idea of this being ‘in a box’ something of a forced metaphor. Basically, the core of this book is the golden rule updated for business needs - although, a lot of this book also looked at how you could apply the same ideas discussed here to your personal life with success and to advantage - if not profit, per se. Now, naturally enough, after 2000 years of Christianity and Buddhism etc, the golden rule can’t particularly be said to have caught on all that well, at least not in actions, if it has done better in self-declaration. There is lots in this book about treating others as people, and of taking personal responsibility for the things that happen in your life. I think all of this is great. Like I said, these lessons have been around for a very long time and so they are likely to have something going for them. Kant talks about all this in his theory of morality - but he doesn’t do it as a series of sort of chatty confessions, so, I guess he can be ignored by the self-help book world. My problem with this isn’t really that it isn’t all that different from the religious traditions of both east and west - but rather that it fits all too well with much more recent Human Resources traditions. That is, the belief that employees and employers have identical needs and interests - and these are fully realised in improved productivity. That any problems that exist in the work place are the result of employees (or perhaps even employers) own individual problems. That addressing these individualised problems is the only means to address the problems that exist in the workplace (or in your marriage or anywhere else). And that if you can’t change as an individual, then maybe it is time for you to take personal responsibility and leave the organisation. This all hides what might be considered the ‘systematic’ problems that might underlie issues in the workplace. For instance, given that the ultimate goal of an organisation is to increase productivity and value, that most likely today will be realised by increasing the precarious nature of employment for most people. This has been the direction employment has been moving in. And while it is really nice that the employer is going to think of me as a person, and not just a cog, it might also be nice if I had a living wage and, yeah, maybe some meaningful work too. That so much of HR practice has been to introduce Fordist practices in all jobs, white or blue collar, and to have done this for decades, talk of my problems being that I’m ‘in the box’ might be due to my needing to live in a cardboard box due to not having a real job that pays a living wage. I think if any book seeks to address the issues facing workplaces and does so by focusing on atomised individuals, you can assume you are being taken for a bit of a ride.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Eric Glenn

    I read this book in one day...I just couldn't put it down. An excellent book on how to be a better person and leader. Really set well with my beliefs on building relationships which are the love of others versus love of self. I think I will buy this book for each of my adult children to read. Hopefully they can learn these concepts faster than the 52 years it has taken me! It is also a MUST read for leaders in business, especially if you are involved in Network Marketing. Really it is a must rea I read this book in one day...I just couldn't put it down. An excellent book on how to be a better person and leader. Really set well with my beliefs on building relationships which are the love of others versus love of self. I think I will buy this book for each of my adult children to read. Hopefully they can learn these concepts faster than the 52 years it has taken me! It is also a MUST read for leaders in business, especially if you are involved in Network Marketing. Really it is a must read for anyone who wants to make quantum leaps in reaching results in attaining their goals. I want to thank my son-in-law Brett Taylor who loaned me the book to read. Thank you for thinking so good of me.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Darwin8u

    "My self-justifying image about being learned can be the very thing that sometimes keeps me from learning." - The Arbinger Institute, Leadership and Self-Deception Like most series, I tend to read them backwards. I've known about these Arbinger books for years, but only recently read them. Last year I read Anatomy of Peace and figured it made sense to close the circle on the "box" and read the book that started the whole Arbinger/Self-Deception/Leadership thing. A quick background (I talk about th "My self-justifying image about being learned can be the very thing that sometimes keeps me from learning." - The Arbinger Institute, Leadership and Self-Deception Like most series, I tend to read them backwards. I've known about these Arbinger books for years, but only recently read them. Last year I read Anatomy of Peace and figured it made sense to close the circle on the "box" and read the book that started the whole Arbinger/Self-Deception/Leadership thing. A quick background (I talk about this a bit in my Anatomy of Peace review): I know C. Terry Warner's family. I actually went to a private, prep school in Provo, Utah with both C. Terry Warner's kids and Steven R. Covey's kids (all we needed was Clayton Christensen's kids and we would have had a full set). The school was amazing. I didn't realize at the time that I was learning French and pre-Calc among the progeny of Leadership Gurus. First, let me back up. You might never even recognize C. Terry Warner's name while reading this book. He isn't mentioned anywhere in the book directly. It has, however, his philosophical fingerprints all over it. The book isn't written by one person, but rather by an organization (Arbinger Institute) that was founded by Dr. Warner. It builds on C. Terry Warner's ideas of self-deception, human emotions, and organizational performance. C. Terry Warner is a PhD in philosophy and taught for years at BYU so it is natural that the foundations of a lot of Arbinger (a company he founded) is centered around philosophy, theology, and psychology. This book focuses on self-deception, and how treating people as objects and not people, and self-betrayal (not acting on our impulse to help others), hurts families, organizations, and individuals. I think the ideas in this book are sound. I wasn't, however, a fan of the terms "in the box" or "out of the box". I understand why they used it (simplicity, visually instructive, intuitive), but it also seemed a bit too simplistic (maybe that is what today's business demand?) and confusing (for years people have used the cliche "thinking outside the box" which is a completely different idea). Anyway, I generally hate self-help and corporate leadership books. I do, however, have a soft spot for the Arbinger books, and do find them to be a bit more useful than most. Part of the reason I liked, yet am still also a bit conflicted about it, fits into a term coined by my friend Nathaniel. He called Arbinger and Covey books a sub-genre of "covertly religious business books". Some of the stories were familiar to me locally. Some concepts seemed, like Covey's The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change, to repackage theological and ethical arguments I am very familiar with. Again, some of that may come from where I grew up, and the kids I was hanging with.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kevin

    Was required reading at my company, would not have gone down this path on my own accord. The only saving grace is this book is an incredibly fast and fluffy read. The whole point? Treat people with respect, talk to them like humans, don't be a judge-y asshole that externalizes your problems and develop some emotional awareness, bruh. This point is reiterated through 170 pages of pseudo-philosophical enlightenment dialogue between "Tom," the emotionally maldeveloped executive, and his sage mentor Was required reading at my company, would not have gone down this path on my own accord. The only saving grace is this book is an incredibly fast and fluffy read. The whole point? Treat people with respect, talk to them like humans, don't be a judge-y asshole that externalizes your problems and develop some emotional awareness, bruh. This point is reiterated through 170 pages of pseudo-philosophical enlightenment dialogue between "Tom," the emotionally maldeveloped executive, and his sage mentor/CEO/boss figure. You are "in the box" when you are deceiving yourself, blaming others and judging them to support your own fragile, warped worldview. You're "out of the box" when you aren't treating people like shit and recognize that there's more to life than optimizing the success your corporate silo at the expense of your friends and family (and yourself, Tom!). In case it isn't clear, you don't want to be in the box. Also, if you illegally park in a handicap parking spot and walk away while feigning a limp so that nobody knows you're cheating the system, you're an asshole. The book makes this last point clear.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Laura Broder

    READ THIS BOOK RIGHT NOW. I'm serious. I'm not really into management books, but this one was recommended to me by a friend and mentor who I respect immensely. She gave me her copy months and months ago, and boy do I wish I picked it up sooner. Firstly, this book is incredibly readable. Though it's about communication and interpersonal relationships, it's not a dry, non-fiction handbook. The concepts the book present are unveiled slowly, through a fictional story. Tons of real-life examples are use READ THIS BOOK RIGHT NOW. I'm serious. I'm not really into management books, but this one was recommended to me by a friend and mentor who I respect immensely. She gave me her copy months and months ago, and boy do I wish I picked it up sooner. Firstly, this book is incredibly readable. Though it's about communication and interpersonal relationships, it's not a dry, non-fiction handbook. The concepts the book present are unveiled slowly, through a fictional story. Tons of real-life examples are used, and the story just makes you wanna keep reading to find out the next step in getting out of the box. I flew through this book in a couple of days. I won't try to explain the concepts presented in this book; you really need to read it. But suffice it to say that they have changed the way I look at myself and others close to me. I am SO in the box most of the time, and it's time that I got out. I look forward to putting the concepts presented in this book into practice. I know my family, friends, and co-workers will appreciate it.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Mehrsa

    So I read this back in college because Terry Warner (the author of Bonds That Make Us Free on whose ideas this book is based) was my freshman year philosophy professor. The man is amazing. He's a saint and he's brilliant and his ideas have been my life's guiding principles. I've read Bonds that Make us Free like 10 times. I hated this when I first read it college, but then I just re-read it again because it's short and I wanted a reminder. And it's like reading beautiful ideas of philosophy (roo So I read this back in college because Terry Warner (the author of Bonds That Make Us Free on whose ideas this book is based) was my freshman year philosophy professor. The man is amazing. He's a saint and he's brilliant and his ideas have been my life's guiding principles. I've read Bonds that Make us Free like 10 times. I hated this when I first read it college, but then I just re-read it again because it's short and I wanted a reminder. And it's like reading beautiful ideas of philosophy (rooted in Buber's concept of I and Thou) and then speaking them through corporate speech. "Getting out of the box will help our company's bottom line." It's a prostituting of some great concepts. The book is also so cheesy. Just read the original.

  11. 4 out of 5

    VR

    A book that teaches powerful principles that I have already begun implementing to great effect in my own life. The principles we already know for the most part, and the general truths don't surprise, but The Arbinger Institute has blended and crafted them in such a way as to help us really put it all together. My favorite and most meaningful insight is that when we are "in the box" it doesn't matter what we do, how helpful or good we try to be, we will end up defeating ourselves. Forget blame an A book that teaches powerful principles that I have already begun implementing to great effect in my own life. The principles we already know for the most part, and the general truths don't surprise, but The Arbinger Institute has blended and crafted them in such a way as to help us really put it all together. My favorite and most meaningful insight is that when we are "in the box" it doesn't matter what we do, how helpful or good we try to be, we will end up defeating ourselves. Forget blame and see people for who and what they are, rather than as instruments to our own ends. Anyway, lot's of great stuff. Frankly I think everyone needs to read it, for the sake of all their relationships, at work, at home, and anywhere else. Bravo Arbinger!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Ian Stewart

    Excellent extended business-oriented parable on what happens when you ignore the instinctual feeling to help those around you. You either honor that feeling or you betray it. What happens when you betray it? It ain’t good according to the book. It’s self-betrayal that sets off a chain of events that leaves you feeling justified and others looking contemptible. You wind up calling that your character and living in a warped version of reality with warped results in all your actions. Worse still yo Excellent extended business-oriented parable on what happens when you ignore the instinctual feeling to help those around you. You either honor that feeling or you betray it. What happens when you betray it? It ain’t good according to the book. It’s self-betrayal that sets off a chain of events that leaves you feeling justified and others looking contemptible. You wind up calling that your character and living in a warped version of reality with warped results in all your actions. Worse still you’re probably doing this all the time. It has a dated Sunday School feel to it for a book published in 2002 but I won't knock points for that. It all rang true. Highly recommended.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Philip Joubert

    The analogy of "being in the box" is stupid...but the concepts and knowledge is this book is awesome. The book articulated something I've tried to explain to myself but was unable to do, at least not to this level of clarity. This is going into my "books all managers should read" list. Notes for myself: - You get in the box due to self-betrayal - *After* that you justify your action (or lack of action) by making the other person seem terrible and yourself seem great - After a while you can be default The analogy of "being in the box" is stupid...but the concepts and knowledge is this book is awesome. The book articulated something I've tried to explain to myself but was unable to do, at least not to this level of clarity. This is going into my "books all managers should read" list. Notes for myself: - You get in the box due to self-betrayal - *After* that you justify your action (or lack of action) by making the other person seem terrible and yourself seem great - After a while you can be default "in the box" with someone else, even without self-betrayal in a particular situation. - You should audit your relationships and figure out who you're in or out of the box with

  14. 4 out of 5

    Farnoosh Brock

    The premise of this book focuses on one's own limited view of people, relationships, and organizational dynamics and clearly shows them as obstacles to one's optimal performance and productivity. The Arbinger Institute reveals the new thoughts and debunks false notions around leadership. The best leadership and business books weave the concepts into a story rather than disseminate them in dry abstract paragraphs. Try as it may, abstraction always comes short of making us engage and anticipate th The premise of this book focuses on one's own limited view of people, relationships, and organizational dynamics and clearly shows them as obstacles to one's optimal performance and productivity. The Arbinger Institute reveals the new thoughts and debunks false notions around leadership. The best leadership and business books weave the concepts into a story rather than disseminate them in dry abstract paragraphs. Try as it may, abstraction always comes short of making us engage and anticipate the the way a good story does - and few other styles make the concepts more lasting in our memory bank. It is within the context of a good story that true learning happens. At the core of the book, he introduces us the concept of the Box - Being in the Box and Getting out of the Box. In this context, the Box represents the mental borders we draw around ourselves, to protect ourselves, to set us apart from rest of the world and justify our own actions. Bud explains in these sessions that we see others more or less as people only when we are out of the box - and we see them in a systematically distorted way, as mere objects in his words, when we are in the box. "We can be hard and invite productivity and commitment, or we can be hard and invite resistance and ill will. The choice is whether we do it while in the box or out of the box." It alludes to something deeper than behavior that determines our influence on others. In acting contrary to one's own sense of what is appropriate, we learn, one betrays his own sense of how he should be toward another person. That is self-betrayal. The choice is whether to honor the sense or to betray it. According to Bud, "When I betray myself, I see the world in a way that justifies my self-betrayal and my view of reality becomes distorted, then I enter the box." Put another way, when I betray myself, I: Inflate others' faults Inflate own virtue Inflate the value of things that justify my self-betrayal Blame others The latter part of the book, which guides us into Getting out of the Box and exercising leadership in the liberated box-free world, we share in our hero's confusion in how the usual remedies fail here. This is where new leadership concepts are born and revealed. Getting out of the Box is only possible when we know well the problem with being in the box. If you read only one business book, this would be among my top recommendations. If you can read only a few pages, read page 165-166. "Living the material" section is clean, short, void of all business jargon, and beautifully written to boot.

  15. 4 out of 5

    stormin

    I don't know if there's some kind of sub-genre for covertly religious business books, but I feel like there should be. I guess I read a book called "The Greatest Salesman in the World" or something when I was a missionary that wasn't even covert. There's also all the religious subtext of books like The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change. Anyway, this book is in that category. What it does is reformulate some basic concepts of spiritual / ethical living in to I don't know if there's some kind of sub-genre for covertly religious business books, but I feel like there should be. I guess I read a book called "The Greatest Salesman in the World" or something when I was a missionary that wasn't even covert. There's also all the religious subtext of books like The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change. Anyway, this book is in that category. What it does is reformulate some basic concepts of spiritual / ethical living in totally secular language, and in so doing it actually does a pretty amazing job of conveying some really first-rate, post-modern Christianity in simple terms. I say "post-modern" because the central idea of the book is that we are capable of self-deception. We don't know our own motives and--worse than that--we often contradict our own assumed goals. Here's the basic thesis: 1. Everyone has a basic desire to treat other people as people (rather than means to ends) 2. Everyone violates that basic desire at some point or other. 3. When that happens, we immediately seek to justify our own self-betrayal by inventing a fictitious narrative to justify it. Namely, we (a) accentuate / fabricate negative characteristics of the person we didn't treat right and (b) we accentuate / fabricate positive characteristics of ourselves. This is called, in the book, "being in the box." Weird expression, and I never got it, but whatever. 4. When we're in the box, we actually need other people to behave badly because it validates our narrative that we're saintly victims and they're powerful villains. 5. As a result, you can get into a vicious cycle with people you live or work with, where both of you are sabotaging the other while pretending to be helpful. It's actually amazingly close to some theories I've written about myself (in an overtly religious venue), and maybe that's why I'm so partial to it. Anway, I really, really liked it, and I'm impressed even if I'm not convinced that it's really that applicable to a business context. (It seems perfectly applicable to a family context.)

  16. 5 out of 5

    Corinne Edwards

    "WHAT?" you say to yourself. WHAT is this fantasy-story-loving girl doing reading a book that demands shelving on the business/psychology shelf? And a valid question it is. I would never in one thousand years have picked it up if my dearly beloved husband hadn't read it first and told me that it changed his life. Changed it to the point where I am SEEING him look at the world in a different way. And when my husband, who has watched me read for 11+ years now and has never once asked me to read so "WHAT?" you say to yourself. WHAT is this fantasy-story-loving girl doing reading a book that demands shelving on the business/psychology shelf? And a valid question it is. I would never in one thousand years have picked it up if my dearly beloved husband hadn't read it first and told me that it changed his life. Changed it to the point where I am SEEING him look at the world in a different way. And when my husband, who has watched me read for 11+ years now and has never once asked me to read something, asks me to read this book, what can I say? I read it, and I can see why he asked me to. This book will make you feel like a weasel on one hand, recognizing that so much of our interactions with others are the results of our own decisions to do or not do what we know is the "right" thing to do. But on the other hand, you recognize the potential within you to just CHANGE things - change the way you interact with the people you care about the most. The writing style is readable - it's conversational with lots of real-life examples. Probably for someone used to reading business/self-help books it would be a breeze to read. For inexperienced me, though, it made my brain work hard and I still keep having to ask my husband questions about how to apply the ideas. I think that it will take time (and probably some re-reading) to use the jargon effectively in my mind - phrase like "self-betrayal" and "being in the box" still don't roll off the tongue, if you know what I mean. But I do know what it feels like when I start seeing myself as the "good mom" dealing with my "my crabby kids." And I don't like that me. I want to see myself as I really am and I want to openly see those I love as they really are: as people (not objects) with thoughts and feelings and desires just like I have and which are just as valid as my own.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Simon Eskildsen

    You know that occasional, elusive thought of something you should do? Like taking out the trash? But instead of doing it, you replace it resentment. Why am I always the one taking out the garbage? In an instant, you conjure up a reality where your inaction is wholly justified: They need to pull their share of the responsibilities and take out the trash more often. In this new reality you've created, the resentment feeds on itself as you wait for them to do it. But they don't. Because they can't You know that occasional, elusive thought of something you should do? Like taking out the trash? But instead of doing it, you replace it resentment. Why am I always the one taking out the garbage? In an instant, you conjure up a reality where your inaction is wholly justified: They need to pull their share of the responsibilities and take out the trash more often. In this new reality you've created, the resentment feeds on itself as you wait for them to do it. But they don't. Because they can't read your thoughts. This book is about these moments of self-deception, big and small. That when we start deceiving ourselves, we influence those around us to do the same. It's honestly a lot more work to reproach someone for not taking out the garbage than just doing it (or talking about it). When there's a disconnect between our sense of what's right and what we do, we engage in what the book coins as 'self-betrayal.' If we don't pay attention to these moments of self-betrayal, we easily drift into our own, self-serving stories. The idea is not new. You can summarize it as "assume good intentions", "default to the most respectable interpretation," or fundamental attribution error: What would have to be true for this person to act this way? However, it goes in much more depth with the profound effect it has on the environment around us to follow and not follow this common-sensical advice. That it's much harder than we give it credit for, but that we can be better at catching ourselves. It's told as fiction, similar to The Goal, or 5 Dysfunctions of a Team. It's an easy read, with a robust and applicable takeaway. Definitely comes highly recommended.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Dan George

    The core ideas in the book -- what the authors call getting "in the box" toward others and how to get out of the box -- are helpful. However, two things keep me from giving this book a higher rating. First, the story the authors use to introduce these core ideas to the reader could have been much shorter with higher impact. See Patrick Lencioni's business fables for an example of that. Second, two key terms in the book -- "in the box" and "self-betrayal" -- are not good fits for what the authors The core ideas in the book -- what the authors call getting "in the box" toward others and how to get out of the box -- are helpful. However, two things keep me from giving this book a higher rating. First, the story the authors use to introduce these core ideas to the reader could have been much shorter with higher impact. See Patrick Lencioni's business fables for an example of that. Second, two key terms in the book -- "in the box" and "self-betrayal" -- are not good fits for what the authors are describing. And these terms are used throughout the book and more frequently than any others. What the authors describe as "self-betrayal" is actually about how we think about, respond to and act toward others. "Self-focus" or "defensive" or a term that was more about betraying others would have been more fitting. I had a hard time getting past the misuse of "self-betrayal" and almost gave up on the book because of it. Meanwhile being "in the box" toward someone else doesn't give a picture that aligns with the outward attitudes and actions the authors describe. Given this book has been around for a while, it is probably too late to change either of these terms. Leadership and Self Deception loses a lot of its potential impact, because it is longer than need be and not as clear as it could be. Still it is worth a quick, skimming-through-it read to get the key messages and to see where you are falling into these traps as a leader.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Chad

    Honestly one of the best books on leadership and personal growth I have ever read. I have read a lot too. This book seems to have been written right to me. I do not think this book is for everyone, but more for the people that feel like they have tried a lot of approaches and have not found the success or the correct advice just yet. The principles discussed in this book are explained to a very simple level with many great examples and real life experiences that most will be able to relate to. I Honestly one of the best books on leadership and personal growth I have ever read. I have read a lot too. This book seems to have been written right to me. I do not think this book is for everyone, but more for the people that feel like they have tried a lot of approaches and have not found the success or the correct advice just yet. The principles discussed in this book are explained to a very simple level with many great examples and real life experiences that most will be able to relate to. I am excited to implement these strategies both at work and at home. This book is an easy read (or listed in my case). It went so quick and easy that I am actually planning to listen to it at least one more time really soon.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Cameron

    Life changing way to look at the people around us and our influence on them. I have just gone through this book with another student and it has changed his life. He just apologized to his father for some serious stuff that he would not admit to in the past. He said he does not like his dad still but needs to treat him as a person because that is more fair. What better endorsement for a book? This is the fourth student I have gone through this book with and it is a great intervention in therapy. I h Life changing way to look at the people around us and our influence on them. I have just gone through this book with another student and it has changed his life. He just apologized to his father for some serious stuff that he would not admit to in the past. He said he does not like his dad still but needs to treat him as a person because that is more fair. What better endorsement for a book? This is the fourth student I have gone through this book with and it is a great intervention in therapy. I had better keep track. M. M. April 2008 C. N. September 2008 T. S. August 2008 A. G. November 2008 B. H. March 2009

  21. 4 out of 5

    Thai Duc

    People should read the book. It gives a new way of looking at our behaviors. It gives you an option to look at your acting. By knowing them, you can gradually live a better life, run organizations better. The book does not give you answers for your problems. It gives you the truth. I love the "Box" concept and the drawing. The drawing delivered a big impact on my memory. While reading the book, I reflected, I got so many ah-ha moments. The book is my environment to open the other sides of the box. People should read the book. It gives a new way of looking at our behaviors. It gives you an option to look at your acting. By knowing them, you can gradually live a better life, run organizations better. The book does not give you answers for your problems. It gives you the truth. I love the "Box" concept and the drawing. The drawing delivered a big impact on my memory. While reading the book, I reflected, I got so many ah-ha moments. The book is my environment to open the other sides of the box. We all have many boxes. The philosophy in the book applies to all aspects, not just in job or leadership.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jesse Stay

    A guidebook for life! This excellent book uses a fictional example to get you thinking "out of the box" in how you interact with others, both in business and in your personal life. This should be mandatory reading for every employee and family member. You find yourself in the shoes of the characters as they go through problems in their lives, realizing that we all have these same problems in our relationships with people. I'll be having my kids all read this! This book will help you, and everyon A guidebook for life! This excellent book uses a fictional example to get you thinking "out of the box" in how you interact with others, both in business and in your personal life. This should be mandatory reading for every employee and family member. You find yourself in the shoes of the characters as they go through problems in their lives, realizing that we all have these same problems in our relationships with people. I'll be having my kids all read this! This book will help you, and everyone in any type of organization work better together.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Candace

    Read for my Professional Development Book Club. Quick read, as much as for personal growth as for professional. Excellent if you are aiming to be a good person and improve the lives of those with whom you live and work, although you could be financially successful without doing any of this...and apparently even become President of the United States.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jenny

    Good ideas, and a clever way of communicating the ideas while keeping the reader engaged. A little hokey in parts, but it worked good for the subject I thought.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Havebooks Willread

    Both excellent and convicting, this book reminds us to see people as PEOPLE and to treat them as such rather than considering how we can use or manipulate them for our own purposes. I highly recommend this book and hope to read the next book, The Anatomy of Peace. I was intrigued by the style of this self-help book as it was written as a first-person story which made it easy to read. He uses the analogy of "being in a box" as the times that we aren't seeing others as people, but rather are selfis Both excellent and convicting, this book reminds us to see people as PEOPLE and to treat them as such rather than considering how we can use or manipulate them for our own purposes. I highly recommend this book and hope to read the next book, The Anatomy of Peace. I was intrigued by the style of this self-help book as it was written as a first-person story which made it easy to read. He uses the analogy of "being in a box" as the times that we aren't seeing others as people, but rather are selfishly considering ourselves first and then trying to *justify* ourselves and our decisions by blaming and nitpicking others. We either experience ourselves as people among people or THE person among objects (37) and inflate our own virtue. Much of our problem here can also be traced back to being concerned with how we look and are perceived by others. As I borrowed this from the library, I want to record a few quotes for future reference. We get in the box through what he calls "Self-Betrayal" (85). 1) An act contrary to what I feel I should do for another is called an act of self-betrayal 2) When I betray myself, I begin to see the world in a way that justifies my self-betrayal. 3) When I see the world in a self-justifying way, my view of reality becomes distorted. 4) So--when I betray myself, I enter the box. 5) Over time, certain boxes become characteristic of me, and I carry them with me. 6) By being in the box, I provoke others to be in the box (often by blame). Interestingly, (and haven't we all seen--or probably been a part of-- these dysfunctional relationships!!) our being "in the box" toward someone invites them to be in the box towards us until we feed off of one another's behaviors almost as though we are "colluding" (to use his word) with one another to have this kind of relationship. "The person IN the box needs to be run over. Out of the box I get no mileage whatsoever in being run over. I don't need it. And what's more, I'm usually not doing anyone a favor by letting them run over me. IN the box, on the other hand, I get what I most need when I'm run over: I get my justification. I get my proof that the person running over me is just as bad as I've been accusing him or her of being. . .it's as if we said to each other 'Look, I'll mistreat you so that you can blame your bad behavior on me so that I can blame my bad behavior on you'" (103). 'What' focus outside of box is achieving while 'what' focus inside the box is justification. 'Who' focus outside of the box is others but 'who' focus inside the box is self. (109) In the box, "People who came together to help an organization succeed actually end up delighting in each other's failures and resenting each other's successes" (110). When in the box we are *resisting* others. So how do we get OUT of the box? You question your OWN virtue and you honor others as *people*--with needs, hopes, and worries as real and legitimate as my own" (149). --"In order to stay out of the box, it's critical that we honor what our out-of-the-box sensibility tells us we should do for these people. However--and this is important--this doesn't necessarily mean that we end up doing everything we feel would be ideal. For we have our own responsibilities and needs that require attention, and it may be that we can't help others as much or as soon as we wish we could. In such cases, we will have no need to blame them and justify ourselves because we will still be seeing them as people we want to help even if we are unable to help at that very moment or in the way we think would be ideal. We simply do the best we can under the circumstances--offered because we *want* to do it." (153) --"We live insecurely when we're in the box, desperate to show that we're justified--that we're thoughtful, for example, or worthy or noble. It can feel pretty overwhelming always having to demonstrate our virtue. In fact, when we're feeling overwhelmed, it generally isn't our obligation to others but our in-the-box desperation to prove something about *ourselves* that we find overwhelming" (153). --What if we were focused on others and on achieving results instead of focusing on ourselves and on being justified? (171). --"The most effective leaders lead in this single way: by holding themselves more accountable than all" (189).

  26. 5 out of 5

    Noah Goats

    A brief glance at my reading history will demonstrate that this is not the sort of thing that I usually read, but when your boss gives you a book as a Christmas gift, you’d probably better read it. The book’s structure is a little off putting. It’s not written like a standard work of non-fiction; instead it’s like a novel with one boring cardboard character giving another boring cardboard character a lesson about “thinking outside the box.” Apparently, this is the book that popularized that now A brief glance at my reading history will demonstrate that this is not the sort of thing that I usually read, but when your boss gives you a book as a Christmas gift, you’d probably better read it. The book’s structure is a little off putting. It’s not written like a standard work of non-fiction; instead it’s like a novel with one boring cardboard character giving another boring cardboard character a lesson about “thinking outside the box.” Apparently, this is the book that popularized that now extremely cliched phrase. Now that I’ve actually read the book, I realize I’ve misunderstood the cliche for years. Despite it’s cardboard prose, Leadership and Self-Deception teaches a lot of sound principles of leadership and interpersonal relationships. It teaches them with clarity, and although it’s not exactly beautifully written, it goes down pretty quick. It was far less horrible than I imagined it would be when I first spotted it on my desk, decked with a bow.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Stewart

    The book belabors and repeats the idea of being “in” or “out” of “the box.” While I understand creating your own language for an idea as a metaphor, the word box was used ad nauseum throughout the book. I found the premise of a company COO taking a full day to enlighten managers about how to treat people rather preposterous. Even more so the life-changing epiphany experienced by Tom. After the first chapter or two, there are no new ideas expressed; merely a rehashing of the same idea over and ov The book belabors and repeats the idea of being “in” or “out” of “the box.” While I understand creating your own language for an idea as a metaphor, the word box was used ad nauseum throughout the book. I found the premise of a company COO taking a full day to enlighten managers about how to treat people rather preposterous. Even more so the life-changing epiphany experienced by Tom. After the first chapter or two, there are no new ideas expressed; merely a rehashing of the same idea over and over again through somewhat tedious dialogue and story-telling. To sum up the book, be self-aware and consider situations from the perspective of others involved. Treat others as you would like to be treated.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Shelby Kollin

    I've read a lot of self help books and feel this one was a bit dumbed down. For me, that's not ideal. But I can understand how for others who are completely ignorant of the idea would need it written for them in this way. Being in the box is essentially having an inflated ego which is something I've read up on quite a bit. I enjoyed how easy of a read this was, the simplicity of it and being written in a way that's easy for everyone to understand, and liked the idea of applying it to the work pl I've read a lot of self help books and feel this one was a bit dumbed down. For me, that's not ideal. But I can understand how for others who are completely ignorant of the idea would need it written for them in this way. Being in the box is essentially having an inflated ego which is something I've read up on quite a bit. I enjoyed how easy of a read this was, the simplicity of it and being written in a way that's easy for everyone to understand, and liked the idea of applying it to the work place, especially for those in leadership roles. It's a good reminder for us all. I liked hearing it explained in this way and was easily able to look back on just earlier today, yesterday, and last week on examples of myself being in the box. If only everyone could look at life and others in this way!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Phillip Scharf

    Quite an incredible read. Requires introspection while encouraging growth in a reader. Though I picked it up initially hoping to continue my pursuits of being a capable and quality leader, I found the lessons in the book to be applicable to every aspect of my relationships with others. Seems like a good book to reference in moments where I am stuck or frustrated in my relationships.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Gavin Breeden

    Absolutely the best book on leadership I've ever read. Seriously, a life-changing book for me. If you are a pastor, wife, husband, leader, employee, boss, father, mother, etc. you should read this. Game-changer. Can't praise it enough. Read it! Absolutely the best book on leadership I've ever read. Seriously, a life-changing book for me. If you are a pastor, wife, husband, leader, employee, boss, father, mother, etc. you should read this. Game-changer. Can't praise it enough. Read it!

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