Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Book Review: What Got You Here Won't Get You There

Over the years, I have read a lot of these types of "business"-type books, mostly due to my studies in industrial and organizational psychology.

While many of them are good, I would actually recommend this book to the general population: Marshall Goldsmith's What Got You Here Wont' Get You There.


How many times have you complimented or thanked someone and then slapped the "b-word" at the end?  No, I'm not talking about THAT "b-word."  I'm talking about the word: but.

"That's a good idea, but..."

"You've really done a good job on this, but..."

I'm sure we have all slipped and done this, or been the victim of this.  Yes, victim.  Putting that "b-word" after saying something nice makes it suddenly not-nice.  It's a bad habit that supposedly keeps people from advancing or doing well with their colleagues, but it also doesn't bode well for real life.

Here are some of the 20 Bad Habits that Goldsmith outlines in his book:

2. Adding too much value: The overwhelming desire to add our 2 cents to every discussion.

5. Starting with NO, BUT, HOWEVER: The overuse of these negative qualifiers which secretly say to everyone that I’m right and you’re wrong.

6. Telling the world how smart we are: The need to show people we’re smarter than they think we are.

12. Making excuses: The need to reposition our annoying behavior as a permanent fixture so people excuse us for it.

13. Clinging to the past: The need to deflect blame away from ourselves and onto events and people from our past; a subset of blaming everyone else.

16. Not listening: The most passive-aggressive form of disrespect for colleagues.

17. Failing to express gratitude: The most basic form of bad manners.

20. An excessive need to be “me”: Exalting our faults as virtues simply because they’re who we are.
Guilty of any of these? 
I would say my worst one is #13.  I often blame my past for "the way I am" (see #20), but I should really have more faith in the here and now.  Change is something we need for which we need to take responsibility.  It has been many, many years since my childhood, and I've had LOTS of times to work on the bad habits/thoughts I've had over the years.
This book is pretty eye-opening and makes you think about the way you treat other people, including your loved ones (many examples from this angle were brought up in the book).  Best of all, it's a pretty short read.


  1. Sounds like a great book! I love reading motivational books every now and then :)

  2. I've never served or even been called to show up. I'd like to one day though just to see the entire process first hand.

    My dad has served a couple times and once he had a drug case. He said it was really scary to see who your jury is comprised of because it generally (around here anyway) are the people who do it FOR the free lunch and really don't pay much attention or even care.