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Getting Unstuck: How Dead Ends Become New Paths
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Getting Unstuck: How Dead Ends Become New Paths

3.6  ·  Rating Details ·  275 Ratings  ·  43 Reviews
You will experience psychological impasse many times in your life. During these times, you have the sensation that you’re stuck or paralyzed. You’re convinced that something must change, whether in your work or personal life. Though this feeling is normal, you need to move beyond it. Failure to “get unstuck” can put your career and personal life—as well as the healthy func ...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published February 12th 2007 by Harvard Business Review Press (first published 2007)
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Nov 01, 2012 Patrick rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Brook M.
Oct 28, 2016 Brook M. rated it liked it
The best part were its activities, especially the 100 Jobs Exercise (p.52-7, 191-4) and how it can be used. While I’ve had exposure to this before, the way the book tied in the basic interest dimensions (see p. 191-4) was beneficial.
Other activities included:
-Practicing Free Attention - p.43
-Image Gathering - p. 68
There is an audio walk through for both of these online. Both of these are a meditation walk through.
Interest & Motivation Map - p. 150 (similar to Career Ingredients activity in C
Mar 22, 2012 Danielle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really connected with this book. It puts 'being stuck' in psychological terms. There are exercises throughout that involve meditating and writing. So, if that's not so much your thing, you probably won't enjoy this book.

This book is best read when you have chunks of quiet time alone. The exercises come every few pages and are best done in a place where you can think and write. I also found it helpful to have a trusted friend or family member that you can talk through some of the exercises with
Jim Tincher
Dec 14, 2011 Jim Tincher rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. At first I thought it was a bit too touchy-feely for me, but I grew to like it the more I read.

The core to this book is a 100 Jobs exercise. He lists 100 jobs, and you select the ones that most excite you, regardless of pay, skills, etc. This then connects to themes around what you want in a job.

My top themes were the Boss and the Persuader. He accurately called out that I like to think that what I say is what we should do - which tends to cause problems when you are
Chinarut Ruangchotvit
Jul 25, 2011 Chinarut Ruangchotvit rated it really liked it
Shelves: resonates, audiobook
Amazing book. Timothy has captured his career coaching process very well. While your mileage may vary, you may not get through this book in one sitting. I personally had to take 3 or 4 sizable breaks over the course of 3 months to just process the thoughts stimulated by the book. My recommendation is you stick with it - you won't regret it. The exercises are excellent - very thorough and methodical. Provided you finish the book with a commitment to have a breakthrough, he definitely hits it (you ...more
Sep 27, 2012 Niki rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I did thoroughly enjoy this book and it gave me A LOT to think about. A very important thing to note about this book was its not necessarily about picking up and completely starting over. The concepts in this book can very easily be used in regards to your current job. Perhaps the department you are currently in does not fit your personality as well as it should, but another department does. This book helps you to realize that and give you the power, understanding, and motivation to take that st ...more
Mar 16, 2013 Emma rated it really liked it
I gained a great deal from this book. It is a serious book, not a fluffy self-help book; it's good that it is serious but I did find I read it in short segments because of it. A lot of my new 'to read' books this week are his recommendations. In terms of the 'impasse' process he describes, my position falls towards the end of the book, but it was helpful to go back through my recent experiences and recognize myself in those chapters. His 'deep dives' are useful, practical exercises, and couple w ...more
Nov 07, 2012 Lisandra rated it it was amazing
This book is lifechanging. I wish it had read it a few months ago when I was going through a period of impasse, uncertainty, and feeling stuck.

I went to Harvard Business School, and the author is the Head of Career Development there, so we received the book for free in our mailboxes in 2008. I never read it. I went to all the career sessions Tim Butler hosted, and thought I didn't need to read the book. Boy was I wrong. Tim offers so much detail and concrete steps about finding out what drives
Jan 27, 2015 Katie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: career, nonfiction
This isn't your typical career book. Butler comes to career counseling from a psychoanalytical perspective so the meditations are more about allowing your intuition to work and let emotions and dreams help you identify what is making you stuck. I'm not a big fan of dream analysis, expecially since that is hard to do for your own dreams, but I appreciate the author's perspective of facing impass as emotional and spiritual as well as intellectual. He has some helpful exercises in questions in this ...more
Apr 21, 2012 Ruth rated it liked it
Quite an interesting take on the "self-help" aisle--this one is written by a guy who teaches for one of the big schools of business (maybe Harvard, can't recall now) and he offers lots of real-world examples of people needing a few tools to help them get out of their rut. Most of the book applies to career changes (whether late in life or just out of college) but there is some psychology here that can apply to other big changes in life as well. Quite valuable. I appreciated the stages the author ...more
David Peters
Feb 18, 2010 David Peters rated it it was ok
Meh. It was about a topic I liked and focused on anecdotes (which I prefer), but still I never really got into it. We grow by recognizing/accepting things as they are suck. We then make changes, grow, and eventually start over again. Ultimately we will not be happy if we let someone else call the shots. You must make changes; or something like that. I mean, that is what I got from it. Don't get me wrong, it was not a bad book; it just didn't do it for me. Much like Charles Dickens, Reese's Peanu ...more
Oct 01, 2016 Michael rated it it was amazing
It's like having your own coach, cheerleader, therapist and guide all wrapped in one book.

What makes Getting Unstuck outstanding is that it offers exercises and activities mixed in with personal stories of others. The anecdotes of people going through similar experiences gives the exercises context.

Reading this book is a great solution when hiring your own career advisor and counselor isn't an option.

Finally, the tagline "How Dead Ends Become New Paths" is such more of a positive angle than ot
Bea Elwood
Aug 16, 2014 Bea Elwood rated it liked it
I think I would have found this book more inspiring a few years ago, but still found the descriptions of impasse and its emotional toll to be spot on. I was at an impasse (maybe more than once) and eventually fumbled my way to doing some of the things this book outlines - which is why I say I wish I had found it a few years ago. I still found great value in the about 2/3 of the book with that one 1/3 having to do more with being actively stuck.
Jul 22, 2015 Claire rated it liked it
the basic tenets of the book (e.g. reflecting on deep life interests as opposed to work roles) are helpful. some of the exercises are hard to follow in the way they're written, and there are aspects that are not clear and defined enough (e.g. should we be going with our gut when isolating our top personal passions, or allowing the results of the exercises to guide us, even if the results seem skewed?).
Joseph Mole
Nov 08, 2010 Joseph Mole rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was, without question, the most helpful book I've read on making life decisions that are in line with one's mission and vision. Using some unconventional tactics involving visioning, imaging, etc., the author helps the reader dig much deeper to get at the root of one's "stuck-ness" and then move forward with a better grasp of what one's life should look like. I have a terrible time with major life decisions, and this book really helped me to get clarity.
Mar 12, 2010 Smallerdemon rated it really liked it
I wouldn't exactly get zealous about the book and say it provides the sure fire way to get answer to the hard questions of being at an impasse at life, but he certainly provides some great tools to give you some change of focus or change of perspective. I have found it useful for getting through my own impasse. If you're feeling "stuck" in your life, this is certainly a good part of a larger set of tools to have on hand for figuring things out.
Apr 19, 2010 Tricia rated it liked it
Recommended to Tricia by: Susan McCord
Shelves: abandoned
Interesting book, but really one that needs some discussion with others in the same boat. A good read for those looking to reshape career paths, but having a mentor or companion on the journey makes the content more helpful.

I got halfway through and have chosen to turn my attention to other avenues for inspiration, but definitely will return to this book in the future.
Am having trouble getting into this because the author works at Harvard Business School and presents examples of super-achievers making lots of money and having lots of success and prestige. Can't identify! The sidebar exercises seem to be good, although why he needs to rename meditation "free attention" I do not know...
Alisha Vanyali
Sep 01, 2016 Alisha Vanyali rated it really liked it
As a draft it's illuminating in the way it explains the complete procedure of how things get stuck and the stages one's psych goes through in dealing with it. I really appreciate the undertone of sympathetic discernment with which the whole text has been written with.All in all worth a place in your book shelf if you are a fan of this genre.
Aug 02, 2011 Carrie rated it really liked it
Liked it. Butler helps readers see times of impasse as necessary catalysts for life change. He walks through several stages of the impasse experience and gives practical exercises to help readers learn lessons at each stage.
Jan 21, 2016 Kamy rated it it was ok
Dull and obvious. I love this genre of books, but this particular title was not for me. I kept wanting to skip forward. I kept thinking get to the point, and when he did I wondered why all that buildup was for something so cliche. For people who connect to this book, that's wonderful.
Kiki von Cougar
May 15, 2011 Kiki von Cougar rated it liked it
I had a difficult time getting through this book. While it affirmed what I already know about myself (I'm a creative person who wants to work in a creative field), there wasn't enough advice about how to use this self-knowledge to transcend the mucky, hellish bog of a job I am currently stuck in.
Jul 01, 2011 Stasha marked it as not-finished-just-put-aside  ·  review of another edition
Completed the first two assignments - on to the third...
You will need a group of people to bounce ideas off of- preferably people who have worked with you, supervised you, or worked under you(current direct reports won't work since they can't be trusted to tell you the whole truth).
Mar 17, 2009 Elizabeth rated it liked it
Decent book, more applicable for working out career decisions and job searches. Some of the exercises are interesting, however if you already have a good idea about your wants/ambitions/desires, they can be repetitive.
Nov 29, 2015 Aline rated it it was amazing
The book has very hands on exercises in each chapter, which is what mostly differs it from other fluffy books. I've been stuck for a while and this was the book that actually got me to finally understand what was missing and what I need. 100% recommend it.
Feb 14, 2013 Emma rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought I'd already reviewed this but I guess not. This isn't your typical self-help book, nor your typical career book. It's quite a serious and intense book, and/but very helpful. Lots of practicality to it.
Jun 09, 2016 Alison rated it it was amazing
Great book to guide you through the "stuck" feeling. Throughout the book there are suggested activities for you to explore options that you have known about along, but never gave a second thought. Get it in print as the will be a book that you will write in and periodically flip through later.
Jan 27, 2009 Kristin rated it really liked it
This was nice to read because it helped set parameters for changing careers in mid life. I also had an aha moment when I read about the different personality types and realized that I was more of a creative than I had ever given myself credit for before.
Aug 01, 2013 Carol rated it liked it
Good book for exploring career change and getting at the truth of your personal motivators and satisfiers. A book I'll hold onto and could envision referring to in the future.
May 15, 2015 Sarah rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015
Organization was both hard to follow and repetitive. Possibly would have made more sense and been easier to understand if I hadn't done the audiobook
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“A mental model can be seen as an accumulation of a lifetime’s learning about what works and what doesn’t. We have a model for our boss’s personality and how she will respond to certain behaviors; a model for things that will go well for a family outing and things that won’t; a model for how to get ahead at work; a model for how to navigate the local traffic flow to get to work on time. The problem with any mental model is that it is always operating on information from the past. In contrast, true vision is never an arrangement or rearrangement of solutions that have worked in previous circumstances, but springs from the immediacy of today.” 0 likes
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