Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

The Book of Beautiful Questions: The Powerful Questions That Will Help You Decide, Create, Connect, and Lead

Rate this book
From the bestselling author of A More Beautiful Question , hundreds of big and small questions that harness the magic of inquiry to tackle challenges we all face--at work, in our relationships, and beyond.

When confronted with almost any demanding situation, the act of questioning can help guide us to smart decisions. By asking questions, we can analyze, learn, and move forward in the face of uncertainty. But "questionologist" Warren Berger says that the questions must be the right ones; the ones that cut to the heart of complexity or enable us to see an old problem in a fresh way.

In The Book of Beautiful Questions , Berger shares illuminating stories and compelling research on the power of inquiry. Drawn from the insights and expertise of psychologists, innovators, effective leaders, and some of the world's foremost creative thinkers, he presents the essential questions readers need to make the best choices when it truly counts, with a particular focus in four key decision-making , creativity , leadership , and relationships .

The powerful questions in this book can help
- Identify opportunities in your career or industry
- Generate fresh ideas in business or in your own creative pursuits
- Check your biases so you can make better judgments and decisions
- Do a better job of communicating and connecting with the people around you

Thoughtful, provocative, and actionable, these beautiful questions can be applied immediately to bring about change in your work or your everyday life.

288 pages, Hardcover

First published October 13, 2018

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Warren Berger

26 books179 followers
I’m an author and speaker on innovation, creativity, and the power of questioning. I invite fellow curious thinkers to join me in exploring the power of inquiry to spark breakthrough ideas on my questioning site. My latest book is THE BOOK OF BEAUTIFUL QUESTIONS, a follow up to the bestselling A MORE BEAUTIFUL QUESTION, both published by Bloomsbury Worldwide.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
336 (40%)
4 stars
310 (37%)
3 stars
150 (18%)
2 stars
26 (3%)
1 star
9 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 89 reviews
Profile Image for Kristen.
12 reviews
February 24, 2019
A great book that should be a high school or college required reading to help find peoples passions and curiosities.
Profile Image for Nathan Albright.
4,488 reviews110 followers
May 8, 2019
I get the distinct feeling in reading this book that the author thinks his questions are a lot more beautiful than I do.  That is not to say that there is a lot to appreciate and enjoy about the book, because there is, but there is a certain smarminess and mendacity about this book that just reeks of someone who thinks that they are impartial and fair-minded when they are not.  Of course, the author is a frequent writer for the New York Times, which suggests that his problematic tone was formed with that overrated example of fake news that the author talks about (without perhaps realizing that it applied to his own journalistic efforts).  This is not a book that is well-crafted to appeal to those who do not drink the same kool-aid brand that the author does, but even so there is value to be gained from this book even if its subject matter would have been far better approached by someone who did not equate sound critical thinking with complacent contemporary mainstream leftist thought.  If you agree with this author, you will likely find the book and its approach far better, which sort of defeats the point of what he was trying to write to support, which is a fair-minded approach to questioning that strengthens one's own views by questioning one's own assumptions and worldview, hopefully better than the author does here.

This volume of a bit more than 200 pages is divided into four parts.  The author begins with a justification of questioning, and how we can cultivate this habit, even expressing the hope that asking questions can bridge the gaps between people, showing his blind faith in communication as the solution to worldview disagreements.  The author then discusses some questions that allow better decision-making, through examining the likelihood that our critical thinking has an agenda (because it usually does), dealing with fear, and making decisions to "evolve (1)."  After that the author seeks to ask questions to inspire creativity, subtly trying to coerce people into becoming morning people rather than night owls, and asking questions about killing butterflies and going public (2).  After this the author deals with questions that help us connect with others (3), dealing with making peace as opposed to being right, owning one's biases, dealing with hypocrisy (something the author should be pretty familiar with), and so on.  Finally, the author ends by asking questions to develop stronger leadership, including building an institutional culture of curiosity that overcomes traditional command and control models (4), after which there is a conclusion that deals with living the inquiring life.

Where this particular book has value is in the way that the author asks a lot of questions and encourages the reader not only to ask questions of others but also of ourselves, as to our own motives.  To be sure, this would have been even more present and more important had the author presented this attitude of self-reflection and questioning as part of a larger moral approach that approaches the asking of questions as an aspect of humility in the facing of our Creator and Judge.  If the author's questions are not quite as beautiful as the author thinks they are, and if the author is but a very imperfect model of the fair-mindedness he preaches, there is still a lot of worth here, namely because we all have our own biases/perspectives and we cannot judge others justly until we at least recognize and own them.  As it happens, I happen to own different ones than the author has, and found this book somewhat off-putting because the author thinks himself to be more just and fair-minded than he in fact is.  And that sense of hypocrisy and sanctimoniousness makes this book a lot less easier to enjoy than it would have had I been able to appreciate the shared attitude of questioning that the author and I possess in common.
Profile Image for Pete Wung.
147 reviews9 followers
February 11, 2020
I have been a big fan of Warren Berger’s work after I first read his book: A More Beautiful Question when it first came out. I had picked it up at the venerable Politics and Prose Bookstore in Washington DC on a whim, the title just sounded interesting. It never occurred to me that this serendipitous act was going to change my perspective on many things: convinced me of the efficacy using questioning as a way to test my thinking; clear up how I perceive my thinking; and in many ways it made me look at my biases in a clearer manner.

I had awaited this new book with bated breath, and as I gladly found out, it is also potentially life transforming.

Even though this book came out in 2018, I did not fully finished the reading until recently, partly because of my schedule and partly because I took on a massive reading list, which was motivated by the questions I had generated for myself after reading the first book. Yes, Berger has questions in this book about procrastination too.

Berger collected a large amount of questions, over 500, that he felt were critical for various aspects of life. Some were thoughtful and deep, while others were seemingly obvious, but not obvious enough as people are not consistently asking these questions. Berger thoughtfully placed all of these questions in a PDF and the document is available from his website. The list is actually an index, which refers to the parts of the book where he discusses and parses those questions. Very thoughtful indeed.

He covered many different areas and he grouped the questions under those areas, and this is how the chapters are organized. The introduction sets up the question of: Why Questions? Parts I-IV drills deep into the topics of: decision making, creativity, personal connection with others, and finally leadership. The last part of the book is titled Conclusion, but it is really a guide to setting up the reader’s inquiring life.

The beauty about this book is that the reader can select the sections that is most meaningful to him or her, or they can choose to read the book in order. The narrative guides the reader through the author’s thought process as he parses each of the topics as well digging into the purpose and rationale behind asking questions in a certain way. The reader can reason along with the author, which forces the reader to learn about the nuances that are possible from a simple question. It can be some rigorous mental gymnastics, which fortuitously results in clarity of thought.

My favorite parts were the parts on decision making and creativity. If I had to pick a least favorite chapter, it would be the one on leadership. I don’t argue with the questions, nor do I quibble with the philosophical thoughts cited regarding strong leaders. I do have issues with the way the author talks about the execution and mindset for leadership. It is inevitable that he takes the tack of a run of the mill business book because the book of the month approach that follows along in organization like the millions of other business books that populate the discount bins is what the marketplace demands. This book is much better than that and I think the message that he has regarding leadership is much deeper and thought provoking than those coming out of the mouths of the business gurus. I wish that he had invested in drilling deeper into history and the deeply ingrained leadership lessons from the ancients than the CEOs of modernity. The former is time tested and the latter is still a transient looking to settle down. It is all a matter of the time constant.
But that is a minor quibble in what is overall a very good read for those who relish being challenged intellectually and enjoy being a polymath in this culture of specialists. The habit of asking questions is what the author is seeking to evolve, the questions that he uses in the book are examples, a starter kit for those nascent questionologists. The list of questions are to be used to jump starting their thought processes.

I will be dissecting Berger’s list in the next few days and thinking about how I can best use his list of questions. Of course, I will be asking questions. Lots of questions.
Profile Image for SK Smith.
52 reviews7 followers
August 11, 2021
This book was great! It has and will continue to shape how I approach life and question asking. Loved how he said the asking questions is a way to humble yourself and serve others. One star deduction for boringness at some parts and slight repetition. Overall I would recommend this book to both question lovers and question skeptics.
Profile Image for Raul Mazilu.
61 reviews7 followers
March 12, 2023
Wonderful read. Simply too many beautiful questions to fit into a review. The main philosophy is to ask open and deep questions. I’ll leave you with 3 of my favourites:

1. What is my tennis ball? Identify “the thing that pulls you” … that holds the potential to engage you as single-mindedly as a dog chasing a tennis ball.
2. How can I shift from a “manager’s schedule” to a “maker’s schedule”? The former tries to fill every hour with appointments; the latter is designed with multi-hour, uninterrupted blocks.
3. What if I replace my resolutions with “questolutions”? Research indicates that creating a resolution in question form (How can I do X?) may be more effective than a typical resolution in the form of a statement (I will do X!).
100 reviews4 followers
January 21, 2019
1 Main takeaway: Critical thinking. It's good to look at the other side of your opinions. Ask questions. It's through that method that you deepen understanding.

A binary decision is an answer to a closed question. We may choose to frame a decision in a binary yes/no or either/or terms because it limits the choices we must consider, it makes it easier to decide. People who have difficult questions often answer and easier one instead without realizing it. A difficult question might be 'I'm having problems with my boss at work, how might I address it. A easier one is Given the problems I'm having with my boss, should I quit my job. The first question could be answered countless ways and deserves creativity whereas the second is a quick answer and move on. A decision can be no better than the options.

Critical thinking is genuinely looking at the other view with an open opinion. Many people apply the basic priniciples of critical thinking (questioning, evaluating, investigating), but are doing it for the sole purpose of confirming an existing view.

One example, a student of rationality was offered a job in Silicon Valley that would pay him $70,000 per year more than he was currently earning. He was reluctant to take it because it would mean moving away from his hometown where his friends and his family lived. So he tried a simple trick that we call a reframing. He asked himself, “If I already had this job in Silicon Valley, how would I feel about taking a $70,000 per year pay cut in order to live closer to my friends and family?” And when framed like that, the answer was a much clearer, “Oh, no, I wouldn’t be willing to do that.” Which was really instructive because it suggested that his initial reluctance to take the job was based, much more than he realized, on what is called the “Status Quo bias” in which we feel an attachment to whatever happens to be the case, regardless of what our actual preferences are.

Courageous questions to overcome failure:
1 - What would I try if I knew I could not fail
2 - What is the worst that could happen
3 - If I did fall, what would be the likely cause
4 - And how would I recover from the fall
5 - What if I succeed, what would that look like
6 - How Can I take one small step into the breach

Questions to ask instead of how are you
1 - What's the best thing that happened to you today
2 - What are you excited about in your life right now
3 - What are you most looking forward to at x event

Questions to ask instead of what do you do
1 - What are you most passionate about
2 - What problem do you wish you could share
3 - What did you want to be when you were growing up

Question + action = change
Question - action = philosophy

Write down things that bug you. Ask the why, what if, how? This is the inventors method.

Connective inquiry, ask questions like what if I put this together with that. Think of Abraham Lincoln Vampire Slayer.
Profile Image for Danilo Weiner.
192 reviews4 followers
January 13, 2020
O autor escolheu um tema legal, importante e que realmente pode mudar os nossos modelos mentais para resolver problemas. Dito isso, o livro começa bem, cria uma divisão interessante de capítulos que parecem endereçar frentes diversas, mas em algum ponto lá pela metade começa a ficar um pouco chato de ler. Não sei se acontece aquela forçada de conteúdo que alguns livros técnicos geralmente apresentam ou se o tema se esgota e o conteúdo muda pouco entre os capítulos, o ponto é que meu entusiasmo ao longo do livro diminuiu bastante a ponto de ficar feliz quando terminei, o que normalmente não é uma boa sensação...
Profile Image for Dan Connors.
331 reviews44 followers
January 23, 2019
This book is a follow-up to Mr. Berger's popular book, A More Beautiful Question. It's an excellent dive into the power of open and closed questions to stimulate ideas, deepen relationships, and solve problems. Everybody wants to pretend they have all the answers and many are afraid of asking questions for fear of looking weak. The author goes into great detail about the many ways that questions can bring people, ideas and solutions out into the open from their hiding places.

Mr. Berger knows his stuff. His references are to the top minds in the business non-fiction scene like Daniel Pink, Adam Grant, Dan Ariely, and a bevy of celebrities who touch on the power of questions.

Also included with the book are hundreds of sample questions for every situation, such as:

"What would I try if I knew I could not fail? Start with this favorite Silicon Valley question to help identify bold possibilities."

"What stirs me? To find a “problem” that’s worth devoting your creative efforts to solve, start with a high interest level—meaning it touches on something that matters to you. What bugs me? Frustration is the starting point for many innovations and creative breakthroughs. What’s missing? Whereas the previous question may focus on existing problems or inadequacies, this one focuses on the absence of something—a product that doesn’t exist but should, a need not addressed, a perspective that is underrepresented."

The author also has a website where he invites readers to submit their questions and download helpful tools to become better questioners.

I highly recommend this book and its precursor. Too much yelling and not enough humble questioning in our world today.

Profile Image for Michelle Jerome.
121 reviews4 followers
March 14, 2019
How will this book affect my life?

This book is one of the best books this rebel soul has ever read. I have always had a curious mind and this book brought out the beautiful curiosity of questions that can only enhance my relationships at work, with friends, and with woes.

Are you interested in Motivational Interviewing? This book is a great enhancement tool.

I can’t recommend it enough.
Profile Image for Raz Pirata.
70 reviews13 followers
August 1, 2020
“Questions enable us to organize our thinking around what we don’t know.”

My better half and I were in Cusco, Peru trying to wrap our minds around the bewildering history of Incas. We had hired a guide, Simon, to assist with our travel around the country and answer our questions about such a fascinating time and place.

On about the fourth day of our time together I said in my best broken spanish, “Simon, tengo una pregunta.” (I have a question)

To which he giggled and replied, “Solo una?” (only one?)

His response was met with uproarious laughter by all who had suffered my endless barrage of questions over the previous days. I am curious by nature, and little interests me as much as a great question.

“Any question that causes people to shift their thinking is a beautiful one.”

Self proclaimed question-ologist, Warren Berger, feels the same way. His second offering on the subject, The Book of Beautiful Questions is the book I was hoping his first effort on the subject, A More Beautiful Question, would be.

Beautiful Questions is packed with examples of questions that will shift your perspective, provide insights and help you Decide, Create, Connect and Lead. Full of interesting examples and well researched, this book is a game changer for those looking to advance their thinking through the power of questioning.

“Asking oneself a few well considered questions before deciding on something can be surprisingly effective in helping to avoid the common traps of decision making.”

Berger believes that when we are confronted with any demanding situation, it will be the result of the questions we ask that will have the greatest impact on the outcome. That by asking better questions we are guided to better thinking and smarter, more creative decisions.

There is great power in the questions we ask. To learn to harness that power and put it to good use in your life, at work or with your Peruvian tour guide, The Book of Beautiful Questions is an invaluable resource.

Overall Score: 4 / 5

In a Sentence: If you want better answers, ask better questions.
Profile Image for Evan Micheals.
532 reviews10 followers
July 12, 2020
I heard Warren Berger talk on the Art of Manliness. I often say about my own practice as a therapist is that I don’t give good answers, but aim to ask good questions. I am forever trying to become more skilled in the questions I ask of people. When I heard Berger speak I thought he could provide something that develops my skill in this regard.

Berger asks “What makes them beautiful?” and gives the answer as a “question that causes people to shift their thinking is a beautiful one” (p 12). A beautiful question is one that is challenging, even confronting that can lead to more wisdom and insight about something that is important to you.

What I found was a book that is worth full of questions worth contemplating over time. It is similar to the work of Ryan Holiday in that you read only a little every day and contemplate the question asked of yourself (or to ask another). A book to read over months rather than a few days. I like the VUCA acronym (Volatility Uncertainty Complexity Ambiguity) for thinking about dynamic life situations.

I am currently seeking a new employment opportunity and the interview questions for the interviewers (p 123) is something I intend to refer to as I prepare myself for future interviews. This is a book I intend to revisit in the future, slowly and deliberately as I develop my questioning craft. It is a catalyst for thinking about life, and if used skillfully the questions are a resource for me professionally as I act as a catalyst in deeper thinking for people I see professionally.
Profile Image for Kenny Smith.
19 reviews
March 2, 2022
Inspired me to 1) focus on others more than myself by asking questions and listening with genuine interest - and asking deeper questions, 2) be more creative, 3) be a better leader by asking good questions.
33 reviews
December 5, 2020
Such a VITAL book for anybody! Really opened my perspective on what questions can do. Definitely a timeless book to have on the bookshelf and looking forward to applying the concepts to my daily life
5 reviews2 followers
May 7, 2021
Berger has clearly taken this a step further by including specific questions for specific goals. I found the questions concerning the creating and connecting extremely helpful .
Profile Image for Antonio Gallo.
Author 6 books43 followers
May 20, 2020
Chi-cosa-dove-quando-perchè. Cinque costanti-variabili, o variabili-costanti, fa lo stesso, su quale sia la più importante. Sia che la si riferisca ad un libro che alla vita di un uomo.

Mi spiego: io penso che ogni uomo sia riportabile ad un libro o, quanto meno, la sua vita sia simile a quella di un libro. Se, quindi, ogni uomo è un libro, è necessario che di un libro abbia i dovuti riferimenti di lettura: chi-cosa-dove-quando-perché, per l’appunto.

E’ ovvio che la sequenza delle costanti-variabili, o variabili-costanti, può essere diversa da quella che ho scelto io. C’è chi preferisce dare la precedenza al “cosa”, chi preferisce partire direttamente dal “perché” e via discorrendo. A mio avviso il sistema così diventa più difficile da gestire, e poiché credo che sia meglio iniziare da ciò che è più facile, eccomi a spiegare il percorso che ogni bibliomane, o quanto meno, uno che ama, legge, colleziona e vive di libri, si accinge a fare con i suoi libri e con la sua vita.

Se vi accingete a leggere, sappiate che questo testo non è stato riletto e quindi lo dovete accettare così com’è senza chiedere “chi-cosa-dove-quando-perchè”. L'immagine che vedete qui a fianco riproduce artisticamente il concetto su cui poggia questo articolo. E' il lavoro di un artigiano inglese il quale progetta i suoi lavori in funzione della realtà in cui vive il soggetto uomo: "l'uomo libro", appunto. Ma l'artista ha prodotto anche l'uomo del CD, l'uomo del DVD, l'uomo del Video.

"L'uomo libro" riesce a contenere circa 100 libri e può assumere forme diverse per rispondere agli interrogativi quanto mai costanti e variabili di cui è fatta la vita degli uomini e quella dei loro libri.

CHI. Chi sono, chi siamo, chi sono gli altri, chi mi ama, chi mi teme, chi mi segue, chi davvero sono io, quando sono sveglio, quando dormo, parlo, mangio, penso, scrivo, lavoro, viaggio, studio. Una ricerca continua della propria identità, della propria ragion d’essere. Chi se lo chiede, se se lo chiede, cosa si risponde, o cosa gli altri cosa gli rispondono? E cosa fa chi non si pone proprio la domanda? Vive o sopravvive? Vive meglio o peggio? Che cosa sarebbe poi il peggio o il meglio? Chi sono davvero io che penso? Posso dire che se penso, io sono davvero? Non è che “penso, dunque sono” va detto al contrario, vale a dire “sono, dunque penso”. Lo so, forse comincerete a pensare che io sia impazzito, oppure che questi sono pensieri oziosi di un uomo ozioso, che dovrebbe andare a lavorare invece che porsi domande dl genere. Avete ragione. E’ che ad un certo punto della propria vita, ognuno, domande del genere, dovrebbe pur porsele, per cercare di capire con chi ha a che fare. Voglio dire, prima con se stessi e poi con gli altri, non vi pare? Ma voi pensate che una cosa del genere sia davvero possibile, voglio dire che sia possibile comprendere davvero io che sto scrivendo a questa tastiera, io davvero sappia rispondere alla domanda su chi sono? E a chi lo sto chiedendo, poi, tutto sommato? A chi ne sa meno di me, non vi pare? Sì, perché voi, che nemmeno sapete chi siete, chi è vostro padre, vostra madre, vostro figlio, il vostro capo ufficio, il vostro direttore, il vostro vicino inquilino, il vostro portiere, il vostro parroco, il giornalaio all’angolo, la vostra amante, cosa potete sapere di me? Come vedete, sono pure illazioni quelle che avete nella vostra testa, perché poi amaramente scoprite che quella persona che voi pensavate di conoscere a fondo era un’altra persona, era diversa e come! Da quella che pensavate, tanto che ha fatto fuori la moglie, il padre e il figlio in una sola botta. E che dire poi di quell’inappuntabile ragioniere che per decenni credevate un modello di gentiluomo è improvvisamente scappato in Sud America con tutti quei soldi sottratti a tanta gente che gli aveva affidato i propri risparmi? E allora, ecco perché chi davvero siete dovete scoprirlo voi, come chi autore del libro, il personaggio principale, l’autore sia del libro che della vostra vita, l’artefice, l’editore, lo scrittore, il distributore, l’agente, il bibliotecario che si prenderà cura del vostro libro, coma anche dello stampatore, del correttore di bozze. Eh sì! Perché ci saranno molti errori, possibili da correggere, ma saranno molti di più quelli impossibile da correggere, rivedere, riscrivere, riproporre all’attenzione di chi ha la bontà di leggere quelle pagine. Pagine che non potranno mai essere scritte o corrette né tanto meno rivissute. Tante pagine fitte dense di caratteri, disegni, immagini, graffi, chiari e oscuri, a colori, in bianco e nero, visibili o invisibili. Fino all’ultima pagina, bianca, sulla quale qualcuno stenderà l’indice del libro, un indice inappellabile perché non sarà possibile cambiarlo. Non lo scriverà l’autore del libro, qualcun altro lo farà. E poi, dopo, apporrà la parola “fine” consegnando il volume al tempo per essere poi sistemato nella biblioteca spaziale.

COSA. Le cose, la cosa, tante cose, tutte le cose, belle, brutte, chiare, semplici, complicate, futili, utili ed inutili, credibili, stupide, fattibili, incomprensibili, immediate, dirette, personali, collettive, importanti, cose indegne ed indecenti, cose intelligenti e geniali. Tutti le fanno, le scelgono, le incontrano, le pensano e le conservano. Chi lo fa per mestiere, chi ad arte, chi per burla, tutte le cose di questa terra, del nostro mondo ci sembrano cose importanti, decisive, esclusive, personali, determinanti. Ma chi ci crede? Tutti, almeno così appare, per tutti: per il presidente, il papa, il direttore, il preside, il postino, il meccanico, il sindacalista, il ladro e l’assassino, tutti sanno cosa fanno, perché e dove e come e quando. Al mattino, appena svegli, sanno già che la cosa va fatta, così è stato deciso, almeno il giorno prima, la notte è stata pensata. E poi, è un ordine, non è una cosa da nulla, c’è il codice penale, quello civile, il codice deontologico, quello morale a dire che la cosa, quelle cose, vanno comunque fatte, senza ombra di dubbio. Avrebbero già dovuto farle e mi meraviglia che non siano state fatte prima, se non da me, da noi, almeno da altri, altrove, per il bene di tutti, non solo suo e mio, del governo o della scuola, ma almeno per la gestione del condominio che ha bisogno di ordine. Quelle cose non possono rimanere nelle scale perché danno un segno negativo a tutto l’immobile a chi ci abita e ci vive. E poi, quelle cose vanno deliberate al più presto, il governo non può continuare a fare finta di non sentire e di non vedere i problemi della gente. Le cose sia all’interno che all’esterno stanno certamente peggiorando, cose che non si capisce perché non siano state fatte prima. Ma chi le deve fare queste cose? Che ci stanno a fare allora? Siamo onesti, il tempo delle chiacchiere deve cedere io passo alla politica delle cose che non sono state fatte e che con questo governo devono essere assolutamente fatte. Perché questo ci distinguerà dal governo precedente. Loro, le cose dicevano di volerle risolvere, noi invece le risolviamo. La cosa, le cose, tutte le cose, tante cose. Le cose degli uomini, delle donne, dei bambini, dei gay, dei trans, dei preti, delle suore, dei sindaci, degli assessori, le cose delle destra e quelle della sinistra destinate a non incontrarsi mai, come quelle del centro e della periferia, cose antiche e moderne, cose di dentro e cose di fuori, quelle dette e quelle non dette, scritte, trascritte e registrate con tanto di atto notarile perché tutto venga tramandato e sia secondo le regole. Perché qui le cose sono serie, sono cosa da magistrati, le cose dei togati che guai a chi li tocca. Gli intoccabili. Cose da pazzi…

DOVE. Qui i luoghi del dove abbondano, c’è davvero l’imbarazzo della scelta. Non si sa da dove cominciare. Da nord, da sud, da est o da ovest. Per non dimenticare il centro, il baricentro, l’ipercentro, la centrifuga e tutto il resto del dove. Mi ero già perso, infatti, nei labirinti del dove. Non so se cominciare da fuori o da dentro. Ma vi rendete conto che se comincio da dentro mi perdo, e se inizio da fuori me ne scappo dentro? Queste costanti-variabili possono avere il valore sia di interrogativi che di esplicativi. In altre parole, se dici “dove?” chiaramente fai una domanda. Se invece collochi un “dove” vuoi indicare una relazione spaziale che ti serve per collocare un ragionamento. Quando poi “dove” diventa “laddove” allora le cose assumono una latitudine di significato davvero esilarante, perché non sai mai dove ti verrai a trovare. Avete mai fatto in proposito l’esperienza di cercare di collocarvi da nessuna parte, in un “nessun dove” sia spaziale che temporale? Che bello sospendersi e fottersene di se stessi e degli altri sempre pronti in ogni dove a chiedere, domandare, interrogare. Una volta tanto, io non sono io, non sono da nessuna parte, non esisto e mi metto in un mio particolare “dove” di osservazione per rompere gli attributi agli altri. Sempre tenendo presente che non so dove esattamente sono. Per non parlare poi di quando dormo. Che c’entra? Direte voi. C’entra, c’entra. Ma vi siete mai chiesti dove siete quando dormite? Lo so che avrei dovuto anche chiedere “chi” siete quando si è in sonno. Ma qui non è pertinente. Qui parliamo solo del “dove”. In realtà non siamo né sopra né sotto, né dentro, né fuori, né appesi, né distesi, né sazi né digiuni, né tanto meno brilli. Ma sappiamo che ci siamo, ma non sappiamo dove siamo. Ma sappiamo che ci siamo, e quando ci svegliamo saremmo anche in grado di dire dove siamo stati, ma è che non ne siamo sicuri, o forse abbiamo paura di dirlo. Paura non solo, forse anche vergogna, perché i luoghi del dove sono luoghi che non si possono narrare, inesplorati ed inesplorabili. Luoghi virtuali, che non hanno nessuna virtù se non quella dell’inganno, della menzogna, dell’impossibile. Ma noi sappiamo tutti, indistintamente, che ci siamo stati, il dove dell’inganno, del tradimento, il fake che ci insegue e ci indica agli altri in senso di vergogna e di derisione. Se questi sono i luoghi del dove surreali, quelli della realtà vissuta, sono ancora più intangibili degli altri. Vi è mai capitato di sentirvi di essere là dove non siete mai stati come se già ci foste stati? Sì, alcuni lo chiamano il “deja vu”, luoghi del prima e luoghi del dopo. E tu non sai dove sei stato, se ci sei mai stato e se ci ritornerai. Un parco affollato di New York, un vetta in Svizzera, un “block” di un manicomio in inglese, volti tutt’intorno a guardarti, come un intruso. Tu che una volta eri un “nurse” ed eri là ad accudirli. Ora quel dove non c’è più, scomparso, annientato dal tempo che si ritrova nella variabile-costante “quando” e non sa come.

QUANDO. Mamma mia. Non so se questo è un interrogativo oppure una supposizione, dentro o fuori del tempo. Dal dove sono caduto nel quando. La navigazione continua senza soste e senza ritorni. Già, perchè una volta che ci sei stato in quel tempo, non potrai più ritornarci. In effetti, ci entri, ci cammini, ci vivi per un po’, ne esci e non potrai mai più rientrarci nonostante tutti gli sforzi che farai. Quel quando non potrai più acchiapparlo, sentirlo dentro di te, viverlo. Quando comincia credi di saperlo, ma in effetti nessuno lo sa. Sei registrato all’anagrafe, con l’ora, il giorno e l’anno, ma è tutta una finzione, un modo come un altro per cercare di incapsulare il tempo del quando sei venuto fuori a vedere la luce, se mai ne avevi bisogno. Nessuno te l’ha chiesto, nessuno ti ha avvisato che saresti venuto, proprio in quel preciso quando, per non dire poi del dove, del chi, del perché. E tu ci credi che sei nel tempo del quando, ci navighi, contento di sapere dove andare, cosa fare, delle tue scelte, del tuo essere, delle cose che fai, e ti scegli il tuo dove, in termini di spazio. A scuola, in ufficio, in fabbrica, in riva al mare in montagna, nel sottoscala, nell’attico, in città, nel bosco, in mezzo al traffico, in solitudine o nella moltitudine. Sta a te scegliere, se ti sta bene o se ti sta male, agli altri frega ben poco. E qui casca il senso del quando, che non sai quando viene né quando va, quando ti prende e se ti prende. E tu credi di dominarlo, di avere deciso cosa fare, perché e come. Ti illudi e ti freghi allo stesso tempo. E sull’onda dei trascorsi giorni in forma di quando, come quando costruisci quelli futuri che trasportano lontano senza che tu te ne rendi conto. Personaggio e interprete come sei della tua esistenza passi dal dove trascorso a quello presente immaginando quello futuro. E ti sospendi, come sospendi chi ti sta vicino, chi condivide, a almeno crede di condividere le tue variabili-costanti che scorrono senza ragione e senza un perché. E te le ritrovi tutte, una ad una, o tutte insieme, giorno dopo giorno, mese dopo mese, anno dopo anno, addizioni di quando e sottrazioni di dove e di cosa, senza ragione di futuri perché.

PERCHE’. Le ragioni stanno tutte qui. A chiedercele in cerca di una risposta che si sa non arriverà, perché le risposte sono altrove, se mai sono esistite e se mai potranno essere trovate. Legittimo chiedersi perché, chi domanda e risponde allo stesso tempo, interrogativo ed esplicativo che non spiega e non interroga su nulla. E poi, dopo tutto, perché dovresti/vorresti saperlo? Ti piacerebbe che qualcuno ti desse la risposta eh? Comodo, troppo comodo. E che direbbero tutti quelli venuti prima di te che si sono posta la stessa domanda del perché, come in un gioco che ritorna come un ritornello nella piastra del tempo che non dà risposte. A dire il vero, le risposte ci sono, tutti credono di saperle dare a quei perché: filosofi, scienziati, papi, presidenti, poeti, illuminati ed oscuri, arroganti e sapienti, tutti pronti a darti una risposta, ai tuoi perché che aumentano man mano che passano i chi, i cosa, i dove, i quando. Sfilano tutti uno dietro l’altro, e chiedono spiegazione, appunto domandano il loro perché. E tu dovresti saper dare una risposta visto che sei l’inizio del tutto, sei il chi dell’inizio, ma sarai anche il chi della fine. La tua fine, la fine dei tuoi cosa, anzi delle tue cose, che sono ritrovabili in qualche dove della mente o della fantasia, ma ormai diventata irrealtà pura ed astratta, inganno perpetuo, finzione assoluta. E tu cosa puoi saperne, vittima della tua individualità, del tuo essere chi inconsapevole ed incolpevole, una cosa frammentata nel dove della tua nullità, senza un ragionevole quando ed un comprensibile perché. Ma il libro delle variabili-costanti deve pur avere un senso, altrimenti chi lo leggerà, e se leggere significa capire, ci sarà pure qualcuno che vorrà capire, trovando delle risposte. Si dice che queste risposte debbano essere ragionevoli, cioè secondo ragione, che non si sa bene cosa sia, ma che molti ritengono sia la sintesi delle stesse variabili che sono costanti, nella misura in cui se sono sempre costanti diventeranno incostanti e invariabili se il processo continua all’infinito. (shorturl.at/jqrCZ)
July 23, 2020
This is definitely one of my favorite books I’ve read in the last couple years, and will be my new favorite gift. Good questions can help improve all aspects of your life.
Profile Image for Alison.
1,317 reviews12 followers
June 10, 2022
A good book full of excellent questions to ask yourself and others to improve your relationships both in and out of work. Not sure if the book itself is necessary reading, but it gives good context to the questions, which you can also find on the amorebeautifulquestion.com website.
Profile Image for S..
583 reviews128 followers
April 19, 2020
This was an audiobook, and below are a few things I jotted down as I was "mindlessly" listening to it, this unconscious scripture might reveal a lot about one's interests ... I hope :

Start with intellectual humility - You don't know it all, and still need to ask questions, so do ask questions...

Uncertainty - Where am I in my life right now ? This question is healthy, since no one has their lives figured out...

On Creativity:

Questions to spark creativity - How can I help as many people as possible to explore their creative confidence ?

A Philosophy of creativity :
1- Creativity is essentiel to business and success
2- Each of us is creative but many were conditioned
3- There are ways to surface creative ideas and steps, there's a process - design thinking

We are able to be more creative and guide it towards productive results. (David Kelly)

A decision to be in favour to their creativity : Am I willing to decide in favour of it ? And Why ?

Creativity has a high impact on oneself : no matter how small … it's like yoga to the brain.

Research feeds creativity - develop expertise to have a lot of material to draw from. (Basic)

For any project, and to spark your creativity always have these 3 props :
The good, the ugly and the great proposition.

Morning news: Morning muse
Forgive ourselves for our inadequacies

Listening - Full body activity not hearing (physical, emotional, ...)
Be a "Questionologist" what could we try? what issues what else ?
Paraphrasing is your ally;
Empathetic listening - listen and reform it in a question;
Appreciative inquiry;

Questionology - The art of asking good and useful questions

Ask questions, instead of giving advice, use questions to help people figure it for themselves instead of offering your super-awesome-practical advice : "what have you tried ? what would you try ? what else …. (many times) ? which of these options interest you ? and what can be done ? ....etc"

Make your question ambitious;

Deepening Questions: ( find out more here : https://amorebeautifulquestion.com/q-cards/ )

- What do you struggle with ?
- What have you always wanted to try ?
- If you could start a non profit what would it be about?
- What would be your autobiography title be ?
- Where do you want to work if you can go abroad ?

Pursue the future with an open ended query …You're the oracle.

Challenge basic assumptions;

3 Question formats to keep at bay :
Why - Problem
What if - Alternatives
How - Leads to a solution

Miscellaneous :

Creative coach - a Monty Python Flying Circus member is mentoring business leaders;

Focus is the new IQ.
Profile Image for Rebecca.
891 reviews
January 9, 2022
I read this book out of curiosity about the "36 questions" that resulted in people falling in love.

There's more to the book though. For example, this explanation of "slow thinking":
p6 The simplest and most powerful thing that happens when we ask ourselves questions is that it forces us to think. More specifically, when we’re working on questions in our minds we’re engaged in “slow thinking,” the term used by Nobel Prize-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman to describe the kind of deliberate, effortful cognition that tends to lead to better decisions. choices, and actions. This might involve something as simple as pausing before making a decision or pursuing a course of action to ask, What am I really trying to achieve here?

p10 we can easily fall into the “trap of expertise,” wherein knowledgeable people begin to rely too much on what they already know and fail to keep expanding upon and updating that knowledge.

p18 Five all-purpose questions for better thinking:
How can I see this with fresh eyes?
What might I be assuming?
Am I rushing to judgment?
What am I missing?
What matters most?

p115 As a reminder to talk less and listen more, try asking yourself the “WAIT question,” shared by psychologist Ronald Siegel. “WAIT stands for Why Am I Talking?,” Siegel explains, adding: “This simple question can help cultivate a reflective attitude” that restrains the impulse to interrupt and interject while listening to someone.

p116 questions to clarify:
Asking these questions will make you a better listener:
Just to be clear, are you saying . . . ?
Can you explain what you mean by that? [tone = curious, not puzzled or antagonistic]
I imagine that made you feel ____, right?
And what else? The “AWE” question may be the best way to draw out deeper insights—and keep you in listening mode.

p166-168 Organization’s Code and Story - Why are we here in the first place? When have we, as an organization, been at our best? What have we stood for throughout our history? Why do we matter, and to whom? If we disappeared tomorrow, who would miss us? What do we do that other organizations can’t or won’t do? What is our higher calling?
Profile Image for Adam.
494 reviews9 followers
December 18, 2019
Lots of Gems take from it what your ear picks up on. We live in a world our questions create!

"My ear picked up on"

I'm curious to know why your taking that approach?
I know we disagree but will you gamble with me on this?
All of us are smarter then any of us
Help me understand
What are you working on now that your most excited about?
How might I make tomorrow visible?
Release your inner Steve Jobs by asking visionary questions
How can we become the company that would put us out of business?
What truly matters about this meeting?
When have you came up short and why?
When have you been at your best?
Can you learn to keep learning?
What do you struggle with on a day to day basis?
If you could start your own non profit what would it be?
What would be the title of your autobiography?
If you had to live in another country for a year what would it be?
Do you want to be right or do you want peace?
Proving I was right used to be a major character flaw
Can I try to explain what I think your position is?
So until we can accurately present one another's arguments neither of us can accurately tell what each other position is
I want to broaden my own thinking
How am I guilty of the thing I'm criticizing
Can you explain what you mean by that?
What made you laugh today?
How can I make you feel better in five minutes?
What do you wish you did more of today?
What made you laugh today?
Will you remember any specific part of today a year from now?
What are you most looking forward to at this gathering?
What have you failed at this week?
What would marriage offer us that we don't already have?
What's the most in love you ever felt?
Curiosity has to be at the heart of it when you talk to someone
Good conversation takes planning
158 reviews4 followers
August 28, 2019
Too Good to Read Only Once

Every now and then I read a book that is so full of rich material, that as I read I have to actively restrain myself from highlighting nearly every word. Because, of course, highlighting every word is as useless as highlighting nothing.
This is such a book.
Curiosity and inquisitiveness are so under-rated and so essential to, well, everything worthwhile. Whether you are engaged in business, raising a family, falling in love or trying to be have more fun at cocktail parties, fortifying yourself with a massive repository of great questions to ask, and genuine curiosity about what you hear will add to your success. Start by reading this book!
Profile Image for Renee Liu.
64 reviews4 followers
January 14, 2020
I certainly have learned a lot from this book. Essentially, this book made a great point on why asking questions is essential in every aspect of life. My understanding is that asking questions is an active practice that connects us back to our inner most desire from our childhood -- that is -- to connect and understand anything but oneself.

Asking questions is a very attentive acts that itself needs creativity and thoughtfulness. We ask questions to others and ourselves because the ultimate goal is to understand the stories behind each answer.

Profile Image for Nick.
Author 6 books8 followers
September 19, 2018
The book's key point is that questions are good. They cause you to be thoughtful and curious, leading to more creativity. I do not disagree with this point, although the book at times felt a bit long, reiterating the same point without adding anything new. The book was nice to read, but I would not necessarily recommend it.
5 reviews1 follower
Want to read
September 10, 2021
This should be required reading for all high school seniors or freshmen. It brings curiosity and thoughtfulness to the forefront to encourage everyone to become engaged and never stop questioning the world... this is what drives innovation and ideas.
Profile Image for Lauren.
183 reviews
December 8, 2020
Interesting anecdotes, research, and sample questions, but nothing ground breaking. Basically - it’s better to ask questions, but most of us don’t. Here are some reasons to do it more, some stories about people who have been successful and some ways to prompt yourself to question more.
Profile Image for Hess.
148 reviews2 followers
March 10, 2023
3.5 stars rounded to 4.

This book is a lit review of other works, and your mileage will vary depending on which of these you've read.

Chapter 1 (focus on decision making) was weak. I have recently read or re-read most of the books he references, and in truth a lot of structure is lost in translation. Berger focuses on the questions that each of the authors he references ask, as part of their methodology... which is fiiine, but hardly the panacea he seems to believe it might be. The thing with this section is that most of the books he summarises are genuinely good and worth reading in their own right, and the way they are presented here is doing them a disservice.

Chapter 2 focuses on creativity. Here he cites several works, including Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All and many others. Given that most of these books appear to be nugget of a good idea + lots of padding + bit of self-help this section turned out to be surprisingly useful.

Chapter 3 talks about relationships. I am not particularly well-read on these, so it's hard to say how much was lost in Berger's translation. I liked this section enough to add the source material to my TBR pile.

Chapter 4 was about leadership, specifically servant leadership. This is an incredibly popular and well-worn topic, and one that makes sense in a military context where you (squad leader) could be shot down in armed combat and be completely reliant on your team to save you. However, there's a fair amount of evidence to suggest that this approach doesn't translate as cleanly (and as universally) into business as we might all want it to. For more on that, I can recommend Leadership BS: Fixing Workplaces and Careers One Truth at a Time.

The Final Chapter was about applying Berger's techniques to life in general. I found this section particularly useful, as he covers:

1) question brainstorming techniques (alone or with a group)
2) ways to restructure a question to make it more interesting (i.e. by opening or closing it, or by making it more specific)
3) questions to spark creativity
4) as well as many other things

I went on to apply no (2) with great success at family dinner this evening.

Cautiously recommended.
68 reviews
January 13, 2021
Online dating and interviewing new staff, many people hate it. For me though, I guess it is my naturally curious mind and the believe that anyone has an interesting story, I have always really enjoyed these opportunities. I see it as a game to uncover as much as possible about the real person in front of you. The art is to ask the right questions that both make sure that the other person is feeling comfortable, so they are willing to show their full self, but are still interesting enough that you actually get to know all sides of someone. I guess that this natural interest in people and my believe in the power of questions is what drew me to this book.

The author, who calls himself a questionist (a professional questioner), digs into the detail of the power of questions and provides many examples of good questions along the way. The examples are even downloadable from his website in the form of question cards.

One of the important starting points is that everyone loves to be asked. As long as you ask genuine questions (as opposed to for example leading questions, rhetoric questions or loaded questions) and you are ready to listen with full attention. Everyone loves it when you show interest in who they are, what their opinion is about something or what they are currently working on. The author shows how good questioning can help a businesses to accelerate, family and friends to bond and even help yourself to thrive by questioning yourself critically.

Inspired by the book we started to experiment more, and what is the best place to start than your own family. Following a suggestion of the book, we made a question jar with questions to discuss at the dinner table. As in any family, the question “how was school?” never really worked too well as a conversation starter. These example questions made the girls fight over who got to answer first. Some questions had for us expected answers (favourite food: pizza, oreos; what would you do if you could do anything: play Roblox games on my phone all day), other questions triggered really inspirational answers about ambitions to help the poor, or give money to charities. But the most amazing result of all was the fact that they couldn’t wait to get the next question out of the jar! It is absolutely true, that if the question is interesting, they love to be asked questions. Questions like, what was the funniest thing that happened at school today, has not only cheered the dinner table conversation up, but also triggered further conversation and gave us much insight on what has been going on in their lives. What you sow is what you reap, ask a good question and you will get an inspiring answer. I would encourage everyone to have a look at this book, you can just dip in and out when you have a moment or are looking for inspiration.
Profile Image for Lance Eaton.
402 reviews31 followers
January 2, 2019
Berger's new book follows in the same vein as his previous (A More Beautiful Question) by providing readers with a series of exercises and justifications around the different ways to get to more meaningful questions. Berger's core point is that questions are the life-blood of new ideas, human connections, and understanding. The more we can get into the habit of asking good questions, the more-rewarding experience we can find with our loved ones, family, friends, work, and yes, even total strangers. But asking good questions is a tricky thing and not one, we're prone to do. For many of us, our knack for asking intriguing questions was drained out of us as a child and so Berger recommends a variety of practices and activities to help redevelop those skills. In that regard, he provides readers with both sets of questions to use in order to get into the habit of asking questions (templates, if you will) and activities or challenges to the reader to also help them think of their own questions. I always like books like these as they remind me in how much there is to learn and appreciate from others and how the right question can unlock rich connections with others. I also appreciate that Berger does more than just tell readers to question, but rather continually emphasizes the importance of context, tone, and style as any of these can change a situation from feeling like a conversation to an interrogation. I also like the all-around applicability of the book in that it is something that one can find useful for their personal, social, and professional life (or all three!).
Profile Image for Lorraine.
1,070 reviews19 followers
December 3, 2021
Possibly one of the best "self-help" books I've read, and arguably the only one a person should ever need. It's both a framework for living your life (ask questions) and a how-to for improving yourself (ask these questions). Divided into four main sections (decisions, creativity, connections, leadership), pretty much every aspect of a typical North American life is covered.
You might be asking, because I did, "how can a book of questions be readable?" The answer is that Berger's weaving of stories and research around the people and concepts that supply the questions is very readable. It makes the concept of asking questions so accessible and feasible, it feels obvious now that you know. Sidebars summarize certain key questions in each section, and more questions are italicized in the exposition throughout the book. I took six pages of notes/questions, but at the end there's a link to his website where you can download all the questions (ugh! if only that had been in the intro!) and even pocket-cards of the questions. Also at the end are strategies for how to generate your own questions to develop a questioning-lifestyle.
This is a book you could come back to for "advice" whenever you need it. The advice is not "do this;" the advice is "ask this to help you figure it out." Very practical.
Profile Image for Oscar Romero.
235 reviews
May 27, 2020
Wow! This is indeed a book for everyone to read--it is amazing how quick I started identifying with his questions and the effect these have on people. Because--I tend to use many of those questions--which, somehow, like magic, causes people to respond defensible...now I understand why....and I do appreciate the change when we try a different more subtle approach to same questions....

It has a lot to do with the question we ask and how we ask the question--but , more importantly, the fact that we can change the question to be able to:

1) Not get into a fight or argument
2) Not get the other person upset
3) Continue the conversation
4) Enjoy the conversation

Who likes to fight whenever we are asking something? I don't. Funny I just never realize how the mechanics (and choice of words) of asking a question affects the people and their emotions when we use the incorrect option. I am now reading his other book--A more beautiful question---looking forward to finish it soon.

Strongly recommend this book---I will try to push it into my college students--they would benefit tremendously from this book and its recommendations.

Displaying 1 - 30 of 89 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.