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The 3 Big Questions for a Frantic Family: A Leadership Fable... about Restoring Sanity to the Most Important Organization in Your Life

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  1,291 ratings  ·  180 reviews
In this unique and groundbreaking book, business consultant and New York Times best-selling author Patrick Lencioni turns his sights on the most important organization in our lives--the family. As a husband and the father of four young boys, Lencioni realized the discrepancy between the time and energy his clients put into running their organizations and the reactive way m ...more
Hardcover, 221 pages
Published September 1st 2008 by Jossey-Bass (first published 2008)
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3.99  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,291 ratings  ·  180 reviews

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Tigran Mamikonian
Jun 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is another leadership fable from Pat Lencioni which attracted my attention due to very interesting angle of the management/strategy topic considered - leadership and management in families.

Author as always provides an fable from life before explaining the model itself. If you would ask me do give 1-sentence narrative of the book it would be: a family have to be managed as company, i.e. it should have a single and agreed upon values and strategy, shared context and clear and visible short-te
Aug 30, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, in-2013
The gist of this book is quite simple. All you need to do is answer these three big questions:

1. What makes our family unique?
.... (include core values and anchor points)
2. What is our most important priority in the next two to six months?
.... 2a. To do that we will...
.... 2b. We will also have to stay on top of our regular responsibilities...
3. How will we use our answers and keep them alive?

That's it.

By core values, the author means 2-3 values your family rates highly. For me, they are honesty
Lara Krupicka
Jan 22, 2013 rated it it was ok
Remember "Who Moved My Cheese?"? Think that book, only couched in a family setting. It's another "fable" - which is basically a literary term used to describe a made up story that perfectly illustrates the point the author wants to make. How convenient. It's also a way of taking a short topic and stretching it out to a book-length work. I have little tolerance for the fable as marketing gimmick.

The sad thing is, I think Lencioni has some important things to share with families - important concep
Oct 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
I am so pleasantly surprised by how much I liked this book. I think I expected it to be just another presentation of the family leadership strategies I have read about before but never managed to implement. But it really isn't! If I were going to recommend a family leadership book, I think this would be the one. It doesn't bog you down or make you feel guilty about all that you "should" be doing, but you can see how implementing this very simple tool could really change your family life. I am be ...more
Apr 10, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty good application of business goal-setting principles to the running of a family - and the author applies it to all types of families (dual parent, single parent, empty nesters, even singles who want more sanity in their lives). It is a very accessible book and the 'fable' gives a true-to-life example of the evolution and application of the principles.
Cindy M
Mar 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really like the ideas for creating family cohesiveness. The fable was maybe a bit forced, but the tools the author presents seem really helpful. Looking forward to doing this with our family.
Dec 08, 2008 marked it as to-read
Shelves: self-improvement
My husband, who only reads management books, is insisting that I read this one.
Apr 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
I don’t hate the idea of using business concepts in personal context, unless it’s a “personal brand” because that is some serious bullshit. In fact, I started a personal version of this and haven’t decided on my rallying cry. It probably won’t work in my “family” because my husband sucks. But story for another day... we all need clarity in our lives and three little questions (really substantively two) will help you define that. Quick read. But keeping up with the joneses and that crap, but not ...more
Evan Hoekzema
Jan 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed this book, very easy read and incredibly practical. As life has picked up for us I’ve thought about different ways to bring clarity and purpose (strategy) to what we do as a family but it’s seemed forced and ultimately unusable. Lencioni does a great job boiling it down to three questions and a way for families to adopt important short term goals while also keeping the big picture in mind.
Jul 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Definitely not a great literary work, but a fun way to think about both family life and personal goals. I have read other books that suggest things like family mission statements, but this is the first one to focus on how to use those mission statements to determine goals and then to list the steps required to make progress toward those goals.

My only criticism would be that standard objectives receive very little attention. To simply say, “Stay on top of our regular responsibilities” seems a bi
Jun 26, 2012 rated it liked it
Surprisingly, I enjoyed the fable part the most. Then, I remembered that I tend to absorb lessons via story more so than a list of instructions (like a business book). I can see why Lencioni uses fables. (I mean, if Jesus taught in parables, it makes sense, right?)

Like all self-help books, though the information is useful, without my actual implementation, it is dead and useless. I do think this will be more useful to me as my kids get older and do more things. It would definitely be a benefit t
Joseph Dalton
Aug 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was a fun read. I didn't expect the fable when I started, so that made it a fast read, easy to pick up for a short time and put it down. The concept/lesson could be covered very briefly - maybe in 3-5 chapters, but the story drives home the probable effectiveness of the method. Relating the concept to business also helps give concrete ideology to the theory for the three questions.

I can easily recommend it, but may not be life-changing for everyone. Some families may find themselves lookin
Cory Howell
Jan 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
I've discovered that Pat Lencioni's books are about the only books in the "management philosophy" genre that I can stomach...and even, dare I say it, enjoy. 3 Big Questions for the Frantic Family was even more enjoyable than his 3 Virtues of the Team Player book. It's almost scary how well some of his observations in this book fit our family. In fact, the only reason I'm giving it 4 stars instead of 5 is that I'm kind of scared to try the program described in the book. But I'm even more scared o ...more
Lewis Van Osdel
Jul 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: self-help
Most Pat Lencioni books focus on how to fix specific work problems i.e. boring meetings, team building, or etc. This book takes ideas from the business consulting world and how to apply them to the family.

The 3 big questions are

1. What makes the family unique?

2. What is the top priority for the next few months?

There is a rallying cry. Then are defining objectives. Lastly there are standard objectives.

3. Have consistent weekly family meeting to measure progress with the family goals and re-adjust
Chad Porter
Jun 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: leadership

I can’t say enough good things about this book. I’m a stay at home Mom who also works part time. This book spoke to my heart. A way out of chaos? Sign me up! Giving my day to day purpose? Yes please! It’s truly changes the way I perceive myself and our family’s potential. I highly recommend. It’s not just for the homemaker, the Dad who wants to lead better, or the over-scheduled, it truly can benefit everyone.
Piotr Uryga
Sep 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Book is doing good job in one aspect: convincing you that trying to apply some of things you learnt at work to your family is something worth trying. It helps you overcome awkwardness of doing so.

Whole concept is easy, but intuitively makes sense.
Will update the review when I'll try to apply it myself.
Allen Baldwin
Jan 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Surprisingly engaging and genuinely valuable for any family living in the reality of the frantic demands of children, work, and family. It also teaches good business practice under the covers and is valuable on both fronts. But, don't discount this as merely a business book. It will bless you and your family with practical wisdom for taming the activity monster.
Tom Lambotte
Sep 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Another great book by Patrick Lencioni, I believe his 4th book I have read. A complete different theme, the family. If you've ever felt your family life to be a bit hectic, this book delivers in classic Lencioni format: an easy to read fable with short, actionable steps to implement his suggestions.

I highly recommend this book!
Miguel Graf
Jan 31, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A nice quick read. It suggests an interesting approach for families which boils down to setting priorities. In that sense, it is of great value, especially for people who struggle to set their priorities. Additionally, this can generate the necessary tough conversations with your family.
Jan 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
A great kindle, borrow or check out from the library. Not worth 20 dollars hard back even though I gave it four stars. Mostly because you can read in a day. Still, some really good practical steps for families. I say that as someone who is normally averse to self help.
Rick Yvanovich
I didn't realize that some people (families) have a strategic focus to their family. From a consultant perspective I guess its obvious, so obvious I'd never thought of applying it to family as opposed to companies. Huge food for thought.
Mar 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved every bit of this book. As a strategic planning consultant who is in the thick of family chaos with small children - this was right up my ally. Already implementing what I learned and hope to share this model with others in the future.
Arturo Mijangos
Mar 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: family
Simple and powerful

The fable is very good, the characters are interesting and relatable. The concept is simple, but the power comes from the conversations it will elicit and the goals it will prompt.
Afpt even if you think you have things under control to add to your process.
Kelsey Yates
Jan 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
I like the 3 questions more than the fable part. This is the information from his book The Advantage, which I loved, simplified for families.
Andy Anderson
Jan 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: self-help
Focusing on the next 60-90 days makes it easier to see the finished project/product.
Michelle Myers
Jan 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
I do think the concept of this book is great, however I am only giving four stars because I feel like this book should have been much shorter. This book basically breaks down how and why you should have a family plan and regular family meetings. I do think this is a great idea for everyone! The majority of the book is a fictional story of a frantic family and their journey to figuring out how to simplify a corporate business plan, into a family plan that everyone can use at home. I suppose this ...more
May 04, 2017 rated it liked it
I found the practical purpose of this book very good. It's a straightforward way to look at your priorities and track progress in goals. The practice is very good.

I did not care for the "fable" at all. It was an (perhaps fictionalized) account of how the author developed the method by which we can assess our family struggles. The story telling was poor, and even by the loosest terms, it wasn't a fable at all. The repetitive use of junior high colloquialisms made me roll my eyes. Every third cha
Jess Dollar
Nov 08, 2017 rated it liked it
I read this because it was recommended by a school we are considering sending our child to. The message is great and provided great food for thought. We talked about it at the dinner table as a family last night, especially the question "what is the one thing that should change in our family in the next 6 months".

However, the first part of the book is a story that demonstrates the big questions and the story really bothered me at times. I felt like the mom in the story was depicted as emotional
Oct 02, 2017 rated it liked it
This was a quick read with some good questions to ask your family so that you prioritize in a way that makes sense for you. One of the things I'm proudest of is that I do truly try to not let our family get quite this busy-- it's one of the reasons we decided not to have anyone play soccer this fall, and I've been loving how our autumn is shaping up without three soccer games to run to every Saturday!

This book requires a little homework to actually make some changes in your family, but if you're
Jun 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I found this book very thought provoking and inspiring. I found myself taking a lot of notes and trying to do this work for my personal life and groups I lead. The 3 big questions is essentially about finding your core values(what makes you/r family unique), what is your top priority(the biggest need that will take you 2-6 months to reach), a plan to reach that top priority. I’m still working through the content. Great stuff, especially if you feel like your life is frantic.
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Patrick Lencioni is a New York Times best-selling author, speaker, consultant and founder and president of The Table Group, a firm dedicated to helping organizations become healthy. Lencioni’s ideas around leadership, teamwork and employee engagement have impacted organizations around the globe. His books have sold nearly three million copies worldwide.

When Lencioni is not writing, he consults to
“We are a passionate family that believes in standing up strongly for what is right, even when there is a cost. We live our lives around our Church and our faith, placing special emphasis on maximizing our involvement in our children’s lives, and nurturing family-like relationships with our friends.” 0 likes
“1. What makes your family unique?” 0 likes
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