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Questions Are the Answer: A Breakthrough Approach to Your Most Vexing Problems at Work and in Life

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  252 ratings  ·  31 reviews

What if you could unlock a better answer to your most vexing problem—in your workplace, community, or home life—just by changing the question?

Talk to creative problem-solvers and they will often tell you, the key to their success is asking a different question.

Take Debbie Sterling, the social entrepreneur who created GoldieBlox. The idea came when a friend complained about

Kindle Edition, 336 pages
Published November 13th 2018 by HarperBusiness
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Alexander Rivas
Dec 13, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018-books-read
I think the subject matter is essential, but the writing to me was just dull, like a cost accounting class. Anyways, it seems that setting the stage to generate questions and then unpacking those questions is a worthwhile venture. It will take a lot of planning, use of your and others time, resources, and probably more things I am missing. The strategy used and proposed in this book is one few people will do mainly because of the effort it takes to do it correctly, but if done the results can be ...more
Sandra Park
Sep 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I really liked this book. He does a good job of showing you how getting the right answer is dependent on asking the right question. The question is, therefore, more important than the answer. To make meaningful progress you have to ask questions that make you feel uncomfortable. You have to get feedback from people you might not even agree with. Those people, though, will make you look at the problem differently and allow you to see solutions you might not have thought of otherwise. He recommend ...more
Steve Percoco
Dec 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
When I first heard Hal Gregersen describe his maxim, “Questions are the Answer,” at the 2018 MIT Sloan CFO forum, I was underwhelmed. Wasn’t this just common sense? Who doesn’t use questions to scope out potential solutions to problems? How could this possibly be a “breakthrough approach?”

But Hal then gave specific examples of people who had used questions in specific ways to solve problems. He told us about Fadi Ghandour, the founder of Aramex, a logistics and transportation firm, who decided t
Gian Luca
Dec 02, 2018 rated it liked it
It’s a good reminder that questioning more is important and provides techniques to develop this skill
Rhonda Boateng
Jun 05, 2020 rated it it was ok
I found the premise of shifting our mindset from finding answers to focusing on developing good questions to be great. I think the author does a good job of explaining why it's important. However, this book could have been cut in half. I felt the author was enjoying name-dropping well-known entrepreneurs and included stories that did not lend well to further exploring the points being made. The most important lessons are in Chapters 1-4. ...more
Mar 28, 2020 rated it it was ok
There are pages after pages elaborating that good questions are the game changer and how it affected successful companies. Personally I missed some advises on how a good question is structured and what are the building blocks.
Terry Constable
Oct 02, 2019 rated it liked it
It was a good book and I enjoyed the examples, but I never felt like it got to the how.
Nov 25, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Водяной водопад воды из анекдотов автора.
Nathan Albright
Apr 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: challenge-2019
My thoughts on this book, and that of many books like it in the subject of creativity, are decidedly mixed.  To be sure, there are great insights to be made when it comes to asking questions, since asking the right questions can lead one to starkly unusual conclusions.  So often, though, this author (and many others like him) are simply interested in praising novelty without reflecting on the moral value of questioning (or not questioning).  All too often being a rebel and questioning authority ...more
Oscar Romero
May 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: school
Quite interesting book about how not common for us to be able to create questions--because whatever reasons there may be....and the fact that, like everything else--we need to start doing it so that we could get good at it...or, even if we ask a lot of questions doesn't means we are learning to ask better questions....there seems to be an art to generate great questions.

I was able to see-find that out with my own life experience--now that I teach (or try to) at a college level. None of my studen
May 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Having met Hal, I'm inspired by his writing as well as how he lives his life. It's apparent that he uses what he has learned from the incredible experiences he has had and the people he has interviewed in finding the right questions to ask to improve his own life and help those in his sphere of influence. I have tried his exercise of a "question burst" a few times and it never fails to bring new insight and a shift in perspective when done in the way he prescribes it. This book is a great remind ...more
Daisy Cheng-Milano
Jun 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
For psych background readers, many of the research cited are very familiar; therefore, the concepts are extremely simple. However, I very much appreciate Gregersen going into office politics and other human emotional obstacles that put roadblocks along the way of concept to deployment. Great ideas, however simple, are useless unless properly deployed. I recommend Patton, Stone, & Heen's book Difficult Conversations as a companion reading to this. Teams may feel awkward at first but keep on truck ...more
Jul 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: business, arete
Questions are the Answer has stuck with me, such that I find myself applying it every day. We tend to make statements. We do so because it’s human nature to share what we think. We do so because we’re expected to have answers. This book shows how asking the right question can be so much more powerful. Questions frame the problem. In a group setting, questions can also catalyze the whole team in a new and common direction. I wish I had encountered this book sooner in my role as a leader.
Peter Wolfley
Dec 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A really fantastic overview of the importance of asking and searching for the right questions. There are several great examples of how asking the right questions sets you up for coming to the right conclusion. A lot of the overwhelming problems we face will be unlocked once we figure out how to reframe the questions.
Feb 05, 2021 rated it really liked it
This made it to my list because he was the speaker at the general session of the 2019 PMI conference. He was an engaging speaker, and as a natural questioner and project manager, I appreciated a perspective that supports asking the right questions to help teams think beyond the usual. A good business book.
Angie Heibult
Sep 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book detailed several questioning practices that I will incorporate at work and home and which made the read worthwhile. Another key takeaway for me is the notion of wrongness as a condition. A desirable condition. Assuming my probable wrongness and letting the resulting curiosity chart a path to new solutions. Recommend!
Jul 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I took Hal's class on the same topic and he gave me this book. Leaders often think their role is to provide answers and solutions, but questions often stimulate new ideas and deep thinking into answers and solutions. Asking questions should not just be a skill for senior leaders, it's a life skill for everyone. ...more
Rob Nicholson
Feb 11, 2021 rated it did not like it
Most of this book drones on like a sales pitch with heaps of name drops with minimal actionable content.

The premise is vague and be applied to anything. There is too much 'this comment is successful cause they ask good questions, that company is bad cause they didn't'. A prime example of hindsight bias and the Forer effect.

Funny the author mentions confirmation bias cause he seems to be living in it. Constantly talking about Pixar and other high profile companies. How about we hear about the co
Ivaylo Yorgov
Dec 05, 2020 rated it it was ok
Important and inspiring ideas, diluted into 300 pages. I was expecting to go a little further than the first four words of the title, which actually sum up the contents quite well.

So, ideas: 5 stars. The book itself: 2 stars.
Sep 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Make questioning your daily habit and don’t forget to ask what is your core question

Ever stoped asking questions and wonder how that happened? Ever thought your life is driven by a core question you are trying to find answer to? Ever thought you are a piece of a beautiful mosaic? Embark on the journey Hal Gregerson has outlined in this book for you. Great stories and connection to real people and lives.
Susann Palumbo
Feb 11, 2021 rated it liked it
Wiebke Kuhn
Apr 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
A lot of this is affirmation but there are the occasional gems. Like the stark research that shows that teachers ask all the questions, students do not. A problem that needs change.
Todd Buegler
Oct 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
I always appreciate the focus on questions.

I found the book to be a bit muddled, and not as easy to follow as some, but I did appreciate the focus.
Jun 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book really pushes my boundaries as a leader. It helped me realize the power of questions. It has strengthened my practice and leadership skill set.
DNF. Basic business book blah blah.
Chuck Cova
Nov 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This took me too long to get through. When I was reading I really enjoyed it, and made quite a few notes that I believe will serve me well. I especially enjoyed the interview with the author (as part of the LeaderBooks community to which I belong).

I do give this book two thumbs up, with the one reservation (for whatever it's worth) that the author spends a lot of time unpacking the problem in today's school system and how we fail to teach students HOW to think (vs WHAT). I completely agree, but
Frank Calberg
Aug 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Takeaways from reading the book:

Questions about goal setting:
- Location 300: How many times did you say no today? The question helps a person to focus?
- Location 800: What is your most important goal? Do you focus on that goal?
- Location 1100: What do you really want? What is really important to you?
- Location 2400: What can we do to make work, people do, more meaningful?

Questions to parents:
- Location 400: What can you do to make sure that your child has a purposeful life now and in the future?
Apr 14, 2019 rated it liked it
Chapter 1. "It isn't a simple matter of asking more questions; instead, the questions raised in many settings are time-wasting diversions if not downright toxic.
Chapter 2. "Power-seeking people are tuned in to the fact that questions steer the course of conversations and that the ones doing the asking are therefore in the driver's seat." " Now switch, she invites, to putting yourself into the same situation with a growth mindset You are a novice- that's why you are here. you're here to l
Adriana (Mea) Gutierrez
Apr 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I work for a Fortune 500 company and I read this book with the Process and Innovation committee. The book club was run by an experienced by Six Sigma black belt and we were able to create engaging conversations based off of the real world examples presented.

While many business books seem dry, I found this one a breeze to get through. The concept may seem simple: you won’t get the right answer if you’re not asking the right questions, but the question process is often forgotten in exchange for a
Alex Schedrov
В книге прослеживается одна глобальная тема важности вопросов, но очень много воды и мало практических советов.
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Hal Gregersen is committed to creating insight with impact. As the Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank Chaired Professor of Innovation and Leadership at INSEAD and a senior fellow at Innosight, a consulting firm based in Watertown, Mass., he pursues a lifelong vocation of learning how leaders in business, government, and society discover provocative new strategies, develop the human and organizational capac ...more

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