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Death by Meeting: A Leadership Fable...about Solving the Most Painful Problem in Business
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Death by Meeting: A Leadership Fable...about Solving the Most Painful Problem in Business

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  10,030 ratings  ·  609 reviews
"Casey McDaniel had never been so nervous in his life." "In just ten minutes, The Meeting, as it would forever be known, would begin. Casey had every reason to believe that his performance over the next two hours would determine the fate of his career, his financial future, and the company he had built from scratch."

""How could my life have unraveled so quickly?" he wonder
Hardcover, 260 pages
Published March 4th 2004 by Jossey-Bass (first published January 1st 2004)
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Average rating 4.03  · 
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 ·  10,030 ratings  ·  609 reviews

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May 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
Pros for this title are easy to come up with: It was a quick read. The information is easily consumable. The resulting recommendation is fairly specific and easy to implement. The concept behind this strategy for your meetings seems solid.

Cons are that the information, while easy to test, does not seem to come from any sort of empirical source. Most of it sounds like Lencioni conjured it up from nothing. I'm OK with that, since that is how I have come up with some of my best work, but it is an e
Brian Cassada
May 20, 2014 rated it liked it
It was a good book with great intentions. I think the allegory that the information was set upon was good and applicable. However, I found that it got in the way for me. I read for growth and information. I was looking for the information to come to light and had to wait until the end. Everything the book was about could have been summed up in 5 or 6 pages.
May 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
"Death by Meeting" was my first Lencioni book and I am definitely a fan. Having seen him first at the Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit when he was a last-minute fill-in for Howard Schultz of Starbucks, I was immediately impressed by his humor and insights. I wasn't surprised that he was invited back the following year and again this year for the 2013 lineup.

The book is an engaging tale on what spells the difference between meetings that are alive and dead. Do not expect a linear narrative;
Nuno Pereira
Jun 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: business
I didn't give this book a 5 star because I already follow a lot of these practices. It's not about the quantity of meetings (although they can be reduced sometimes) but mostly about the quality and value of them.

I know a lot of people and leaders who should read this story, it would make the work of a lot of people easier and better.

As always the story of the book is very good!
Tõnu Vahtra
Mar 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
No doubt the best book I have read on meetings. I was already familiar with the concepts from other Lencioni books (The Advantage, Five Dysfunctions and others) but this one goes in depth with all the key elements of an efficient meeting. I will definitely try to implement these principles and structure in my teams as much as I'm able to.

Two problems with meetings:
*Meetings are boring because they lack drama or conflict (rather than mining for conflict most managers are focused on avoiding tens
Mike Moore
Jun 10, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: business
Lencioni generally provides his business insights in a YA novel format, which works fairly well since it makes the books short and uncluttered by focusing on one narrative. However, in this book the business insights and the narrative seem disjointed. The story of Will, a bright young man lacking clear direction, is only connected to the point of making meetings better in the most tangential of ways.

The model for meeting structure is good, but it only takes about 3 pages to cover it. The rest o
Marjorie Elwood
Oct 11, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: business
I'm not sure why business authors feel compelled to write book-long fables instead of concise articles about their ideas, but at least this one has some compelling thoughts about how to make meetings more useful, interesting, and profitable to the organization. You can skip to the end of the book, where Lencioni delineates his suggestions. ...more
Andy Rodriguez
May 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
I heard about this book from a mentor of mine and have wanted to read it for years. I'm glad I did. I want to take some of the ideas and incorporate the priorities of separate "meetings" into my life. I think it's good to know when to tackle something. ...more
Aug 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: team-management
Love it. The fable was great: short and entertaining. The learnings are even greater.

If meetings are part of what you do at your job then you'll learn something from this book. How to act during meetings or how to split them by context
Miss Canthus
Jun 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
3.5 Stars. Quick read, Information is easy to grasp and there are some really good suggestions for Meetings. I normally hate books that are non-fiction behind a fiction story but this one was really enjoyable. Of course the content can be brocken down to a few pages (end of the book) but anyways.
Oct 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: self-help
"Meetings are boring" (223).
"Meetings are ineffective" (223).


"Meetings are boring because they lack drama" (224).
"Meetings are ineffective because they lack contextual structure" (224).

"Because there is no clarity around what topics are appropriate, there is no clear context for the various discussions that take place. In the end, little is decided because the participants have a hard time figuring out whether they're supposed to be debating, voting, brainstorming, weighing in, or just li
Apr 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I’m a Lencioni fan. His tables are generally engaging and his models provide concrete implementation to personal and professional life.

I most appreciated the idea that all meetings are bad because they lack two things: conflict and contextual structure. I’ve been on staff teams where there has been these two elements and I’ve been on teams where this is lacking.

Lecioni compares meetings to movies. Each lasts about the same time. Yet, when asking if a room of executives would rather go to a mee
Kristine Olsen
Jun 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Very fast read with some helpful hints on how to handle meetings. I really like his fable style of writing. It makes what could be a tedious topic more relatable and more fun to learn about. I now know where we got our style of meetings from, especially the morning stand-up. I'm wondering if there could be room to adopt more of his suggestions, like the weekly tactical meeting where we let everybody know what we're working on and then feel our way towards a topic to cover in a later/longer meeti ...more
Nadya Ichinomiya
Feb 27, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Again, a great fable by Patrick Lencioni. At the end of this book, the author reveals that he has spent time writing screenplays. Now it makes sense why he writes fables!

Good tips as usual. Interesting that although the author never brings up Agile, the first 3 types of meetings track quite well to the Agile ceremonies, i.e. the Daily Stand up, the Refinement meeting, the Monthly Review. And perhaps the Quarterly Strategic could map to an Agile ceremony, depending on what framework you might be
Paul Elliott
Nov 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Love the way Lencioni thinks and writes about seemingly stale topics. A really easy read (finished it in a couple of days) about how to structure and facilitate effective meetings.

Key takeaways: conflict is good (you might even say essential), preparation is key for larger conversations, and there is hope for lengthy meetings after all.

Still left with some questions (how do you mine for conflict among introverts? how do you create a culture where people feel safe being challenged? how do you h
Carrie Daws
Sep 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: leadership
I LOVE when nonfiction authors take a complex problem and devise a fable to explain not only all the issues but the solution as well. It makes the answer practical and the application understandable. This is an excellent example of that very process.

As I read, several meetings came to mind that I couldn't wait to escape from, but the concepts presented within the book to make meetings productive appeal to me. I like the differentiation between purposes and easily see how this would benefit orga
Matt Bordenet
Aug 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Quick and simple read. Fictitious narrative style presentation, where you'd just love to hire the young whippersnapper vessel of the narrator because they've got all the great insights. Haha

This was a useful read. Helps reinforce the need for mining for conflict, leveraging conflict, and establishing four different types of meetings for maximum productivity and business results.

Everyone who attends more than, say, ten meetings a week, should read this book. Readily available at the library for t
Samuel Kassing
Sep 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was an interesting read. I would agree with most of what the author says. Especially the parts about meetings being life suckers that aren't contextually defined or lack passion. Meetings matter which means we should discuss things that matter in them. ...more
Aug 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Fast read. I love the “story” method of approaching a leadership topic. Insightful and helpful if you are tired of meetings at your job. Not every idea will work for your context, but I have not seen a better philosophy on the topic so well communicated.
Apr 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
If you are into making meetings better and think about how they work, this book is worth the read.

Short, uses movie and tv analogies. Meetings should have a hook to it, a conflict. Be aware when you overload your meetings with different focus level topics
Jan 24, 2021 rated it really liked it
I find most business books that don’t cover specific company or individual fairly boring. So I didn’t expect too much from this one. However, this book presents the content as a story, which makes it ten time more engaging then just covering the proposed meeting structure. Recommended!
May 29, 2020 rated it liked it
Little better than your typical business book...which are terrible. This actually had a couple good points compared to 100% garbage in other business books.
Nov 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed the way the author told a story to present the content and make it relevant.
Ciprian Soleriu
Dec 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant, I wish I read it earlier.
Nov 20, 2017 rated it liked it
Like a lot the fable. Don't like the aftermath. Doesn't give much added value after the fable. ...more
Oct 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Easy and quick to read, engaging and helps you make sense of what could otherwise be a very dull topic!
Julia Sandler
Jun 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was recommended Death By Meetings by a peer, when I mentioned that our leadership meetings were feeling ineffective and confused. It's a quick read and offers some simple, easy to introduce structure. A good 'back to basics' for making meetings more effective. ...more
Justin de la Cruz
Apr 09, 2014 rated it it was ok
This is fiction book that tells a whole story just so the author can hit you with some practical knowledge about a certain subject. The subject here is business meetings: Lencioni has some good tips on how to conduct meetings - different types of meetings for different purposes, let conflict come out, don't plan for tactical meetings - but I didn't need an entire story about an ex-golfer-turned-manager, filled with completely flat characters to get these tips. The appendices included (that come ...more
Liza Fireman
Lencioni is a good storyteller as usual. He compares meetings to entertainment - movies, sitcoms, breaking new and mini series. He explains how much conflict is important and the necessary separation between the different types of meetings and all with his engaging fables. If your meetings are boring and you would look at the clock anticipating the end of the meeting you should read this book. And in general, I would recommend all of his books. Definitely worth the time reading.
Piotr Uryga
Jan 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the books that are giving perspective on most dreaded topic of corporate world: meetings.

Funny thing is it advertise to have more of them and even though it's counterintuitive it makes sense.
Simple division based on context and not mixing tactical day by day topics with strategy changes is something that makes all the sense.

On top of it, it's fable with real characters which for me is always refreshing and more enjoyable to read / listen.
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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

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“When a group of intelligent people come together to talk about issues that matter, it is both natural and productive for disagreement to occur. Resolving those issues is what makes a meeting productive, engaging, even fun.” 3 likes
“The hard truth is, bad meetings almost always lead to bad decisions, which is the best recipe for mediocrity.” 1 likes
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