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Buy-In: Saving Your Good Idea from Getting Shot Down
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Buy-In: Saving Your Good Idea from Getting Shot Down

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  658 ratings  ·  67 reviews
You've got a good idea. You know it could make a crucial difference for you, your organization, your community. You present it to the group, but get confounding questions, inane comments, and verbal bullets in return. Before you know what's happened, your idea is dead, shot down. You're furious. Everyone has lost: Those who would have benefited from your proposal. You. You ...more
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published October 6th 2010 by Harvard Business Review Press (first published August 17th 2010)
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Nov 29, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This did not need to be a whole book. The simplification of the types of obstacles new ideas encounter is helpful for quick reference, and some of the stories are good examples, but it seemed too full of fluff for its less-than-200-page length.
Ilya Mrz
Jan 13, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2015, ms

Every good idea or new approach is vulnerable to undeserved, unexpected attacks.
Those using them often play somewhat predictable roles, such as “Pompus Meani,”
“Allis Welli” and “Bendi Windi.”
You must respond effectively in order to gain the widespread support required for
your idea to succeed.
There are “four ways to kill a good idea: confusion, delay, ridicule and fear
mongering.” The most powerful attacks may combine two or three of these
You can counter all four strategies, o
Steve Whiting
Feb 17, 2016 rated it liked it
The book is titled Buy-In with subtitle of "saving your good idea from getting shot down", and immediately this illustrates the main problem with the book - those are not the same thing at all.

The book presents a scenario (complete with cringe-inducing character stereotypes) and then shows various ways that a presentation of an idea could be attacked or derailed, and how to defend against them. Which is all well and good, and if you've ever listened to a skilled politican deflect and avoid ad h
Mazen Abualnassr
May 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
It was my first Business book in English . . . and even though the book has written by 2 authors,it was very coherent . an exceptionally realistic and helpful .
Dec 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Kotter’s writing style is so easy to read. Peppered with narrative, informative and prescriptive.

With some large concepts to remember, and then piece by piece prescriptive steps. This is one I will return to regularly as building buy in is definitely one of the skills I need to develop further.
Marianne Mullen
I had a hard time getting through the first part of the book--usually a storyline helps me grasp the concept but this one was more than what I needed and I had to slog through it. Once the book began to get into the 24 ways people shoot down good ideas and how to address them, the book became interesting and practical to me.
Jun 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Informative ensemble of ways (24 in this book) how people are going to attack verbally against you when you are giving them a presentation of a theme of your own choice, and how you can turn those "attacks" against you to your own favour.
+Easy to read
+Other worthy small things too you can learn from this book
+Stories that keep you involved and not bored.
Savio Sebastian
Dec 31, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: business, sales, 2018
I'm not a fan of story book format. Key idea - you can't just run a project with only barely crossing over the half-way mark. If it's an important project and you need to run it well, you need to get as many people on board. You do that by inviting everyone to conversations, listening to everyone and not just the critics - but not silencing your critics. Respectful humble engagement. ...more
Luke Smith
Feb 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What do you do when your rock-solid idea seems to have feet of clay? You pitch it to a group of people only for it to be pulled apart? This book tells you what to do without being rude, evasive or duplicitous. Its hard to think of a single aspect of your life that wouldn't benefit from this ...more
lilian Zack
Jun 28, 2017 rated it liked it
Well written but may not be that helpful
Charissa Ty
Jun 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
It takes great skill to explain complex situations in such a layman, and organized way.
hemlet kiai
Nov 09, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: mylibrary
great reading on how to protect good ideas from being shot down.
Mar 15, 2018 rated it liked it
It didn't seem relevant to me in my line of work. It seemed to be more about defending your ideas from baseless attacks. I was hoping to to learn how to communicate better,etc. not respond to attacks ...more
May 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Easy to understand, practical info. Highly recommended read on this one.
Sep 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very useful

Very powerful advice about saving good ideas from being taken down, especially when a lot is at stake, like change efforts in organizations.
Feb 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Really recognizable business book that can help you get your ideas into practice.
Gregory Peterson
Good ideas -- even terrific ideas -- often fail to get adopted when an advocate lacks the verbal communication skills to make persuasive presentations. As every public speaker knows, no two presentations are exactly alike -- but for the most part, the reasons a verbal communication fails to persuade are both predictable and preventable.

What's exciting about this book on effective advocacy is the sheer practicality of its prescribed approach t0 develop the power of persuasion. It's approach to ad
Bob Selden
Sep 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
“Buy-in” by John P. Kotter and Lorne A. Whitehead, is a much needed resource. Originally a financial term, getting people’s buy-in is today taken to mean “getting someone’s commitment” to a new idea or proposal. Getting others to commit to a new idea, whether it be family, friends or in business, is an essential skill-set that everyone should have. It’s surprising that this topic has not been covered before.

The authors set out to provide a method for building support for a good idea. As they say
Graeme Roberts
Jan 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
In the preface to Buy-In: Saving Your Good Idea from Getting Shot Down, John Kotter and Lorne Whitehead say:

It would be wonderful if the good ideas you champion, on or off the job, could simply stand on their own. But far too often, this is not the case. Whether it’s a big bill before Congress, an innovative corporate strategy, or tonight’s plan for dinner and the movies, sensible ideas can be ignored, shot down, or, more often, wounded so badly that they produce little gain.

We have all experien
Alberto Lopez
Feb 22, 2017 rated it did not like it
Throw the first half of this book to the garbage; that is, at less that you feel to be a moron. In any case, I stuck through the demeaning start.
The fact is that Fear, Delay, Confusion and Character Assassination are types of attacks that could had been addressed in a single magazine article; not a book.
This was a painful book to read.
Sam Huish
May 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Students, Committees, Graduates, Engineers, Business Professionals
Recommended to Sam by: Audible
Although this book repeats a lot of common themes, which could be summarised more succinctly, this is still a very useful book. It explains the key arguments typically used to put down a good idea, and why they succeed, and how to deal with these situations.

This is not a book of retorts, nor a way of influencing people to do what you want through manipulation. It explains simply how to stop your ideas falling at hurdles at all stages of a proposal.

Would particularly recommend for students who a
Aug 22, 2011 rated it liked it
I "read" this as an audiobook (CDs), and though I was driving while listening, I don't think I missed much because the book is rather simply laid out and just goes from one thing to another.

I will write more when I have time, but the reason I gave this 3stars was because it was interesting and I did like it, but it didn't really set me on fire, intellectually, emotionally, or spiritually. It was good, logical, and well presented, but rather like an uninspired lecture, or perhaps I should say, an
Frank Calberg
Feb 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Reading the book, I learned, for example, about types of expressions that people, who resist change, may make. Examples are expressions that
- expressions that create fear,
- expressions that create delay,
- expressions that create confusion,
- expressions that ridicule people.

In the book, I also found useful advice on on how to handle resistance to change. Examples:
- Focus on the fact that we are living in times of tremendous change, for example technological change.
- In a changing environment, i
Robert Bogue
John Kotter’s work on organizational change has been substantial and in reading Leading Change and The Heart of Change I became a fan of his work. Compared to those other works, the book Buy-In is a radical departure in approach. The first half of the book is a story (like Patrick Lencioni’s The Five Dysfunctions of a Team). The second half of the book are 24 objections that can be raised against your idea – and what to do about it.

Click here to read the full review
Cathy Allen
Mar 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is a good one... a fable followed by easily digested tidbits of practical advice for handling the most commonly-used methods of resisting new ideas (delay, confusion, character attacks, etc.) Now that I've read it, it will make a good reference manual for down the line whenever I am preparing a presentation for others on something I would like to try. Change management is always a leadership issue, and John Kotter is one of the best guides we have. Check out to pi ...more
Thomas Burky
Sep 02, 2013 rated it liked it
This book uncovers a completely different side of presenting good idea than I have seen before. It does not instruct you in the ways to build a good, persuasive argument about how to pitch an idea, instead it addresses the attacks that you will inevitably face while making the pitch. In this concise and clever book, Kotter describes four main themes that people use to attack new ideas and then walks through the 24 most likely attacks and how to deflect them. Practically everyone has to pitch som ...more
Feb 01, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: business
I'm generally a fan of the One Minute Manager style of teaching through story telling, but I thought that the story taking up most of the first half of this book was fairly worthless. I would recommend anyone wanting to read this book to skip the narrative, read the section describing the basic forms of response to criticism, and then keep the book handy to refer to the 24 types of common arguments when preparing for a proposal to a group. ...more
May 17, 2012 rated it liked it
An interesting book around a checklist to use when you need buy-in on your idea(s). The first half is written as a business fable and the second half explains the theory behind it all. It reminds me of a book I read in Dutch ('De 50 manieren om dwars te liggen', translated: 50 ways to block a plan) which was very insightful too. Always be respectful and be prepared is one of the main themes. From the author of 'Our iceberg is melting' and 'a sense of urgency' ...more
Oscia Wilson
Jan 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
When you're pitching an idea to coworkers, bosses, clients--any time there is a group of people involved--the book posits that there are a limited number of objections that will come up. They are predictable, and if you're prepared to answer them correctly you have a much higher chance of adoption. Very useful info, but only if you're going to actually practice the stuff. It's not a "site back and read" kind of book. It's almost like a workbook. ...more
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John P. Kotter, world-renowned expert on leadership, is the author of many books, including Leading Change, Our Iceberg is Melting, The Heart of Change, and his latest book, That's Not How We Do It Here!. He is the Konosuke Matsushita Professor of Leadership, Emeritus at the Harvard Business School, and a graduate of MIT and Harvard. He is co-founder of Kotter International, a change management an ...more

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