Dwain's Reviews > Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box

Leadership and Self-Deception by The Arbinger Institute
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Sep 30, 2010

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Read in July, 2010

** spoiler alert ** This is the first leadership book I have ever read. I have never like the idea of leadership books or self-help books. I thought they are like diet plans - somebody making a lot of money by repackaging ineffective or partially effective products and marketing it as a revolution.

This book is partially a repackaging of old ideas, but also has some things I've never heard. The basic premise is that people react to you based on how you feel about them as much as, or more than what you do or say to them. For example, you could use effective leadership techniques, but if you are doing it to manipulate people into doing what you want they will sense your insincerity and react against it. On the other hand, if you really care about somebody you could correct their behavior and they would react to your desire to help them, even though the words you use may be hard for them to hear. The next idea is that most people are "in the box," which is the book's code for deceiving yourself and seeing the world as if it revolves around you. Self deception starts when you do or do not do what you know you should have done. You begin rationalizing your behavior by vilifying others (ex: She should have taken out the trash, I haven't had a chance to sleep late in weeks. She is lazy...) and inflating our own virtues (I work harder than anyone I know...I deserve to sleep in...). Once we do this, we are dealing with people in a way that provokes confrontation and resentment. The book deals with how we get in this situation and how we get out. Basically, we want out and we stop deceiving ourselves.

While these are new ideas to me, they are based on gospel principles. The secret to success in the book is to care about others and see them as people as good as yourself. (Love one another, even as I have loved you.) Overall it was a very quick read and worth the minor investment. It helps to clarify or remind us of a problem we all deal with, at least occasionally.
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