By Adam Alter
I hadn’t heard of this book (though I am pretty alert to new releases in many categories), but saw it in the Barnes and Noble in The Woodlands, TX on March 31 – ten days after the publication date. I had finished reading it by April 2 (and I had another book to finish before I started it).
The name relates to just one of the many stories in the book; a book designed to help us understand why we do the things we do, respond the way we do and feel the way we do.
Everyone knows human beings are complex. This book exposes more complexity than we might have already realized in a fascinating way. Like many books in this genre, it compiles and tries to make sense of a wide variety of interesting research.
Specifically this book looks at how a variety of factors influence us. The factors are put into three categories:
The World Within Us
– Our names
– The labels we use for things
– The symbols we see and use
The World Between Us
– The presence of others
– The characteristics of other people
The World Around Us
– Weather and warmth
As a leader, the middle section may seem the most obviously interesting and useful, and in fact it is, but the chapters on color and location also have implications for us.
Overall, though the most valuable chapter is the one on labeling and how the labels we use (and hear) impact belief and decision making more than we might realize. The implications of this chapter alone are worth reading this book and contemplating the applications for yourself.
On one line in the epilogue sums up how this book made me feel pretty well –
On the whole this book may leave you feeling overwhelmed in your ability to do what the previous passage promises – it certainly shows us that there is probably more to what is going on around us than we might think – but don’t get lost in the overwhelm. Rather read this book knowing that certain ideas will help you understand yourself and the world around you better – and will help you lead more effectively as well.