Review of: Winning Habits by Dick Lyles
Review by C.S. Clarke, Ph.D.
The subtitle of this new book by Dick Lyles is "4 Simple Secrets That Will Change The Rest of Your Life." Those secrets are:
- Be first on, last off, and add extra value
- Never trade results for excuses
- Solve problems in advance
- Always make those around you look good
Now, that may sound as simple and basic as oatmeal, and if you've read even a few popular business self-improvement books you've probably seen each of the "secrets" before in one form or another. However, have you focused on even one of those "secrets" in a way that made it clear to you that it is an essential, unavoidable rule for getting ahead? Have you learned how to practice any of those in such a way that you've come to know it has many, many applications and permutations? Have you ever been motivated to put any of them into practice and follow through until they worked? Did you know that you need to practice all four secrets to be effective at climbing the organizational ladder? This is the kind of book that will get you there.
Winning Habits is a quick-read, get-right-to-the point book. It enables you to focus on a few high-impact principles, immediately converted into practices, that are so well laid out and so devoid of superfluous text that you can commit the entire book to memory in one reading. It is not a reference book, but rather a written seminar that teaches you practices that you will completely understand and can use immediately and always.
One of the attributes of the book that makes it so easy and memorable is that it is done as fiction. You follow a couple of ambitious employees through their learning process. The ingenious technique of using a single, fictional story creates both a flow and a unity of ideas that are often difficult to achieve. This is a refreshing difference from the use of unrelated anecdotes and vignettes, the most common technique in self-improvement literature. And it enables the writer to be very succinct. So succinct that he covers what could be the content of several continuing educations seminars in a book that will probably take you a couple of hours to read.
An example of what I mean by high-impact with no superfluous text is this: One of the achievements of this little gem is that the author has given one of the best descriptions I've seen of strategic planning (under the name of solving problems in advance), brought down to the level of the individual. There are entire courses given on that subject alone which he sums up in a few pages. With complete instructions on how-to-do-it. And in a way that is far more clear than the b-schools make it.