Today’s Read-Aloud: The Art of What Works

Today's Read-Aloud: The Art of What Works

I don’t usually do book recommendations. I don’t even read books that much, maybe five a year. I have to fall in love with a book, or I’ll never finish it. I did love this book. So much so in fact, that I finished it.

It’s a business book, but that’s not the reason I loved it. I loved it because this is the first time I’ve ever seen somebody put down so clearly a simple principle which seems to me to apply to all of life — not just to business, but to success in general, along with creativity, productivity, innovation. The book is about expert intuition and how it really works. Expert intuition is that seemingly magical ability that some people have, where they can see the right course of action amidst all the clutter and, confidently, just go for it.

In our culture it’s hardly questioned that the way to make big things happen is to have a really good goal, a vision, then make it happen through planning, motivation, and hard work. That central idea is at the heart of business strategy, success coaching, everything really right down to parenting or planning your day. Decide your goal. Make it happen.

Duggan needs an entire book to really drive home the point (the truth in my opinion) that this is not the way the world works. He gives case-study after case-study, with quotes and stories from many of the business people I’ve always most admired, showing how expert intuition works exactly backwards from the generally-unquestioned goalsetting model we’re all familiar with. Stated simply, the people we most admire for their creativity and effectiveness 1) suddenly recognize something cool they can do, and a way that they can make it happen, and only then 2) state that thing as a goal.

I’ll read now from the book, and show you what I mean: (more…)