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The Stress Effect: Why Smart Leaders Make Dumb Decisions - And What to Do About it Hardcover – 28 May 2010

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons; 1 edition (28 May 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470589035
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470589038
  • Product Dimensions: 16 x 2.9 x 23.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,266,105 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

From the Inside Flap

The ability to make sound and timely decisions is the mark of a good leader. However, when leaders with otherwise strong track records suddenly begin making poor decisions as seen in the recent corporate scandals that rocked the business world the impact can be devastating.

In The Stress Effect, leadership expert Henry L. Thompson reveals that stress is often the culprit behind leadership failure. When leaders′ stress levels become sufficiently elevated, their ability

to call on both emotional and cognitive intelli–gences to make wise decisions is dramatically impaired. Experts have argued that increasing your emotional intelligence will help you cope with and manage stress. But Thompson clearly shows that stress actually blocks access to

your emotional intelligence as well as your

cognitive intelligence, two critical components

in the decision–making process.

Drawing on examples from Green Berets on the battlefield to top–level executives in the boardroom, The Stress Effect explains how to make good decisions under extreme stress. The book also demonstrates how we can all develop a "stress resilient system" by focusing on three key areas stress management capacity, cognitive resilience, and stress resilient emotional intelligence. Thompson also offers an innovative and solid prescription for managing specific stressors that have proven to take the biggest toll on the decision–making process.

The Stress Effect offers critical guidance for any leader under pressure, for those charged with selecting high–potential leaders, or for anyone who wants to understand how to manage stress in their own lives.

From the Back Cover

Praise for The Stress Effect

"Henry (Dick) Thompson tackles the secrets of effective leadership and decision making and does so with admirable insight, erudition, and authority. This is an

engaging must–read for executives, managers, and entrepreneurs aiming to

optimize their decision–making and leadership qualities."
Elkhonon Goldberg, clinical professor of neurology, NYU School of Medicine

"The Stress Effect is an amazing integration of how to use the power of our

unconscious and emotions to make rational decisions. It can help you develop

your intuition."
Richard E. Boyatzis, professor, Departments of Organizational Behavior,

Psychology, and Cognitive Science, Case Western Reserve University, and

coauthor, Primal Leadership and Resonant Leadership

"The Stress Effect is superbly written. Every leader can grow personally and

professionally from the information it presents on how stress impacts the quality and timeliness of decisions. It should be required reading for CEOs, members of the National Security Council, all military commanders, and university leaders."
Lieutenant General Russel L. Honoré, U.S. Army (Ret), former Comm–ander of First Army and Joint Task Force Katrina

"Thompson′s timely book helps us better understand and improve how we think, decide, and act in severe and time–pressed situations. Stress is the ultimate testing ground of our personal values processed through our decision–making faculties."
Aris Papadopoulos, CEO, Titan America

"Great leaders, as The Stress Effect tells us, make good decisions under bad conditions. Thompson offers original ideas and insights, honed through his rich experiences on the battlefield and as a consultant to C–level executives, which will season your decision–making judgment. Simply put, after reading The Stress Effect, you will be a much better leader who gets much better results."
Bill Treasurer, CEO, Giant Leap Consulting


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I almost let the title of the book put me off reading it but don't let that deter you. It really is a very good book which looks at the impact of stress on decision-making and leadership. It draws on many examples from a variety of sources: the army, the corporate world, athletics, the aviation industry and more. It explores the biology and impact of negative stress on how our ability to make sound decisions can be compromised and have consequences for those we manage, our customers and even the wider community. Well researched, it shares various models for understanding our stress response, how we make decisions and how to become a much better decision maker in times of challenge. While I didn't agree with everything it said, 90% of it is excellent and finishes off with ARSENAL - a process to facilitate stress resilience. An excellent textbook for the intelligent leader.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 13 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Timely and Important Contribution to Stress Literature 19 April 2010
By skoobpress - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
The Stress Effect is a timely book! I particularly like its practical applications. It begins by explaining how we think and make decisions and how stress affects our ability to do both. Many of the later chapters, however, have specific tools, such as instructions on how to make a stress dashboard or a stress bubble graph. I checked out The Stress Effect webpage, where I found quite a few additional resources, including a well-developed book guide with activities and a developmental plan that goes chapter by chapter. It also has an assessment called ARSENAL that helps you gauge how stress might be affecting your health. I don't think I'll work through all of the resource materials, but I'm sure I'll use a number of them.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A Great Book! 22 April 2010
By James Key - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This research-based book is timely, relevant and a must-read for leaders at all organizational levels! Each Chapter is loaded with real-world examples and practical applications that can easily be used to improve stress resilience in even the most challenging personal and professional situations.The author walks you through the role of cognitive and emotional intelligences in decision making and the impact of stress. When your stress level goes up, your IQ and EQ go down. Simply put, but very profound. I see it everyday. The book is also full of practical applications for building a stress resilient system for yourself and your organization. A great book!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
WOW! 20 May 2010
By Ami Blackwelder - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This is one of those books that let the everyday person understand how to be a better CEO, or a better Manager! It teaches the reader how to have a higher emotional intelligence and to work and deal through stress so that it doesn't affect you in a negative way. Business is stressful enough without having to learn to deal with what others seem to already know, this book lets those who need to catch up with the curve, catch up...without condescending prose...

This is a must read for any manager or CEO or Executive of any office or corporation!

[...]
May 20th
Ami Blackwelder
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Dense Book for Solid Leaders 2 Jun. 2010
By Kevin L. Nenstiel - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Stress and tension cause smart people to make stupid decisions. I doubt that surprises anyone. What surprises me, however, is how many studies and experiences prove that the answers to paralyzing stress are fairly simple for anyone with a solid head on their shoulders. Henry L. Thompson presents the tools and techniques that let leaders keep their cool and make decisions even under the most adverse circumstances.

This information-dense book provides more knowledge and detail than you may have ever realized you need to ensure good decisions when the world turns against you. Thompson starts with a dense exposition of how stress causes poor decisions. His anchor point is Captain Sullenberger and his Miracle on the Hudson. What brought that flight in safe, when equally experienced pilots may well have crashed tragically?

From there he proceeds into a complicated investigation of the most current neuropsychology, and what we know about how the brain prioritizes concerns. We all push aside concerns we consider unimportant, not because we are irresponsible, but because we only have so much processing power. Like a computer, we can only do so much. But unlike a computer, we can decide what is worth our time and energy.

Thompson finishes with a seven-step regimen to keep your brain at peak performance, and you in a position to make the best possible leadership choices. His pointers are no collection of mere self-help platitudes. He lays out a menu of difficult self-diagnostic questions that you need to answer honestly if you hope to keep yourself competitive. This book is hard, but that's what makes it worth your time.

Not everyone will be able to read this intense, difficult book. The density will scare off the uncommitted. But I think Thompson would be okay with that: he writes for those who lead, not those who think they ought to lead. If you organize, command, teach, or guide, you need this book, to make sure every choice you make is the one you ought to make. And you owe it to yourself to read it slowly.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Stress as a major cause for leadership failure 20 Oct. 2010
By Dr. Christine Maingard - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
With stress levels increasing at an accelerated pace this book is timely, well written, engaging and based on sound research and real business examples. Of particular interest for the reader is why and how stress impacts on the decision-making process because of reduced ability to access emotional intelligence. This information is equally useful for anyone who works in an organizational setting (leaders or not), or who is responsible to lead others in any capacity.

The last chapter, The Seven Best Practices to Prevent Stress, offers great advice, techniques and strategies to reduce stress.

The only aspect missing in The Stress Effect: Why Smart Leaders Make Dumb Decisions--And What to Do About It is an investigation into how excessive and futile thinking contributes to stress and what to do about it. Much of our stress response begins in our own minds and can only be reduced and managed when we change the relationship to our own thinking. A useful companion guide to The Stress Effect: Why Smart Leaders Make Dumb Decisions--And What to Do About It could be Think Less Be More:Mental Detox for Everyone which provides a framework and a step-by-step approach on how to achieve this.
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