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Simplistic and patronising, this is no different to a time-share sales pitch
on 4 September 2014
The message of this short book is you'll be a better leader, a better manager and a better person if you `treat people as people and not as objects' and stop being self-serving/narcissistic. All your problems in the workplace and in your life are caused by your own `self-betrayal' and blaming others which puts you `in the box', and you can fix this by changing your attitude and stepping `out of the box'.
The author `The Arbinger Institute' deploys a fictional narrative-format in the first-person by a new employee in the fictional `Zagrum' organization. Acting as surrogate for the reader, `Tom' is guided through a process of revelation and self-enlightenment by his new senior managers (especially the god-like `Bud') in a private meeting where he is made to see what a jerk he is and how he needs to change and `step out of the box' to transform his life and by extension, his department into a paradise of openness and universal trust among staff and co-workers. Unfortunately this patronising dross comes across as tedious and manipulative, like listening to an evangelist or time-share salesman. And guess what? "Arbinger offers public courses, consulting and coaching services, and tailored organizational interventions" - no surprise there; this book is a sales pitch.
The ensuing preachy message is a stream of simple-minded platitudes: all staff and personnel issues boil down to the manager being `in the box', which the Arbinger Institute can fix for you - for a fee, of course.
"Change the way you deal with other people and transform your life!" proclaims the cover blurb; "Be prepared to have your world turned upside down and open your eyes to a whole new way of living and working". If only life was that simple. If you've ever been exposed to scientology, or to Rhonda Byrne's shallow and manipulative `The Secret' series, you're in essentially the same territory. Only one star for content; a second to give the author/s the benefit of the doubt, as they possibly mean well and may not be merely ruthless exploiters of the simple-minded and gullible - which is certainly how they come across.