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Book Review: Nine Lies About Work by Marcus Buckingham

This was a difficult book for me to read. I had heard good reviews, but I admit that I am not a huge Marcus Buckingham fan. I don't dislike him or his thoughts, they just don't quite seem to match with mine. So, I read him to challenge myself and see if my opinions might be wrong.

Getting beyond the subtitle of the book was my first challenge. Beyond ambitious almost into absurd.

Below are the nine lies that are the heart of the book.


At first glance, I don't think any of those things are lies. Of course, that is the point of reading the book - to see if I am wrong on those things. My issue is that for several of them, his arguments lead to the conclusion that they aren't lies - they are simply nuanced and misunderstood.

For example, he says it is a lie that people need feedback. His whole point is that feedback is negative and no one wants to hear so many negative things. It fits in with his other beliefs that you should focus on your strengths, not your weaknesses. Yet, as he talks about it, he stresses that people need to know when they are doing well and encouraged to improve. That is feedback! If you see feedback as positive and negative, which I do, he ends up arguing that you should give it and people do need it.

I'm not against hyperbole - maybe that was his point and I missed it. My concern is that too many people - especially managers - will read the headlines and not the book. If a manager sees that Marcus Buckingham said people don't need feedback, she won't read the details, she will just stop giving feedback.

I discovered that my disagreements aren't so much about the nine points, I think we agree more than we disagree. I disagree with the way he argues and frames the points.

Rating: Neutral

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