Sunday, December 18, 2011

Goal Achievement (Not just business)

December 2011 Book Review  

How we can reach our goals

I came across this book by noticing Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D. (author of Mindset) had written the forward.  Forwards don’t always translate into a well written book by the endorsed author, but in this instance I was pleasantly surprised.  Here’s an opening paragraph to one of the last chapters in the book:

"In my career as a researcher and a teacher, I’ve seen very smart people give up on a new task or subject the moment it became difficult, and I’ve seen people of seemingly modest ability fight their way through to the end and succeed.  When you study achievement, one of the first things you learn is that innate ability (to the extent that there is such a thing) has surprisingly little to do with success.  Persistence, on the other hand, has a lot to do with it.  One of the most common reasons we fail to reach our goals is that we give up on them way too soon and for all the wrong reasons."
What can I say?  The author won me over with this paragraph alone.  This book is listed under “self-help,” but I found it to be more than that.  It provides valuable insight in behavioral research (specific to goal setting and success) and an actionable guide to setting and achieve your own, a team’s or company’s goals.  The author even ridicules other self-help authors in their lack of research or understanding of achievement. 
Halvorson covers a lot of ground in this book: goal setting (easy vs. difficult goals), goal planning (developing a specific plan of action), how to avoid pitfalls (usually through your own unconscious will), how optimistic and pessimistic approaches have pros and cons, how to help others achieve goals, and more.  Again, I was pleasantly surprised by this book.  It reiterates a lot of premises communicated in books like Drive, Mindset, the Talent Code, etc., but gives you a simple framework for application in your own life and career.
If you’re looking for a book on how to set goals and achieve them, this is it. 

The Fightin' Analyst Book Rating:

out of five stars