Friday, September 26, 2008

Book: The 3 Big Questions For A Frantic Family


Ugh. This is painful to post. I'll keep it short. I include this only because it was technically a book, and I'm keeping track of the books I read.

I went to a breakfast recently with some work folks to see the author, Patrick Lencioni, speak about his new book. (He's the 5 Dysfunctions of a Team guy). I was totally cynical before he started to speak -- this is really not my sort of thing generally.

But he was actually a very good speaker, and I ended up liking what he had to say. Basically, he was talking about a very simple strategy to define what your family and your particular family values are all about, and to figure out what your highest priority as a family is, at the current moment. To help you prioritize family events, etc. I won't go into it too much here. I liked his gimmick. I want to try it at home.

So today I had to spend a long time downloading software and couldn't do anything with my computer while it was downloading. After I'd flipped through all my trade publications and sorted through the piles, I thought I would flip through this book while I monitored the downloading.

To say it's a quick read would be generous. This is one of those books that I am surprised gets published. I've never read any of his books before, so wasn't sure what to expect, but this was pretty bad. It's presented as a parable, whatever that's supposed to mean. It's a badly written, plodding story of a family figuring out how to organize their priorities. Heavily padded with random dead-end tangents and "bon mots" (yes, in quotes), it was pretty much complete fluff. The entire story could have been told in two chapters, but was s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d out over a very, very short small book (with wide margins and large type). There was a fairly intelligent afterword, explaining the process in grownup language, but the book itself is kind of painful. Maybe it's meant to be read in between business meetings or something.

I loved the idea of his family strategy, and hope to put it to use. But this book is just silly. Just read it to get the gist of the gimmick. It'll take you about an hour. Maybe. I'm torn because I liked the idea but thought the format of the book was almost insulting in its glibness and low-level writing style. But maybe that's just me. I'm having one of those days.

1 comment:

stefanie said...

At least he was a good speaker. Good speakers don't always make good writers.