Winning From Within (Book Review)

41PoCXmr73L._AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-46,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_We negotiate every day, even when we are not aware of it. For example, when we discuss where we want to go to dinner or what movie we want to see.

If you have teenagers, you negotiate their lives with yours.Erica Ariel Fox takes negotiating into a new light. First, she reminds us that when we think through a problem, it’s a form of negotiating with ourselves. Then she combines ideas from Western philosophies and Eastern philosophies to help reconcile our approach to negotiation.

Fox is a coach who helps her clients look for new sides to themselves that they haven’t discovered yet. She explores possible undiscovered points in her book, including

1. we are more multifaceted than we realize.

2. We pick part parts of ourselves to define who we are.

3. The identities we form have some truth to them.

4. Yet, they don’t tell the full truth. We create profiles of ourselves by elevating certain elements of who we are and leaving others behind. That distorts the full truth.

The identity we show the world, and the Performance Gap, the difference between how we see ourselves at work and how our co-workers see us. Neither of the views is wrong, but the difference in perspective can make a big difference in promotion and working relationships.

Fox highlights “The Big Four” sections of our personalities, the pieces we use to make decisions and react: The Dreamer, Thinker, Lover and Warrior. Fox shows how using one or two of these pieces results in friction with co-workers. Using all four pieces in different situations leads to inner peace (or at least inner understanding) and better relationships.

The book also has sections in Balancing Your Profile and Connect to Your Core.

What made me enjoy it was the easy style, the lack of jargon and smugness and an approachable, usable plan to make the four dynamics work for you at home and in the office.

OK, I will also admit that she talks a lot about archetypes and dealing with the darker sides of ourselves–and I’m delighted that it could be a more formal companion to The Inner Hero Art Journal.

–Quinn McDonald knows that to a hammer, every problem is a nail.

8 thoughts on “Winning From Within (Book Review)

  1. Once again Pete, you have completely befuddled me.
    I didn’t believe when I read it that “sophistry” was a word. I thought it was a “Pete-ism”. But here you go folks (those of you that, like me, need it):
    soph·ist·ry [sof-uh-stree]
    noun, plural soph·ist·ries.
    a subtle, tricky, superficially plausible, but generally fallacious method of reasoning.
    a false argument; sophism.
    Thanks for the vocab lesson. :chuckles:
    oh! nice blog today, Quinn. I’m going to look up the book.

    • I hardly ever engage in neology (honest, not even just then); there are plenty of extras just sitting around!

      Sophistry comes from Plato, who criticized a group called the Sophists were traveling teachers in ancient Greece who charged high fees to students, claiming to impart everything needed for success. The original self-help gurus, in other words. Plato thought it was a load of you-know-what and said so.

      On the one hand it’s possibly the most successful critical opinion piece in history, with the name of the group you’re exposing entering not just their language but a whole historical tradition of languages. But on the other hand the sophists are very much still with us. 322,503 results on for “self help book”.

      • Speaking of neologisms–and this isn’t about one. During WWII, the British called condoms “French Letters” and the French called them “English raincoats.” Because we also name things we don’t like after something or someone we don’t like.

  2. This reminds me of a school of thought that had some currency back when I was in school: rules-based communication. The notion was that when two people interact they’re constantly establishing, revising, and reestablishing implicit rules.

    Complete horse-hockey, and I like to think I played a microscopic role in demolishing the whole nonsensical enterprise. It seems to me this kind of thinking is, fundamentally, physics envy. Without really understanding either physics or science, people want to be “science-y” and “rational-ish” so they try to make arguments that *appear* that way. Sophistry and worse.

    When you have a hammer you see a lot of nails, but when you’ve simply convinced yourself the thing you’re holding — which you don’t understand — is a hammer, watch out.

    • I’d just be happy if people stopped using “begs the question” when they just meant “asking.” It makes me crazy to see a nifty philosophical phrase pratted on its arse.

      • Corporate-speak is the worst, of course. In a global corporation it’s difficult to even say anything, because you really don’t want to insult anybody. But today I saw an internal survey that suggested if you didn’t want to give “verbatim comments”, you might instead give “generic comments”. To which I gave the generic comment “what are you talking about?” — verbatim.

        And then the whole system crashed.

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