Book Review: 8 Ways to Great by Doug Hirschhorn

7336605Title: 8 Ways to Great: Peak Performance on the Job and in Your Life

Author: Doug Hirschhorn

Genre: NonFiction, Business, Self-Help

Publisher: GP Putnam’s Sons

Published: December 31, 2009

Page Amount: 128 pages

Blurb From Goodreads: Read Dr. Doug Hirschhorn’s posts on the Penguin Blog. Discover the success secrets of top performers who thrive in today’s toughest frontline corporate jobs. Hard-hitting and pragmatic, Hirschhorn’s no-nonsense advice has inspired thousands via his lectures, one-on-one coaching, and media appearances. But 8 Ways to Great goes beyond inspiration to provide the practical tools that anyone can use-no matter what their profession or personal goals-to break through self-defeating behaviors and deluded thinking to truly excel.

Why Read: Here’s something you may not know about me, I am not a fan of self-help books. My opinion is that they can be summarized into a series of concise bullet points that do not need to be embellished for hundreds of pages with detailed examples that are insultingly simple. However, when a plane ride is over 7 hours and watching TV seems like your retinas are burning, you too may consent to listening to a self-help book on United.

Review: When it comes to Self-Help books, I find myself at a bit of a loss. There aren’t any characters, nor are there plot-points that I can normally follow and remark on the pace or structure of the book. With 8 Ways to Great, the problem is compounded because the structure of the book is a series of blog posts. Dr. Dough Hirschhorn certainly has some good points, but structure-wise, how does one comment on that?

I’m choosing to opt-out of the structure commenting and getting straight to the content. His suggestions are simple but seem to my eyes, effective: Follow your passion, develop self-awareness, set plans and goals, figure out your competitive advantage, develop confidence, keep cool, take intelligent risks and be accountable. While I may have just written them down in a sentence, Hirschhorn takes things a bit further. Drawing on his experience, he outlines how each of these bullet points are essential for developing peak performance in your job and your life. The process is useful and for a plane ride, it’s interesting to follow along in his exercises.

Although the advice itself is very useful and the writing style pragmatic, I couldn’t find myself drawn into the novel like other nonfiction books. Because it is a collection of blog posts, there isn’t an overriding narrative – making it difficult to follow along, to some extent. This is also exhibition A of my bias towards self-help books.

If there’s ever a book made for audio, however, it is this one. Instead of the (I’m imagining) monotonous writing on paper, the written word brings many of Hirschhorn’s examples and ideas to life in a way that reading just wouldn’t serve. Although I never felt per-say inspired, this self-help book was to the point and useful in its directness and tips content. Verdict: Read if you don’t have anything else to read.

Rating: 3/5 Stars

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