Instaread Summary, Analysis & Review of The Arbinger Institute’s Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box
Five out of five stars
The basic premise of the book being described is one that damages productivity and that is clear to all. The definition of self-deception used in the book appears in the first page of the summary.
“Self-deception occurs when people look at another person as an objectified problem or threat rather than as a human being.”
More specifically, the term “person” refers to other people in the organization.
The tactic used in the book is that of a business fable, where a new product-line lead employee named Tom at the fictional Zagrum Company is called in to speak with the executive vice president. Tom is told that he has a problem with self-deception and he is to be mentored in the ways to avoid this pitfall.
The key takeaways are basically a list of the problems that such self-deception can generate. For example, number two is:
“Any behavior performed from a position of self-deception damages relationships because people can tell when others are treating them as problems rather than humans.”
The most revealing and significant section of the summary occurs in the “Author’s style” section and this is the most relevant paragraph.
“The narrative ends before the narrator learns what Zagrum’s internal training and implementation processes look like, meaning the audience for the book is narrowed to people in the position to grasp the concepts and implement a program from scratch based on trust in the authors. The authors supply a few testimonials from consulting clients in the back of the book. There is little instruction about how to incorporate the book’s lessons into a functioning business. The authors hint in character dialogue about additional components to a framework of application involving ‘four levels of organizational performance,’ but they never address that framework again.”
In other words, the book tells the reader something they already know, hints that a solution is available from the Arbinger Institute (author), but never reveals it. This makes it a supposed self-help book that contains no help, only a reference to a place where it can be purchased.