The Achievement Habit: Stop Wishing, Start Doing, and Take Command of Your Life (英語) ハードカバー – 2015/7/7
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The co-founder of the Stanford d.School introduces the power of design thinking to help you achieve goals you never thought possible.
Achievement can be learned. It’s a muscle, and once you learn how to flex it, you’ll be able to meet life’s challenges and fulfill your goals, Bernard Roth, Academic Director at the Stanford d.school contends.
In The Achievement Habit, Roth applies the remarkable insights that stem from design thinking—previously used to solve large scale projects—to help us realize the power for positive change we all have within us. Roth leads us through a series of discussions, stories, recommendations, and exercises designed to help us create a different experience in our lives. He shares invaluable insights we can use to gain confidence to do what we’ve always wanted and overcome obstacles that hamper us from reaching our potential, including:
- Don’t try—DO;
- Excuses are self-defeating;
- Believe you are a doer and achiever and you’ll become one;
- Build resiliency by reinforcing what you do rather than what you accomplish;
- Learn to ignore distractions that prevent you from achieving your goals;
- Become open to learning from your own experience and from those around you;
- And more.
The brain is complex and is always working with our egos to sabotage our best intentions. But we can be mindful; we can create habits that make our lives better. Thoughtful and powerful The Achievement Habit shows you how.
“Bernie Roth is the central pillar and the conscience of the d.school at Stanford and one of its real gems. It’s exciting that he now puts his best ideas into this book for many more of us to benefit.” (David M. Kelley, Founder of the d.school at Stanford University, Founder and Chairman of IDEO)
” The Achievement Habit is a masterpiece in describing how to think creatively and fulfill your life’s ambitions. Everyone who reads this book will clearly see why Bernie is considered one of the most creative and liberated thinkers today.” (Paul Hait, Entrepreneur/Olympic Gold Medalist)
“Bernie Roth is a master teacher who unlocks his students’ minds and hearts allowing them to create the lives they dream to live. Finally, his wisdom is available to the entire world.” (Tina Seelig, Professor of the Practice, Stanford School of Engineering, Author, Insight Out)
“Before unleashing design thinking on others, unleash it on yourself. You, and the world, will be far better for it. The Achievement Habit reveals a host of invaluable approaches to this most personal of design projects.” (Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO and author of Change By Design)
Short version; It loses a star for failing to meet the promise of the title -HARD. It loses another for filler stories that bury the nuggets and insights instead of supporting them/adding meaning to the reader. Still there's good stuff in there.
I have a tremendous amount of respect for the author and his work at the D School and Ideo. That said, I reviewed his book, not his person or his professional achievements. I'm sure many of his students, friends and fam are giving the 5 star reviews here to be supportive and they know the spirit and intent of the author. Having only the book, I give it 3 stars.
This book is a light read about design processes, buddhism disguised as mindfulness, personal mindset, problem-solving, and life. It isn't a cohesive, systematic, whole product designed to teach you how to cultivate or understand the habit of achievement. There are some good insights in a few chapters, but they're often buried under 3 feet of personal stories that carry more weight/meaning for the author than the reader.
The title of this book is a clickbait title and a betrayal to the reader; the original sin of any author/content creator. On the whole, 80% of the book doesn't seem to be focused or clearly tied to the title. It not only fails to meet the promise of the title, it fails to solidly offer a consolation prize, which is okay in life, but a waste of a good title in this case. All in all, this book reads more like a memoir and far and away from the promise of the title.
If you've never read a book, or a self help book, or a good book on experience design, then I'm sure this will impress you (because you'll want to validate your own achievement). If you're a regular reader, prepare for a 3 star read at best. I read every word (unlike many a reviewer). And, looking back at my highlights and asterisks in the margins, I could have saved quite a bit of time without losing much value in the process. My advice to those who read this: skim through the stories and focus on the concluding points after the diary entries.
I felt the book is light on self-development, light on mindfulness, light on habit development, light on design and light on experience design tools to truly help you establish a habit of achievement. Basically, The book has some great insights and activities; a few (less than expected design insights from the head of the design school at Stanford and Ideo guy). And what little it offers is not anchored to a central idea of cultivating a habit of achievement. I expected more, better than what's available on the shelves from the author, and I would have settled for content quality on par with what's on the shelves to give a 4-5 star review. This book doesn't meet that standard.
This book offers very little insight on human behavior, neuroscience, or psychology and seemed to operate on some outdated concepts. For example, it mentions left-right brain activity which has been thoroughly debunked (the brain really doesn't work that way). Scientific research isn't required for a great book, but if it is to be used, it should be up to date and accurate (otherwise it perpetuates faulty thinking).
I also found many of the self-help concepts to be dated, mundane, and unrefined. Many of them are still valid but some are just plain, bad advice. I was hoping for more pinpointed discernment, pragmatism, and systematic /gamified or well designed approach to building an achievement habit.
Some Good Things:
-Roth does a good job of explaining that you give things meaning, and imbue them with meaning.
-Roth emphasizes approaches to problem solving and exploration of the problem, prototyping solutions, and using a bit of design thinking (mostly in one chapter)
- He provides several methods of ideation and exploring obstacles, and framing the problem (too lightly I might add but its there).
- He advocates for personal responsibility and reframing language you use to ensure you recognize your choices and decisions.
As an Sr. Experience Designer, Marketing Technologist, and growth minded person, there are better books that deliver on the promise of their titles. If you're lured by the title of this book I recommend that you check out:
- "Essentialism" by Greg McKeown - Full of substance, pragmatic wisdom and activity.
- "The Buddha Walks Into a Bar..." by Lordo Rinzler
- "Game Storming" by Dave Gray
- "Hooked" by Nir Eyal
- "Experience Design" by Patrick Newbery - HARD READ BUT DEPTH AND SUBSTANCE GALORE!
The ideas and concepts and observations are all fine. It’s the book that’s not so good.
On page 241, Dr. Roth tells us what he wanted to do with the book.
"My goal with this book has been to give you tools and concepts that you can use to achieve a fuller, more fruitful, more satisfying life."
He gave me the tools and the concepts. I just wish he’d been a little more excited about the project and more engaged with it. I wish someone had told him about the difference between teaching in person and teaching in a book.
From the first couple of chapters, I think I know about what Dr. Roth is like in person. He’s wry, and ironic, and insightful, and he cares about the people he’s talking to. But after those chapters, the book kind of turned into “what Dr. Roth thinks about life.”
Most of the time I agree with his conclusions, but there’s no support for them besides Dr. Roth’s opinion. That’s fine, but it’s not proof. The result is that this book is like many other personal development books. That’s not what I was hoping for when I picked it up.
I had hoped that there would be ties to design thinking, since Dr. Roth teaches at Stanford’s d.school and is often cited as one of the “founders” of design thinking. Design thinking gets a lot of mention at the beginning of the book. Then it gets mentioned less and less, about every 10 to 20 pages. Then there’s no mention of it for a while, then a cluster of mentions, and then you don’t see it mentioned again until you get to the notes.
The book is titled The Achievement Habit, but I don’t think I ever figured out exactly what that is. It’s referred to, but never defined. To use a common phrase from the math textbooks of my youth, it may be “intuitively obvious to the most casual observer” but I didn’t get it.
I was hoping for the kind of insight that can happen when an intelligent, thoughtful person reflects on his or her life. I didn’t get that, either.
Dr. Roth shares a bunch of self-awareness exercises that remind me of the self-awareness workshops of the 1970s. They’re not bad. But you need someone to lead you. Otherwise all you have is a bunch of instructions on a page. That’s deadly in a book. There’s one exercise that runs from page 207 to page 208. It has 20 steps. That may be an effective exercise in a classroom or a workshop setting. It doesn’t work in a book.
There’s no passion in this book, either. It’s written like a lecture that Dr. Roth has given many, many, many, many times before. There are things that might work in person when he’s present to adjust the presentation and apply a bit of humor. Lectures are boring in person. They’re worse in a book. Here's an example of what I mean by "written like a lecture." It's from page 196
"One of the social functions of families and the other communities to which we belong is to constrain our behavior. Normally these social constraints serve a valid societal function. Yet they can also have a big downside unless we are willing to confront and— if appropriate— discard them in a productive manner. If we realize we have a unique persona and a history different from that of our teachers and parents, we can end up being creators of a new synthesis that honors our influences yet is also a true expression of our very being. It is important that we look at our life and work not only from the point of view of its content but also from the question of what our actual intentions are."
Bottom line, the content is good but the book is horrid.
There’s a lot of good advice here. There’s a lot of wisdom. But there’s not much passion and there’s not much thinking about how the ideas that may work in the classroom translate into a book. And that’s why The Achievement Habit is not worth your money or your time.