The full title of this book by Keith Yamashita is
“Unstuck: A Tool for Yourself, Your Team and Your World“.
In my review at Amazon.co.uk, I gave the book a Four Stars rating which means I consider it to be in the good to very good category.
Here is what I wrote.
A systems approach to why businesses get stuck and how to get them unstuck
This is a book of three sections. At one stage, I thought it was going to be the clear leader in books about how businesses get stuck and how you can get them unstuck. Sadly it tailed off in the main tactics section so we’re left with a 5 star start and a 3 star finish.
I’ll cover the looks of the book to start. It is one of those “designed” books that look stylish.
Plenty of images and diagrams but not all of them meaningful or well explained. An introduction that’s in a big, bold reverse print of white capital letters on a black background. Then you get to the main contents which uses some combination of four different sizes. Two big ones for emphasis, a normal sized one and one that is too small for me to read comfortably and especially when it’s used as white letters on a pale blue background. It’s a bit better when it’s pale blue letters on white and easiest as black on white.
The book is an unusual size, about an inch shorter than a normal fiction paperback.
Why do designers try to be too clever?
The contents is split into three sections:
1) Admitting You’re Stuck – excellent
2) Why You’re Stuck – very interesting
3) Getting Unstuck – disappointing
It takes a systems approach and splits the business into six components – purpose, strategy, structure and processes, metrics and rewards, people and interaction and culture. It then looks at how the business gets stuck if any of these components get out of balance. Then there’s a very short quiz that I’d have extended.
Next the book looks at moving from what it thinks of as symptoms to the underlying causes – the serious seven – overwhelmed, exhausted, directionless, hopeless, battle-torn, worthless, alone. Now these sound like symptoms to me but when they’re linked to the system components, you can see that it’s the choice of one word descriptions that’s confusing rather than the actual causes.
Each cause is then linked to page numbers for a group of corrective tactics in a diagram. For some stupid reason, the circle diagram doesn’t show the name of each cause, it just has a segment with lots of numbers in it. Fortunately, at the back, there is a list that combines cause, corrective tactic and page number but it would have been even better to have also included a short description of the cause.
The tactics themselves are disappointing and some feel superficial. Part of the problem is the way they are written and once again, the curse of the designer is around as each of the explanations is split into two, one of which is in the tiny letters in pale blue. The tactics themselves jump around between the different causes and don’t tell you which causes they help. This is why you need the reference list and probably a reason why I have lost the flow.
To get the most out of the book, I’m going to have to do extensive scribbling and perhaps totally reorganise the book into my own mindmap. Then I think I will see how the tactics suit the causes and everything will make sense.
This is probably a three star book as it stands but, because “helping businesses and business owners get unstuck” is my thing, I’m probably going to do the extra work, even if I have to buy a magnifying glass. I’m giving it four stars on my belief that there is genuine potential in the book.
About my book reviews – My goal is to help you to find the best business advice in books. I aim to be a tough reviewer because the main cost of a book is not the money to buy it but the time needed to read it and absorb the key messages. 4 stars means this is a good to very good book. I will respond to any comment you make about my review.Business Books Reviews by Paul Simister (Please click). I've also narrowed these down to a list of the 12 Best Business Books For Business Owners & Entrepreneurs (Please click).
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