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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Suzy Welch Explains How to Make Your Decision A Perfect 10

If you've read one book about efficiency, chances are it's Stephen R. Covey's The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. In it, Covey popularized the idea of proactivity - or acting purposefully instead of passively. In 10-10-10, journalist and O Magazine columnist Suzy Welch, introduces a companion idea, a way to think proactively. According to Welch, this simple action can be life-altering.

So, what is 10-10-10 exactly? It's a tool that can help you "forge an intentional life, choice by choice" (29). Okay, how? By using this formula every time you have to make a decision: What consequences will my choice bring in 10 minutes, 10 months and 10 years? According to Welch, it really doesn't even have to be that literal. Really, "The name of the process is just a totem meant to directionally suggest time frames along the lines of: in the heat of the moment, somewhat later, and when all is said and done" (11). Instead of making snap decisions, Welch suggests thinking them through more carefully. By doing so, we can actually "create who we will become" (49) in the future.

I know, I know - it doesn't seem revolutionary. It's not even terribly original. However, Welch insists that it works and that it has wrought incredible change in people's lives. Don't believe her? She's got examples. Lots of them. Using her own experiences as well as those of friends and clients, she explains how to use 10-10-10 to make proactive decisions in the workplace, in romantic relationships and in parenting situations. The idea encourages action over procrastination, deliberate choice over trusting one's gut, and acting with the future in mind instead of focusing just on the present. In other words, "The process empowers us to override the counterproductive tendencies of our own minds. It helps us help ourselves" (34).

By the last 1/3 of 10-10-10, I felt that Welch had analyzed a simple concept to death. However, because her voice is so appealing, the book never became boring. Her style is conversational, real, and funny. She admits mistakes, laughs at herself and generally makes you feel as if you're chatting with a good friend who happened to stumble on a rather bright idea. I would "10-10-10" with her anytime. If the book had been written by anyone else, I may not have found it so enjoyable. As is, I'm glad I read it - 10-10-10 is quick, enlightening and fun. Revolutionary? No. Enjoyable? Absolutely. You don't need to examine this decision too closely - just read the book already.

Grade: B

1 comment:

  1. I like your review! I picked up this book several times in the past couple weeks and never bought it..but now I'm curious about Suzy's examples.


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