February 2, 2006

Jack Covert Selects: Jack Covert Selects: Change the Way You See Everything

By: Jack @ 8:30 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

Change the Way You See Everything Through Asset-Based Thinking
by Kathryn Cramer and Hank Wasiak, Running Press, 152 pages, $22.95 hardcover, February 2006, ISBN 076242723X
This book appeals to both sides of my brain. I am a sucker for books that have a design element with a compelling message. True, this book could be categorized as self-help -- a category of which I am usually not too fond. Yet, this book jumped out at me because of the cover. It's simultaneously intriguing and creative.
The front is printed in reverse type and the back has plastic peel-offs that display author information and a brief book description. With the addition of this book, my bookshelf has an added flair.
The subject is a tad pedestrian -- is the glass half full or half empty? However, the presentation of the subject is very effective at putting the old topic in a new light. The authors use the metaphor of Asset-Based Thinking for half full and Debt-Based Thinking for half empty. To quote the book:
Asset-Based Thinking (ABT) calls for small shifts in the way we absorb, perceive, filter, and interpret. It changes the way we see everything, leading to dramatic improvements in the way we live. ABT zeroes in on what's working rather that what's not and favors inspiration and aspiration over desperation...and it is infectious.
Every day, the opportunity to engage in ABT stands before us in all kinds of situations, good and bad, large and small. It leads directly to the thrill of victory, while sidestepping the agony of defeat.

As the cliche states, practice makes perfect. Practice ABT with the numerous exercises throughout the book. I posted a page from the book on our blog which has a couple of "try this" exercises. Here is another example of the practical nature of this book.
Just Breathe
Whenever a problem arises, your first gut reaction may be alarm. Your body's natural defense mechanism switches on, and all systems are armed and aimed at fighting or fleeing the threat. Every communication breakdown, missed deadline, and costly mistake heightens your focus as you feel the shot of adrenaline restricting your thoughts and speeding your actions. What you may not be aware of is that your breathing changes too. Your breathing becomes shallow (from your chest not your abdomen) and the intervals between breaths are much shorter (not so short you are hyperventilating, but shorter.)
A simple yet powerful tool you have at your disposal is breath control--the ability to shift your body out of a threat reaction into a challenge reaction by focusing on your breath. Slow it down. Taking five or six deeper breaths should do the trick. Breathing deeply and slowly facilitates ABT. You become more creative and less reactive. It puts you in charge of dealing more effectively with the threat at hand. It triggers the excitement of being challenged and dissolves the fear of being threatened.

Page after page contains helpful advice on how to deal with everyday situations using ABT and seeing the glass half full. If you need a few testimonials, check out the interviews with Moby and Linda Grey about how ABT has helped them. I could end this review with something quite cliche and catchy but will spare you and end now. One last thing, the book is worth a look.
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