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January 11, 2007

Jack Covert Selects: Jack Covert Selects: Run with the Bulls Without Getting Trampled

By: Jack @ 4:14 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

Run With the Bulls Without Getting Trampled: The Qualities You Need to Stay Out of Harm’s Way and Thrive at Work by Tim Irwin, Ph.D., Nelson Business, January 2007, $24.95 Hardcover, 200 Pages, ISBN 078521951X
There is always a reason why I choose a certain book to review. Many times I pick a book because the author gave me a new perspective on a classic issue. Sometimes authors show me something new. And sometimes it’s the writing. I think what sets this book apart from the also-rans, as it were, are the stories used to illustrate the author’s points.
Let’s start with the metaphor in the title. The author (along with his son) ran with the bulls and he uses the bulls as a metaphor for the problems many of us face in our workplace. He interviewed more than 10,000 people and uses their stories throughout the book. For example, in a section about strategic mindset he talks about Jim Collins’ Hedgehog Principle—seeing what is essential and ignoring the rest—and applies that theory to this story.
“Much has been written on the importance of saying no, and I tried to get leaders of a client organization to read a few of those books. Their failing company, which attempted to invent a new loading machine for freight cars, just couldn’t seem to stay on course. The leaders were so open-minded, you thought their brains were going to fall out. Even though they had created a sound product, they were too undisciplined and opportunistic to stay with it. Every new idea that came along—on an almost daily basis—became the company’s new strategic focus. A lot of investors lost money because the company wouldn’t stay focused on its core competency and make it work. Many individuals have approached their careers with the same lack of focus, bouncing from one “opportunity