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Books: What Got You Here Won't Get You There

What Got You Here Won’t Get You There
How Successful People Become Even More Successful
by Marshall Goldsmith (2007)

Marshall Goldsmith is one of the worlds premiere executive coaches, and this book is a gem of clarity and insight.

Goldsmith outlines twenty workplace habits that sabotage careers and reduce performance of otherwise highly successful professionals and executives. Goldsmith likens these habits to an actor blowing a line, writer misusing commas, or a chef leaving out a key ingredient - small things that nevertheless undo achievement.

Identifying these habits is critical, but the author warns of the trap of wasting time trying to understand them. What is important is how to change, and Goldsmith offers seven key actions that get people on the right track: obtaining feedback, apologizing, advertising intentions, listening, thanking, following-up, and practicing feedforward.

I found his final chapter on the challenges for people in charge particularly interesting, with realistic and relevant insight for those carrying executive responsibility. Goldsmith is a thought leader in the executive coaching world. Leaders who seek excellence, and coaches who help them along the way, will benefit from this book.

See book on Amazon

Postscript 8/7/08

A highlight of my attendance of the National Speakers Association National Convention earlier this week was seeing Marshall Goldsmith’s keynote. As with his writing, Goldsmith comes across as profoundly human and presents his ideas with simple clarity. We were encouraged to use any of the material he has written, available at He knows business, but he uses the language of life, not bizspeak.

The interactional speech gave the audience an opportunity to quickly taste the techniques described in What Got You Here Won’t Get You There. I walked away with greater appreciation for this book, one of 22 he has authored or edited, and of Goldsmith’s overall philosophy.
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