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Nine Lies About Work

A Freethinking Leader's Guide to the Real World
Length: 8 hrs and 53 mins
5 out of 5 stars (10 ratings)

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Summary

Your organization's culture is the key to its success. Strategic planning is essential. People's competencies should be measured and their weaknesses shored up. People crave feedback. 

These may sound like basic truths of our work lives today. But actually, they're lies. As Marcus Buckingham and Ashley Goodall show in this provocative, inspiring book, there are some big lies - distortions, faulty assumptions, wrong thinking - running through our organizational lives. 

But there are those who can get past the lies and discover what's real. These are freethinking leaders who recognize the power and beauty of our individual uniqueness, who know that emergent patterns are more valuable than received wisdom, and that evidence is more powerful than dogma. 

With engaging stories and incisive analysis, the authors reveal the essential truths that such freethinking leaders will recognize immediately: that it is the strength and cohesiveness of your team, not your company's culture, that matters most; that we need less focus on top-down planning and more on giving our people reliable, real-time intelligence; that rather than trying to align people's goals we should strive to align people's sense of purpose and meaning; that people don't want constant feedback, they want helpful attention. 

This is the real world of work.

©2019 One Thing Productions, Inc. and Ashley Goodall (P)2019 Gildan Media

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

It's like they've been inside my head :)

I really enjoyed listening this audio book. The content is thought provoking and well worth listening to; especially if you're one of those people who likes to question 'received wisdom'. Highly recommended...

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  • S. Marshall Priddy
  • 05-04-19

Actually is mind-blowing. Highly recommend.

Everyone wants to write a book on leadership that says something new, true, and mind-blowing, but that's actually very hard to do in practice. Some can shock by saying things that are controversial for the sake of controversy, but those tend to have little applicability. Others try repackaging and recycling old ideas that have already been rehashed a million times. But this one really, really did make me think and make me question a huge number of foregone conclusions.

The reading style is also very good. I actually just saw Marcus Buckingham speak in Philadelphia yesterday, and decided to purchase the audiobook for my long drive home (despite the hardcover being a part of my attendance, meaning I now have this in all three formats, and still think it worth it). Less than 24 hours later, I finished this book, and I'm continuing to mentally digest this.

I get onto kicks for different types of books, and recently that has been an interest in leadership, as leadership training is part of what my department does. Everything in this book is immediately relevant to my day-to-day work. And this will undoubtedly change my frame of reference and everything else I read (or to which I listen), setting the bar to be surpassed for me to accept the conclusions and assumptions of those other books on leadership or management.

These two have written a very important book, and I'll be looking forward to reading much of their other work to come. Presentation style is also good, with alternating chapters read by each author (complete with British Charm Unit). As an American, I was still able to listen to most of it at 3X speed, because they articulate clearly and pace their reading consistently.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • JoanneSD
  • 16-04-19

Long overdue

Truly refreshing to listen to this work and have it echo so much that is our reality. I loved how in the book, they spoke of the blueprint for leadership and how it does not exist. Marcus and Ashley have done an amazing job brining their research to the masses.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • htownhman
  • 16-05-19

The authors should not have narrated the book

An excellent and thought provoking book about work and leadership. However, the authors should not have narrated the book. The speech is often unclear, of varying volumes, and difficult to understand. The verbal inflection and pacing are not up to the standards of the best audible narrators.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Kimberly A. Whittaker
  • 19-04-19

Brilliant Work

I highly recommend the audible version so you can hear the authors share their brilliant work. The last chapter on leadership is especially poignant as Ashley recounts the leadership examples of ML King, including his last days in Memphis. Listening to this chapter is emotionally riveting and it will crystalize for you the reason people follow other people.

Well done Ashley & Marcus and thank you for sharing your unique strengths with the world!

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Dan
  • 12-06-19

If you can get past the poor audio...

This book will change the way you think and conduct business. The content is absolutely remarkable. However, the audio is horrible. Frequently the speakers are unintelligible and there are big fluctuations in volume.

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  • Johanna
  • 09-06-19

Really loved it

I appreciated the dry humor weaved throughout the researched based book and found myself laughing out loud a few times! I seriously think it has the possibility of revolutionizing the workplace. Everyone who works on a team, especially a manager will benefit reading.

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  • Tomer Avraham
  • 08-06-19

A must read!!

In contrast to what stems from lists like "Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work", employees care much less about which company they work for, and its overarching employee engagement strategy.

Employee's engagement and satisfaction mostly depends on local, team level interaction (Gallup’s Q12):

01 I know what is expected of me at work.

02 I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right.

03 At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day.

04 In the last seven days, I have received recognition or praise for doing good work.

05 My supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person.

06 There is someone at work who encourages my development.

07 At work, my opinions seem to count.

08 The mission or purpose of my company makes me feel my job is important

09 My associates or fellow employees are committed to doing quality work.

10 I have a best friend at work.

11 In the last six months, someone at work has talked to me about my progress.

12 This last year, I have had opportunities at work to learn and grow.


There seem to be much for variability in how strongly employees feel about the above within a company than between different companies.

As employees we should not dispense of the notion of "company culture", rather we should be careful not to mistake it for something it isn’t. We should be aware of specific "company signifiers", designed to lure us to join. Culture locates us in the world. It consists of stories we share with one another. These stories give life to the empty vessel of "company", BUT, in the end, we shouldn’t expect from these stories to explain our experience at work, as these local, team-level experiences have far more bearing on whether an employee is engaged and stays. Teams make work real. Good teams unlock what is unique about each of us in the service of something shared!

While people care which company they join, they seem to not care what company they work for, but about what team they are on…

The good news for us team leaders is that what our subordinates care about the most is within our control. We simply have to decide whether to embrace it… 


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  • fernando gracioli teixeira
  • 06-06-19

Amazing content! Game changer!

But last 2 chapters are too long. Could be shorter. Audiobook narrators are very different: one is great but the other one is slow and sleepy.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 24-05-19

Good insight

I really enjoyed the way the authors contrast what an employer would say about work versus what work feels like to employees.

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  • Kimberley Harrington
  • 21-05-19

A Must Read

Outstanding! What incredible change could come about if all "leaders" read this book! A true game changer.