on Jan. 17, 2012 :
William Reed is an Aikido grand master, journalist, businessman, technology enthusiast - and a public speaker of some note. All these attributes, along with his experience as a westerner living in Japan, give him a unique perspective and the ability to express it clearly and logically.
Reed explores some interesting areas, many (if not all) of which readers will recognize: how to analyze our lives, identify our values, define goals in different areas and plan for success. This book explains how his approach can improve your understanding of your life and provides a practical guide to improve efficiency and reduce stress.
The Business sections emphasize the fact that shared values and goals are the cornerstones of intrinsic motivation, full engagement and personal accountability, all of which have been identified by Fortune 500 CEOs as key areas of concern. When people understand and agree with their company's values, they form (and feel part of) a genuinely united team. Working towards worthwhile goals is in itself rewarding, so the workplace is happier, has less conflict and is more productive. Reed also provides some insights into management techniques that can reconcile the apparently contradictory needs for both disciplined (self-) organization and flexibility.
Those who have read Dan Pink's 'Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us' will see some parallels, especially in the sections on initiative (or autonomy), mastery and, above all, purpose. Reed highlights the importance of visualizing our goals and plans in our personal lives - and of course in business, where fast, full communication of fundamental concepts is key. Reed suggests some interesting ways to do this and explains how to use the eponymous 'Zoom Lens' to gain a holistic overview, then focus on specific areas to work out what to do in each.
Highly recommended for those who want to gain a fresh perspective on their world. It will not make anyone a Business (or Life) grand master straight away; it does however give us a new way of looking at our lives that will help us to understand and overcome the challenges we all face.
(reviewed the day of purchase)