Book Review: Multipliers

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A friend of mine recommended Liz Wiseman’s book, Multipliers: How The Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter. I checked out the Amazon reviews, which looked really good. I checked out some of Ms. Wiseman’s articles, which I thought were really good, too. So, I bought the book.

After reading it, though, I don’t understand what all the fuss is about. There are some good insights in this book about leaders who help people on their teams perform better. But there are three reasons why this book may not be worth your money.

The Book Is Astoundingly Repetitive

We get the basic ideas in the first 10-15 percent of the book. After that, we get the same concepts with slightly different phrasing for the rest of the book. This was one of those rare books that I didn’t finish. I got tired of reading the same things again and again.

The Book Is Needlessly Complex

The book divides the world of managers into “multipliers” and “diminishers.” Fair enough. It’s a good insight with some good support. Then there are five different types of multiplier/diminisher pairs, all of which are described in detail. It was never clear to me whether you could mix and match or if you had to be firmly fixed in your multiplier or diminisher type. The book would be much better without the classification and more contrast between behaviors. Behaviors are easy to understand, “If you do this, you will get better results than if you do that.” Classifications require you to learn the classification and then learn the behaviors.

Be Versus Do

In the early part of the book, Ms. Wiseman refers to Carol Dweck and her mindset research. Ms. Wiseman gives the impression that she concurs with that research and that people can learn new things, change behaviors, etcetera. The problem is that she doesn’t write that way. She writes as if being a multiplier or being a diminisher is something that you are.

In A Nutshell

There is some good material in Multipliers: How The Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter by Liz Wiseman but it’s all in the first 10-15 percent. After that, the book becomes needlessly repetitive, and needlessly complex.

You can check out some my highlights and notes from this book on my GoodReads page.


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