Book Review: The Outward Mindset

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I have no evidence that it happened, but I imagine the folks at the Arbinger Institute sitting around and brainstorming what they should do next.

“I think we need another book,” said one.

“Great idea!” said another. “What should we write about?”

“We need a buzzword. How about ‘mindset?’”

That seems to be what they did. They came up with their own definition for “mindset.” Then they threw in some important ideas and tied them to “mindset.” There’s nothing new in The Outward Mindset, but there are lots of diagrams to make those ideas look complicated.

As Michael LeBoeuf said, “The great ideas are too important to be new.” So, you may be thinking that it’s worth buying this book to get a different presentation of ideas you’re already familiar with.

That might be OK if the writing were good. It’s not. Characters are introduced as if they will be important and then never seen again. The “stories” aren’t stories at all, they’re emotionally flat descriptions of events. If you bought this book because you read the Arbinger Institute’s Leadership and Self-Deception and thought it was good, there’s no comparison in writing quality.

Maybe I can help you. Here are some of the core ideas in the book, but without the diagrams or “stories.” They’re not new, but they are important.

Lesson: You’ll be more effective if you pay attention to the effects of what you do, which are outside your head or organization.

Lesson: You’re more likely to find out what people want or need if you ask them.

Lesson: Helping others succeed is a great way to succeed yourself.

Lesson: You’ll be more successful dealing with people if you treat them like people.

There. Now you don’t have to buy the book.

Bottom Line

The Outward Mindset is an emotionally flat, overcomplicated treatment of some important ideas that many other people have conveyed better.


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