Book Review: 100 Ways To Motivate Others

100 Ways To Motivate Others:  How Great Leaders Can Produce Insane Results Without Driving People Crazy, by Steve Chandler and Scott Richardson

This sort of book is almost literally a dime a dozen [1] from a poor man’s Victor Vroom, looking at motivation minus Vroom’s focus on equations.  Yet despite the fact that a great deal of this book deals with the advice of a man who can’t stop talking about how good his New Age violin teacher is (no, I am not joking about that), there is a certain charm that this book has, and in its own way it reveals a few very important aspects of the role of teachers and instructors in New Age worlds, including the tendency of people to think of themselves as expert in a wide variety of fields without any sort of training or credentials simply because of a supposed mastery of amateur psychology and a penchant for catchphrases, and also demonstrates the importance of pop psychology to sales efforts, even to the point where it demonstrates that the most successful sales companies hire already successful sales people rather than train people to become successful at sales.  To put it somewhat bluntly, this book encourages its readers, likely sales managers of some kind, to troll their industry by focusing on already highly motivated people to poach from existing sales firms and turn them loose to make you money while you encourage them and practice humanistic theory Y management on them by leading them to a vision of fantastic financial success.

The contents of this book are almost redundant.  The introduction to this slightly more than 200 page book featuring 100 motivational techniques is written by someone whose previous book was on 100 ways to motivate oneself, and the book basically gives away the claim that one cannot truly motivate others except by encouraging them to motivate themselves.  There are 100 techniques named and given, each of them with their own motivational quote and some kind of story about the author and his violin teacher, the authors dealing with various clients, telling managers to get out of their own way and stop being negative to their subordinates, and a variety of other techniques.  The author seems to think that great leaders are made but that great salesmen need to be made by someone else before they work for your film, as the book is really light on teaching technique and is more about superficial and shallow pop motivation.  At the very least, the results are entertaining, and sometimes more than a little bit odd.  If this is a worthwhile book, it is because the book wears its influences and its quirkiness so openly that it disarms a great deal of rebuke.  This isn’t a book trying to be smooth and slick, but rather a book where people try to give their own slant on encouraging and motivational advice to managers and leaders out of their own modest experience.

So, what does someone get out of this book?  That depends, as is often the case, on what the reader is looking for.  If the reader is looking for ways to motivate others, they are encouraged to get out of the way and improve their own sales technique.  If the reader is looking for information about the authors, the book provides plenty of it, but much of it in quirky and unexpected ways.  This doesn’t feel like a glamorous sort of book, but rather a gritty book about the dark underside of sales motivation, where people seek this book among conferences to pitch Avon products or help out with the Amway selling.  It reads like the sort of book that an ex-coworker of mine involved in promoting his own Multi-level marketing efforts would have read as an encouragement to his positive attitude.  It is, even if that may not be the most encouraging thing, a frighteningly accurate look at the cultish nature of much New Age thinking, in that positive visualization and an extreme focus on personal responsibility are often the tools for people to keep a sense of ruthless optimism in the face of a cruel external reality.  For a second-rate motivation book, there is a surprising amount of pathos to be found here, for those who are able to put in its proper context.

[1] See, for example:

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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2 Responses to Book Review: 100 Ways To Motivate Others

  1. Pingback: Book Review: 2 Chairs | Edge Induced Cohesion

  2. Pingback: Book Review: 48 Days To The Work You Love | Edge Induced Cohesion

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