Book Review – Triggers, by Marshall Goldsmith and Mark Reiter
Published 2015 by Crown Business
Marshall Goldsmith is an experienced executive coach and has been recognised to be in the Top Ten Business thinkers in the World. He has worked in the area of coaching for over 40 years and coached thousands of people across the globe. I would certainly recommend this book for those amongst us interested in human behaviour and indeed our individual behaviour. Often I find with previous similar books from other authors that there is a disconnect from theory and real life practicalities. Not so with “Triggers”, here Marshall Goldsmith gives us practical explanations and real life examples from his vast experiences. So what are Triggers? “A trigger is any stimulus that reshapes our thoughts and actions”. Triggers shape our behaviour, they can be internal or external, conscious and unconscious.
Often our response to triggers can provoke unhelpful behavior which is often self-defeating. We are informed “the difference between success and failure is as simple – and as hard – as mastering our triggers”. We are also informed that adult behavior is very hard to change and just because we know what to change does not necessarily mean we will change.
Marshall tells us that “My mission is to help people become the person that they want to be, ”and “not tell them who that person is.” This is certainly the approach taken consistently throughout the book. Like anything in life and certainly with behavioral change there is a big difference in “Knowing” and actually “Doing”.
We are also introduced to Marshall’s routine of Daily Questions. He has a person call him nightly to ask him pre-determined questions which he has written for himself. For years, he had thirteen questions covering well-being and health. The first question was always “How happy was I today?” These questions gave him a daily reminder to focus on his goal of being “a happier and healthier individual”.
Interestingly he tweaked the questions which placed the responsibility on him in respect of how hard he tried in each area. For example, he revised the question “How happy was I today?” to “Did I do my best to be happy today?”. This really suggests taking control over the things we can control (“Did I do my best”) and being accountable to ourselves.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. I would highly recommend to anyone interested in self-development and behavioral change. Marshall Goldsmith also has some very entertaining YouTube videos available which I would also recommend highly.
Books that change lives – Triggers, by Marshall Goldsmith and Mark Reiter
Review by Paul Cullen, a graduate of the Diploma in Executive and Life Coaching
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