I met author Michael Bungay Stanier at last year's ASTD conference in Washington, DC. My plane had just landed, I had a mere hour or two of sleep, and was on cold medicine. The bustle of the training conference quickly woke me up, and meeting Michael was a great dose of reality. We talked about his work, 800-CEO-READ, and then he passed me a copy of his book Do More Great Work
, mentioning that it was getting a substantial update and reprint the following year.
Later that day, as I waited for my plane to take me back to Milwaukee, I sat in the airport, and was consumed by Michael's book. It was a small, interestingly shaped little book, and upon opening it, I instantly realized that this guy had a lot of great things to say. It was packed, but flowed like a Seth Godin book, each chapter keeping me curious for what was coming next. I immediately wrote Michael after arriving back in the office and congratulated him on the fine work (and this was indeed an example of the "great work" he refers to).
Fast forward to February 2010, and the aforementioned new and updated version of Do More Great Work
is now available. I wasn't sure how it could get any better, but he's added some great additional voices this time around: Seth Godin, Chris Guillebeau, Penelope Trunk, Tim Hurson, Leo Babauta, Dave Ulrich, and Michael Port - each contributing original pieces that support the book's focus.
But, what's it about, you ask? Every day, we fill our time doing things, and even the best performers in the world have a fraction of time that could be changed to focus on better work. First off, the book defines what that is. "Doing better" is a tricky concept, and the book clearly defines what bad, good, and great work are. From there, we can identify what those things are in our lives and follow the rest of the book and its 15 'maps' to create a plan to change. This book is a resource to improve processes, not just a book to make you feel better about what you do.
For a better glimpse into the book and Michael's ideas, also check out his recently published ChangeThis manifesto