Saturday, February 08, 2020

Book Review: A More Beautiful Question

A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas
by Warren Berger

This is a very good book. If you like to learn how to think well, this would be a good place to start. 

It all begins with E.E. Cummings, "Always the beautiful answer/Who asks a more beautiful question."

Warren Berger started by asking why aren't we asking any more questions. Younger kids ask a whole of them but by the time they started school, they begin to stop asking and when they are at middle or high school, they may stop altogether.

I agree with him that schools are programmed to provide answers and to demand answers, not questions. 

And as we get ourselves into the working world, questions are usually not welcomed. 

I remember my first few days working in a company when I asked a question since I was new to the environment. The looks I got stopped me from asking anymore and go find the answers myself. 

So Berger's book is a much needed one. We need to ask questions again.

I like that he gives us three question starters in how to train ourselves in innovative questioning. It is to ask: why, what if, and how?

The book also explored questioning in business and questioning in life. 

As I read the book, I have begun to ask questions myself and I found two of the most important ones here: "What is my sentence?" and "How might I live up to my sentence?"

Here's an excerpt which I find so profound:

This is a favorite question of the author Daniel Pink, though he acknowledges in his book Drive that it can be traced back to the journalist and pioneering congresswoman Clare Booth Luce. While visiting John F. Kennedy early in his presidency, Luce expressed concern that Kennedy might be in danger of trying to do too much, thereby losing focus. She told him “a great man is a sentence”—meaning that a leader with a clear and strong purpose could be summed up in a single line (e.g., “Abraham Lincoln preserved the union and freed the slaves”). Pink believes this concept can be useful to anyone, not just presidents. Your sentence might be, “He raised four kids who became happy, healthy adults,” or “She invented a device that made people’s lives easier.” If your sentence is a goal not yet achieved, then you also must ask: How might I live up to my own sentence?

Don't you see that it is such an important skill to learn and nurture?

I have made this a required reading for my team at work and we are going to train ourselves in asking.

With that, I aim to read it again in 6 months time to see how we have progressed and to pick up where we lack.

Oh, let me log it into my calendar now. 


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