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A brilliant counter-narrative for restoring humanity to the bottom-line, numbers-obsessed culture of the modern, 21st century workplace.
In a time of unusual stress, with a pandemic raging and economic insecurity and dislocation increasing, we need to rediscover the values that make us human, that give us a sense of meaning in order to increase our potential for productivity and success. What stands in the way, however, is a professional culture where human connectedness is a lost art: the frenzied numbers-obsessed, bottom-line thinking, the "scratch and claw" workplace, and organizations where the boss can literally be an algorithm.
Through moving stories and a modern spin on the ancient framework of Socratic dialogue, David Brendel and Ryan Stelzer show how to move forward and build workplaces fit for humans through what uniquely defines us as human beings: our ability to think, talk, and create.
By thinking carefully about a challenge, engaging peers in dialogue via open-ended questioning, and building a strategy collaboratively. Think Talk Create enables us to cultivate trust and define collective values, seemingly "soft" attributes that nonetheless markedly increase innovation and, ultimately, financial performance.
Think: Step back, slow down, avoid impulsive, short-sighted decision making.
Talk: Ask non-judgmental, open ended questions, with your mind as a blank slate, pursuing the problem like an empirical scientist or a judge presiding in court.
Create: Bring something new and meaningful into play, a novel solution to a pesky problem that can move the world in surprising, positive directions.
About the Author
David Brendel, MD, PhD, is the co-founder of Strategy of Mind, an executive coaching, consulting, and leadership development firm rooted in philosophy and psychology. He a board-certified psychiatrist with an MD from Harvard Medical School and a PhD in philosophy from the University of Chicago. His writings have appeared in Harvard Business Review and Huffington Post and is the author of Healing Psychiatry: Bridging the Science/Humanism Divide (MIT Press). He lives in Massachusetts.
Ryan Stelzer is co-founder of Strategy of Mind. He served in the Obama White House as a presidential management fellow where his team was responsible for improving and sustaining high levels of performance across federal agencies. His writing has appeared in the Washington Post, Huffington Post and LinkedIn Pulse. He lives in Massachusetts.
“Brendel and Stelzer counter the dehumanization flourishing unchecked and entrenched in today’s workplace. Their applied method of active inquiry—think, talk, create—actually works at fostering high performing individuals, teams, and organizations. It’s the right approach right now.”—Paul Zak, professor, Claremont Graduate University, and author of The Moral Molecule
“Think Talk Create is a clarion yet compassionate critique of the ongoing dehumanization of work and workplaces, driven by prioritizing quantity over quality, metrics over ethics, and algorithms über alles. Replete with illuminating case studies, this mind-opening book shows how to solve thorny business problems by engaging a company’s most valuable assets: its employees and consumers. Every leader should read Think Talk Create and distribute copies to their team.”
—Lou Marinoff, PhD, author of Plato Not Prozac!
“Think Talk Create is the marvelous process for reconnecting after the isolation we’ve experienced during the COVID-19 era, enabling us to reach out for the productive engagement and innovation we so sorely need as individuals, in our organizations, and in society. Its roots are ancient, but it is so up-to-the-moment through David Brendel and Ryan Stelzer’s pragmatic advice, cogent social commentary, fascinating science, and wonderful story telling.”
—Sandra Sucher, Harvard Business School, co-author of The Power of Trust
“This is one of the very few business books you’ll come across that’s both deep, practical, and inspired in a way that will spark new ideas for thinking and acting well. There’s a revolution growing where business, healthcare, politics, and the other professions are being understood as essentially humane endeavors meant to celebrate and deploy the best of our talents creatively into the world. This wonderful book will help lead the way toward applying such a powerful perspective in whatever you do with others. Highly recommended!”
—Tom Morris, author of If Aristotle Ran General Motors
“Think Talk Create provides an inspiring roadmap for building energized work environments. Through engaging vignettes and up-to-date science, David Brendel and Ryan Stelzer delineate a method of conversation—active inquiry—that fosters psychological safety and enables great results.”—Dr. Amy Edmondson, Harvard Business School, author of The Fearless Organization