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Publisher's Summary

The key to effective communication. Communication is essential in a healthy organization. But all too often when we interact with people - especially those who report to us - we simply tell them what we think they need to know. This shuts them down. To generate bold new ideas, to avoid disastrous mistakes, to develop agility and flexibility, we need to practice Humble Inquiry. Ed Schein defines Humble Inquiry as "the fine art of drawing someone out, of asking questions to which you do not know the answer, of building a relationship based on curiosity and interest in the other person." In this seminal work, Schein contrasts Humble Inquiry with other kinds of inquiry, shows the benefits Humble Inquiry provides in many different settings, and offers advice on overcoming the cultural, organizational, and psychological barriers that keep us from practicing it.

©2013 Edgar H Schein (P)2014 Gildan Media LLC

Critic Reviews

“I have had the privilege of working with Ed Schein. Reading Humble Inquiry I could hear his voice asking me those humble questions that joined us in a mutual search for the answer. His book distills what he has learned and practiced in a lifetime of helping high-powered leaders be even more successful.”—Anthony F. Earley, Jr., Chairman, CEO and President, PG&E Corporation

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Worth the read

What I loved about this book is that it was a practical guide to implementing what can be a mostly abstract concept. Schein, who I have always trusted as one of the leading voices in organizational behaviour, leadership and change management has taken an anti-oppressive approach often used in the human services field and made it not only relevant but accessible to those in more traditional private or less human focused environments. Not only that but the principles of Humble inquiry can be practice everywhere, which makes this not a "to do" book but a "to live by" book. My favourite kind of learning! Will be listening again and again!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Great book for leaders

This book provides insightful and actionable tools for leaders and others on how to inquire humbly in the workplace, at home and in other aspects of life

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Some good points but just ok

There were some good points, but the book was just ok. Thank goodness audible allows for me to speed up the narration. The narrator was so slow that I was forced to put audible on 2 times normal speed in order to not fall asleep listening to the narrator.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Wholehearted Leadership

Humble Inquiry places priority on building trust and relationships. He saves the self-inquiry process for the end of the book. If more people/leaders could slow down and ask humble inquiry questions, they would have a much different impact on the people around them. This is simply good neuroscience.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Extremely vague

As I went through this book I kept wondering when I would really be told how to put into practice humble inquiry! What a waste, it's nothing I didn't already know about communicating with people...smh

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Know-how of asking instead of telling

This book is good illustration on how asking and inquiring helps to build and nourish relationships.

The author has beautifully broken down 3 kinds of humility which is both understandable and applicable in any context in life.

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Team building

Effective team building takes trust at all levels in He organization. The author does a very good job outlining ways to break down barriers and build teams that can interact effectively.

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  • j
  • 12-14-17

Ask questions about others sincerely<br />

That's it. Point made over and over for 8 chapters. Will need to put it on 1.6 or more as the reader is methodical and slow.

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Narration is very slow

You'll want to speed up the narration, it's very slow and filled with awkward pauses. The content is good, but not groundbreaking.

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Waste of time

I really wanted to like this book, but the author is actually going against what it is that he is teaching. If you are looking for a book that will help you become better at asking questions and that book that has examples of good questions to ask, this is not the one.

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  • Cathy and Fiona Glanville
  • 11-26-15

Yes okay it's good

But I feel I've asked far too many badly worded questions this week. Theory is good but in practice I sound like I'm on neighbours, lilting every sentence up at the end to form a flaming question, meh I'm too easily influenced

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Angela Jones
  • 07-21-15

Schein's quality of thinking shines through!

Would you consider the audio edition of Humble Inquiry to be better than the print version?

I always choose the audio edition because of the flexibility in listening to it anywhere

What was one of the most memorable moments of Humble Inquiry?

It is a recipe for our times, when the art of humility may be getting lost

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

It made me hopeful that there is a silent majority out there who aren't the ones grabbing the headlines and still have values such as humility that are important to them

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Aaron Peeters
  • 11-08-16

Brief and insightful

This book outlines the benefits of asking questions one genuinely wants to know the answer to. What a pity that we need such a book!

I liked the brevity of the book- it covers all the key points raised in the longer version for consultants. I found the links to areas like organisational culture useful.

I'd recommend this book to anyone interested in enhancing risk free communication patterns within their organisation.