Nine Lies About Work

A Freethinking Leader's Guide to the Real World
Length: 8 hrs and 53 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (888 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Your organization's culture is the key to its success. Strategic planning is essential. People's competencies should be measured and their weaknesses shored up. People crave feedback. 

These may sound like basic truths of our work lives today. But actually, they're lies. As Marcus Buckingham and Ashley Goodall show in this provocative, inspiring book, there are some big lies - distortions, faulty assumptions, wrong thinking - running through our organizational lives. 

But there are those who can get past the lies and discover what's real. These are freethinking leaders who recognize the power and beauty of our individual uniqueness, who know that emergent patterns are more valuable than received wisdom, and that evidence is more powerful than dogma. 

With engaging stories and incisive analysis, the authors reveal the essential truths that such freethinking leaders will recognize immediately: that it is the strength and cohesiveness of your team, not your company's culture, that matters most; that we need less focus on top-down planning and more on giving our people reliable, real-time intelligence; that rather than trying to align people's goals we should strive to align people's sense of purpose and meaning; that people don't want constant feedback, they want helpful attention. 

This is the real world of work.

©2019 One Thing Productions, Inc. and Ashley Goodall (P)2019 Gildan Media

What listeners say about Nine Lies About Work

Average Customer Ratings
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Interesting thoughts but questionable conclusions

I appreciate that the authors questioned many sacred cows and put forward some thought provoking ideas. However, as a person very familiar with the sacred cows they refute, I found their absolute declarations (“you can never...it is never true that...it is always the case that...”) problematic. This is especially the case because the research presented was thin. They draw many conclusions based on super leaders like MLK and JFK that don’t take into account the nature of corporate general management roles. There is even a whole chapter that uses the soccer player Lionel Messi’s dominant use of his left foot to refute the utility of competency models. Read this book with the same healthy skepticism that the authors encourage us to view suggestions from corporate talent departments.

27 people found this helpful

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It's fine

Selling these as "lies" smells a little of click-bait. The book does have some good tips on leadership and how to build a successful team.

Both authors read the book. The one who reads the even numbered chapters is pretty good. The odd numbered chapters benefit *greatly* by being sped up to 1.5 speed, which sounds normal.

10 people found this helpful

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Actually is mind-blowing. Highly recommend.

Everyone wants to write a book on leadership that says something new, true, and mind-blowing, but that's actually very hard to do in practice. Some can shock by saying things that are controversial for the sake of controversy, but those tend to have little applicability. Others try repackaging and recycling old ideas that have already been rehashed a million times. But this one really, really did make me think and make me question a huge number of foregone conclusions.

The reading style is also very good. I actually just saw Marcus Buckingham speak in Philadelphia yesterday, and decided to purchase the audiobook for my long drive home (despite the hardcover being a part of my attendance, meaning I now have this in all three formats, and still think it worth it). Less than 24 hours later, I finished this book, and I'm continuing to mentally digest this.

I get onto kicks for different types of books, and recently that has been an interest in leadership, as leadership training is part of what my department does. Everything in this book is immediately relevant to my day-to-day work. And this will undoubtedly change my frame of reference and everything else I read (or to which I listen), setting the bar to be surpassed for me to accept the conclusions and assumptions of those other books on leadership or management.

These two have written a very important book, and I'll be looking forward to reading much of their other work to come. Presentation style is also good, with alternating chapters read by each author (complete with British Charm Unit). As an American, I was still able to listen to most of it at 3X speed, because they articulate clearly and pace their reading consistently.

18 people found this helpful

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  • Ex
  • 12-11-19

starts off strong, ends in ludicrous analogies

this should've been 6 Lies About Work, because at least the last three are REAL stretches of semantics that nit pick at definitions of what are essentially synonyms to try and position a cure for the "lie" that isn't exactly a lie, but instead a rigid mischaracterization of a practice....from there it ends on an overly dramatic telling of Martin Luther King's death as a lesson in leadership that is questionable at best.

7 people found this helpful

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Great info, much to ponder

I would rate this one as excellent through 8½ of the 9 lies. The other ½ is also great, but is a mismatch with the rest of the book.

"Nine Lies" seeks to use data and the authors' observations to disprove a number of myths about the workplace. The data and examples used are excellent, and help go after many of the assumptions that lead us down bad paths as both employees and as leaders. Ever feel like your review doesn't match you at all? There's a reason for that. Ever feel like the "force fit" model of percentages of people fitting into certain brackets fails to give some their due, and over-rewards others? There's a reason for that too.

Perhaps the best part is that the book offers real alternatives to many of the sources of these myths - things you can implement local to your team if not across your organization.

This is one I'd really like to give 5 stars to, but, for a specific reason, don't feel I can quite get there. There are two things that cause me to downgrade the overall title - one in each of the story and performance camps:

1) Performance wise, Marcus does great. Ashley would be fine, but is very soft spoken and the tone of his voice is such that I found him very difficult to hear and understand when on the road - he just blended into the road noise. A guy's voice is his voice, but it seems like this could have been addressed in production in some matter.
2) During the 9th lie, there is an attempt to paint a long picture utilizing Martin Luther King and a tour the authors took of a civil rights museum in the US. MLK is among my most admired figures in recent history, so I enjoyed the story elements there, but perhaps 90% of it is really in a different theme for a different book. There was an element of it that was a match, but a huge section of it was obtuse for *this* title. It's great homage to MLK, but much of it very out of place for this particular title and the lie being addressed. In the end, both points (one for the lie, and one more directly related to MLK) are easily missed, which does them both a disservice.

Overall, this is a great read, and one I would recommend - just don't get lost in the end. :)

6 people found this helpful

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Narration dull and slow

The one narrator was dull, lower volume and slower than the other narrator. Made it difficult with them rotating chapters. I wish there was only the one narrator.

4 people found this helpful

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If you can get past the poor audio...

This book will change the way you think and conduct business. The content is absolutely remarkable. However, the audio is horrible. Frequently the speakers are unintelligible and there are big fluctuations in volume.

4 people found this helpful

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Long overdue

Truly refreshing to listen to this work and have it echo so much that is our reality. I loved how in the book, they spoke of the blueprint for leadership and how it does not exist. Marcus and Ashley have done an amazing job brining their research to the masses.

4 people found this helpful

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The authors should not have narrated the book

An excellent and thought provoking book about work and leadership. However, the authors should not have narrated the book. The speech is often unclear, of varying volumes, and difficult to understand. The verbal inflection and pacing are not up to the standards of the best audible narrators.

7 people found this helpful

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Authors reading their work doesn’t always work

Content is golden. Delivery, not as great. One of the readers are painfully difficult to listen to, his pace and tone is not appropriate for the audiobook platform. I am sure he is a brilliant guy... but just giving honest feedback

2 people found this helpful

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  • Mr C S Connor
  • 08-03-19

Truly inspiring

I dont write many reviews, but wow.

This book confirmed everything ive known and felt for many years but have not been able to pull together in my own mind in a cohesive fashion.

And the last chapter....amazing.

Treat yourself to this book, you wont regret it.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-12-20

Fantastic

Well structured and eye opening. One of the best books I’ve listened to in ages.

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  • Elizabeth Iheoma
  • 02-09-20

Superb leadership book

Excellent book. Best leadership book I've ever read which makes me want to stay in leadership and management. Some concepts seem a utopian. Can this really be a reality? I truly , truly hope so. I would love to help promote the ideologies in this book.

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  • Riethmayer
  • 11-07-19

Challenges all the assumptions we make as employers

We aspire to building high performance teams and by doing so we consume anecdotal insights of successful leaders.

I’m humbled by all the assumptions and mistakes I made which become painfully obvious after finishing Nine Lies About Work.

I am grateful for having a better grasp on my circle of competence after reading this excellent book.

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  • Paul Crick
  • 07-22-19

Excellent analysis of the illusions of work

Brilliant. One of the best business books of the last 18 months. I love the way the lies are well researched and under pinned with sound evidence and common sense. An important read for all leaders, managers and coaches.

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  • Insulation Ireland
  • 07-19-19

good to listen to.

its steady commentary and then it lights up halfway through then plateaus. the bit in the middle though is worth the investment.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Allan S Ferguson
  • 05-30-19

It's like they've been inside my head :)

I really enjoyed listening this audio book. The content is thought provoking and well worth listening to; especially if you're one of those people who likes to question 'received wisdom'. Highly recommended...

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  • Mike
  • 03-15-20

Very provocative - challenging

Really enjoyed the provocative, thought provoking nature of this book. Lots of challenging the established norms around things like performance ratings- great to think through how we can set broad objectives for our people to conquer the right mountains.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-08-19

Sound quality is not good

Good opening, but the sound on the later chaps ar sometime loud and sometime quiet.

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  • Nosferatu
  • 11-18-19

in the lies lies the truth

Thoroughly thought provoking. Challenges many accepted practices of modern work. Asks us the think differently. Recommended reading.

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  • Gerry Lynch
  • 05-24-19

fantastic book really enjoyed the practicality <br /><br /><br />

great listen, very thought provoking and helped me to really think about my leadership and how I work with my team

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  • Andrew Hallahan
  • 05-19-19

Insightful and practical

Marcus and Ashley present a intriguing, challenging and highly practical view of work and what humans are looking for. While they deliberately take extreme positions to disrupt common myths their conclusions are well worth considering and applying. I will never view the 360 survey and many other things in the same way again!