Review: You Already Know How to Be Great
The Book: You Already Know How to Be Great: A Simple Way to Remove Interference and Unlock your Greatest Potential by Alan Fine with Rebecca R. Merrill, Portfolio, Hardcover, October 2010.
Despite being primarily a business bookseller, we recommend and sell a lot of self-help books. But because the phrase "self-help" has been getting a bad rap since the self-help-happy 1980s, we often call this category "personal development." No matter how you parse it, business is about the people who do the work to help a business thrive, so self-help books that encourage increased productivity or innovative problem-solving are a natural fit. Classic self-help books like Flow or The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People make people better, so these kinds of books in turn make work better.
In You Already Know How to be Great, Alan Fine has written a book that offers help in every area of your life, from work to home to sports. He comes from a sport coaching background and some of his supporting stories revolve around his coaching experience on the tennis court and the golf links.
Fine's argument is that our current behavior, when we have a problem, is to gather more information about how to fix it, using an "outside-in" approach, rather than relying on that which we already have inside us. To help you visualize this idea, he has created an image of a wheel with Focus (paying attention), Fire (energy and passion), and Faith (believe in yourself) inside. This wheel is surrounded by Knowledge. Fine believes these are the four things that will ensure your success—no super powers required. After all, as his title states, you already know how to be great, so "the problem is not so much about knowledge acquisition as it is about knowledge execution."
The key component to improving execution is G.R.O.W.: Goal is what we want to do; Reality is the circumstances we are currently dealing with; Options are how we can move; and Way Forward is what actions we need to take. In any change/performance improvement system, these four steps will sharpen your execution—from the inside out.
With many references and call out boxes to other business books, You Already Know How to Be Great is a very good self-help book that you can use to improve every aspect of your existence.
Reviewer Jack Covert is the founder of 800-CEO-READ, a leading bookseller to corporations and large organizations, based in Milwaukee.