The Advice Trap Book Summary - The Advice Trap Book explained in key points
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The Advice Trap summary

Michael Bungay Stanier

Be Humble, Stay Curious & Change the Way You Lead Forever

4.6 (506 ratings)
17 mins

Brief summary

The Advice Trap by Michael Bungay Stanier explores how to avoid giving too much advice, and instead, ask questions that encourage personal development in others. It provides practical tools for effective communication and coaching.

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    The Advice Trap
    Summary of 7 key ideas

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    Giving unwanted advice gets in the way of finding real solutions.

    We’ve all had the experience of wanting to give advice when somebody is talking about a problem. Before we know it, solutions pop into our heads that we’re just dying to share.

    So, why shouldn’t we? Isn’t it helpful to come to someone’s aid when they’re struggling?

    Well, there are some situations where it’s definitely helpful to give advice. For example, if someone asks where the restroom is, it would be a bit weird not to tell them how to find it. But, most of the time, our knee-jerk desire to tell people what to do is actually counter-productive.

    The key message here is: Giving unwanted advice gets in the way of finding real solutions.

    Let’s look at what’s going on. Often, when people tell us about their problems, we’re so desperate to tell them what to do that we don't really listen to what they're saying. It can take a while for someone to get to the point. If we jump in with advice too soon, we run the risk of advising them on the wrong thing because we haven’t taken the time to listen to what they’re really concerned about.

    Even if we do get it right, most of the time we’ll end up giving mediocre advice anyway. That’s because the majority of us don’t listen deeply enough to pick up the necessary information. Instead, we rely on limited knowledge and our own assumptions to find a solution. In our rush for a quick fix, we hold on to the first idea we have instead of throwing out a few and looking for the best one.

    Compulsively giving advice also affects our well-being. It’s exhausting trying to solve the world’s problems and do everybody else’s jobs for them all the time. And if you’re a business leader, spending all your time stuck in other people’s problems means you’ve no time to look at the big picture.

    It’s also no fun being on the receiving end of a barrage of unsolicited advice. It can feel undermining, like people don’t trust you to make your own decisions or come up with solutions by yourself.

    Those of us who constantly give advice are our own worst enemies. By underestimating the capabilities of the people around us, we strangle innovation and exhaust ourselves. In order to break the cycle, we must come face-to-face with our inner Advice Monsters.

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    What is The Advice Trap about?

    The Advice Trap (2020) is a practical guide to taming your inner Advice Monster. Many of us give advice compulsively because we’re insecure and want to control the situations we’re in. But that comes at the cost of alienating ourselves from other people, and stifling innovation in the workplace. Instead of jumping in with solutions, we need to cultivate a deep sense of curiosity and really learn to listen to other people.

    The Advice Trap Review

    The Advice Trap (2020) by Michael Bungay Stanier is a captivating book that offers a refreshing take on coaching and leadership. Here's why this book is definitely worth a read:

    • It provides practical tips and techniques for breaking free from the advice-giving habit, helping readers become better coaches and leaders.
    • With real-life stories and examples, it offers a relatable and insightful exploration of the challenges and pitfalls of giving and receiving advice.
    • The book's engaging and conversational style makes it a pleasure to read, ensuring that readers are never bored while learning valuable lessons in effective coaching.

    Who should read The Advice Trap?

    • Mansplainers hoping to learn how to stop giving unsolicited lectures
    • Innovative leaders who want to learn new methods to inspire their teams
    • People interested in how coaching techniques can be used in daily life

    About the Author

    Michael Bungay Stanier was named the #1 Thought Leader in Coaching in 2019. His previous book, The Coaching Habit, sold 700,000 copies and garnered over 1,000 five star reviews on Amazon. He is the founder of the learning-and-development company Box of Crayons, and has traveled around the world advising companies on how to develop better leadership styles.

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    The Advice Trap FAQs 

    What is the main message of The Advice Trap?

    Learn how to give less advice and ask more powerful questions in The Advice Trap.

    How long does it take to read The Advice Trap?

    The reading time for The Advice Trap varies, but you can read the Blinkist summary in just 15 minutes.

    Is The Advice Trap a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The Advice Trap is a worthwhile read that teaches you how to become a more effective leader through powerful questioning.

    Who is the author of The Advice Trap?

    The author of The Advice Trap is Michael Bungay Stanier.

    What to read after The Advice Trap?

    If you're wondering what to read next after The Advice Trap, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • The Coaching Habit by Michael Bungay Stanier
    • Coaching for Performance by Sir John Whitmore
    • Unlocking Potential by Michael K. Simpson
    • How the Word Is Passed by Clint Smith
    • The Power of Regret by Daniel Pink
    • The Ultimate Guide to Great Mentorship by Scott Jeffrey Miller
    • How to Work with (Almost) Anyone by Michael Bungay Stanier
    • What Happened to You? by Bruce D. Perry and Oprah Winfrey
    • Fear Less by Pippa Grange
    • You Coach You by Helen Tupper and Sarah Ellis