Get the key ideas from

The Advice Trap

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

By Michael Bungay Stanier
13-minute read
Audio available
The Advice Trap by Michael Bungay Stanier

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.

  • 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

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.

Go Premium and get the best of Blinkist

Upgrade to Premium now and get unlimited access to the Blinkist library. Read or listen to key insights from the world’s best nonfiction.

Upgrade to Premium

What is Blinkist?

The Blinkist app gives you the key ideas from a bestselling nonfiction book in just 15 minutes. Available in bitesize text and audio, the app makes it easier than ever to find time to read.

Discover
3,500+ top
nonfiction titles

Get unlimited access to the most important ideas in business, investing, marketing, psychology, politics, and more. Stay ahead of the curve with recommended reading lists curated by experts.

Join Blinkist to get the key ideas from
Get the key ideas from
Get the key ideas from

The Advice Trap

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

By Michael Bungay Stanier
  • Read in 13 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 8 key ideas
Upgrade to Premium Read or listen now
The Advice Trap by Michael Bungay Stanier
Synopsis

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.

Key idea 1 of 8

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.

Upgrade to continue Read or listen now

Key ideas in this title

Upgrade to continue Read or listen now

No time to
read?

Pssst. Sign up to your secret to success: key ideas from top nonfiction in just 15 minutes.
Created with Sketch.