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Submitted by US101 on


What book do you recommend regarding behavior?

Your emphasis on behavior is a common thread throughout your podcasts. What books or articles talk about the power of behavior in understanding and changing it?


Mark's picture
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Boy, what a great question! And, I don't have a great answer right now, and am not sure what form the answer will take.

The reason I say this is because there certainly aren't any business books that address this. I started reading Managers Not MBAs on the plane this morning, and while it's interesting, I'm pretty sure I'm going to be disappointed.

One thing I can tell you is that my focus on behavior came one day after listening to a string of managers came to me decrying the response that they were getting to the feedback they were giving (about attitude) to their directs... and it hit me that even *I* didn't like feedback about my attitude. Thus, something no one could argue with - the equivalent of mental videotape: behavior.

But I will think about it, and come back to you with some suggestions.

Finally, I would be remiss if I didn't tell you what Mike *would say*: "The book we recommend is Mark's book, when it comes out." I'm just not much of a self promoter in that way, and it seems a little forward to suggest that the answer to someone's question is in one's own book.

Best question of my day: thanks.

It's a privilege,


US101's picture
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This is a great article on the greatest college football coach - Bear Bryant, University of Alabama. He won six national championships. His lifetime record of 323 victories is 35 percent higher than that of his runner-up, Woody Hayes of Ohio State. Managers wishing to emulate athletic winners will have to grant Bryant a spot at the top of their lists.


What was his secret? :?:

Very specific, very visible goals and tons and tons of feedback. He had players watch two TV screens side-by-side. One TV showed the explemplar player in that position and the other TV showed the Alabama player. Both TV's would be running a similar play or movement. He had them watch in slow motion so the player could exactly how to move and react. Coach Bryant used about 25-30 cameras on the practice field.

The researcher (Thomas Gilbert) who found this out asked Coach Bryant "But coach, what about all that talk of leadership and inspiration being your keys to success?"

"Aw, people like to hear that shit," Byant replied. "Winning inspires my boys."

itilimp's picture
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Has anyone read / would you recommend "Performance: The Secrets of Successful Behaviour by Robin Stuart-Kotze"? A number of sources have suggested it but I was wondering what the MT crowd had to say ;)

juliahhavener's picture
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It is *not* a management book, but in terms of recognizing behavior, "marking" behavior, and dealing with operant conditioning, I would highly recommend Karen Prior's "Don't Shoot the Dog".

Make no mistake, this [b]is[/b] a book for animal training. However, the [i]observation and distinction of behavior[i] she addresses is a constant throughout. I read this book for the purposes of better training my GSD. At the time I originally read it, I was training a group of new hires...and ended up being shocked by the number of things I did in a training class that mirrored these themes and skills. I even directly used an exercise (which the class had a blast with and learned some very key skills from) that she outlines in the book. I've used that same exercise since to great effect.

If you are looking for ways to strictly recognize behavior over thought/intent/emotion, it very well may fit your needs. As a manager, I find I use a lot of the behavior-recognition, and am better able to shape feedback based on behavior, since reading this.

jpb's picture

this is not a management book but I found it helpful to learn how I observe and digest information.

US101's picture
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Julia - can you please share that behavior/conditioning exercise you've found so effective?


kingmba's picture

My favorite management book is [u]Bringing Out the Best in People, New and Updated Edition[/u], by Aubrey C. Daniels, published by McGraw-Hill
ISBN 00-07-135145-0 [alk. paper]

Daniels book closely follows the M-T ideas. I use this book as a supplement to the required text in one of the management courses I teach at Park University. I also use the ideas in managing my clerks in my Court of Law. Several of my students have told me [and I paraphrase] at the end of the term that the Daniels’ book is one of the few they plan to keep and use after they finish their degree.
The M-T ideas are easier to learn because they come in short sessions and most have ‘action’ ideas. Daniels’ book gives more details in attempting to modify the behavior of others.
B. King

jhack's picture

B. King,

Thank you for recommendation. I'll have to check it out.

And thank you for joining the conversations here in the forum.


cwatine's picture
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I am now reading "the 4 dimentional manager". I will put a review on the forum when I finish it. It is based on the DISC profile technics, easy to read and a good complement to mike and mark podcasts.

kklogic's picture

Don't laugh --- but Tony Robbins "Unleash the Giant Within" is amazing when it comes to recognizing why we do the things we do and how to change them.

jeroendemiranda's picture

'What Got You Here Won't Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful' by Marshall Goldsmith

This is one of my favorite management books on behaviour (and how to change it)

my blog post:


JorrianGelink's picture

[quote="jeroendemiranda"]'What Got You Here Won't Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful' by Marshall Goldsmith

This is one of my favorite management books on behaviour (and how to change it)

my blog post:


I second that! Anything Marshall Goldsmith does is fantastic and it is my favorite book on simple effective behavior.

That is until Mark Horstman releases his book.....;)

madmatt's picture

I vote for "Brining Out the Best in People."

It's a great distillation and application of 100+ years of psychology.

It's not theory or ways you gotta feel or think. It's 100% actionable and immediately applicable.

US101's picture
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Are you referring to the book "Bringing Out the Best in People" by Aubrey Daniels?

madmatt's picture

Yes, the Aubrey Daniels book. "Bringing out the Best" is the basic introduction on all things behavior in the workplace. Uses a practical scientific perspective.

His book "Performance Management" is a handbook for managers who want to apply behavior-focused solutions in the workplace. "Performance Management" is a textbook for many business and business psychology classes in Universities and Colleges.

Highly recommended. Packed with Ah Ha! moments. Will totally change the way you see business. In-line with MT advice and gives you understanding of why Mike and Mark's good advice works.

madmatt's picture

In fact I bet Mike and Mark would love the book. Surprised they have not read it, or have not commented on it.

I think it details solid management research that backs up the MT stand on many issues.

JorrianGelink's picture

One critical chapter I would recommend reading is "Good to Great" by Jim Collins on Level 5 Leadership. This chapter focuses more on leaders and managers and how the successful ones act and behave with tons of fantastic examples.

Marshall Goldsmith's book is also amazing with it's examples!

Jorrian Gelink

Management Architect

maestro's picture

Reading this book by Aubrey C. Daniels right now.  Find it to be spot on in most areas.  The version I have is a little dated (I believe it was published in the late 80's), but the concepts still hold true.  It is behavior focused, but primarily discusses the power of positive reinforcement, or in MT language, Positive Feedback.

madmatt's picture

Daniels also worte a handbook for applying the concepts in "Bringing out the Best." We used it in my college classes as a textbook for how to change behavior (yourself and others) in the workplace. The handbook is titled "Performance Management."