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A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough…

de Warren Berger

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263575,645 (3.95)1
"The Harvard Business Review looked at 300 of the most creative, successful executives in business and found that they shared a number of tendencies and characteristics, but one stood out at the top of the list--they all were master questioners. It's not necessity, but a question--a "beautiful" question--that is the mother of invention. The world's leading innovators, inventors, business entrepreneurs, and creative minds, seem to be exceptionally good at asking questions. For some, their greatest successes--their breakthrough inventions, hot startup companies, the radical solutions they'd found to stubborn problems--could be traced to a "beautiful" question, or series of questions, they'd formulated and then answered. Innovator and writer Warren Berger, who's been asking questions his entire life, brilliantly captures these innovative query-makers to try and determine what makes a question particularly beautiful, from Tim Westegren wondering how to "map the DNA of music," a project that would grow into the wildly successful Pandora internet radio service, to Abby Brown, creating a school desk with a raised seat as she thought about how she could accommodate some fidgeting students. As A More Beautiful Question will illustrate, whether we're solving tough personal or professional problems, rejuvenating businesses, or schools, or government, or re-inventing the ways we live... it all begins with asking the right questions"--… (més)

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Accessible, practical, thought provoking. It applies to both business and personal life. That, in my opinion, describes this book.

I have used questions as a primary tool for years in my consulting work. It consistently is effective in getting my clients to explore thoughts they might not and/or have not explored otherwise. As Berger says, people are too busy to give much thought, certainly much deeper thought, to important issues. They just want the quick answer. In fact, they don't really know how to formulate the right questions that might help them.

Recently I facilitated a retreat of three people who were having difficulty in their business partnership. The two-day agenda consisted of almost nothing but questions that challenged them to probe issues more deeply. When we began the process, the partnership was strained and in trouble. Two days later, though not yet healed, there was much better mutual understanding, appreciation, and commitment to continuing the process of using questions.

When I came across Berger's book, a few weeks later, he messages all resonated

One client said to me some time ago, "I've got you figured out. You don't have any answers. You just ask questions." "You're right!," I said. The meeting was a significant success.

Nevertheless, Berger's book brought me more perspectives and a reinforced appreciation for the questioning process. ( )
  cmaese | May 27, 2017 |
Kind of stunned at the "thought provoking" comments. What a revelation! Asking questions! How is inquisitiveness, or simple "I wonder..." thinking so surprising to so many reviewers? Berger put together a collection of anecdotes (from a lot of other anecdote sources), and gets some credit for that research. Bottom line, this is Gladwell level fluff. Maybe a touch better. Gladwell's a tool.

I started getting weekend read recommendations from Scribd, three per Saturday, and this was a recommendation. I expect some of the others to be better.

Nitpick: Berger said in relating one of the anecdotes something about an "ATM machine". Seriously? That's one of the most annoying multiple double redundancies and a journalist should know better. ( )
  Razinha | May 23, 2017 |
It took me a while to complete this book: despite it being relatively short and written in a very accessible style, it was dense with references and avenues for exploration, many of which I consulted as I read along.
Whereas questioning as a method may seem simplistic, it's an effective tool to look beyond accepted answers. While many of us do it instinctively, we tend to focus on the answers rather than on the quality of the question. Already I have started to apply this method at work and found it's given me new frameworks to work from, opening my curiosity and listening more carefully to what is being said around me.
I'm sure there's a lot more to be done in the strategic thinking realm, but this book is definitely an excellent first stop which will help to reframe and rethink the way we do business. ( )
  Cecilturtle | Jan 3, 2016 |
I was walking around Politics and Prose in Washington DC when I came upon this relative thin book. The title intrigued me so I started look into it. At first the book did not appeal to me much, although some of the chapters did seem interesting. I ended up buying it as a part of my personal mission to find anything and everything regarding improving myself and spurring my thinking process.

I am very glad that I did because this book has turned into one of those books that has affected my world view as well as changed my way of thinking. The basic premise is not all that revolutionary: In order to be more creative, to think better, to be innovative, one needs to ask better, more probing questions. Do you see that I wasn't all that impressed?

As I read the book, bits of wisdom and sparks of recognition came to me slowly but steadily. Warren Berger laid out a very convincing case that we, as a culture had become, through our own impatience and lazy assumptions unlearned our own ability to ask questions. We have become quite good as asking bad questions, lazy question, shallow questions, wrong questions.

As I read the book, I became more systematic about underlining key ideas, I became more engrossed in the art and practice of asking questions. Berger gives us a lot of precedence, as will any good business book writer, but he also challenges us with the questions that he was asking. It is all very meta and coupled. I must say that his process hooked me and made me think longer and more in depth about how I think and ask questions.

In the end I had mind mapped the entire book and I am going through the process of creating a cheat sheet of the lessons learned for myself as I am convinced that I will need to be reminded of the practice of asking questions in my daily life.

You can say that I liked this book, quite a bit. ( )
  pw0327 | Jun 24, 2015 |
Journalist and innovation expert Warren Berger shows that one of the most powerful forces for igniting change in business and in our daily lives is a simple, under-appreciated tool—one that has been available to us since childhood. Questioning—deeply, imaginatively, “beautifully”—can help us identify and solve problems, come up with game-changing ideas, and pursue fresh opportunities. So why are we often reluctant to ask “Why?”

Berger’s surprising findings reveal that even though children start out asking hundreds of questions a day, questioning “falls off a cliff” as kids enter school. In an education and business culture devised to reward rote answers over challenging inquiry, questioning isn’t encouraged—and, in fact, is sometimes barely tolerated.

And yet, as Berger shows, the most creative, successful people tend to be expert questioners. They’ve mastered the art of inquiry, raising questions no one else is asking—and finding powerful answers. The author takes us inside red-hot businesses like Google, Netflix, IDEO, and Airbnb to show how questioning is baked into their organizational DNA. He also shares inspiring stories of artists, teachers, entrepreneurs, basement tinkerers, and social activists who changed their lives and the world around them—by starting with a “beautiful question.”
Berger explores important questions, such as:

- Why aren’t we nurturing kids’ natural ability to question—and what can parents and schools do about that?

- Since questioning is a starting point for innovation, how might companies and business leaders begin to encourage and exploit it?

- And most important, how can each of us re-ignite that questioning spark—and use inquiry as a powerful means to rethink and reinvent our lives?

A More Beautiful Question outlines a practical Why / What If / How system of inquiry that can guide you through the process of innovative questioning—helping you find imaginative, powerful answers to your own “beautiful questions.”
  COREEducation | Apr 30, 2015 |
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"The Harvard Business Review looked at 300 of the most creative, successful executives in business and found that they shared a number of tendencies and characteristics, but one stood out at the top of the list--they all were master questioners. It's not necessity, but a question--a "beautiful" question--that is the mother of invention. The world's leading innovators, inventors, business entrepreneurs, and creative minds, seem to be exceptionally good at asking questions. For some, their greatest successes--their breakthrough inventions, hot startup companies, the radical solutions they'd found to stubborn problems--could be traced to a "beautiful" question, or series of questions, they'd formulated and then answered. Innovator and writer Warren Berger, who's been asking questions his entire life, brilliantly captures these innovative query-makers to try and determine what makes a question particularly beautiful, from Tim Westegren wondering how to "map the DNA of music," a project that would grow into the wildly successful Pandora internet radio service, to Abby Brown, creating a school desk with a raised seat as she thought about how she could accommodate some fidgeting students. As A More Beautiful Question will illustrate, whether we're solving tough personal or professional problems, rejuvenating businesses, or schools, or government, or re-inventing the ways we live... it all begins with asking the right questions"--

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