Book Review: Lift – Becoming a Positive Force in Any Situation

The book I chose for my first official review is Lift, Becoming a Positive Force in Any Situation. Lift is a non-fiction business and attitude focused book by Ryan W. Quinn and Robert E. Quinn and published by Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.  The authors are both professors focused primarily in the organizational, management and change management space.


Lift can be purchased on Amazon in hardcover, paperback and Kindle formats

I originally came across this book as I was becoming more interested in the impact of attitude in the work place.  Throughout my career I have consistently been in roles where I have been required to successfully interact with a lot of personalities. I began to realize my continued success was directly dependent understanding these interactions. I have seen and experienced a lot of negative interactions to get things done and was always impressed with those that were able to get things done with a positive attitude and influence.

Lift explores the use of positive influence to not only approach interaction with a positive attitude but to use that energy to “lift” others to success, essentially passing that positive energy forward.  As one can imagine the analogy of flight is used throughout the book, using the principles of flight to describe primary components to the authors’ approach.  This worked well for me, but I could see those who are not as scientifically inclined not connecting with this approach.  I think this is overcome by their use of “real-world” business situations where the approach is leveraged.  The authors also layout a framework centered on a series of questions to be used when one wants to create “lift” for oneself and others.  These questions include:

  1. What result do I want to create?
  2. What would my story be if I were living the values I expect of others?
  3. How do others feel about this situation?
  4. What are three (or four or five) strategies I could use to accomplish my purpose for this situation?

Personally, I enjoyed the authors’ concept and found it to be an easy to digest read.  It definitely influenced my thinking of my day-to-day interactions in both my professional and personal life and how taking an approach of trying to put others first can create energy.  This concept came after years of feeling like I was always supposed to put my needs first and look out for #1 in the workplace.  During that time I felt drained and unfulfilled.  I knew something was missing and this book reinforced my exploration of positive influence to get things done.  Not only have I continued to get results, but now I feel fulfilled and happier with my work.

In closing, I found Lift to be an interesting exploration of a concept that isn’t used enough in today’s business environment and one the hard core cynic may find too “fluffy”.  It is a quick read with a sound message, but one that could be reinforced by readers with the exploration of similar books like Tim Sanders’, Love is the Killer App (to reviewed later).  If you strongly believe it’s supposed to be a “dog eat dog world” then this book may not be for you, but if you think the business world could use a dose of positive influence then I recommend giving it a read.

About the author: Heath

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