I searched these archives to see if anyone has found general value in the "shut up and do your job" vibe that Larry Winget puts out with his books:

It's Called Work for a Reason!
Shut Up, Stop Whining, and Get a Life
You're Broke Because You Want to Be

You get the picture, I'm guessing. :D

I've read the first book on the list and it basically sounds like an abrasive version of Land's End and Joel Spolsky's practices. Not that abrasive is necessarily bad....


TomW's picture
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[quote="misstenacity"] Not that abrasive is necessarily bad....[/quote]

to quote Mark: It's all about people. People don't deal well with abrasive

misstenacity's picture

I meant that the tone of the book is somewhat abrasive - Larry is not advocating being abrasive to the businesses clients.

Instead of saying, "You're not succeeding because you haven't maximized your potential", blah blah... his style is more like, "You're not succeeding because you've been lazy. Stop that, now."


LouFlorence's picture
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The question to ask yourself is whether you have ever seen anyone being lazy. I would suggest that you have not, since laziness is an attitude from which certain behaviors follow. You can see some one lying on the sidewalk sleeping or playing with a paper clip at their desk, but those are behaviors, not attitudes. Likewise, it is impossbile to know if someone is lying (unless they tell you) as that includes an intent as well as an action. I can know if some one is not telling the truth, but not whether they are lying.

These seem like subtle points but they are hugely important in interpersonal relationships. Telling people they are lazy (or lying) is presuming their intent; you are saying that you can read their minds. You can't.

People tend to get pretty defensive when you tell them what they intended or that you know their thoughts. It is totally ineffective in resolving an issue of laziness or attitude. We have to stick with observable behaviors and offer feedback on whether we'd like to see more or less of particular behaviors.

This stuff is not theoretical. Believe me, I have learned the hard way.

The point of this long-winded, soap-boxy rant (sorry!) is that this author sounds like someone I would never read or recommend based on the titles alone!


skwanch's picture

[quote]Instead of saying, "You're not succeeding because you haven't maximized your potential", blah blah... his style is more like, "You're not succeeding because you've been lazy. Stop that, now."[/quote]

I came upon 'It's Called Work for a Reason' when I was at the bookstore (picking up 'The Effective Executive', and some other stuff). Out of curiousity, I opened the book and began to read.

I only got halfway through the first page before putting the book down. His assumption that the reader wastes half his day thru 'laziness' or 'slacking' may apply to some folks, but those aren't the folks that are going to read productivity books. In a similar vein, my problem is finding a way to get more done, not motivating myself to work on what I have. Deadline pressure and a full inbox motivates me plenty, thankyouverymuch. I spend extra hours at my desk several days a month trying to stay on top of things, and it's not because I spent the day at the watercooler. I need Drucker (what are the right things to do?), not Winget ('you're lazy! you need to work harder!').

My take - he's grinding a personal axe, not trying to actually help anyone (other than his publisher).

ashdenver's picture

I happen to like Larry Winget's style. My husband had me record the opening to his show so he could use "People are so full of crap!" as his cell phone (personal) voice mail greeting.

Some people just don't respond to the softer approach. They're able to tune it out, blow it off, shove it to the side. Those folks, honestly, IMO (and Larry's apparently!) need the in-your-face, pull-no-punches, abrasiveness to get them to pay attention to what they're actually doing without the fluffy b.s. P.C. words that have invaded today's society.

To be fair, I haven't read his books - I've only watched "Big Spender" on A&E. From the sounds of it, his books are the same as his show and his blog/website.

If he says something that doesn't apply, why take it personally? He's writing to a general audience and my guess is that people who do purchase his books: already know his style & what to expect; are on the fence about whether or not they're doing all they could be doing & are looking for a push; are buying the book to give to someone else.

WillDuke's picture
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I haven't read the stuff, but to apply my MT skills and knowledge.. Could we say he's a high D writing to high Ds?

And it seems like many people in management positions are high Ds, this might not be altogether a bad target.

The problem I foresee, is that this high D manager might deliver this high D message to people who aren't high D. Oh, if only people could go somewhere to get really good training.

Anyone have any ideas? :wink:

ashdenver's picture

Ha, that's funny! I didn't even think of it like that. I have my D button sitting right here. That might explain quite a bit then!

One would only hope that a high D manager would have support staff in place that would understand the high D tendencies, not take them personally and help disseminate the core message using verbiage more conducive to receptivity.

Our former VP/GM was a high D and the 'brunt' of his D-ness went to his directs and they funneled it down to their own directs with their own style. To him, it was quintessential to retain the Jolly Leader persona to the masses but the real D would come out in meetings - harsh, blunt, abrasive, somewhat mean.

The closest I got to experiencing his D-ness was when he basically told me "Quit yer snit-fit and go play nice-nice with her" and I got to use my own D-ness to tell him "Stuff it, it's not a snit-fit and the only way I'm getting within ten feet of her is on a professional basis cuz I have no interest in faking a friendship with a venomous snake." As soon as I showed my own D, he backed down and respected me for it. He understood it, I think.

WillDuke's picture
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Hmm. I think M&M put out a podcast about tailoring your feedback based on the personality of the person receiving it... :wink:

misstenacity's picture

I know I let this thread die for awhile, but now I've reread it and wanted to comment that Larry Winget's tone appealed to me, yet I'm a high C.

This gets a little close to the heart of the matter, but my personality does well when someone IS being harsh and direct, even if I don't like it. I might be like a dog that way, looking for feedback both positive and negative and "enjoying" it all.


P.S. I'm now recalling the excellent SNL skit with Bob Newhart telling a patient to just "stop it!" to all of her inappropriate behaviors. :D

AManagerTool's picture

I actually bought and read the entire book. I got through it in 1 day. I'd like to say that was because it was hugely informative. Unfortunately, I cannot. The real reason was that there was just nothing there and that made it easy to get through. No real material other than his vitriolic shtick about how I created this mess and I should shut up, quit whining and get on with it. The style appealed to me. It brought me right back home listening to my mother's high D nurturing style and reminds me not to do exactly that to my staff.

My advice is that if you are considering this book, save the 12 bucks, slam your finger in a car door and then read Drucker.