My Review of Jeff Shinabarger’s Yes or No

“This book is an invitation to as you consider your next decision.” from Chapter 2, “My Story.”

18812076I have read many books on leadership itself and also biographies of leaders such as  US Presidents, US generals, and corporate CEOs. I have always found them to be informational and inspirational. Some of those books have described, to one degree or another, the subject’s decision making process or made no reference to their process at all.

But decision making is a vital part of leadership and deserves a closer look, especially today within the ever increasing complexity of post-modern life. I think that Jeff Shinabarger gives leaders of all kinds and in all kinds of organizations, the opportunity to “step back, take time, and process” their next decisions in his new book Yes or No.

Yes or No: How Your Everyday Decisions Will Forever Shape Your Life (David C. Cook) is a wonderfully simple (not simplistic) outline of how one person makes his decisions from the perspective of problem solving, which he defines in his personal vision as an “influencer helping create solutions, then helping to sustain those new solutions to some of the world’s biggest problems while being rooted in local community.”

Divided into three themed sections, Choosing Decision Making, Your Philosophy of Choice, and The Decision-Making Process Shinabarger takes the reader on a process journey as he first shares his story and moment clarity watching a coconut cutter shaving coconuts into a ready made drinks as he biked the streets of Granada, Nicaragua with his family.

“Every time I saw this process, it made me think about what I am designed to be and do. As I watched the Coconut Guy carve off the edges with each whack of the machete, I thought of all the different things I had tried in my life. Things that seemed like a good fit for me but didn’t quite match my abilities and loves. Whack. I like doing this but fail miserably when I try doing that.  Whack… Those bike rides gave me a lot of time to think about my life and the things I had shed on the way to discovering my life purpose. Without shaving things off our life, we will never find our ultimate purpose. Those decisions that define purpose separate decision makers from everyone else.”

The result was a clarity about who he was and what he was supposed to do because, as Shinabarger notes,

“I took the time and I worked a process. I took a moment to stand back and evaluate what I was made to do with my life and why I was doing it.”

From there Shinabarger takes the reader into the section Your Philosophy of Choice as he addresses matters of the heart with the question, “What do you love?” leading off this section he reminds the reader that s/he has many loves and that “prioritizing your loves” is essential as “the stating point for decision making.” The questions and issues raised in this chapter were very thought provoking as Shinabarger does a great job of helping the reader to understand the powerful influence of love on decision making.  From there the place of wisdom, “[w]isdom doesn’t happen in a day; wisdom is gained with every day…” is given a hearing followed by the key question, “What will you be known for?” with a list of “four common practices that problem solvers choose: 1. “Be in places where problems happen.” 2. “Understand your responsibility.” 3. “Be in the clouds with feet touching the concrete.” and 4. “Tell a memorable story.”

Then a key chapter on decision making styles (which invites the reader to go to and take a test to see what his/her style of decision making is) is next which includes a six step process for making decisions that is not limited to one’s own personal style. This leads to the concluding section on the decision making process itself with attention given to expanding, then narrowing one’s options,  understanding who is influenced in the decision making process, including one’s family, followed by inviting others to serve as advisers, facing one’s fears, making time for solitude, and concluding with stepping forward to make a decision because, as Jeff says, “Decisions don’t happen in a moment; they happen continuously.”

There is so much to this book that I found helpful – the thought about prioritizing your loves as central to your decision making was an ‘ah ha’ moment for me; the place of solitude in decision making; the possibility of envisioning more options than is often first noticed- all of these and more really helped me gain some greater clarity on decision making. I found Yes or No to be conversational in tone in a manner in which decision making is seen as not just a part of leadership but of life itself. The lessons and thoughts on decision making is applicable to leaders in any size organization which makes it a valuable read in all, or at least, most organizational settings.

I rate this book an ‘outstanding’ read.

Note: I received a copy of this book via Icon Media Group in exchange for a review. I was not required to write a positive review.


Now wait there is more!

Would you like to have your own copy of Yes or No ?

You would? Great!

Be the first person to comment to this post with “I want to be a Yes or No person!” and a copy of the book is yours! No matter if you live in South Dakota or South Africa, a copy of Yes or No will be sent to you!

Once you respond then I will send you an email asking for a correct mailing address so you can receive your copy that will be forwarded to a member of the Icon Media Group staff .

There is nothing to buy !

Finally, check out this video from the publisher of Yes or No about the place of decision making in our everyday lives.



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