Book Review – “The Primes”

“The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their right name.”  This Confucian reference was quoted early and it provided a context that allowed me to read and absorb Chris McGoff’s 2011 book, “The Primes, How Any Group Can Solve Any Problem.”

Chris gives us 32 constructs or tools that we can use in almost any challenging situation to not just wrestle with incremental change, but to blast our organizations into another “universe.”  In fact, you may want to get comfortable with the term “universe denters” because it’s used a great deal throughout the book as a term of endearment for people that can embrace a future and help lead an organization to its fullest potential.

The constructs, or The Primes, are time-tested truths Chris and his team have used in large transformational projects all over the world.  As I read through many of The Primes, such as Integrity, Big Hat-Little Hat and Fragmentation, I could easily imagine myself in ‘strategic planning session’, where integrity, hidden agendas, problem ownership and allegiances were very difficult issues to manage.  The Primes give you insight into handling those difficult situations and many more.

Not included as Primes but useful nonetheless are concepts like “Strategic Pause” and “Dragons.”  Trust me, if you’ve ever spent more than 5 minutes in any organizational planning meeting, you’ll relate to all of these concepts.

“The Primes” is very much worth your investment of time and money.  It is a book to get you thinking.  A book that will challenge your sense of destiny.  If you’ve been comfortable with the status quo, you’ll be a bit uncomfortable while you read “The Primes”, but that is exactly why you should.

 “The Primes”. Chris McGoff. Victory Publishers. New York, 201114

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