Change Your Questions, Change Your Life: Book 5


This book was a pleasant surprise! This is Book 5 in my journey on the #EmptyShelf Challenge and I’m glad I read this. I plan to use its principles in my work and in my life. (Click to see my original article on the #EmptyShelf Challenge.) Here is my summary of Change Your Questions, Change Your Life.

Title: Change Your Questions, Change Your Life: 10 Powerful Tools for Life and Work
Author: Marilee Adams, Ph.D.
Publisher: Berrett-Koehler (2009)

What the book is about

This book presents a very practical and easy-to-understand method for pulling yourself out of self-defeating traps of negativity and depression by changing the questions you ask yourself and others.

Why I read this book

Initially, my interest in the book was piqued merely by its title. I love questions. I suppose that’s because I love to learn. On many occasions I’ve said that one reason I like coaching and consulting work is that asking questions is fundamental to all of the work I do. Students in my classes will also tell you that I like to ask them lots of questions (and challenge them to find their own answers). So, a book called “Change Your Questions” caught my attention right away.

I soon discovered, though, that the book wasn’t about improving my ability to use questions to gain information and see others’ perspectives (although that is part of the philosophy). Instead, the book is about improving my ability to understand myself, others, and situations.

Favorite idea

My favorite idea in the book is that the nature of the questions we ask ourselves and others has such a profound effect on how we think, perceive our world, and interact with others.

I have another favorite:
That assumptions underlie every thought we have and decision we make. Until we become aware of and identify those assumptions, we don’t really have power to control our thoughts and make effective decisions.

(It’s my blog. I can have three favorite thoughts.)
A process similar to brainstorming is “Q-storming” but it focuses on developing questions that move beyond limited thinking and perceptions.

Do I recommend this book?

Very much so. Since finishing the book, I find myself thinking more about the explicit and implied questions I ask myself and others. It has had a definite impact on me. Note that Adams uses the parable, or story-telling model to present her ideas (similar to what Og Mandino, Patrick Lencioni, and others do). Some people don’t like this approach because, unless the story is very engaging, it can get in the way of delivering the message. That problem is present in this book, but the concepts are worth working through the story.

Dr. Scott Yorkovich is a leadership coach and consultant. He works with individuals, small and medium organizations, and ministries. Contact him at ScottYorkovich[at] with your questions.

One thought on “Change Your Questions, Change Your Life: Book 5

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