MKTG Managing Director Michael Brown launched his new book 'I Don't Agree' at an IPA 44 Club in July. We've collated some reviews of Michael's book for IPA members.
This book suggests that we’re really good at arguing, that by the time we’re 16 we’ve already put in serious practice, having been involved in 89,000 barneys.
Being a parent of a threenager this seems like an underestimation, if anything.
Despite this people generally purport to not enjoy arguing and most actively avoid it.
And the evidence in this book suggests that up to 90% of these conflicts never actually reach a satisfactory conclusion.
I was once told by a solicitor that the definition of a good result in a negotiation was two equally disappointed parties. Seemed very negative, but on this evidence probably true.
However, our industry is built on arguments and traditionally has been governed by those who are best at winning them.
We’re collectively used to being beaten down.
My old boss even told me I’d be better at the job than he was because I was argumentative.
So, it’s interesting to come across a book written by an ad industry professional who presents a different picture.
We don’t need to agree to get somewhere, we don’t need to push until we ‘win’.
He argues that there is a more productive way to go about conflict, one that means we actually can get stuff done instead of fighting about how to do it.
It seems like an unassailable task - to fundamentally change something which is possibly in us at a genetic level.
And yet he presents a plausible road map to do this.
Even managing to be entertaining along the way.
There is always the danger that something backed up by research and academia can be dry and inaccessible, but Michael Brown manages to avoid this trap through the clever use of anecdotes and illustration.
By breaking down the core ideas of the book into 10 steps he not only presents a convincing case but makes it seem something that we can learn from and implement in all aspects of our life.
Because as my old boss suggests I’m a natural contrarian I wanted to disagree with the core idea of the book, but annoyingly I can’t. It just kind of makes sense.
It’s actually made me rethink how I approach situations where conflict may arise and in turn has made me reconsider 20 years of professional learning, and arguably 44 years of life experience.
No mean feat.
Michael Brown has dedicated a lot of time, research and gained no little experience trying to define our seemingly endless capacity to fall out with each other, hopefully to avoid or recover from future conflict.
I Don’t Agree is a lively, useful read that, if it doesn’t bring about world peace, may well make it easier to deal with Grumpy Greg in the cubicle next door.
I feel better equipped to handle the daily dilemmas, both in and out of the office and recommend the book to all those who want to educate themselves to an easier life.