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Book Review: Humble Inquiry

Edgar H. Schein assumes in Humble Inquiry: The Gentle Art of Asking Instead of Telling that his readers are from the U.S. He refers, for example, to “our” task-oriented pragmatic culture throughout the book. And when discussing the main inhibitor of Humble Inquiry (Chapter 4) he only discusses the U.S. culture. This means that Schein addresses “the gentle art of asking instead of telling” from a rather narrow perspective. I’d also suggest to stop using the term “subordinates“. It makes it much more difficult to move from telling to asking if we are still talking subordination. Subordination is in itself an inhibitor to Humble Inquiry!

Below are some quotes from the book:

… the issue of asking versus telling is really a fundamental issue in human relations …

Personalization is the process of acknowledging the other person as a whole human, not just a role.

… trust is one of those words that we all think we know the meaning of but is very hard to define.

… even ordinary conversations is a complex dance involving moment-to-moment decisions …

Learning new things is easy when there is no unlearning involved.

In my personal life … I find that the biggest mistakes I make and the biggest risks I run all result form mindless hurrying …

It need not take much time, but it requires a different pace.

… our tendency to leap to judgment prevents us from reflecting …

It amazes me how often a low-key question … produces far better decisions than … votes.

Most of my important lessons about life have come from recognizing how others from a different culture view things.

Effective groups review their decisions to see what can be learned.

By Jan Höglund

I share my reading, book reviews, and learning in my blog.

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