Review: Triggers, one of the most important books of 2015 for both business and personal betterment

Triggers: Creating Behavior That Lasts--Becoming the Person You Want to Be
Triggers: Creating Behavior That Lasts–Becoming the Person You Want to Be by Marshall Goldsmith
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

TRIGGERS is one of the most important books of 2015 for both business and personal betterment, namely in enacting adult behavioral change. As author Marshall Goldsmith writes, “Fate is the hand of cards we’ve been dealt. Choice is how we play the hand.” This book helps us to overcome many of the obstacles we may already know about and then lets us triumph with lasting change by making effective choices.

“I’d go so far as to say that adult behavioral change is the most difficult thing for sentient human beings to accomplish.” Many readers may look at books like this as common sense, but there’s “plenty here that you don’t already do”. Goldsmith has a chapter on the everyday excuses we give ourselves, whether we mean to or not. More importantly, he helps us realize that “Our environment is a magnificent willpower-reduction machine.” “We think we are in sync with our environment, but actually it’s at war with us.” Goldsmith elaborates into tools within the environment that can help us “trigger” the positive change we are looking to achieve.

There aren’t many graphs or bullets, like many of the business books of this type, but instead are personal stories of how Goldsmith has come to an understanding of change and how it has helped many of his high-profile clients. There are certainly Covey-like graphs with four quadrants, as well as acronym takeaways. However, the biggest help (to me, at least) are the key questions, both daily and hourly.

There is a definite, yet subtle difference in passive versus active questioning. The former asks questions like “Do you have clear goals?”. The latter asks, “Did you do your best to set clear goals?” For the curious, here are the six questions toward the end of the book:

1. Did I do my best to set clear goals?
2. Did I do my best to make progress toward my goals?
3. Did I do my best to find meaning?
4. Did I do my best to be happy?
5. Did I do my best to build positive relationships?
6. Did I do my best to be fully engaged?

The questions don’t stop here: they pertain to anything from helping your spouse to losing weight to being on time to events. There’s plenty for us to seek out and improve. The key is: “Structure not only increases our chance of success, it makes us more efficient at it.” Through the tools that Goldsmith offers, we are given the energy and power to combat resource depletion and procrastination.

One other key takeaway for me is the question Goldsmith created by combining ancient Buddist wisdom with that of business great Peter Drucker: AIWATT, “Am I willing at this time to make the investment required to make a positive difference on this topic?”


Through questioning and structure and by choosing what to create, preserve, eliminate, or accept, we can change for the permanent good. Always getting better, with sustainable improvement.

Thank you to Blogging for Books for sending this book for my review. It’s a life changer.


One thought on “Review: Triggers, one of the most important books of 2015 for both business and personal betterment

  1. Pingback: Top Ten Tuesday: Reasons to be glad that I’m back from vacation (GIVEAWAY announcement) | The Avid Reader – Books, Books, Books!

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