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Book Review: Rock, Paper, Scissors by Will Jacobs and Fred Lennox

I have been reading self-help books for a long time now, and rarely did I come across a book or two that can help me instantly. I mean, so far, I have read many books on improving my life and career development. Like many others, I, too, always wished for success in my career and jobs, but I think I did not get through. The biggest reason was lack of mentorship and guidance from any source. In an attempt to improve my stances in the corporate world, I had read quite a number of self-help books from famous authors, listened to TED talks, and read articles; surprisingly nothing helped me in the long term. How and why? I will tell you. No book or person or video taught me how to identify people and act accordingly. These self-help stuff always told about time management, learn to say ‘NO’ or wake up at 5 in the morning and so on. Probably, these things help, but the core of the success lies in recognizing the people you are surrounded with.

Luckily, a few weeks ago, I got the chance to read Rock, Paper, Scissors. As the tagline says, ‘The Instant Leadership Solution’, I think I found something that is instant; however, I am not a leader material. But still the book is useful to all who want to understand people, who want to grow while working in a competitive environment, who want to lead or want to understand their leaders and managers, and much more.

Yes, you got it right. The book is such a powerful tool, as a matter of fact, that you will begin recognizing personality types instantly. It means you can deal with them easily and cunningly. As per the book, the authors have segmented people, especially working ones, into three broad categories i.e. Rock, Paper, and Scissors. Who are they and how do they matter? Let me give you some briefing about all three.
  • Rocks are solid one. They do not care much for others. They want their work done and results out in their favour.
  • Papers are good at building relationships, chatting, flattering, and opportunistic, but overall they lack the power to make decisions.
  • Scissors are open-minded, critical of everything, loves backing their decisions and theories on data. They are kind of who believe in analytics because of data. Perfection is something that they always seek.
Hence by knowing the type of person spot on, is like winning the half battle. Be it any work or job, if you lag behind in understanding the people, you are going to suffer both personally and professionally. After reading the book, I got to know myself that I am a Scissors and often shuttles between Rocks and Scissors. I can’t help.

The book doesn’t stop at identifying the personalities, rather it’s full of combinations of these types, such as Rock vs. Paper, Scissors vs. Paper, Rock vs. Rock, and so on. The outcome of all possibilities is really fascinating and seemed full of insights.

Right since the starting, the authors have given a plenty of anecdotes from their work experience, and personal lives. These personal stories make the book captivating and a touch of fiction morph the book from self-help category to something riveting, yet pragmatic. The book is segmented into two parts, theory and practice, with the help of nine chapters and one conclusion. The cartoon images and the short summary at the end of every chapter was much needed relief. This way I was able to revise as well as move ahead for new learning. Another credible aspect about the book is that it always remained a real-like and the experience of both the authors was evident in the issues identified and later solutions provided.

If you check online, you will find that Rock, Paper, Scissors is a popular game, but I wonder if many people across the world also know that it’s an effective framework as well, which seems highly effective for managers, leaders, freshers, mid-level working people. The author has put in psychological aspects to make the frame claims gullible. Overall, a nice book with a gamut of anecdotes and inspiring stories, and of course insights.

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