“Yes” or “No” – Book Review

Yes or No Spencer Johnson

“Yes” or “No”

The Guide to Better Decisions – A Story

Author – Spencer Johnson, M.D.Yes or No Spencer Johnson

Publisher – Harper Business

Genre – Business/Money

112 Pages

ISBN – 0-88730-631-4

I’m a big fan of Spencer Johnson’s book Who Moved My Cheese?  So, when I came across this book, “Yes” or “No,” I knew I wanted to give it a try.

Like Who Moved My Cheese?, “Yes” or “No” is told in a story format.  A nameless young man embarks on a hike up a mountain with other experienced business men and women to learn the secret of making better decisions.  He knows he can do better and wants to make the right decisions in his business and personal life, but doesn’t feel confident in his ability to come to the right conclusion.

Through the guidance of The Guide and others on the journey, the young man learns a formula, referred to as The Map, for making good decisions.  He takes notes and creates his own map for reference later in life.

The map consists of asking yourself two questions when faced with any difficult decision.  First, you ask yourself a Head question, and then you ask yourself a heart question.  Each question consists of three parts and can be answered simply with a Yes or No.  When  question is answered with a No, it is reevaluated.

The reason for a head question and a heart question is because it takes both to make the best possible decision.  Most people tend to use only one or the other.  I, personally, am a thinker and often neglect my feelings in decision making.  Others I know, make decisions based entirely on feeling and don’t take the time to think things through.

Here’s a breakdown of the decision-making formula.

The Head question is:

Am I meeting the real need, informing myself of options, and thinking it through?

  • The first part of the question helps you analyze if you are deciding based on a need or a want.  A real need is a necessity and a want is a wish.  Satisfying the needs first will always propel you in the right direction.
  • The second part of the question helps you to realize that there are many options and you need to consider all of them.  There are always more options than you initially realize.  If they’re not apparent to you, then create options.
  • The third part of the question prompts you to ask yourself, What then? And then ask What then? again and again to imagine what the final outcome of your decision would look like.  Follow your decision all the way to the best and worst possible scenario.

The Heart question is:

Does my decision show I am honest with myself, trust my intuition, and deserve better?

  • The first part of the question makes you examine your beliefs.  What illusions do you want to believe instead of admitting the truth based on experience?  Decisions based on illusions never produce the outcomes we expected.
  • The second part of the question forces you to consider if you are facing your decision with enthusiasm or with fear.  What decision would you make if you weren’t afraid?  Is there a peace in the decision you are making?   If you’re not quite sure, appeal to a Better Intuition, through prayer.
  • The final part of the question causes you to admit that even though you think you deserve better, too often you hold yourself back because you don’t really believe it.  The thought of just surviving or making it through should be satisfactory is like driving with the breaks on.  What would you do if you really believed you deserved better?

The story of “Yes” or “No” lacks any depth and is definitely not as engaging as Who Moved My Cheese?  Yet, the dialog allows for some explanation of ideas as well as some real life examples of good decisions and bad decisions.  Some characters have names and back stories which seem irrelevant to the point, except to possibly suggest the system for making better decisions can be used by anyone anywhere.  There is some repetition in the dialog as well as a lot of laughing for some strange reason.  However, there are quick reviews at the end of each section to help drive the point home if you find yourself skimming over the dialog like I did.

Overall, it was a quick read and definitely had some great insight into making better decisions.  I would recommend “Yes” or “No” to anyone who is struggling with a difficult decision or lacking the confidence to make good decisions.  I suggest taking notes or at least writing down the formula at the end to help you remember the steps for better decision making.

Do you make your decisions with your head or your heart?  What part of this formula helped you realize why some of your decisions don’t turn out well?  Join the conversation here.


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Love Does – Book Review

Love Does

Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World

Author – Bob GoffLove Does

Publisher – Thomas Nelson

Genre – Religion/Spirituality/General

224 pages

ISBN – 978-1-4002-0375-8

Being an INTJ, I am skeptical of religious books even though I’m a Christian.  I’m a thinker and shun books that rely on emotional frenzy for engagement.  I’m nearly allergic to anything that has the word love in it.  Love story, love song, love fest, etc…  I don’t like all that mushy stuff.  To me, love isn’t about heart flutters and emotion.  Instead, it’s about appreciating someone enough to put their needs ahead of my own and love them in tangible ways.

I first heard about Love Does from Glennon Doyle Melton, author of Carry On, Warrior and founder of Momastery.com, while in an interview with Michael Hyatt.  Glennon was talking about loving people in actionable ways and referred to Bob Goff and his book, Love Does, as her inspiration to help people.  Glennon’s credibility and fervency in helping people led me to put this book on my reading list.

When Love Does arrived in the mail, it was accompanied by two other highly recommended books I had ordered at the same time.  I asked my friends in a Facebook group which book to read first.  There was an overwhelming response for Love Does.

Love Does is a series of short stories written about Bob Goff’s life.  Each one begins with a statement of a personal or spiritual shift in perspective as an introduction to his story.  I call them Goffisms.  For example, the first chapter starts with, “I used to want to fix people, but now I just want to be with them.”

The stories are not more than 10 pages long and always have a moral tale of going beyond the normal and typical to discover the incredible things we’re all capable of doing.  There is 31 chapters, plus an introduction and an epilogue.  I chose to read it with the intention of reading at least one chapter per day to be done in a month.  It was harder to put down than I originally thought.

This book went far beyond my expectations.  Bob has a light and friendly tone despite being a lawyer by profession.  He tells the truth about himself without holding back his failures and misdeeds.  For example, he told the story of wanting to drop out of high school, how he and his wife sneaked into his buddy’s hotel room and racked up a large room service bill just for fun, how he became the Honorary Consul for Uganda to the United States by accident, how he was fired from his first prestigious job, and how he occupied the bench outside of the dean’s office for seven days until he was finally allowed into the law school from which he was rejected.

Each story is full of whimsy, fun, and faith.  But most of all, they’re full of love.  Bob’s belief that love does is shared in such an engaging way that he made me think I could also do incredible, meaningful things for others.

I would absolutely recommend the book, Love Does.  It is far from the typical Christian tale of showing God’s love and following the example of Christ.   It will have you thinking how to show God’s word rather than just study it.  As the author leads you through his thought processes, you’ll find yourself creating your own Goffisms, experiencing paradigm shifts in your beliefs, and changing your view of what real love and Christian faith look like.

100% of the proceeds from the book Love Does goes to Restore International, an organization founded by Bob Goff that gives a voice, education and legal representation to thousands of children in several countries, who have had their human rights violated in numerous ways.  Just by purchasing the book, you are immediately involved in doing what love does.  I hope you pick this book up soon, share it, and commit to showing love in actionable ways.


Have you read Love Does by Bob Goff? What’s your opinion of the book?  Comment here.

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