The Shibumi Strategy: A Powerful Way to Create Meaningful Change
November 2010, Jossey-Bass
Gold Medal Winner, Business Fable, 2012 Axiom Business Book Awards
A personal leadership fable on applying principles of Zen to work & life choices.
The Shibumi Strategy is a little book about a big breakthrough. It tells the story of a hardworking family man who finds himself in crisis when his company closes. Through his struggle, and guidance from unlikely sources, he learns subtle lessons in the form of “personal zen” principles, coming to understand that it is often the involuntary challenge, the setbacks, that harbor the power to transform. When approached as an opportunity — no easy task when simple survival is the first order of business—unforeseen trials can sometimes result in an altogether new lease on life.
- Shows how "personal leadership" can lead to real (and not always easy) breakthroughs
- Includes key lessons on commitment, preparation, struggle, breakthrough, and transformation
- Is based on Shibumi, a Japanese word without literal definition that describes the height of personal excellence, elegant performance, and effortless effectiveness.
For those struggling with personal breakthroughs, The Shubimi Strategy offers a new way to face work and life challenges for balanced solutions.
Note to Reader.
Reflections on Shibumi.
Kata for Practice.
Notes and References.
Reading and Resources.
About the Author.
MATTHEW E. MAY is an internationally recognized innovation author, design strategist, and columnist for the American Express OPEN Forum Idea Hub. He is a popular speaker and master kaizen coach, working with organizations all over the world. His previous books include In Pursuit of Elegance and The Elegant Solution. He lives in Southern California.
—Gretchen Rubin, author, The Happiness Project
"Matt May has written a little book full of big ideas.
Drawing from ancient Zen practice and applying those principles to
modern life, he shows how you can turn the obstacles in your path
into opportunities to transform your career, perhaps even your
—Daniel H. Pink, author, Drive and A Whole New Mind
“Matt's done it again: shown us how to break out of
constraints and get the job done. He's also proven how Japanese
practices and Zen principles that are difficult to translate can
—Guy Kawasaki, co-founder, Alltop.com and author, Reality Check
"The holy grail for any leader is to reach a state of clarity
and peak performance. Through the power of story, The Shibumi
Strategy shows us how, and sheds an invaluable light on the
role (and potential) of the everyday struggles we face."
—Scott Belsky, founder & CEO, Behance and author, Making Ideas Happen
"What an exquisite story! Matt May deftly weaves ancient wisdom
with modern realities, revealing how each of us can embrace the
struggle inherent in any meaningful breakthrough—and use it
to transform our own potential in work and life."
—Sally Hogshead, author, Fascinate: Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation
“This is a treasure of a book, and just the kind of
uplifting medicine that’s needed right now. It’s about
something that in the west we don’t even have a name for, and
yet it holds the key to finding our way in challenging times. When
you know how to look at the events of your life, everything is
there to show you what you can’t see on your own, and offer
you opportunities that you normally walk right by. No matter your
life circumstances, this is the kind of book that can (and almost
certainly will) change your life.”
— Sarah Susanka, author, The Not So Big Life and The Not So Big House series
“The Shibumi Strategy is a simple but affecting
tale—a must-read for anyone looking to make sense of
breakthrough change at work and in life.”
— Ori Brafman, coauthor, Click: The Magic of Instant Connections
“The Shibumi Strategy tells a touching story with a
universally resonant message you’ll want to keep close to
your heart and share with others.”
— Maddy Dychtwald, author, Influence: HowWomen’s Soaring Economic Power Will Transform Our World for the Better
“This exceptional book is a game-changer. Read it. Apply
it (fast). And step into your next level.”
— Robin Sharma, author, The Leader Who Had No Title and The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari
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