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Letters to Garrett: Stories of Change, Power and Possibility

ISBN: 978-0-7879-6115-2
256 pages
April 2002, Jossey-Bass
Letters to Garrett: Stories of Change, Power and Possibility (0787961159) cover image


When Robert Quinn's son Garrett went away to college, he was frustrated and wondered how he could shake off his feelings of depression and anxiety. It was a transition that was difficult for both father and son. Bob finally realized that Garrett didn't need to be fixed; he needed his father's love and support. Bob invited Garrett to exchange letters, and together they embarked on an extraordinary journey. Their letters explore myriad topics-- how to find purpose, live with increased meaning and power, and how we can clarify our core values. But the most important lesson learned is that human progress begins when individuals choose to transform themselves.
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Table of Contents


Letter 1 Introduction: Seek to Make a Difference.

Letter 2 Focus on Being Change.

Letter 3 Make the Choice to Be Extraordinary.

Letter 4 Pursue Your Best Self.

Letter 5 Maintain Profound Contact.

Letter 6 Avoid the Negative Zone.

Letter 7 Practice Responsible Freedom.

Letter 8 Use the Wholonics Constructs.

Letter 9 Ascend the Upward Spiral.

Appendix: Life Statement of Robert E. Quinn.



The Authors.
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Author Information

Robert E. Quinn is a student of the business world and a gifted writer and storyteller. He is the author of numerous books, including Deep Change (Jossey-Bass, 1996) and Change the World (Jossey-Bass, 2000).
Garrett T. Quinn is working in Ann Arbor and getting ready to return to college.
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"The Quinn's, father and son, have favored us with a 'coming of age' story, how they each, in their own way, helped the other to bring out their best selves. It's an epistolary guidebook to learning and loving and leading." --Warren Bennis, Distinguished Professor of Business, USC and author of Geeks and Geezers: Crucibles of Leading and Learning

"When you look into your child's eyes you look into one of the most powerful and bright mirrors of your own strengths and foibles available. Quinn's Letters tells the story of a long hard look into that mirror as part of a process he used to help his son through a period of adversity. Quinn successfully translates his expertise as a professional organizational change agent into a win in the most challenging of all change environments-loving and helping your child in distress. The book educates, instructs, nudges, previews and provides very impactful personal examples and experiences that illuminate the journey of nurturing and growing your children, yourself, and other individuals whose leadership development you have a stake in. As a father, a son, and a professional in the management and leadership development arena, Letters?is one of the most moving, enlightening and heartening books I've read in a while." --Michael McGrath, Vice President, Executive Planning and Development, Charles Schwab

"Have you ever lost your way? Do you know someone who has lost their way? If you are a parent, son, daughter, spouse, grandparent, teacher, or friend then at some point in your life you, too, may have questioned your path. Robert and Garrett Quinn have written a wonderfully poignant account of their journey together as a father attempts to connect with his son to help him to find his way. The Quinns' journey is a deeply moving and personal account of personal transformation and profound contact. In the process of reaching out to his son, Quinn's deeply autobiographical letters contain a wealth of ideas for helping you, the reader, find and live your best self." --Stuart A. Youngblood, Professor of Management, Neeley School of Business, Texas Christian University, Fort Worth

"Letters to Garrett is a masterfully written collection of stories in which Robert Quinn (together with his son, Garrett) provide a touching dialogue of how to establish and sustain human relationships.... whether it is with a son or daughter, spouse, colleagues, peers and/or senior management within your organization....this book transcends the norm to help each one of us create a more fulfilling life." --Roger S. Newton, Ph.D., President/CEO, Esperion Therapeutics, Inc

"Bob Quinn and his son, Garrett, have given us a gem. In sharing their struggle to refine and enhance their troubled relationship, father and son elevate each other, and invite and inspire us to lead more extraordinary lives. Their book is full of light, truth, honesty, courage, and love-the elements of mighty change." --Douglas D. Anderson is founder and managing partner of the Center for Executive Development, Boston, Massachusetts

In the traditions of Covey and Fitz, Quinn puts timeless wisdom into a timely container of loving letters to his college freshman son. As I read it, I found myself often agreeing, sometimes pondering, occasionally quarreling, but always knowing that this is good stuff. It's now in my eldest daughter's hands. It should be in yours.
Put away the chicken soup, Letters to Garret is a hearty stew.... --Philip H. Mirvis, Author and Board Co-Chair, The Foundation for Community Encouragement

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