Insight, by Tasha Eurich, is the self-awareness manual we didn’t know we needed. We didn’t know we needed it, but it turns out we do—desperately so. As Eurich herself points out in chapter one, “self-awareness is the meta-skill of the twenty-first century.” So rare is this skill, and so powerful a determiner of success in both business and relationships, that we cannot afford not to develop it. Eurich defines—really, hacks the definition of—self-awareness, convinces the reader why it matters so much, and then gives pages of practical application.
The “definition hack” mentioned above is really the key point of the book: that there are two parts to self-awareness. There is internal self-awareness, which has to do with seeing yourself clearly, and there is also external self-awareness which is knowing how other people see you. You can have one of these two parts without having the other. According to Eurich, this explains how there can be an increase in business books calling for greater Emotional Intelligence, self-awareness, etc. but a general decline in these skills across the board.
The first half of the book focuses on roadblocks to self-awareness and on internal self-awareness. A critical point in the first half is the inadequacy of introspection to help us discover ourselves. “Thinking isn’t knowing,” Eurich points out. She offers tried-and-true—and often counterintuitive—ideas for really seeing and understanding yourself clearly. One section, about the power of self-compassion, was transformative for me, and I believe it could help many others. Listen to this: “The problem is not being aware of yourself but loving the person you find out you are.” Powerful.
That said, I benefitted even more from the second half of the book. Eurich transitions to talk about external self-awareness, which is painfully elusive to so many of us because we are reluctant to tell each other the truth. She offers page after page of helpful wisdom, and much of it is counterintuitive (a common theme). The book offers many assessments that are sure to provide many “wince moments” and insights into our own blind spots. There is also a section dedicated to building self-aware teams that on its own is worth the price of the book. Finally, Eurich tackles the subject we all hoped she would: How do I deal with the unaware leader that I work for, and can they really change?
All throughout the book, Eurich writes with a playful, yet authoritative tone. At times, I laughed out loud, and other times I found myself getting emotional. She isn’t afraid to tell less-than-rosy stories about herself. Her conclusions and insights come from very thorough research, but she never comes across clinical or dry. In short, she seems to be the perfect author for a book like this.
I highly recommend this book, and I hope and pray it ends up in as many hands as possible. It needs to be read, and widely, because the more who read it, the better off our world will be. Did I just say this book could make the world a better place? Yes I did.
Please Note: This book was gifted as a part of the Blogging for Books Reviewers Program in exchange for my unbiased review of this work. This has in no way influenced my opinion or review of this work.