Libro NA/52 :: Buy-In by John Kotter & Lorne Whitehead


Mr. Chris Looby, a professor of Operations and Business Culture, banished the overused term “buy-in” in his graduate courses.



“If you are searching for Buy-In, people can always Opt Out…. Aim to achieve Consensus.”



About halfway through Buy-In by John Kotter and Lorne Whitehead, I opted out. Consensus has been achieved however – don’t read this book.




Years ago I had a hang-up about the failure to finish a book.

Thought it was a character flaw.

Sign of weakness.

A personal letdown to the ghost of Lombardi.




But then I noticed I’d simply avoid reading.

I’d be stuck on the same book for months.




And then one day I stopped caring.

“Life’s too short.” I thought.

Got plenty of other character flaws anyway.

Rather be weak than uninformed.

Lombardi was a Packer.




I started bailing on books that were annoying me.

Like this one.

Screen shot 2013-01-22 at 9.05.35 AM

The subtitle of Buy-In is Saving Your Good Ideas from Getting Shot Down. Kotter and Whitehead capture interest early by identifying the four standard “generic attack strategies” used to poke holes in your idea. This info is helpful. Here they are:




Stirring up Confusion

Death by delay

Fear Mongering

Ridicule/Character Assassination





The storyline deployed to counteract these 4 strategies is the problem. It’s weak and annoying. The story is about 2 guys attempting to obtain computers for a library. The play-by-play of the pitch to the crowd at the public library goes on forever. Painful.




The characters used to present the attack strategies all had names like “Avoidus Riski” (wants to avoid risk…) and “Heidi Agenda” (she hides her true agenda). Hearing these names over and over was obnoxious. And it was insulting to the reader. Engaging stories don’t need gimmicks like this.




Bottom line: Opt out of Buy-In. If you want to read a great book about not having your good ideas killed, read Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by the Heath Brothers.

Bradley Hartmann is El Presidente at Red Angle ( He plans on reading 52 books this year and will report back on his progress. This book did not qualify for the Libro 52 challenge. 

Categories: Libro 52 Challenge

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36 replies


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