The Advice is for Winners manuscript has six parts which follow a traveler metaphor:

  1. The Landscape
  2. Scouting Reports
  3. The Map
  4. Boulders and Watering Holes
  5. Paths Well Traveled
  6. The Destination

Part 1 explains the reasons for the book, analyzes what advice actually consists of, and goes through the many reasons (excuses) why people avoid seeking advice.

Part 2 reviews and builds on prior work: self-improvement books, scholarly literature, and proverbs.

Part 3 is about how to do advice-seeking right, taking an end-to-end view.

Part 4 looks at interesting or problematic stopovers, from dealing with contradictory advice, to the influence of national culture, and the proper role of the web and social media.

Part 5 looks at special cases of advice-seeking: recruiting & hiring, changing jobs, and picking a major.

Part 6 wraps up the lessons of the book.

Question for readers:  what questions about the advisory process would you like to see answered?


2 Responses to

  1. Zippy says:

    Sometimes even when I am claiming to be seeking advice, I realize that I am just looking for confirmation and not more confusion/contradictory advice. Perhaps I have my own ideas or bias as to what kind of advice I need to justify the solutions that I have already formed to a problem. How do I break this habit of selective filtering, even when all the advice that I receive is good advice? In the end, even if I have all the resources/energy/time to pursue the various possible solutions, how do I judge what advice to actually put into good use?
    How should I address those people who I still want to (or have to) stay connected to, but who take it personally when their advice is disregarded?

  2. valdesperez says:

    Several questions here …

    It’s not unusual to be looking just for confirmation of your already-formed decisions. Some people call that a “sanity check”. You tell someone what you want to do, and then just ask if you’re “insane”, i.e., is there something really terrible that you’re missing. If that’s what you really want, then it’s your choice, but if effectiveness is what you want, it’s better to look for advice BEFORE you form an opinion. Try to keep an open mind as a habit, as you gather information.

    If advisors are insulted when you don’t follow their advice, then try to ask them NOT for solutions, but rather for pointers to other information sources, aspects of the problem that you should consider, introductions to other people, etc. and stay away from asking them for actual solutions.

    Of course, it’s better to have advisors who don’t get insulted. If you are offered solutions which you disregard, then you could “close the loop” with the advisor, explain that you carefully considered their recommendation, talked with others, and ultimately decided to do X because it felt right for you, but you appreciate the advice and time they offered you. If they still feel insulted, then it’s not your fault but theirs.

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