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Book Review: QBQ by John Miller

I just finished reading QBQ by John Miller. This is a book about personal responsibility. It challenges you to stop placing blame and start solving problems. It’s goal is to turn questions like “Why is this happening?” to “What can I do to solve the problem?”

It’s a quick and easy read. I read it in 2 days of casual reading. If I had really sat down to read I could have read it one sitting. The chapters are short so there are plenty of stopping points. That doesn’t mean there isn’t lots to learn. The book is intended to be read over and over as you work towards building your own sense of personal responsibility.

QBQ stands for the “Question Behind the Question”

The question behind the question is what you should really be asking instead of placing blame. Some examples of questions you may hear, or say:

  • “Who is supposed to be covering this area?”
  • “Why are we always so short staffed?”
  • “When are customers going to learn to read the menu?”

The book challenges you take personal responsibility by changing those questions into questions such as:

  • “What can I do to do my job better today?”
  • “What can I do to improve the situation?”
  • “How can I support others?”

One chapter that really struck me was the chapter on the question “When are we going to hear something new?” The thinking behind this question is “When is someone going to tell me something to solve my problem? I’ve read everything there is to read on the subject and I still have my problem.” I didn’t realize it but I do say this to myself. The question behind the question is “How can I apply what I’ve learned?” Makes sense right? If I’ve really already read everything there is to read then it’s reasonable to assume I have learned what I need to know. But I still have my problem. So what does that tell you? That I haven’t applied it!

I feel that if I hear the right words in the right order then all of a sudden my problem will be solved. I will continue to read until I happen upon those magic combination of words. If I don’t then it’s someone’s fault. Either that or my problem is unsolvable.

I think personal accountability is such an important quality to have in life and sadly I also think we are losing it as a society. Or have already lost it. Blame is all around us and it’s so easy to blame others. It’s so much a part of our society that no one even questions us when we place blame. Complain to customer service and see what answers you get. I can bet that most of the time you get blame. “It’s a problem with the manufacturer.” or “The shipping department is slow.” or what have you. You rarely get any personal responsibility. Since reading this book I see it more than I used to.

Do you take personal accountability in your life?

4 thoughts on “Book Review: QBQ by John Miller”

  1. I feel like I do usually take personal accountability in my life. This is probably a tough thing to judge for yourself, and I do admit that I do blame other people or things from time to time when it is my fault. I think a bigger problem of mine is I’m not always the best at taking action for when I do take accountability for something.

  2. It can be hard to take action. That’s kind of step two. First you have to know it’s your deal, then you have to do something about it. I struggle with this also.

    It was a really good book and explains the whole thing better than I did.

  3. It’s certainly easier to blame the problem on someone else or to complain instead of taking action and fix the problem. And it sure is human nature to do the easier thing!

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