Daniel Pink’s praise is what encouraged me to read ACCOUNTABILITY. Pink gave one of the most viral and inspiring business talks at TED. Pink’s book DRIVE is an amazing book. If you have to read only one business book this year, and you haven’t already read it, you should definitely read DRIVE. Pink is deft at presenting scientific research, technical terms, and case studies in a catchy format that motivates action. Unfortunately, I did not find the same elements in Greg Bustin’s ACCOUNTABILITY.
I’m sure Bustin’s repertoire precedes him. From the dust jacket description and his own personal stories within ACCOUNTABILITY, Bustin seems like he is transformational as a consultant and speaker. Whatever that magic is, it doesn’t translate well to book form. What we are presented are mostly stories about individual companies and what they represent. What’s really missing is the spark and science of how they got there. Stories are okay, but without the science, it doesn’t click. Contrast this to Brené Brown, who describes herself as a story teller, but has the research and scientific motivation to back it up, as evidenced in her popular book DARING GREATLY. As she says, “maybe stories are just data with a soul.” In this case, ACCOUNTABILITY’s soul seems a bit dry.
Besides the stories, we are given new acronyms, measurement indexes, and analogies that are okay, but nothing that really pops. Some other books that I’ve read that have great analogies are JUGGLING ELEPHANTS and HOW FULL IS YOUR BUCKET. Covey really nailed it with THE SEVEN HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE PEOPLE with all kinds of great new developments, such as quadrant thinking, filling the fish tank with big rocks first, and sharpening the saw. I’m not walking away from ACCOUNTABILITY with any of that same revolutionary motivation.
Is this book helpful? Sure, it can be. Bustin has done a lot of work to define the eponymous word accountability and why it is so important in the workplace. He offers helpful advice that coincides with modern business thought. My biggest complaint is that it’s all pretty cut and dry without much pizazz that the book’s successful counterparts seem to offer.
Thanks to McGraw-Hill Professional for providing me with an electronic galley review copy.