Damian Hughes New Book Review

Damian Hughes New Book Review

How to think like Sir Alex Ferguson
By Professor Damian Hughes

Executive Summary

Every book I have read by Damian is simple, easy to read and incredibly impactful. Its what I would call a ‘one sitter’ – a book that you just want to keep reading; one you do not want to put down.

Through the metaphors of Sir Alex, Damian provides us with insights to handle – and create - change. The book introduces you to a Sir Alex who is a student of human nature, an inquisitive mind and a person who embraces change;
 “I always felt I couldn’t afford not to change”.

He takes you on a journey through change – in understanding your views on change and causes you to think about what happens to your focus when you are under pressure. The book goads you into changing the record, change the goalposts and assess your confidence levels.

First Published: October 2014.

About the author

One of my favourite quotes sums up Damian Hughes.

“People will forget what you said.
People will forget what you did.
But people will never forget how you made them feel”
~Maya Angelou

I have been incredibly lucky to have worked alongside Professor Damian Hughes. His keynotes are insightful, funny, in depth and remarkable. I use the word remarkable as when Damian has been in a company they will remark upon his sessions with feeling and can quote the stories that he brought to life for them. That’s a gift.

He is the author of six best-selling books, including Liquid Thinking, Liquid Leadership and How to Change Absolutely Anything as well the founder of the LiquidThinker – a company which takes the psychological methods used by great achievers and shows, in easy steps, how you can adopt them into your own life and business.
He has worked as a change management consultant and sports psychologist for Sale Sharks, West Bromwich Albion, France Rugby Union and Warrington Wolves, England and GB Rugby League team.
He also runs a Manchester inner-city youth club, Collyhurst and Moston, which has helped reduce crime and help many kids find a purpose in their lives from stopping crime to winning Olympic medals.

Why would you read this book?

If you are a leader going through change (OK, so anyone in the world!) then this is a great read. As leaders we tend to make things really difficult and what Damian is great at doing is cutting through the ‘stuff’ and giving us metaphors to expand our awareness and tools to simplify our thoughts.

‘Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication’
~Leonardo de Vinci

At a glance

What I really loved about this book was the ease at which Damian brings in the psychology. Tucked behind a quote from Ferguson about the distinction about footballers that make it, is Damian’s introduction to the self-consistency theory. A story about great sports coaches such as Bob Bowman leads us into thinking about ‘controlling the controllables’.  

He delivers quotes, metaphors and psychology in a rounded package of 10 chapters.

Character for change

  • This chapter demonstrates the importance of attitude with brilliant stories from Robbie Brady and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

See change

  • Impactful half time team talks and visualisation examples get our neural pathways forming some deep thoughts

Change your focus

  • Demonstrating Fergusons’ ruthless focus gets you thinking about whether you become distracted or fovially focused in times of pressure

Change your view

  • This chapter poses views on optimism and stories on managing outlooks.

Change the record

  • Consulting your key feedback players and managing your reaction time to feedback

Change your confidence levels

  • The psychology behind the positive focus and conquering our own mountains recalibrates our confidence levels

Control the winds of change

  • Controlling the controllables is the phrase that every leader can create a plan from

Changing the goalposts and

  • Damian gets us breaking down our goals and making them happen

Changing your mind

  • Brilliant stories of players in different mindsets leading to different results

Top take-outs

In quoting Professor Terry Orlick;

“Life is full of extraordinary opportunities for embracing simple joys within ordinary experiences. Joyfulness lives within the magic of opening our minds and hearts to find joy in simplicity itself”

Damian got me thinking about being on the lookout for ‘highlights opportunities’ and reflecting on all the opportunities to enjoy a moment.

•  Space styled is all about the environment we find ourselves in and to hear that at least 70% of what you think about is contained in your immediate environment really resonated for me. The output I find myself producing when in a spacious, creative environment is beyond comparison.

•  I think one of the key qualities is in a leaders listening – truly, attentively listening to the person in front of them; to the challenge they face. To hear that we can listen 4 times faster than anyone can talk really resonated in the ‘waiting to talk’ phrase and the skill that deep listeners have to slow down their internal dialogue.

•  I also believe that leadership is fun. I know I use fun and humour as a Trojan horse to get to the real conversation.  

To hear that children laugh 400 times a day and an adult only 15 times caused me to think about those 385 laughs that us adults are choosing to miss out on.

Why would we do that to ourselves?  

•    And finally, I really liked the categorisation of the criteria of goals. As I launch new businesses I am going to set aside some time to map out my dream result, realistic result and minimum acceptable result.

And super finally, the below sums up the leadership of Sir Alex and other great leaders…

“He taught me the difference between going through the motions or getting everything out of your talent”
~Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

“He taught me the difference between going through the motions or getting everything out of your talent”

~Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

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