The other day I picked up a copy of Trust Rules: How to Tell the Good Guys from the Bad Guys in Work and Life from the library. “Good guys” and “bad guys” seemed a bit stark in its philosophy, but admittedly, the title caught my eye. So I checked it out and read it. I’m really glad I didn’t let the title dissuade me, because it’s a very good read.
The overall premise of the book that you must cultivate a “trusted inner circle”—in both your work and personal life—so that you can make better choices and live a less stressful life. Dr. Stroh asserts that too much trust is just as damaging to one’s effectiveness as too little. She gives an example from her life growing up, saying that “I grew up in a family where trust was taken for granted.” Her early family life taught her that people were generally dependable and trustworthy. So, when she went out on her own she occasionally found herself trusting people when she shouldn’t have.
The book uses a nice combination of facts, real-life examples and personal observations to build a case for Dr. Stroh’s prescription for creating your optimal inner circle. She interviewed business leaders who provide trust-related nuggets of wisdom such as “everyone deserves the respect of truth” and “good guys live their values in good times and bad”; she then writes in depth about how each nugget demonstrates an element of trust-building.
As a former corporate trainer, I’m always drawn to books that have a “how to” element in them. This book delivers on that front as well with a self-analysis tool that Dr. Stroh calls the Trust Toolkit. She also outlines steps for a very important element of trust: how and when to forgive when trust has been broken.
If you find yourself consistently let down by people whom you trusted, or you simply are curious about the nature of trust between human beings, be sure to pick up a copy of this book. I’m buying my own copy for my personal library.
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