Wait, What? Book Summary

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Wait, What? And Life’s Other Essential Questions by James E. Ryan


Spend more time thinking about the right questions to ask.
Many of us spend too much time worrying about having the right answers.
Only by asking questions of others can you articulate a vision that is compelling to those with whom you work.
An answer can only be as good as the question.
Posing good questions is harder than it seems.
The moment of discovery is the discovery of the question.
It is important to listen for good questions.
Learn to distinguish the hostile questions from the clumsy but innocent questions.
The only truly bad questions are statements disguised as questions designed to trip you up or be hostile.
Questions are like keys, the right question asked at the right time, will open a door to something you don’t yet know, something you haven’t yet realized, or something you haven’t even considered about others or about yourself.

Five essential questions you should always be asking and listening for.

  1. Wait, what?!
  2. I wonder…(why or if)?
  3. Couldn’t we at least?
  4. How can I help?
  5. What truly matters?

Chapter 1: Wait, what?!

Essential yet profound.
It can be asked in different ways with pauses or emphasis.
Clarification is the first step towards truly understanding something.
A good way to avoid jumping to conclusions.
The world will be a richer place for you the more you understand the people and ideas you encounter in it.

Chapter 2: I Wonder

The first half of a question that ends with “why” or “if.”
A way to prompt yourself to improve the world around you.
The world is filled with mysteries and puzzles waiting to be solved.

Chapter 3: Couldn’t we at least?

The core of a series of questions.
A way to get unstuck.
Whatever can do, or dream you can, begin it; boldness has genius, power and magic in it.
Getting started does not guarantee success but it does guarantee that you will not live with regret about failing to try.
What we don’t do often haunts us more than what we actually do.

Chapter 4: How can I help?

Avoid the savior complex.
This question forms the base of all good relationships.

Chapter 5: What truly matters?

Forces you to get to the heart of an issue
It helps you separate the truly important from the trivial.

Conclusion: the Bonus Question

Did you get what you wanted from this life even so?

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Hope you enjoyed this and got value from my notes.
This is the 50th book read in my 2018 reading list.
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