Item description for Lasting Contribution: How to Think, Plan, and Act to Accomplish Meaningful Work by Tad Waddington...
A powerful dose of wisdom in a concise package, Lasting Contribution is filled with profound and effective advice on how to make the kinds of contributions --- to work, to organizations, to communities --- that really matter. Drawing from such varied sources as Aristotle, Sun Tzu, Victor Frankl, and Confucius, this book marshals insights that touch on information theory, sociology, Zen, psychology, art history, management theory, and other fields. Waddington's deft ability to illuminate his ideas using colorful examples --- everything from the Titanic and Santa Claus to skateboarding and Oprah's shoes --- make the book as engaging as it is wise and thoughtful. Above all, Lasting Contribution offers different benefits to different readers: insightful tips for a better work performance for those looking to improve their careers; practical life-applications for those grappling with high philosophical ideas; and food for thought for thought for anyone seeking to enrich their lives generally.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 0.5" Width: 6" Height: 9" Weight: 0.8 lbs.
Release Date Sep 28, 2007
Publisher Agate B2
ISBN 1932841296 ISBN13 9781932841299
Reviews - What do customers think about Lasting Contribution: How to Think, Plan, and Act to Accomplish Meaningful Work?
Absolutely Extraordinary! Jul 4, 2008
An absolutely extraordinary book! In little more than a hundred pages, Dr. Waddington shows you how to change your life and the world. Don't be deceived by its brevity. Just as The Elements of Style captured the essentials of effective writing in a few, short chapters, Lasting Contribution explains the principles of meaningful change more clearly and elegantly than many thick tomes on self help, philosophy, and business. The central thesis of the book is that Aristotle's four-part model of causation provides a powerful framework for planning and achieving your goals. Using techniques from realms as diverse as Taoism, Evolutionary Biology, Classical Mythology, Philosophy of Science, Business, Science Fiction, Military History, Education and Baseball, among others, Dr Waddington explains how you can effectively use each of the four causes to define and achieve meaningful goals. Lasting Contribution brings together pertinent insights from a wide variety of cultures, philosophies and disciplines and applies them to one of the most basic human questions- "How can I make a difference?" For all its philosophical and intellectual richness, this is an eminently practical book. Its purpose is not simply to inspire, but to instruct - to give you the exact tools and techniques you need to make your own unique contribution to the world. Very few books have the capacity to really change your life. This is one of them. Read it.
A theory to guide and facilitate actions that make a contribution that lasts Feb 6, 2008
Frankly, I did not know what to expect as I began to read this book but soon realized that, accompanied by Tad Waddington, I had embarked on a journey of discovery to learn the answer to a very important question: How can I make a contribution that lasts? Waddington asserts that "lasting contributions [begin italics] are caused [end italics]. Simply put, you [begin italics] cause [end italics] a lasting contribution to happen. The problem is that the way people usually think about causality does not serve them well when it comes to thinking about taking action. " Waddington notes that some 2,300 years ago, Aristotle argued that it is useful to think in terms of four causes: material (i.e. of what a thing is made), efficient (i.e. how something is made), formal (i.e. what a thing is), and final (i.e. why a thing is). "This book was written to help you not in the way a hammer helps you to build a house, but in the way a blueprint does. It prepares you for action."
Waddington devotes a separate chapter to each of the four causes, explaining its nature and functions, citing examples of it in all manner of situations, and suggesting its relevance to human experiences shared by most of those who read his book. The "blueprint" metaphor is especially appropriate because each person who embarks on the aforementioned journey of discovery is, in effect, preparing to serve as architect of his or her own life. Here is a selection of brief excerpts that provide at least some indication of this book's scope and flavor:
"The efficient cause is concerned with taking action to get results, particularly in a complex and dynamic world such as ours...Effective action in a complex world requires considered action - knowing when and how to take action and when not to. But on what do you base your actions? The material cause addresses the issue of your most important resources." (Pages 18)
"The material cause involves the resources that you can use to bring about a lasting contribution...In many ways, the material cause is less concerned with your material assets than with how you cultivate yourself...Consequently, it is important to cultivate yourself so that you can seize the opportunities offered...Next, you need to make full use of your arête [i.e. your virtue or excellence in terms of perception, expertise, and mastery]. The formal cause is that way." (Page 30)
"The formal cause is the DNA of action. It is the recipe for success, the rules of the game...the blueprint that tells you how to construct the causal chain from your values to your results. It is the road map that informs how to get from here to there. But where is there and why go? The why of action is addressed by the final cause." (Page 44)
"The final cause embodies your values. It gives motive force, because it comes from what you value. The stronger the value, the greater the power of the final cause. The more clearly articulated the value, the better you can embody it through action...As the end (in the sense of goal), the final cause is, paradoxically, the beginning of how to make a lasting contribution. It motivates the entire process and raises your mundane actions to a higher level. But how can you be sure that the four causes are a sensible way to think about making a lasting contribution?" (Page 54)
Waddington addresses this last question in Chapters VI and VII, then shifts his attention to various empirical problems that are frequently encountered, and then to suggesting why making a lasting contribution to the world is a "worthy goal" and a "self-evident good."
For me, some of the most valuable material is provided in the final chapter in which Waddington discusses six exemplary individuals. However their lasting contributions differ in terms of nature and impact, all of them have the four causes working effectively together in combinations that (obviously) vary in terms of their respective values, objectives, and resources. Norman Borlaug (awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970) is of special interest to me because of his efforts to triple wheat production in Mexico and achieve a 60% increase in wheat harvests in India and Pakistan. " He then expanded his efforts to eliminate famine in Asia and Africa. According to Paddington, Borlaug's lasting contribution was a "hardnosed pursuit of pragmatic results. His efficient cause was to work on his crops all day every day, year after year."
Tad Waddington urges each reader to make a lasting contribution because it can teach the value of doubting (indeed challenging) conventional wisdom that insists such a contribution is impossible; also, because it will guide and inform ethical actions and give more meaning to one's life. Most important of all, as Borlaug and others so convincingly demonstrate, such a contribution can have substantial and enduring impact on the lives of countless others.
Those who share my high regard for this book are urged to check out James O'Toole's Creating the Good Life: Applying Aristotle's Wisdom to Find Meaning and Happiness. Also, Michael Ray's The Highest Goal, David Whyte's The Heart Aroused, Eckhart Tolles's The Power of Now and his more recent A New Earth, Bill George's Authentic Leadership, John Whitehead's A Life in Leadership, and The Leader's Legacy co-authored by James Kouzes and Barry Posner.
A brief introduction to the key themes of Lasting Contribution Jan 23, 2008
Six proofs that Dr. W's book is a TARDIS: Jan 15, 2008
Six proofs that Dr. W's book is a TARDIS: 1. It is much larger on the inside than on the out. In just over 100 pages it packs in science, art, economics, philosophy, mathematics, ethics, psychology, sociology, biology, and much more. 2. It will take you many places--from Antarctica to Asia, from mountain tops to wheat fields, from China to Chicago, and on and on. 3. It takes you many places in time: the dawn of civilization, the Renaissance, the Scientific Revolution, the invention of the airplane, to war, and most important, it takes you into the future by showing how your contributions can endure through time. 4. It is quirky. Key roles are played by Aristotle and Oprah's shoes. Squirrels, muses, and high-casualty cocktail parties make cameo appearances. It plays the social construction of reality off the construction of social reality and even proves the existence of Santa Claus. 5. There is an underlying seriousness and brilliance that grounds it, holds it together, and makes you look at things differently. For example, it defines `meaning' and shows you how to get it. 6. It is a shape-shifter. You'll see it differently every time you read it. It's a self-help book, a business book, a philosophy book. It's unlike any book you've ever read. And it is well worth the reread.
Deep and contemplative material for making a difference in life... Dec 8, 2007
Lasting Contribution: How to Think, Plan, and Act to Accomplish Meaningful Work by Tad Waddington is one of those books that you could read quickly for the overall message, but that you would need to reread more contemplatively to get the full effect. Or, I could see it being a perfect book for a study group interested in philosophy and self-development.
Contents: Getting Started - Thinking Causally; Dealing With Complexity - Efficient Cause; Your Resources - Material Cause; The Design of Action - Formal Cause; Embody Your Goal - Final Cause; Empirical Problems; Theoretical Problems; Why?; Contribution; Glossary; Lasting Contribution Koans; References; Index
Waddington's educational background in Chinese religions shows through here, as there's a wide mix of ideas and concepts from both eastern and western styles of thought. The "causes" he uses as a framework comes from Aristotle, and deals with the four reasons as to why something happens as it does. The material cause is the "of what", as in what is this thing made of. The efficient cause is the "how", as in how is something formed or made. The formal cause is the "what is", as in what is the essence of the thing being examined. And finally, the last cause is the "why", as in why does something exist, and what was it made to accomplish. Unless you've had exposure to this type of analysis, it's going to take awhile to understand the concepts, get them straight in your mind, and see how they apply to your life and plans for making a difference in the world. Waddington goes over each of these concepts in separate chapters, and his writing style is conversational in nature. You could see yourself being "taught" this information from a leader, as the leader makes a statement, seemingly contradicts it or points out how it might be in conflict with another earlier concept, and then guides you through to the reconciliation of the material. His book goes much deeper than the typical "follow these ten steps to success" approach that commonly appear in the self-improvement area of your local bookstore. When you get done, you'll have a deep mental and internal meaning as to what you're doing and why you're doing it.
My recommendation would be to go through the book quickly on a first read (it's only 122 pages) so you can understand where he's going. Then go back and reread the information more slowly, thinking and internalizing the concepts and materials. With that approach, I think the book will contribute much to your attempts to make a difference in the lives of those around you.