Book Review

Buy-In: Saving Your Good Idea from Getting Shot Down by John P. Kotter

Chia-Li Chien | Feb. 14, 2011

"Three-million good ideas each year in North America get shot down. At best, 1% make it." In his book Buy-In: Saving Your Good idea form Getting Shot Down, Professor John P. Kotter shares twenty-four simple, common sense responses to counter-intuitively address each obstacle presented by opponents. I’ve seen each of these responses used by President Obama in his campaign and presidency.

Although this book is about creating change in large-scale businesses, I believe, everyday, small businesses rely on being able to sell their ideas to their clients. It is vital to understand these elements and to "be prepared" to address each "attack."

The four ways to kill good ideas are countered by the twenty-four responses to attacks. The four ways to kill good ideas are:
1.    Fear mongering
2.    Death by delay
3.    Confusion
4.    Ridicule and character assassination

The twenty-four attacks occur in three stages:
•    We don’t need your idea, because the problem it solves does not exist.
•    Okay, a problem exits but your solution isn’t a good one.
•    Okay, a problem exists and your solution is a good one, but it will never work here.

If you’re in business to get ideas across and make the sale, then this is a great book to help you develop your internal marketing and sales process to address each attack or obstacle.

Chia-Li Chien, CFP®, CRPC, PMP; helps entrepreneurs to creating business value that transforms their world.  She is the author of Show Me The Money and columnist for & Fox Business online.   She is available for consulting, speaking engagements and workshops.  She can be reached at or

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