Home » Blog » ‘The Road Less Stupid’ February 2021 Book of The Month

By Keith J Cunningham.

This is an absolute marvel of a book packed with years of business wisdom!  It is a must read if you are serious about leading a business and doing it well!  

Meet ‘Rich Dad’!
Remember the bestselling book by Robert Kiyosaki ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad!’?  Well, Keith Cunningham the author of this book is ‘Rich Dad!’ 

Back in 2004, I was working at a Tony Robbins event called ‘Wealth Mastery’, I met Keith Cunningham who was one of the key speakers at the event. After shaking his hand and some polite conversation, a friend of mine who is a Tony Robbins trainer whispered in my ear “He’s ‘Rich Dad’!” Needless to say, when Keith spoke at the event, he had my full attention.  

As a business leader / owner this is one of the best books you could possibly have by your side and is written in a way that you do not need to read it all in one sitting (as I did) the book is written to be a guide that you can dip into on a regular basis (which I also do).

As someone who over 15 years has coached a lot of entrepreneurs of successful start-up businesses, I often get asked ‘Why statistically in both the UK and the USA around 90% of new businesses fail within 5 years?’ 
There are several key reasons, but if I was to pick two reasons above all others, it is the same two that Keith Cunningham states in his book,
– “Even smart people do stupid things!”
– “People often do not ask the right questions!”

There is a great saying that I heard Tony Robbins refer to, credited by many to my mentor of the last 15 years Dr John Demartini:
“The quality of your life is based on the quality of the questions you ask!”
I would say that the same is true if you are a business leader / owner … 

“The performance of your business is based on the quality of the questions you ask.”
I would say that in the context of ‘leading a business’ this book is a wonderful comprehensive encyclopaedia of ‘Quality business leadership questions!’ … In fact it’s pure gold!

Personally, I most loved listening to the audiobook, however because this is also a reference book I also recommend having the Kindle or the hardbook editions. The audio is particularly great because Keith reads the book himself and his grounded southern US accent, attitude and tonality together with his wonderfully dry sense of humour really add another dimension to the book. 

One of my entrepreneurial clients asked me to summarise in 2 minutes ‘Why I loved this book, what were some of the key business leadership learnings it covers and why she should read it?’ This was my response:

  • Thinking Time – The great leaders consistently take time out to think, plan and ‘ask great questions’
  • Quality Questions – “The performance of your business is based on the quality of the questions you ask.”
  • OWNING your job / role – ‘You INC.’ Whatever your role, either working for someone else or managing your own business you must be clear about and OWN your responsibilities.
  • Outcomes and Standards NOT Goals – Goals are too much like ‘wishes’ a bit like ‘nice to haves’.  Defined ‘Outcomes’ and ‘Standards’ are musts!
  • Accountable actions – Hold yourself accountable and get someone else not directly involved in your business (a mentor / coach) to hold you accountable to your declared ‘outcomes and standards’.
  • Continual Training and Coaching – You and the people on your team need to be constantly growing and learning if your business is going to grow.
  • Adaptability is essential – another reason for constant learning and asking quality questions. Your business environment is constantly changing, yesterday’s successful ideas and approaches may well not work today. If you are able to adapt you will thrive.
  • Measure what’s important – If you want something done, you have to measure it. Everyone should have a ‘dashboard’ with appropriate measurement data. 

Don’t be concerned about there being 48 chapters to read, a bit like Keith himself, each chapter is brief and gets directly to the point and like I said, you do not need to read the book in one sitting, it is a great book to keep on your desk. If you just read 1 chapter a day as part of your daily business ‘thinking time’ you will get massive value from this book. 

To give you a flavour for the book here are some extracts from a couple of my favourite short, sharp yet profound chapters (Chapters 23 and 45):

Chapter 23 “Simplifying Growth:
The key is to start with four really simple questions (I’ve made them this chapter’s Thinking Time topics) to get you thinking about growth in a more productive way. Once the strategic part is handled, the tactics become easier to prioritize and the results will speak for themselves.  

Thinking Time

  1. Who do I want to buy from me? 
  2. What must happen to cause them to buy? 
  3. What must happen to keep them coming back?  
  4. What could happen to cause them not to buy? 

NOW . . . Go Think! You will thank me later. KJC 

P.S. If you spend less than ten hours on these four questions, you have missed the point!  

Chapter 45 ‘What Gets Measured Is . . .’

  • What gets measured is what gets done. 
  • What gets measured is what gets managed. 
  • What gets measured and reported can improve exponentially.  

Above are extracts from Chapters 23 and 45 …. Cunningham, Keith J.. The Road Less Stupid: Advice from the Chairman of the Board (p. 128 & p. 230). Keys to the Vault.

Keith talks openly about his own costly business decisions, where on reflection ‘he had been stupid’ and ended up paying what he humorously refers to as ‘dumb tax’. He talks about how even very smart people are capable of doing some very stupid things. 

‘Did you make a business decision in the past that you wish you could rewind and make a different decision?’ My personal answer to this question is ‘Yes, yes and yes again!’ If your answer to this question is also ‘Yes’, then you will get great value from this book.

If you reflect on these ‘mistakes’ you can learn and grow from them as Keith did. If you ask yourself more quality questions, like the one in this book, along the way then you will probably make fewer of these ‘stupid decisions.’!

In the book Keith shares many ‘stupid things’ from his own business adventures, that he learned a great deal from and could save you from having to do similar ‘stupid things’. By learning from your own past ‘stupid things’ as well as the ‘stupid things’ of others you will be in great shape to be a highly effective business leader.

Being humble, realistic and ‘owning’ that you are not immune from ‘doing stupid things’ is essential to fully understanding this book.  I will end this review by saying how much I love the title of this book, because it sums up ‘the primary reason’ that I would recommend it to any business leader … “The Road Less Stupid’!

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