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The Advice Trap

 Hi there, it’s Michael, the author. You’re here, so you’re curious about this new book of mine and wondering whether you should buy it now or wait until you’ve heard if it’s any good.

 My job is to make you an offer you can’t resist, so that you buy it early and we start the flywheel spinning. And I’ve got a great offer for you: for anyone who buys the book, The Spotters Guide to the Six Foggy-fiers (A what? I’ll explain below.)

And if you buy more than one copy? Well, then we’re kicking it Kickstarter-style, with tiers of rewards for different amounts purchased, including access to an exclusive deep-dive course into what it takes for you to be a Future You leader. The details are below, if you need to check them out right away.

But if you can linger a minute or two, let me get you up to speed to how we got here.

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You might know my previous book, The Coaching Habit. It was an unexpected bestseller: more than 700,000 copies sold so far, 1,000+ five-star reviews on Amazon (my favourite: “I have plodded through many books that wish they could be this book”), a Wall Street Journal bestseller, and used by people and organizations around the world.

So I’ve been sweating on the follow-up. The pressure! The anticipation! But it’s done at last, and coming out February 29, 2020, exactly four years to the day of The Coaching Habit.

And I think you’re going to like it. If The Coaching Habit says, here are the seven essential questions for being more coach-like, The Advice Trap is about coming to grips with how to actually change your behaviour so you stay curious a little bit longer.

 It sounds like it should be easy, but it’s not. We have to tame our Advice Monster, that part of you that jumps in to offer up ideas, opinions, suggestions and advice. (#TameYourAdviceMonster … I think that’s going to be a thing.)

And it’s the taming of your Advice Monster that’s at the heart of this book. I tease apart the difference between Easy Change and Hard Change, and then unpack a powerful way to embrace and master Hard Change. It’s a fundamental skill that has the potential to accelerate you toward being the best version of yourself — Future You — a claim I don’t make lightly.

Mastering Hard Change so you can #TameYourAdviceMonster is where the book starts, but it doesn’t end there. You’ll learn about:

  • The six barriers that stand between you and focusing on what matters most, and how to dismantle them.
  • How to make your conversations (coaching and otherwise) irresistible, using the neuroscience of engagement.
  • How to give advice (when you absolutely, utterly need to give advice).
  • The power of Future You leadership, and what essential characteristics are required.
  • How to get access to incredible beyond-the-book resources, including a one-year, free leadership program — The Year of Living Brilliantly — delivered by a 52-person faculty of cool, diverse, and provocative thinkers.

 Yeah, you say, but is it any good?

 The Early Signs Are Promising

I’ve had some of my heroes and role models take an early look at the book, and they’ve said lovely things.

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Liz Wiseman, author of Multipliers and Rookie Smarts The recent winner of the Thinkers50 Leadership Award:

“This book speaks truth: when the best leaders do less themselves, they get more from others. But learning to do less can be painfully hard. Fortunately, Michael Bungay Stanier applies his signature wit and clarity to the challenge, which means making hard change just got a whole lot easier.”

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David B. Peterson, PhD, Director, Leader Development and Executive Coaching, Google

“This is actually a brilliant book. I enjoy just skimming through it to see what great idea I’ll run across. And I love the playful style — one of Michael’s super-powers, I’m sure — especially because it always illuminates rather than obscures the point. It’s also eminently practical, so you’ll gain pointers you can use almost immediately. Highly, highly recommended."

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Ed Schein, Professor Emeritus, MIT Sloan School of Management, and author of Helping, Humble Inquiry and Humble Consulting

One of my biggest intellectual heroes:

The Advice Trap is a most useful book in pointing out the many ways in which we misconstrue both what we think We know and what we think the Other Person in the conversation knows and wants. Becoming more mindful, curious, and humble is a prescription one cannot argue with, and this book makes a good case for why those behaviors work better than tell, tell, tell.”

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Thomas A. Kolditz, PhD; Brigadier General, US Army (ret); Director, Doerr Institute at Rice University

And the coolest compliment:

“Michael Bungay Stanier has done for curiosity what Brené Brown did for vulnerability.”

Buy a Book with Benefits (aka grab a bonus or two while they last!)

Authors like me run these prepublication campaigns to try to get as many sales “in the bag” before the launch date. That’s because, having accumulated, they all get counted in the first week of publication. And if you sell enough, there’s an outside chance you’ll get ON A LIST. 

 It’s not easy. Many of the people who appear briefly on, say, the New York Times bestseller list have coughed up a LOT of money to game the system. That’s not my style, nor in my budget. But I’d still love to see a surge up the Amazon rankings on publication day, so I’ve cooked up this fun bonus scheme for you.

 I’m doing things a little bit differently from others you may have seen. Purchase one copy and you’ll get my gratitude (really, thank you) and also available-during-launch-only download: The Spotters Guide to the Six Foggy-fiers.

If you’re buying more than one, there’s a hierarchy of Kickstarter-style bonuses. It starts with access to an exclusive course on FUTURE YOU LEADERSHIP — more details on that in just a moment. Other prizes include 20 lifetime licenses to Presentation Genius (my online presentation skills course); 100 signed and personalized copies of The Advice Trap and The Coaching Habit; and if you buy a LOT of books you can get an all-expenses-paid trip to spend a day with me in Toronto. Here’s a summary of what’s on offer (and there’s more detail on each one below):

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Buy 1 book

Get a Bonus Download

  • The Spotters Guide to the Six Foggy-fiers download (unlimited number)
Find Out More
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Buy 2 books

Bonus Future You Leadership (unlimited places, $497* value)

  • Future You Leadership program ($497 value, unlimited number) + the download.
Find Out More
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Buy 10 books

One postcard for each of the seven essential coaching questions.

  • An exclusive set of the 7 Questions postcards ($35 value, 197 available) + the prizes from the lower tiers.
Find Out More
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Buy 20 books

Get your personalized versions of “the Beyoncé and Jay-Z of coaching books”  (101 available, $50 value)

  • Signed & Personalized copies of The Coaching Habit and The Advice Trap
  • AND you get the rewards from the lower tiers as well.
Find Out More
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Buy 100 books

Lifetime license to Presentation Genius

  • Future You Leadership program ($497 value, unlimited number) +Lifetime license to Presentation Genius ($750 value, 23 available) 
  • AND you get the rewards from the lower tiers as well.
Find Out More
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Buy 1,000 books

I’ll fly you up to Toronto to spend a day with me.

  • I’ll fly you up to Toronto to spend a day with me ($25,000 value, 3 precious, precious slots available)                            
  • AND you get the rewards from the lower tiers as well.
Find Out More

Don’t Forget the Trees

And for every copy purchased during this preorder period, we’ll contribute 40 cents toward planting trees. The three countries where I spend most of my time — Canada, the United States, and Australia — have all been devastated by wildfires in recent years. We’ll split the money between the three countries, donating it to a local tree-planting charity in each.

Buy Your Books

Here’s How It Works

Step 1: Buy one or more copies of the book - anywhere books are sold - before February 29, 2020. (Because remember, all this goes away midnight EST February 28th.) They can be print books or ebooks (there’s an audiobook on the horizon, but it won’t be ready for the launch), from any retailer. Click on any icon below to purchase:

Step 2: Keep a record of your receipt. 

Step 3: Follow the instructions at the bottom of the description of the prize you wish to claim. We’ll count the numbers available down, and then we’ll remove the prize from the list. So it’s first in, first served.  

Buying one copy? Excellent! You’ll love this bonus download.

(unlimited number available)

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Even as I’m trying to nudge you towards buying two or more books, don’t for a moment think I’m not very grateful for you taking the leap to buy this single copy. Thank you very much.

One of the key chapters of the new book talks about the importance and power of focus, and specifically on taking the time to focus and find the right challenge to work on. It’s taking the Focus Question from The Coaching Habit  -- “What’s the real challenge here for you?” -- and doing a deep dive.

In the book, I get to grips with the six patterns of conversation that get in the way of getting clear. I call these The Foggy-fiers. Each one has a distinctive way of showing up (you’ll definitely have your favourite), and each one can get dispersed by wielding the Focus Question in a particular way.

Mastery here doesn’t come from asking the question. It comes from learning to recognize the Foggy-fiers as they appear. As your bonus for buying a copy of the book, we’ll give you The Spotters Guide to the Six Foggy-fiers. It’s fun, it’s cool … and it’s going to stop you from getting seduced into wasting time and effort by trying to solve the wrong problem.

Is this the prize for you?

FIRST buy the book - anywhere books are sold - before February 29th, THEN fill out this One Copy Form with your contact info and receipt details, and we’ll send you your reward in March. 
Looking for somewhere to buy a book? Click on a bookseller icon below!

Buy two or more copies … and do a deep dive into Future You Leadership!

(unlimited places, $497* value)

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If you’re willing to leap in and buy more than one copy before February 29th, I appreciate your trust in me, and I’ve got something for you. I’ve made this one of the most valuable prizes I can offer, because I’m really hoping I can persuade many of you to go from “sure, I’ll buy a copy” to “OK, I’ll buy two”. I’ve said it’s worth $497, because that’s the minimum I’d charge for this course if I was ever to release it. But it’s a bit of a made up number, because this course is exclusive to this book launch. It’s now or never: it won’t be made available again. 

So what does it entail, exactly?

How to Be a Future You Leader

In the new book, I touch on three attributes I think define this next level of leadership. All three have foundations that rest on the power of curiosity. The three attributes are —

Empathy: having a greater sense of what’s real for the other person.

Mindfulness: having a greater sense of what’s real about the situation.

Humility: having a greater sense of what’s real for you.

If this sounds to you like I’m saying we spend much of our time slightly deluded about how much we know, you’re exactly right. Your confidence is not totally warranted. (Neither’s mine, btw.) 

This course won’t make you omniscient, but I think it will help you slow down and be a little smarter, a little less anxious and a little more kind.

In the course, each attribute is explored in a video, where I address the baggage that comes with the term associated with each attribute, dig down into how I’m using the terms (emphatic, mindful, humble), and then explore what the benefits are for you and for others in behaving this way.

I want to provoke you to think differently, but also to act differently. So in each video there’s (at least!) one specific exercise or process per attribute, so you have a way of putting the insight into action.

How Will All This Work?

In short, the course consists of:

  • Four pre-recorded video lessons (a kick-off/introduction,  and then one on each of the attributes), and a live Q&A session.
  • Access is available to anyone, anytime (during a two-week window), rather than being dependent on time zones and availability.
  • Robust community discussion. At least, that’s what I’m hoping for: it’s down to you a little. But there will be a forum in which to reflect on the learnings.
  • A worksheet for each video.
  • A reading list for each video, so you know what sources I drew upon.
  • Access for two weeks only. The first video will be released on Monday, March 23, 2020, and then one new video a day until Friday March 27. And we shut it down Sunday, April 5. That’s what makes this offer exclusive: it’s there, and then it’s not. 

You most likely have additional questions, and I definitely have answers. Rather than getting too “into the weeds” on this page, I’ve set up a Frequently Asked Questions page here.

Is this the prize for you?

FIRST buy two (or more) copies of the book - anywhere books are sold - before February 29th, THEN fill out this Two Copies Form with your contact info and receipt details, and we’ll send you your rewards in March.
Looking for somewhere to buy the book? Click on any of the bookseller icons below! 

If you buy ten or more books … get the Seven Questions, Lee Crutchley style!

(199 available, $35 value)

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I’m pulling these gorgeous postcards out of the archives and printing up just 199 sets. There’s one postcard for each of the seven essential coaching questions, designed by the brilliant Lee Crutchley. You might choose to stick a stamp on them and send them off. You might choose to strategically give them out to people who need them. Or, if you’re like most people, you’ll keep them to yourself … maybe stuck up on a pinboard or somewhere near you.

AND you get the rewards from the lower tiers as well.

Is this the prize for you?

FIRST buy ten (or more) copies of the book - anywhere books are sold - before February 29th, THEN fill out this Ten Copies Form with your contact info and receipt details, and we’ll send you your rewards in March.
Looking for somewhere to buy the book? Click on any of the bookseller icons below!

If you buy 20 or more books … get your personalized versions of “the Beyoncé and Jay-Z of coaching books”. 

(101 available, $50 value)

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They’re a lovely pair. The cookies & cream, the Vegemite & toast, the Fred & Ginger, the Gilbert & Sullivan, the Harry & Meghan of coaching books. Buy 20 books, and I’ll send you your own personalized and autographed pristine set of The Coaching Habit and The Advice Trap

 AND you get the rewards from the lower tiers as well.

Is this the prize for you?

You want to buy 20 (or more) copies of the book before February 29th? Amazing. Contact us directly. We’ll help arrange for your books to get bought and shipped (at a bulk discount rate), and we’ll send you your rewards in March.

Contact us directly

If you buy 100 or more books … become a Presentation Genius!

(23 available, $747 value)

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One of my best friends is Mark Bowden. He’s the world authority on influence and persuasion, has written numerous books and has an outstanding TEDxToronto talk. He also — just to boast about the cool factor — played the Orc general in the Lord of the Rings movies. (I KNOW!)

He and I created a fabulous online program, Presentation Genius. We don’t talk about it much, but it’s really one of the best things I’ve ever done. Twenty-three episodes, each about 15 minutes. We share our very best skills for how to rock a room, whether you’re doing a keynote or running a workshop or holding a meeting.

 AND you get the rewards from the lower tiers as well.

Is this the prize for you?

You want to buy 100 or more copies of the book before February 29th? Yay you! Contact us directly. We’ll help arrange for your books to get bought and shipped (at a bulk discount rate), and we’ll send you your rewards in March.

 (If you don’t want 100 books but you’d like to check out the course, it’s here.)

Contact us directly

If you buy one thousand or more books … "MBS-a-palooza!"

(three available, $25,000 value)

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Well, hello! You are AWESOME!!

This is the big kahuna! I’ll fly you up to Toronto sometime before February 28 2021. How do we spend that time? That’s up to you. I’ve got skillz, mad skillz, and they’re at your disposal. I can teach you facilitation skills. I can help you design a program. We can brainstorm a book idea. We can tour cool cocktail bars. We can go to fabulous museums. We can take a hike. We can go axe throwing. Really. You get to design an awesome day with me.

Here’s what you’ll get:

  • A return airplane ticket (economy class) from anywhere in North America; or contribution to a ticket if you’re flying from outside North America.
  • One night’s accommodation at a funky hotel in downtown Toronto.
  • A day co-created by you and me that you’ll love.
  • Dinner with me and a couple of my coolest friends.

(How did I come up with the value of $25,000? I mean, that’s a LOT of money. Well, that’s what I charge to come and do a keynote in North America. It’s actually a little more if I’m travelling overseas.)

AND you get the rewards from the lower tiers as well. I mean, you get EVERYTHING!

Is this the prize for you? Are you going for it?

Contact us directly. We’ll arrange for your books to get bought and shipped (at a bulk discount rate), for you to get the other rewards in March, and we'll start planning your visit!

Contact us directly









But This All Goes Away 11:59pm Toronto time (EST) February 28th

You know why I’m doing it … it’s all about helping you take the leap and preorder. There’s always a degree of risk. There aren’t any reviews up on Amazon yet. You’ve only got my word that this is going to be good (oh, and the word of all those who gave testimonials … and there are more below). So, it’s you gambling your $15 or so on a copy, and me making that feel like a no-brainer for you.

Thank You Again for Your Support!

And to reassure you that the excellence of The Advice Trap isn’t just some fever dream of mine, here are a few other awesome blurbs from people who’ve read the book. Think of these like the credits at the end of a movie. You can move on, or you can scroll through and read them. (Unfortunately, there’s no cool Avengers-style teaser right at the end.)

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Jean-Philippe Courtois, EVP and President, Global Sales, Marketing and Operations, Microsoft

“Being a coach-like manager and being coached is a core part of our culture at Microsoft — it’s how talented people thrive and grow. Michael has helped evolve how we think about coaching and how it can bring our growth mindset to life.”


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Nancy Duarte, CEO of Duarte, Inc. and author of The HBR Guide to Persuasive Presentations, and DataStory Founder

“I’ve been looking for this book for a very long time. Not many books change me on first read, but this one is useful immediately and is written in the Bungay Stanier thoughtful and charming style that makes it stick.”


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Jennifer Paylor, People Engineer, Executive Leadership Development, and Coaching Leader for Enterprise Operations & Services, IBM

"The Advice Trap is the antidote for bureaucratic inertia. When we default to giving advice, it limits our impact, our freedom, and even our state of existence. The Advice Trap is your guide for bringing humanity back to the workplace. You cannot be a leader if you do not own this book."

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Sanyin Siang, winner of the Thinkers50 Coaching Award; Executive Director, Fuqua/Coach K Center on Leadership and Ethics at Duke University

“If you desire to share your wisdom with others, but want to do so in a way that can truly help the other person, read this book! The Advice Trap unpacks why helpful advice often doesn’t stick and guides readers to more effective mentorship and success.”

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Jeremy Darroch, Group CEO, Sky

“To get more from your people, you need to grow their capability and engagement, and step up yourself. A great way to do that is to give less advice and do more coaching.”

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Desiree Adaway, Principal of The Adaway Group

"One of my greatest takeaways from this book—one that will stay with me forever—is the thought of being 'better than another person.' The Advice Trap taught me that the advice I am offering is wrapped in myths and stories I have about my superiority. These myths and stories are unsustainable, untrue, and built to keep us separate. We need more than an opinion—we need an analysis if we expect to build more inclusive and supportive teams. Michael Bungay Stanier helps us all get the analysis we need to lead us to right relationship with one another."

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Jim Knight, author of Instructional Coaching

“With The Advice Trap, Michael Bungay Stanier continues to teach us something really important — how to treat professionals like professionals. All of us will benefit if we listen to Michael and learn to give less advice and stay more curious.”

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Dorie Clark, author of Reinventing You and Stand Out; Executive Education faculty, Fuqua School of Business at Duke University

“It’s counterintuitive, but so often the best way to establish yourself as an expert is not by your answers, but by your questions. Michael Bungay Stanier shows us how to stay curious and ask the questions that matter.”

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Hubert Joly, Executive Chairman and former CEO, Best Buy

“Leadership is not about giving the best advice, it is about unlocking the potential of the people around you. Thank you, Michael Bungay Stanier, for reminding us of that and for providing such concrete thoughts on how to do it!”

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Neil Pasricha, New York Times bestselling author of The Book of Awesome and You Are Awesome

“I have known Michael Bungay Stanier for over a decade and am addicted to hanging out with him. Why? Because he resists giving advice, stays curious a little longer, and always helps me feel like all the a-ha’s and mental breakthroughs I make while we’re talking have come solely from me. The good news is that with this book, I know how to do the same.”


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Bobby Herrera, author of The Gift of Struggle and CEO of Populus Group

“If leading with compassion and empowering people to become whom they imagine inside is important to you, read and fiercely apply what Michael Bungay Stanier teaches you in The Advice Trap. It will transform your culture and accelerate your climb as a leader.”


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Jonathan Fields, Founder, Good Life Project

“Meaningful relationships and growth are key components of a life well lived. The Advice Trap takes you by the hand and reveals how to harness openness and curiosity as powerful tools to transform your relationships and expand your potential for impact and connection. It’s the perfect companion to Bungay Stanier’s bestseller, The Coaching Habit.”

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Dr. Marcia Reynolds, author of The Discomfort Zone

“The greatest gift a leader can give to others is to be present and sincerely interested in a person’s perception and ideas. The Advice Trap teaches how to stop doing what we love to do — give advice — and how to instead be more effective by coaxing out the brilliance in others. People feel seen, heard and valued as a result. What does this mean for business? Greater engagement, productivity, and extraordinary results.”

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