The Advice Trap

Be Humble, Stay Curious & Change the Way You Lead Forever
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“What Brené Brown has done for vulnerability, MBS has done for curiosity”

– Tom Kolditz, PhD, Director, Doerr Institute, Rice University

3 Ways to Get Started

Start the Advice Monster Quiz

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Take our short quiz to find out which of the 3 Advice Monster types sounds the most like you!⁣

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Learn how to tame your Advice Monster with free video training & downloads from MBS.

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Buy the Book

Then read it, take notes, and adapt. People who live & work with you will thank you.

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What You’ll Learn

The Advice Trap is about getting to grips with how to actually change your behaviour so you stay curious a little bit longer. You have to tame your Advice Monster, that part of you that jumps in to offer up ideas, opinions, suggestions and advice.

  • Understand the difference between Easy Change and Hard Change, and the connection to You 2.0
  • Meet the three Advice Monsters: Tell-It, Save-It, and Control-It
  • Learn new ways to work with questions in combination
  • Discover the six Foggy-fiers, and see how they get in the way of getting clear on the real challenge
  • Peel back the three essential attributes of leadership and how to learn from failure

Where to Buy

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The Advice Trap book

“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.”

Liz WisemanAuthor of Multipliers and Rookie Smarts and the recent winner of the Thinkers50 Leadership Award

“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.”

Ed ScheinProfessor Emeritus, MIT Sloan School of Management, author of Helping, Humble Inquiry and Humble Consulting, and one of my biggest intellectual heroes

“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."

Jean-Philippe CourtoisEVP and President, Global Sales, Marketing and Operations, Microsoft

“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.”

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

"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."

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

“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.”

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

“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.”

Jeremy DarrochGroup CEO, Sky

"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."

Desiree AdawayPrincipal of The Adaway Group

“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.”

Jim KnightAuthor of Instructional Coaching

“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.”

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

“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!”

Hubert JolyExecutive Chairman and former CEO, Best Buy

“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.”

Neil PasrichaNew York Times bestselling author of The Book of Awesome and You Are Awesome

“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.”

Bobby HerreraAuthor of The Gift of Struggle and CEO of Populus Group

“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."

David B. PetersonPhD, Director, Leader Development and Executive Coaching, Google

“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.”

Jonathan FieldsFounder, Good Life Project

“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.”

Dr. Marcia ReynoldsAuthor of The Discomfort Zone