I am generally dismissive of these expanded commencement addresses that clog the shelves every graduation season, but I can't seem to get this one out of my mind. Despite the lofty title of Dean of the College of Education at Harvard, Ryan's contribution to the genre is plain-spoken, funny, honest, and honestly helpful. He focuses on asking yourself a series of broad questions regularly to enhance your character, your quality of life, and your contribution to the world. You can read it in about two hours. This book is great for anyone in transition: moving, retiring, starting a new job. I highly recommend it. I can't stop thinking about it.— From Kelly
New York Times Bestseller
“What, What? is a welcome—and joyful—reminder that true wisdom comes from asking the right questions. Should you read this book? Absolutely.”
—Clayton Christensen, bestselling author of How Will You Measure Your Life?
Based on the wildly popular commencement address, the art of asking (and answering) good questions by the Dean of Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education.
Whether we’re in the boardroom or the classroom, we spend far too much time and energy looking for the right answer. But the truth is that questions are just as important as answers, often more so. If you ask the wrong question, for instance, you’re guaranteed to get the wrong answer. A good question, on the other hand, inspires a good answer and, in the process, invites deeper understanding and more meaningful connections between people. Asking a good question requires us to move beyond what we think we know about an issue or a person to explore the difficult and the unknown, the awkward, and even the unpleasant.
In Wait, What?, Jim Ryan, dean of Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education, celebrates the art of asking—and answering—good questions. Five questions in particular: Wait, what?; I wonder…? Couldn’t we at least…?; How can I help?; and What truly matters? Using examples from politics, history, popular culture, and social movements, as well as his own personal life, Ryan demonstrates how these essential inquiries generate understanding, spark curiosity, initiate progress, fortify relationships, and draw our attention to the important things in life—from the Supreme Court to Fenway Park. By regularly asking these five essential questions, Ryan promises, we will be better able to answer life’s most important question: “And did you get what you wanted out of life, even so?” At once hilarious and illuminating, poignant and surprising, Wait, What? is an inspiring book of wisdom that will forever change the way you think about questions.
“In these pages Jim Ryan distills several important questions we should all be asking ourselves—questions that promise greater clarity, compassion, wisdom, and in the end, fulfillment in our lives. Wait, What? is a welcome—and joyful—reminder that true wisdom comes from asking the right questions.”
“Jim Ryan promises that asking five simple questions will bring clarity, curiosity, courage, compassion, and conviction. Why should we believe him? For one thing: he’s right. Why should you care? Well, why not read the book—all in one sitting, as I did—and find out?”
“This compulsively readable book is that rare work that will appeal to both the secular and religious reader alike—in fact, any reader interested in hearing wise advice from a charming (and funny) author, and, most of all, leading a meaningful life.”
“This beautiful book describes how to ask questions of others and ourselves that lead to a deep understanding about what matters most in life. The lessons are timeless, providing powerful insights that are relevant in all parts of our lives.”