Monday, January 18, 2010

QBQ! Chapter Three: QBQ! The Question Behind the Question

The title chapter!

This brief chapter lays out the "method," so-called, of the QBQ itself. I'm tempted, however, to skip over that and jump right to the money quote, which is the penultimate sentence. Oh, what the hell, here I go.
Like a jewel, the QBQ is made up of many facets.

I feel as though, having quoted that, I almost don't need to say anything else about the chapter or possibly the entire book. No one who could write that sentence and consider it worthy of submission for publication could possibly have anything useful to say. Still, he and a bunch of corporate types think this joker does have useful things to say, so I guess I'm duty-bound to continue pointing out, in detail, that actually he doesn't.
The Question Behind the Question is built on the observation that our first reactions are often negative, bringing to mind Incorrect Questions (IQs). But if in each moment of decision we can instead discipline our thoughts to look behind those initial questions and ask better ones (QBQs), the questions themselves will lead us to better results.
Now, I must say, if you strip this paragraph of its context in this dehumanizing book, as well as stripping it of its absurd reliance on Corporate Capital Letters and Acronyms (CCLAs), this is not entirely a bad point. It's not a particularly meaningful point in most situations, but, sure, we can all often overreact to things in a negative way that, if we step back and look at them more rationally, we can change to a less negative reaction. Fine. Why don't I write a fucking book about it? Maybe I can use it to trick people into thinking it's their fault the world they're forced to live in and submit to sucks so goddamn hard.

"For starters," Miller gives us three simple rules for dating my teenage daughter constructing these QBQs:
1. Begin with "What" or "How" (not "Why," "When," or "Who").
2. Contain an "I" (not "they," "them," "we," or "you").
3. Focus on action.
Ask any human being! They'll tell you that overly specific grammatical prescriptions and utterly meaningless, vague suggestions to "focus" on abstract concepts are exactly what you need to turn your life around!

"What can I do?" for example, follows the guidelines perfectly. It begins with "What," contains an "I," and focuses on action...
Yes, and so does "What can I destroy?" or, more prosaically, "What can I complain about today?" Useless, Miller, useless. "Simple," Miller tells us. "But don't let its simplicity fool you." He then lets loose about the jewel and its facets, making us all laugh for a few hours, and then tells us that "[i]n the following chapters, we'll explore these facets and see the powerful effect asking QBQs can have on our lives." Hopefully, I will begin to explore these chapters at a rate faster than one a week. This chapter was a bit of a holding pattern, but trust me--we're in for a lot of fun.

QBQ! Table of Contents

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