212 Degrees is a different type of leadership book. The author effectively uses a myriad of quotes, statistics and brief vignettes to makes several important points about persistence, preparation and commitment. The author then weaves together these unique and eclectic bits to inform and inspire the reader of the potential that is within their grasp. The book is very simple to read, the format is a distinct departure from the norm, and the reader will find it very engaging.
212 Degrees tackles the ever-present question of self-doubt and negativity residing in the minds of individuals and leaders. The initial example the author uses to make the point that transformative energy is within one’s grasp, is that at 211 degrees water is very hot, but at 212 degrees water becomes steam, and with steam mountains can be moved. The difference of a single degree, makes all the difference in the world! The author uses the metaphor to illustrate that extra effort and focus, applied to that which is most important to us, will likely have a dramatic effect on the outcome.
Parker sets out to challenge the reader to consider how much more could be accomplished if one normally committed themselves to consistent “extra effort” as opposed to being satisfied with “that which is simply required of them”. He contends that the rewards, as illustrated by the many examples within the volume, are exponential when compared with that for which most post people settle. Several pages are devoted to the illustration of the minute difference in the measures by which success is greatly enhanced.
The book also includes many quotes from famous and successful individuals that reinforce the premise that extra effort, as a matter of personal commitment, greatly differentiates the average from the highly superior. The examples, which initially appear to be random, build upon one another with an intentionality and purpose that belies the simplistic format of the book.
The section on “actions”, Parker gives specific suggestions to the reader about steps that they can take to incorporate the “extra effort” into most every phase of their professional and personal life. The “reflections” section of the book provides thoughts from the author on what one can add and eliminate from their life to bring about a more productive and satisfying existence. Overall, the book will serve as a reference that the reader can return to again and again.
Applications for the book in the realm of leadership are straight forward and clear. The example that one sets by their actions, words, and deeds have a great impact, not only on their personal success, but on the well-being and success of others. 212 Degrees is a refreshing, helpful, and positive departure from traditional books of this genre. Readers will find great value in this very brief, but informative read.