Pig Wrestling

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 31 Jan 2019

Member Reviews

This book is great - a “quick read” (1-2hrs) that packs a real punch in its pages and delivers a few lightbulb moments along the way. Short & snappy, in the vain of “Who Moved My Cheese” and books like that. 
I love how the authors have brought the principles of Pig Wrestling to life with this well written, easy to remember parable. 
The story is based on a Young Manager’s struggle with a work issue, but the framework and skills you learn through the story can be applied to changes or issues in either work or personal life. 
There are handy summaries throughout the book to consolidate your learning and the characters stick with you so much better than if the same information was simply presented as dry facts. 
I’ve personally taken a lot from reading the book - “none of us have unlimited time or energy, so what matters is how wisely we put to use the time and energy that we do have” & “the questions that we ask define our reality” were key takeaways. 
I actually want to see this story filmed and shown in my company meeting (!) and am recommending the book to my sister and good friend, both of whom are managers in fast moving industries. 
Thank you authors for giving me the skills to clean my dirty thinking - I’m looking forward to life outside the pig pen!
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Here we have a supposed ‘everyman’, known only by the patronizing moniker of the ‘young manager’ (YM), being passed from pillar to post, or from one condescending guru to another, through various stages of enlightenment designed to enable him to avoid the ‘pig wrestling’ dogging his professional existence.  Up until this point he’s been banging his head against the proverbial ‘wall’, trying to sort out people problems within and between the teams he is trying to manage.  It’s at this point he providentially happens upon the potential way out of his nightmare, in the form of a friendly barista, taking the place of the traditional bar tender as the repository of all wisdom.

The barista is the owner of the Courtyard Coffee Shack on the ground floor of a converted former power station, now given over to a group of small business enterprises known as the ‘Collective’.  Each of these appears to be run by one of the gurus, the barista being merely the first of such.  Hearing his tale of woe, the barista offers, in time-honoured fashion, to tell the YM a fable, which promises to bring him illumination regarding his problem.  And so begins the YM’s journey towards enlightenment guided by a series of appropriately enlightened beings.  

So far so good: the advice provided by these luminaries is an assortment cherry-picked from the welter of self-help/mind-body-spirit/business/management stuff stocking the shelves of most modern book stores.  Thus we have a variety of techniques each of which are ‘clothed’ in the form of elements of a graphic metaphor; the ‘wrestling ring’, in which the eponymous pig is wallowing in mud, with his head stuck through several picture frames, and surrounded by various other curious items, designed to be memorable images related to different stages in the problem ‘cleaning’ process.  Chuck in a sprinkling of NLP and a mention of Gregory Bateson and Milton Erikson and there you have it!

So, there is some good stuff in there, which, those for whom it might be new, may well benefit.  Unfortunately, the ‘fable’ vehicle through which it's delivered, in addition to being patronizing, is clunky, cheesy and peopled with stock cardboard characters too good to be true, who can’t stop themselves, ‘winking’ and ‘beaming’; stopping just short of patting him on the head when the hapless YM gets it right!

A solid three stars, then, but no more!
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Pig Wrestling promises a powerful approach to problem solving delivered via a 'fable'. The fable is in fact a not-very-interesting and over-long story about a man known only as the Young Manager, who, at the behest of the Santa-like Barista in his company's building, wanders round various departments getting lectures from colleagues (they get names for some reason). The advice is based on ideas that will be familiar to anyone who has read a few pop psychology books - confirmation bias, reframing, that thing about the flies etched into urinals to make men piss more tidily.

At the end, the authors suggest, apparently without irony, ways in which you can apply your learning in your own work. If a colleague is taking too much interest in a problem that doesn't concern them, you should say, "That isn't your pig to wrestle". If nothing else, this book offers a worthy addition to your next team meeting's buzzword bingo.
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The ideas and concepts were portrayed brilliantly in this short and inspiring book.
The use of a fable (with a few anecdotes included) and mnemonics made for an enjoyable read where the inherent knowledge was shared through an engaging cause of discovery.

Having read the kindly edition I’ll definitely try and get a graphic I can print out and use for future reference. It would also be enjoyable re-reading the book within the context of my own problem I might be struggling with.

Anyway, great read!
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I’m a big fan of personal development books so when I came across PIG WRESTING by Pete Lindsay and Mark Bawden, I was intrigued to say the least. Described as a “simple story with a powerful message”, I wasn’t really sure what to expect when reading the synopsis but I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. Presented in a short, easy-to-read format, PIG WRESTLING promises to help you tackle any type of sticky situation in work or in under an hour. The authors steer away from extensive chapters about their background and research, diving straight into the key principles and strategy (hurrah) which you can use pretty much straight away. 

What makes PIG WRESTLING different from other ‘change’ inspiring books on the market is the way in which it is presented. It reads like a short story in which a stressed Young Manager, whose teams are at each other’s throats, shares his frustrations with his local barista. Throughout the course of the book, the Manager is taught how to reframe his particular problem, allowing him to see it from a different perspective and therefore consider different solutions. 

In the introduction, the authors claim that by presenting the framework in this way, you are more likely to recall and remember the key elements and I can confirm this is true. By the end of the book, I was able to name the key elements involved in the process and have even found myself thinking about how I could use the tools to inspire change in different parts of my life. 

If you are reading the book to try and resolve a particular complex or messy problem, I would suggest making notes as you go along (just like the Young Manager did in the story) to ensure you fully understand the principles and can apply them to your own scenario as you go along. This is also one of those books that you can read time and time again as you’ll pick up something different every time.
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I wasn't sure what to expect when I started reading this book. But once I got started I was gripped. An unusual but memorable way to encourage you to look at a problem from a different perspective. I am definitely going to read it again as I think I will pick up something different next time.
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