Reviews of ‘Upgrade’

The ultimate manual for upgrading your own internal 'operating system', fundamentally changing the way you look at yourself, other people and the world around you.

What if the ways you think about yourself, the world and everyone in it were the human equivalent of your own internal ‘operating system’?

What if you could upgrade that operating system, evolving it as radically as an adult as you did as a child?

You’d suddenly find it easier to:

  • Achieve better outcomes with a lot less effort
  • Find opportunities in fiendishly complex problems
  • Juggle stakeholders’ diverse, evolving needs
  • Take relationships to a whole new level
  • Navigate dilemmas and polarising issues
  • Adapt, evolve and progress in whatever ways you find most meaningful

Upgrade is a practical manual for revolutionising the way you look at yourself, your work and the people around you. Not only that, it’ll help you trigger the same kind of step-change in others.

The keys to that transformation are the four capacities at the heart of the book – the capacities we lean on most to survive and thrive in a complex world. In each capacity, you and your colleagues will be operating at one of four levels. Upgrade helps you work out your own ‘capacity profile’ and others’. Then you decide which capacities to take to the next level and the book helps you make that change.

Here’s what people are saying about it…

“A real game-changer. I’ve been fascinated with this particular field of leadership development for quite some time. However, like many people, I’ve found it hard to apply the existing theory to my work. This book is the key to changing that and I gained a tremendous amount from reading it. It weaves together this wide web of new, complex ideas, then presents them in a way that is simple, accessible, practical and highly insightful. I’ve been able to apply the various concepts, tools and practices immediately, both in my work developing others and to help develop myself. There’s something in the style of the book that struck me, too: in reading the book, you’re not just benefiting from the authors’ insights, you’re experiencing their humanity.”

Rebecca Stevens, Head of Leadership and Learning at Clarks

“A fresh and engaging approach to get you building your capacity to lead in the modern ‘VUCA’ world. The authors provide a range of practical methods to help you take charge of managing your own upgrade and helping others with theirs. It’s an infectious set of concepts that you’ll recognise from your day-to-day work and want to share with the people around you.”
Michael Borthwick, Director of Planning and Acquisitions at Claranet

“A rich book that taught me interesting things about myself and about developing people. I’d recommend it whether you’re new to management or seeking to refresh your leadership style. You’ll feel compelled to use it as a lens for understanding others and it’ll be a reference you’ll keep coming back to.”
Danielle Lewis, Head of Stadium Experience at Southampton Football Club

“I liked this book from the beginning. It’s well written, has clear explanations, uses case studies to illustrate concepts and is well referenced. I recommend it for leaders ready to expand their abilities to be effective in complex situations.”
Shauna Fenwick, Lead in Complexity

“There is gold here – both for leaders and for those who coach or mentor them. For if it’s true that ‘we see the world not as it is, but as we are’, then one of the most pressing questions facing leaders is how we consciously evolve both what we see and what we are. ‘Upgrade’ is a really important book, a timely and vital contribution that does what previous authors in this field have tried and failed to do. It’s nothing less than a practical user-guide to building the human capacities needed to address the complex and seemingly intractable issues of our times. Expect an uncommon combination of accessibility, profound depth and immediate application.”
Peter Young, Director at Bladon Leadership

“An incredibly timely book that resonated with my experience of working in the public sector. I felt it really brought something new to the leadership literature, and has challenged me to think about my approach to leadership in a much more fundamental and holistic manner.”
Catherine Poyner, Deputy Director in the public sector

“This book really worked for me and would be a great entry point for even the most cynical of people. The practices are excellent: just the right level of intellectual and personal challenge. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to understand their current skill levels and how to develop them to deal with issues thrown up by career progression, organisational change and the impact of technology on their operating environment. It gives you the tools to manage and survive in an uncertain world by learning how to anticipate and control events, rather than being controlled by them.”
Caroline Britton, Non-Executive Director at Revolut following 18 years as a partner at Deloitte

“A fascinating book that I really enjoyed. I love the ‘operating system’ concept, how easily relatable it was and the idea of then upgrading it. The case studies really brought it to life and it’s great to interact with the content personally throughout.”
Gareth Rogers, CEO at Farnborough International (home of the world-famous Air Show)

“If you’re wondering why things simply don’t seem to be working, this could well be the book for you. It provoked a host of powerful new questions for me – both personally and professionally – then helped me answer them. It’s an essential resource for L&D professionals, too, who will find it fills the gap many practitioners in this field have been struggling with. The authors have done a great job of integrating and distilling a vast amount of research into something very, very practical.”
Claire Davey, Partner at Latitude-Six and former Head of Coaching and Leadership Development at Deloitte

“Upgrade is not for the faint of mind. It answers questions most of us won’t even have thought to ask. I’d recommend it to anyone facing dilemmas, frustrations and bewilderment in seeking to lead themselves and others. It’s a book that will reward the reader with practical new tools for thinking, learning and taking action.”
Phil Hayes, Chairman at Management Futures

“Upgrade” is very approachable, easy to digest and immediately applicable, offering new ways to overcome challenges that we encounter every day, both professionally and personally. I started developing my own ‘four capacities’ almost immediately. The new skills I’ve learned as a result have since become a natural part of my upgraded ‘Operating System’, increasing my potential and enabling me to focus on the next level of my development. Importantly for me, I’ve also been able to use what I’ve learned with my team. I’m already starting to see changes in their operating systems as I coach them through some of the concepts at the heart of the book. I’m aided in that by the examples the authors have offered, which really bring those concepts to life.”
Mark Griffiths, VP, Account Relationship Management at WorkForce Software at Workplace Systems

“A sophisticated and layered appraisal of how people are able to cope and ultimately thrive in an increasingly complex world.”
Tim Patterson, Founder at T1M Consult

“‘Upgrade’ really made me think differently about my approach to leadership. The book provided a completely unique perspective when considering how you need to operate in a VUCA world. For me, personally, it’s a compelling idea that you need to ‘upgrade’ your personal operating system to have sufficient capacity to function effectively. Add to that the various case studies and practices and you have a fascinating approach to developing the capacities required to lead successfully.”
Matt Hale, Academy Manager at Southampton Football Club


You’ll get a discount on this book at Blackwells online. Alternatively, youcan buy the book as a paperback or eBook from all the usual places, including, Amazon UK, Waterstones and Foyles. If you’d like to read some of it first, just register using the button below to receive a free sample.