Change Your Questions, Change Your Life Book Summary

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Book – Change Your Questions, Change Your Life

Author – Marilee Adams, PhD

Genre – Self-Help

Published in –2016

Great Results Begin with Great Questions.

Joseph S. Edwards

When you observe self-talk, what kind of questions do you notice asking yourself? 1st why it always happens to me, what is wrong with me, or 2nd what can I learn from this, how can I make this better, what am I missing here?

This is one of the best books I have read that describes the power of questions and how they can affect our lives for better or worse.

About the Book

Change your questions, change your life is a business fable, which explains the practical power of Question Thinking and how the right questions can direct our thinking, and therefore our actions and result.

QT (Question thinking) provides skills for observing and assessing our present thinking including the questions we’re asking ourselves and then guides us in designing new questions for getting better results.

The story revolves around four characters Ben, Alexa, Grace (Ben’s Wife), and Joseph. Ben accepts the Executive position in the new company, where his ex-boss Alexa had joined as CEO. As things go out of control for Ben to handle in his new positions Alexa sends him for executive coaching to Joseph (her coach).

Here are a few excerpts from the book –

1) Thinking or Questioning

  • Much of the time we’re barely conscious of asking questions, especially the ones we ask ourselves. But they’re a part of our thought process nearly every moment of our lives.
  • Thinking actually occurs as an internal question and answer process. Not only that, we often answer our own questions by taking some action.
  • When we get stuck, it’s natural to go on a hunt for answers and solutions. But in doing so, we often unintentionally create blocks instead of openings.

2) Judger or Learner

Ben meets with Joseph and explains his dilemma of not being able to manage a team and unable to drive required results. Joseph asks him to focus on questions he is asking himself and his team. He emphasizes checking whether his questions are for judging or learning. Here are a few traits of Judger and Learner.


Judger MindsetLearner Mindset
Judgmental of self and othersAccepting of self and others
Reactive and automaticResponsive and thoughtful
“Know-it-all”Values not knowing
Personal Perspective onlyConsider other’s perspective
Defends AssumptionQuestions Assumption
Primary Mood – ProtectivePrimary Mood – Curious
We all have both mindsets, and we have the power to choose where we operate from at any moment.

3) Choice Map (Judger or Learner) –

Map image

Coach Joseph introduces the Choice map concept to Ben for explaining the Question thinking model.

  • Every time we question, we are either judging or we are learning. We can’t do both at the same time. Judging questions close our mind and we look for faults, someone to blame.
  • It is our responsibility to get out of judging questions and dwell into learning questions, where we are open to understand other’s situation, willing to look at things from different perspective and look for solutions.
Judging QuestionsLearning Questions
whose fault is it?What assumption am I making?
What’s wrong with them?What are the facts?
Why am I such a failure?What can I learn from this?
Why are they stupid?What am I responsible for?
Why bother?What are my choices?
Huge difference in Result of these Questions
  • As we understand the feelings behind questions, and how type of questions can change the direction of our thoughts, we will be more careful of choosing our questions.

4) Switching Questions

Joseph claims that switching is what makes it possible to change. Switching is where the action is! He then introduces Switching questions to move from judger to learner. Here are a few switching questions to move from judger to learner.

1 What assumptions am I making?

2 How else can I think about this?

3 What is the other person thinking, feeling, and wanting?

4 Is this working?

5 What am I missing or avoiding?

5) 12 Life Changing Questions for Success?

You may consider asking these twelve questions, and it is not a one-time event, you should revisit them often and keep aligning with your priorities.

1. What do I want?

2. What are my choices?

3. What assumptions am I making?

4. What am I responsible for?

5. How else can I think about this?

6. What is the other person thinking, feeling, and wanting?

7. What am I missing or avoiding?

8. What can I learn?

a. From this person or situation?

b. From this mistake or failure?

c. From this success?

9. What action steps make the most sense?

10. What questions should I ask (myself or others)?

11. How can I turn this into a win-win?

12. What’s possible?


After you finish reading the book, you’ll be more aware of questions you ask for self/others and change them into learning one rather than judging.

You may download the Change Your Questions, Changer Your Life Free E-book here. If you like this book, you may also like Change your habits, Change your life.

Hope this book summary helped you in some way. Please share your thoughts in the comments. I would love to hear from you.

Thank you for your time.

With Love.

Muzammil, Fellow Reader.

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