“Three Big Questions” (Dave Phillips, 2023) was recommended to me by a good colleague at work. He said, “I’ve been trying to work on this for years, you should give it a try.” This blog post is my critique of the personal development book. Each of my critiques review the key message of the book, the high-level concepts, the book’s areas of strengths, and where it falls short. I conclude each critique with an overall assessment ranking (1-10 ascending) of its effectiveness in providing the reader applicable lessons in personal and/or leadership development.
Overview: “Everyone who reads this book will want to move out of the shadows of valley living to stand on the mountaintop where all the adventure and fulfillment of a purpose-filled, mission-driven and vision-directed life lies ahead.” – Dave Phillips This book explores what he deems are the three big questions in life: What is my purpose for living? What will be my mission in this life? What will be the vision for my life?
High-level concepts: Virtues and values are what you carry with you. Phillips has you circle from a list of more than 30 virtues and values to hone in on what’s most important to you. Those that you down-select then form the basis for your purpose. Your purpose signifies the reason that you are on this planet. Your mission identifies what you will do while you are on this planet. Your vision is something that you create for your life that does not yet exist
Areas of Strengths: The concepts are simple to grasp and the activities are engaging. You can leave the book by your bedside, think about it during the day, and be excited to return to it at night.
Supplemental Information: Dave Phillips main website Leadership Mentor + Speaker (dphillips.com)and his Activity book: Three-Big-Questions.pdf (purposefulplanninginstitute.com)
Where it Falls Short: There isn’t a lot of theory or research backing up his work. While I consider myself more of a practitioner than an academic, I think providing more examples of complimentary narratives would make this such a stronger piece. It treads the line on spirituality, to which he introduces as part of his essence but never explains, and I think making the differentiation clearer would be beneficial.
Overall Assessment & Why: I rate it an 8 out of 10. While not particularly well written, it gets to the heart of life. His wife’s story is empowering too of having a dream since she was 10 and chasing it. I’ve spoken with people who have been working through this content for 2 years. I, personally, have completed 2 of three of the definitions in the last one month of reading the book. It’s nice to be able to ‘whiteboard’ all of your thoughts and then skim it down to it’s essence. Funny enough, I’m still working on the third and final piece – my vision. If you want to hear my 2/3, get in touch!