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Book Summary – Death By Meeting: A Leadership Fable About Solving the Most Painful Problem in Business

Death by Meeting - Book summary

Meetings are an essential part of our work. Great meetings help people to pool resources and knowledge to solve problems and make sound decisions. However, bad meetings are painful, a waste of time and resources, and lead to bad decisions. In “Death by Meeting”, Patrick Lencioni offers a simple, practical solution to make your meetings more effective and enjoyable. In this summary, we’ll briefly explain the model of effective meetings presented in the book.

Do get a copy of the book to better understand meeting dynamics, problems and solutions through a fable, or get a detailed outline of the story and tips with our complete book summary bundle.

Death By Meeting summary - book summary bundle

The paradox of meetings is this: they are critical to our work, yet we dread meetings as they’re often draggy and useless. Lencioni uses a fable to illustrate the dynamics behind meetings, and how they can affect organizational outcomes.  He draws a parallel between meetings and movies, to present an easy-to-understand model to run meetings effectively.

A Model for Effective Meetings

In a nutshell, there are 2 key problems with meetings: they are boring, and they are ineffective:

Death by Meeting summary_effective meetings model
In the book and our full 11-page summary, we explain the 2 problems in detail, and how to overcome them. In a nutshell:

• We can inject drama and conflict to make meetings more interesting and engaging, by using a hook and mining for conflict. In the book / full Death by Meeting summary, we touch on what’s the 10-minute hook and how to constructively draw out conflict and different points of view.

• Most teams have just 1 type of meeting where everyone discusses everything. To create contextual structure, we should have 4 types of meetings, each with a different focus, duration and structure to address different objectives. Here are the 4 meetings at a glance:  Daily Check-ins (5-10min), Weekly Tacticals (45-90 mins), Monthly/Ad-hoc Strategic (2-4hrs), and Quarterly Off-site Review (1-2 days). Do check out the the book/ full summary for the full tips on how to get the most from each of these meetings:
Death by Meeting summary_4 types of meetings

Other Details in “Death by Meeting”

This is an extremely easy-to-read book, with practical tips that are reinforced both in the fable and in an executive summary at the end of the book. The fable illustrates many common scenarios, frustrations and concerns with meetings at the workplace, and how the tips above can be applied. For more details, do get a copy of the book, our Death by Meeting summary bundle, or visit


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