Book Review: The Difference

Book Review: The Difference

the difference

I picked up this book “The Difference: When Good Enough Isn’t Enough” by Subir Chowdhury in the bookstore with the intent of giving it to someone who I felt needed to be influenced to go above and beyond, to be inspired to give excellence in work and all aspects of life and stop mediocrity and to be discontent with being content.

I decided to read it last week to see if the book really is applicable for the receiver.  Boy, was I surprised with the simplicity of the words and examples that can deliver such powerful messages.

It was a public holiday and because of fasting, I had the whole hotel restaurant to myself and I was glad for the solitude so I could focus on reading the book.

While I was reading it, once in a while I’ll take a picture of the paragraph that struck me and I can’t remember how many pictures I took to the point that my phone fell on the floor.

I suddenly felt at that moment I wish this book was mine so I could highlight the phrases or words that was meaningful to me.  But then come to think of it, I may need to highlight maybe 60-70% of the book. 🙂

I was also thinking of who else should I give this book to because I want them to read what I have read with the hope that it will also be useful to that person.

Before continuing to blabber, I would like to share with you this question that I found so unlikely, so unsettling that if it were asked to me I wouldn’t know how to reply to that question.

The QA Manager of a Company asked the author, who is also their consultant, this question:

“If you saw a toothpick on the floor of your office or home, what would you do?”

The QA Manager was thinking if people don’t even care about such a simple thing like throwing the toothpick properly, would they care about the bigger and more important things?

He was thinking that despite conducting all the trainings in quality, their quality ratings result released by an external vendor was very poor so his question was really rooted in the concept of caring mindset. Is the toothpick a sign of a deeper, systemic issue?

As you read the book, it will talk about the problems of the company but things began to change with the changes in the Management – by being more authentic, caring and more open to feedback.

If people sense that we genuinely care about them, they will give back and more this genuine care and concern.  It is about being selfless and wanting to make a difference in other people’s lives.  Once you touch one life and make a difference, this will start the revolution of the caring mindset and the torch will be passed on to the next and to next person, and so on and so forth.

If you have an advocacy that you believe in, this means that you have a caring mindset because you want others to believe in your advocacy and be influenced by what you believe in.  This also means that you have a bigger responsibility because you need to nurture your caring mindset and be mindful of indifference and negativity.  As said in the Spiderman movie, “With great power, comes great responsibility.”

But how do we acquire a caring mindset?

There are four facets of a caring mindset: STAR and this need not be a step-by-step approach but more of what aspect do you need to work on now.

But obviously, you would need to have practiced and incorporated all of them, or at least try to, so that we can create a caring mindset.

  • Being Straightforward – be honest, be authentic. Do not wear a mask.  Be the same person wherever you are, be it at home or at the office.
  • Being Thoughtfullisten and empathize with others. Be attentive, be present. Do not be selfish and avoid jealousy.  Successful people are very generous with their time and knowledge and they are genuinely happy for other people’s success.
  • Being Accountablepassionate ownership, I loved this term used in my previous company, because it shows that people will go above and beyond what is needed from them and they will take full responsibility even without being asked. This also means taking a pause to think about the potential consequences of your actions, especially those made in haste and in anger.
  • Having Resolve – be persistent, be determined and act consistently to support your passion. This also means having the humility to ask for help when it is needed, having the humility to accept that a change is needed for a bigger purpose and being willing to change.

At the end of every chapter, there are questions that you can use for self-reflection and will guide you on what course of action you need to take.

For any project or endeavor, I always use this diagram to depict that for success to happen, we need to have people, tools and processes.  But the key driver for this is really the foundation of having people with a caring mindset because they will be the ones to influence all the aspects of the project and ultimately influence others.


I highly encourage you to buy the book for yourself and buy a few more to give to others.

Let us do our part in initiating a change, in making a difference and converting the indifferent mindset to a caring mindset.   Let us be the difference that the world needs.

For your reference below is the table of contents:

3 thoughts on “Book Review: The Difference

  1. That is a detailed review. Well written and interesting things highlighted. Indifference is something so easy to acquire and difficult to shed.

  2. This is one of those genres that we really should read. I salute you for sharing books to others coz we usually just hoard them. By this, i remembered a quotation that say… only our best is good enough to the Lord.

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