Suzy Welch


As promised, I am reviewing the book that my heavily disguised life is part of thanks to a blog piece I wrote over two years ago on Suzy Welch’s 10-10-10 problem solving theory called 10 10 10: A Life Transforming Idea.

Once upon a time, Suzy was a harried working mom and wife who, while trying to manage a business conference, two of her four children and a mini-vacation all at once, came to the startling realization that all women (and possibly some men as well) come to sooner or later – we cannot do, nor can we have, it all. At least not simultaneously. There has to be balance. There needs, for sake of sanity and maintaining good, healthy relationships, to be give and take. And thus 10-10 10 was born.

It was nothing more or less than a way to think a dilemma or option out beyond the nano-second of time where we all live and to pro/con the outcomes of the many paths we can take.

In ten minutes what will be the result of my decision.

In ten months?

In ten years?

In her book, Suzy talks about her own personal experiences using 10-10-10 and she shares the stories of just a few of the thousands of people who have latched on to her ideas and used them in their own lives. She covers all the biggies of life: love, the workplace, career building, raising kids, marriage, friendships and along the way shares and shares again her own story which felt like sitting and having coffee with a good friend on a late Saturday morning at the mall while the kids whooped it up in the play area.

The tone of the book is quite conversational. There is never the sense that she is phoning it in or is selling you a self-help quick fix. She truly believes in the idea that all problems can and should be thought through and beyond the moment, and that while those decisions we arrive at that may not make our immediate lives happier they will eventually improve our lives by having made the right, rather than the easy, choice.

My favorite anecdote in the book is one that Suzy shares about having what can only be termed a “a come to Jesus” discussion with her four children after a particularly trying weekend getaway with her new boyfriend and eventual second husband, Jack. Frustrated by the children’s antics, Jack had pulled the car into a service station and went in to get gum. During the brief span of time he was gone, Suzy made it clear to her kids that she would not tolerate any behavior designed to sabotage her relationship and that she and Jack were a team now – and they had better get used to it. 

Some people – many people – would be shocked by a mother choosing a mate who was not the biological father of her children over the children, but I was impressed because early in our relationship, Rob and I had made essentially the same thing clear to our girls. As a former teacher, I have seen the outcomes of child centered families and it was heart-warming to see that I am not alone in believing that a strong happy adult, or adults, are the heart of any happy family.

I used 10-10-10 when I first waded back into the dating scene about 6 months after Will died. I did not have stellar results the first couple of times and one attempt in particular was a spectacular failure that sent me scurrying back to my corner to re-learn a few things that Will had taught me that his death had temporarily wiped from my mind. But when I met Rob via the widow board, I applied 10-10-10 at nearly every step along the way from agreeing to correspond with him to keeping things strictly a friendship to taking the leap to perhaps something longer lasting. I was glad to have something concrete to measure and weigh along the journey. 

I found myself identifying strongly with many of Suzy’s personal stories and I especially loved the chapters of career charting and friendships. So much resonated as I read that I found myself re-reading parts and reading passages aloud to Rob as I worked my way through the book. I basically didn’t put it down for two days and I was so worked up that I shot off several commentary emails to Suzy as I read.

It is a good book. Well-written. Timely. Warm. Funny. And if you don’t read any other non-fiction work this year, this should be the one you do read.


In the September issue of Oprah I found an interesting article by Suzy Welch on decision making. Everyone makes decisions, big, small, life-changing and life-threatening everyday. The author contends that her formula for working through the problem-solving process on the way to coming to a definite decision is one that could change a person’s life or at the very least help those of us who have over-analyzed our dilemmas to the point of inertia.

She calls her solution 10-10-10. And its implementation is simple. When faced with a difficult, or not, decision, ask yourself three questions: What are the consequences of my decision in 10 minutes? In 10 months? And in 10 years? The answers to these questions will usually give you enough information to proceed to a decision. Read Full Article