An Interview with Andy Andrews About the Noticer Returns

Tomorrow marks the publication of The Noticer Returns by my good friend, Andy Andrews. The original book was a New York Times bestseller and one of my favorite books ever. I gave cases of it away. This one is sure to be just as popular. In a moment, I’ll tell you how to get a free copy.

Recently, I had the opportunity to interview Andy about the book. I thought you would enjoy listening into our conversation. My questions and comments are in bold.

A big part of The Noticer Returns is the idea of changing cultures—in our society, businesses, families, etc. How can leaders step up and create a winning culture?

Yes, it is a theme that runs throughout the story and curiously, every company or team I work with mentions that word—culture—within the first few minutes of our time together. Every organization is desperately concerned about their “current culture” and the direction in which their culture appears to be moving.

The interesting thing to me is that these companies don’t seem to realize that they already have a culture. Every team has a culture. Every family, every city, every organization has a culture. That culture was either created intentionally or inadvertently.

But to understand how a culture is created, you first have to expose the myth most people believe, which is that our choices and decisions are the bedrock of a culture. Decisions and choices, in fact, are only a link in the process. In reality, it’s the thinking behind those decisions and choices that ultimately creates any culture.

Look at it this way… As parents, we often tell our children, “Make good choices. Make good choices today…” which is a bit like telling them to go flip a quarter and get heads every time. One cannot expect a child (or anyone for that matter) to make good choices without understanding how good choices are made.

So, if you want to create a winning culture for your family or organization, take some time to determine how to shape the thinking. As Jones explains in the book, “All choices and decisions are the ultimate result of how you think. And what you think. And how much you think about it. And the subjects you choose not to think about…”

I like the family analogy, because there’s a ton in this book for parents to learn, no matter the age of their children. What’s the most important thing parents need to know about raising kids?

It’s interesting to me how parents, for years and years and years, have said that we want “the best” for our kids, but rarely does anyone really take the time to identify what “the best” actually looks like.

In the book, Jones guides a group of parents through a process of determining 21 specific results that they want to be evident in the lives of their children when they reach adulthood.

There are a lot of “goods,” there are many “betters,” but there is only one “best.” And even people of diverse beliefs and backgrounds can agree on what “the best” is when you start listing specifically desired results.

Here’s where it gets really interesting. It’s parenting according to principle.

Explain “parenting according to principle.”

Just as there are principles of science and physics at work in our lives whether we’re aware of them or not (gravity, for example, was at work long before the apple fell on Newton’s head), there are also principles of parenting that we can choose to harness. But one can only harness the principles he or she knows! You’ve heard “ignorance of the law is no excuse”? Well, ignorance of principle is no protection from the consequences of bad thinking.

So, how do we discover what those principles of parenting are? That’s exactly what I’ve been doing for several years now… And The Noticer Returns is my way of sharing what I’ve learned. I think you’ll be surprised. I know that I was. Our society seems to have an amazing ability to think logically to wrong conclusions. Or as Jones says in the book, “You can’t believe everything you think.”

Jones (“The Noticer” to whom the title refers) is such a great character that has connected with so many readers. How can people looking for a mentor find a “Jones” in their life?

There are two things you must have in your life to find a “Jones:”

  1. A spirit of openness—you have to be open to the possibility that you don’t know anything or that some of what you DO know might be incorrect. You have to accept that there may be things wrong with your thinking.
  2. Awareness—you need to constantly be on the lookout for people with “fruit on the tree,” people who have visible results in their lives. When you find those people, don’t walk up to them and say, “Will you mentor me?” Instead, look for ways that you can provide value in their life as well. Be a person other people want to be around.

There’s so much in this book that applies to real life. Why did you choose to write it in the form of a fictional story?

Because smart authors write the non-fiction books. Ha!

Actually, I love stories. And frankly, I’ve found that if you reveal principles that people can actually apply to their lives and wrap them in an entertaining story, it’s a lot easier to get people to read the book!

The Noticer Returns is a story I think people will really enjoy reading. It’s a story that will keep you turning the pages, but the principles will stay with you forever.

I gave away 50 copies of The Noticer Returns. To qualify, my readers had to comment below. You can find the list of winners here.

Question: Do you have a “Jones” in your life? Name one way he or she has impacted you.

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