Soundview Executive Book Summaries

Book Review: Breaking the Fear Barrier

by Tom Rieger

When an executive looks at the state of his or her company, there may be problem areas that are easy to notice. For example, a department whose projects are consistently delayed or brought in over budget. The difficult part of an executive’s job is digging beneath the surface to find the root cause of the problem. According to author Tom Rieger, the primal emotion of fear may manifest itself in ways that can derail even the most technical aspects of a business. His book Breaking the Fear Barrier: How Fear Destroys Companies from the Inside Out and What to Do About It is now available as a Soundview Executive Book Summary.

Fear can create a workplace environment in which self-preservation leads to destructive practices. Rieger discusses the walls that individuals and departments build and how to knock them down. The book’s brevity means readers receive maximum benefit for their investment of time. He presents the “pyramid of bureaucracy,” a model for the way fear builds upon fear in organizations. He gives detailed analyses of each level of the pyramid: parochialism, territorialism, and empire building.

One aspect of Rieger’s book that may surprise readers is his contention that many of the barriers created in the workplace are self-imposed. While a manager may heartily agree with the notion that his or her employees are responsible for their own problems, the idea is more difficult to accept when the spotlight is turned on the executive. However, Rieger’s breakdown of how to eliminate fear will only benefit those readers who are honest enough with themselves to admit that fear is causing an issue.

To get your copy of the Soundview Executive Book Summary of Breaking the Fear Barrier, visit Soundview’s Web site,


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