How to Begin

Start Doing Something That Matters

Michael Bungay Stanier

“Piercingly frank, funny, gorgeous, vulnerable, and ultimately really damn helpful.”

— Julie Lythcott-Haims, New York Times–bestselling author of How to Raise an Adult


How to Begin is for you if…

You’re ambitious, but feel you’ve never been given full permission to find and strive for what’s possible for you.

You’ve achieved things in your career, and it’s now time to “climb the second mountain” and think about legacy.

You’re unhappy with how the world is working right now, and you want to change your part of it for the better.

You’re a coach, and you want to support your clients to be great and do great things.

You’re at the start of your adult life, and you’re fired up to live a life of meaning and impact.

You’re ready to begin, and to start doing something that matters.

We unlock our greatness by working on the hard things.

With The Coaching Habit, Michael Bungay Stanier wrote the bestselling coaching book of the century. With The Advice Trap, he showed you how to tame your Advice Monster. Now, he’s here to help you reclaim your ambition, figure out what you should do that matters… and begin.

This is your practical guide to finding the focus and courage to set a Worthy Goal: one that lights you up, compels you to grow, and serves a bigger game by being thrilling, important, and daunting.

With Michael’s trademark humor, compassion, and laser-focused clarity, you’ll walk through a tested process to:

  • find and strengthen your Worthy Goal to the very best it can be;
  • get absolutely clear on your commitment so you know what you’re up for;
  • develop the resources to cross the threshold, so you don’t have to travel alone;
  • build momentum, progress, and impact.

Don’t regret a life half-lived. Use this book to start doing something that matters.



“Of particular appeal for those of us who instinctively recoil from self-help woo-woo and just want to get on with doing Great Work that leaves the world a bit better than we found it.”

“A friendly voice and a guiding hand.”

“Eminently practical, clever, delightful, and beautifully rendered—a non-fiction Where the Wild Things Are for adult dreamers and doers.”



“I loved this book, and that’s coming from a gal who’s never been big on goals.”

Powerful, magical, and compelling. We don’t need more time; we simply need to decide.”




Michael Bungay Stanier distills big, complex ideas into practical, accessible knowledge for everyday people that helps them be a force for good.

His books have sold over a million copies, with The Coaching Habit topping the Wall Street Journal bestseller list. MBS has been featured on the blogs and social media platforms of thought leaders including Seth Godin, Tim Ferriss, and Brené Brown, and has appeared on ABC, BBC, CBC,, and innumerable podcasts—as well as in notable publications including the Harvard Business Review, Forbes, Inc., and Fast Company. 

MBS is the founder of Box of Crayons, a learning and development company that helps organizations move from advice-driven action to curiosity-led transformation. They have trained more than half a million people for clients including Microsoft, Salesforce, TELUS, and Gucci.

Before establishing Box of Crayons, MBS’s accomplishments included publishing an academic article on James Joyce and a Harlequin-esque short story; playing small roles in helping invent Pizza Hut’s Stuffed Crust pizza and creating “one of the worst single-malt whiskies in existence”; and spending twenty minutes writing what has remained GlaxoSmithKline’s global vision for more than twenty years.

A former Rhodes Scholar, MBS is an Australian who now lives in Toronto, Canada.

You can join others committed to being a force for change at

ISBN 978-1-77458-058-5
$18.95 CAD $16.95 USD
Published January 11, 2022
5.25 × 8 224 Pages
Paperback, ebook, audiobook