In my new book, Working Toward Excellence, I identify and share 8 uncommon values – hunger, effort, process, quality, consistency, leadership, time, and perseverance – that explain why people achieve excellence or fall short of it.  Packed with inspiration and wisdom from respected professionals in business, sports, education, and the arts, this book will help you—and those you lead—work toward excellence in any endeavor.

The 8 values act both independently and collectively as you strive to produce uncommon work and live an uncommon life.  Each value in and of itself is powerful and capable of having a sig­nificant impact on your quest for excellence.  Together, the 8 values become an indomitable force, leaving no stone unturned and putting you in the best position to succeed.

The Seed

The book was inspired by my fall 2010 percussion ensemble students, who were apathetic, disinterested in practicing, and not working toward excellence.  The concert they gave was at best “pretty good.”  After the show, one student confessed, “Dr. Buyer, I never want to feel that way again,” describing his lack of preparation and confidence.  I was frustrated and it bothered me, and when something bothers me, I write about it.  So I started reflecting on why this happened, how I could use this experience as a teachable moment, and how to ensure this would never happened again.  I discovered that what was missing were the 8 values I discuss in this book.

Human Progress

What makes Working Toward Excellence unique is its focus on excellence, a topic sorely lacking in the marketplace. Without question, there is a great need for Working Toward Excellence today.  Jazz legend Wynton Marsalis said, “Maybe the preoccupation with technological progress has overshadowed our concern with human progress.” This book, at its essence, is about human progress and developing the values that lead to excellence.

The Evaluation

The book includes a Working Toward Excellence Evaluation to measure the 8 values and provide feedback by clearly showing readers which values they excel in and which need improvement.  The evaluation is based on ideas and philosophies found in Working Toward Excellence and is a tool for personal growth and improvement, helping you and your organization reach your full potential.  To download the evaluation for free, visit

The Game Plan

The book also contains questions for reflection, “profiles” in excellence and mediocrity, and a game plan for working toward excellence.  This game plan is the action plan you need to improve your scores on the evaluation and strengthen the values as you literally work toward excellence in pursuit of your goals.  The game plan is a simple 3-step process:

1.  Identify the values.  This is done by reading the book, completing the evaluation, listening to the free resources on, or attending a Working Toward Excellence workshop.

2.  Practice the values.  This is done by practicing specific ideas, strategies, and concepts outlined in the book such as being proactive, “crockpotting”, collaborating with others, and saying no.  The game plan offers over 20 strategies for practicing the values.

3.  Develop the values.  This is your ultimate goal and is achieved by practicing the 8 values over time.  By developing the values you are making them part of who you are and closing the gap between where you are and where you want to be.

Hope you enjoy it!