In May, a month before things really began going south, San Diego Mayor Bob Filner hired La Jolla-based management consultant Justin Gittelman to help him bolster his dealings within the office.

Gittelman’s contract restricts the information he can disclose about his time with the city, and he declined to comment about anything Filner-related, including the removal of an old Facebook photo of him and Filner.

But one way to get a glimpse of Gittelman’s approach – and perhaps what he was telling the mayor – is through his book. Last fall, Gittelman self-published “Whole Mind Thinking,” which the book jacket describes as “an industry leading business growth model that increases individual performance while creating organizational alignment.”

If that sounds like management-speak, it is.

But we waded through “Whole Mind Thinking” and hope to translate it here as a window into how someone with the ear of the mayor is helping shape city management.

Gittelman said the book is only one piece of his work: It’s meant to supplement the executive training seminars he gives.

“It becomes the catalyst to change,” Gittelman said.

Big Dreams in a Small Package

The first thing you notice about “Whole Mind Thinking” is that it’s small. Like fits-into-your-pocket small.

The book’s just 60 pages long, and that includes some space for drawings and promotional praise for Gittelman and his biography. The book’s small stature was by design, he said.

“It’s the size of your iPhone and it’s meant to be consumed,” he said.

Within the book’s pages, though, Gittelman makes it clear that he wants to do big things: “To influence the development for millions of people to realize the power and strength of their mind’s potential.”

How it Works

The most new age-y section of the book comes at the start. Gittelman argues that most people only use 5 percent of their brainpower, and the way to increase it is through an understanding of “brain wave frequencies.” Gittelman says there are five of them: Beta, Alpha, Theta, Delta and Gamma.

Alpha, Gittelman says, comes from the brain’s creative and emotional side, which he believes is the most important part.

“Tapping into your subconscious to direct your focus is how you harness all of your natural intelligence and creative ability,” Gittelman writes. “Those who understand and master this new mental language are the ones who are going to succeed.”

He recommends a kind of meditation exercise to reach an Alpha state for 15 minutes, three times a day. Each 15 minutes in an Alpha state, he says, is like taking a three-hour nap.

Where Did He Come Up With This Stuff?

Gittelman dedicates his book to, among others, Tony Robbins, the celebrity life coach who’s known for getting people to walk across hot coals. Frequently in the book, Gittelman references Jose Silva, a Texas radio repairman who developed a self-hypnosis method that he claimed could reprogram people’s minds like a computer. Gittelman says the brainwave section of “Whole Mind Thinking” comes more from recent scientific research than Silva’s teaching.

So What’s The Book All About, Really?

Gittelman’s advocating that leaders focus on what they want and put themselves, and their employees, in the best postition to get it. At the end of his book, Gittelman lists seven takeaways. Here they are, translated from the management-speak.

1. Do the Alpha state thing three times a day.

2. Develop a personal mission statement and create mental images that support it.

3. Say out loud what you want in the future, three times a day.

4. Draw out the places you frequent and figure out how to put yourself in environments best for your success.

5. Get a mentor.

6. Train your employees to do this stuff.

7. Train your employees generally.

How’s It Working With the Mayor?

Gittelman’s contract calls for two personal coaching sessions with the mayor a month and other staff development. But not much has come out about their relationship beyond that.

Filner’s been incommunicado in general. Gittelman won’t talk about it.

Former Filner Chief of Staff Vince Hall has said Gittelman was working “very intensively” with the mayor on his bullying issues.

Current Chief of Staff Lee Burdick alluded to Gittelman multiple times in handwritten notes from a June 29 mayoral strategy meeting. Gittelman, she said, had proposed a new scheduling plan for the office. Filner, Burdick noted, rejected it.

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Liam Dillon

Liam Dillon was formerly a senior reporter and assistant editor for Voice of San Diego. He led VOSD’s investigations and wrote about how regular people...

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