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The Best Place to Work: The Art and Science of Creating an Extraordinary Workplace

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For readers of Malcolm Gladwell, Daniel Pink, and Freakonomics, comes a captivating and surprising journey through the science of workplace excellence.   Why do successful companies reward failure? What can casinos teach us about building a happy workplace? How do you design an office that enhances both attention to detail and creativity?   In The Best Place to Work , award For readers of Malcolm Gladwell, Daniel Pink, and Freakonomics, comes a captivating and surprising journey through the science of workplace excellence.   Why do successful companies reward failure? What can casinos teach us about building a happy workplace? How do you design an office that enhances both attention to detail and creativity?   In The Best Place to Work , award-winning psychologist Ron Friedman, Ph.D. uses the latest research from the fields of motivation, creativity, behavioral economics, neuroscience, and management to reveal what really makes us successful at work. Combining powerful stories with cutting edge findings, Friedman shows leaders at every level how they can use scientifically-proven techniques to promote smarter thinking, greater innovation, and stronger performance.   Among the many surprising insights, Friedman explains how learning to think like a hostage negotiator can help you diffuse a workplace argument, why placing a fish bowl near your desk can elevate your thinking, and how incorporating strategic distractions into your schedule can help you reach smarter decisions. Along the way, the book introduces the inventor who created the cubicle, the president who brought down the world’s most dangerous criminal, and the teenager who single-handedly transformed professional tennis—vivid stories that offer unexpected revelations on achieving workplace excellence.   Brimming with counterintuitive insights and actionable recommendations, The Best Place to Work offers employees and executives alike game-changing advice for working smarter and turning any organization—regardless of its size, budgets, or ambitions—into an extraordinary workplace.


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For readers of Malcolm Gladwell, Daniel Pink, and Freakonomics, comes a captivating and surprising journey through the science of workplace excellence.   Why do successful companies reward failure? What can casinos teach us about building a happy workplace? How do you design an office that enhances both attention to detail and creativity?   In The Best Place to Work , award For readers of Malcolm Gladwell, Daniel Pink, and Freakonomics, comes a captivating and surprising journey through the science of workplace excellence.   Why do successful companies reward failure? What can casinos teach us about building a happy workplace? How do you design an office that enhances both attention to detail and creativity?   In The Best Place to Work , award-winning psychologist Ron Friedman, Ph.D. uses the latest research from the fields of motivation, creativity, behavioral economics, neuroscience, and management to reveal what really makes us successful at work. Combining powerful stories with cutting edge findings, Friedman shows leaders at every level how they can use scientifically-proven techniques to promote smarter thinking, greater innovation, and stronger performance.   Among the many surprising insights, Friedman explains how learning to think like a hostage negotiator can help you diffuse a workplace argument, why placing a fish bowl near your desk can elevate your thinking, and how incorporating strategic distractions into your schedule can help you reach smarter decisions. Along the way, the book introduces the inventor who created the cubicle, the president who brought down the world’s most dangerous criminal, and the teenager who single-handedly transformed professional tennis—vivid stories that offer unexpected revelations on achieving workplace excellence.   Brimming with counterintuitive insights and actionable recommendations, The Best Place to Work offers employees and executives alike game-changing advice for working smarter and turning any organization—regardless of its size, budgets, or ambitions—into an extraordinary workplace.

30 review for The Best Place to Work: The Art and Science of Creating an Extraordinary Workplace

  1. 5 out of 5

    David

    Ron Friedman is a psychologist who works as a consultant to business leaders, to help them transform their workplaces. He has written a fascinating book about making a workplace into "A Great Place to Work." It is a book about psychology, and the psychological factors that affect businesses. In retrospect it is entirely common sense, but so many businesses do not apply common sense to the workplace. Here I will summarize some of the points that really made a mark in my mind. In the 1970's, the av Ron Friedman is a psychologist who works as a consultant to business leaders, to help them transform their workplaces. He has written a fascinating book about making a workplace into "A Great Place to Work." It is a book about psychology, and the psychological factors that affect businesses. In retrospect it is entirely common sense, but so many businesses do not apply common sense to the workplace. Here I will summarize some of the points that really made a mark in my mind. In the 1970's, the average office space was 500 square feet per person, but by 2010 it declined to 200 square feet. Cubicles were originally designed to give office workers privacy. Nowadays, they prevent eye contact, but allow hearing people who are hidden behind panels. Cubicles are used to cram more people into tight spaces, which can be truly demoralizing. Friedman writes, "Cubicles are depressing. Private offices are isolating. Open spaces are distracting." Friedman writes about the benefits of offices with windows, giving access to sunlight. Plants also can help. Organizations that have communal spaces have twice the number of employees with a best friend at work, than those that don't. Friedman writes that the real lesson of telecommuting is "there's something deeply wrong with the design of a workplace when the only way for an employee to feel productive is to physically leave the building. Interestingly, Friedman writes about the benefits of exercise, short naps, enforced vacations, and turning off email servers after working hours. This may help to put the unconscious mind to work overnight. One of the ways to help employees get along with each other is by fostering physical activities after hours--not at cocktail parties. It's about what we do outside the office that frequently offers the biggest boon to our relationships at work. Warren Buffett gives his direct reports complete autonomy over their own decision making. This "pays dividends in the form of better motivation, stronger organizational loyalty, and sustained engagement." Friedman gives advice about how to avoid micromanagement, flexible schedules. He writes that giving praise is not about stroking an employee's ego. It's about providing them with the psychological fuel to feel engaged. Managers who hold high-level positions often get recognition, and take it for granted. They don't realize that lower-level employees need it, too. Friedman advises about how to promote flow experiences and intellectual curiosity: Make on-th-job learning a requirement. Also, in order to experience flow, one needs clear objectives, and where peer-to-peer coaching can be useful. And, the best communicators are good listeners, and are therefore the most influential. Friedman analyzes a recording of a successful hostage negotiation, and finds that listening was the key. When trying to change behavior, the more you dominate a conversation, the less you persuade. The book tells of the enormous influence of CEO's on a company's direction and culture. A clever psychological study found that narcissistic leaders make significantly more volatile business decisions. They pursue more bold attention grabbing and strategic shifts than competitors. Hmm... this sounds an awful lot like someone in the news a lot these days .... The book gives lots of practical suggestions for employees, emerging leaders and managers. Friedman gives a lot of advice about interviewing new hires. He writes about an amazing psychological experiment having to do with interviewing. He writes about the benefits of employee referrals, and how to build employee pride in a company. He advises how to make each employee feel like their contributions are valued--and to do this without phony, fancy titles, which often backfire. I highly recommend this book to everyone interested in psychology, and to anyone who works for an organization or business. It contains a lot of sound, common-sense advice. And, some of the advice is not very obvious. Even when the advice is obvious, it can be useful for managers to get some reminders--these reminders are sorely needed.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Bookphile

    Fascinating read, which I can hardly believe I'm saying about a business book. So much of what Friedman discusses exposes exactly why employees are as dissatisfied with their jobs as they are, and how easily companies could alleviate that dissatisfaction if only they'd make small investments. I'm consistently amazed by the stupidity of corporate America--it's almost as if they prefer to shoot themselves in the foot rather than making small changes that would result in higher productivity and gre Fascinating read, which I can hardly believe I'm saying about a business book. So much of what Friedman discusses exposes exactly why employees are as dissatisfied with their jobs as they are, and how easily companies could alleviate that dissatisfaction if only they'd make small investments. I'm consistently amazed by the stupidity of corporate America--it's almost as if they prefer to shoot themselves in the foot rather than making small changes that would result in higher productivity and greater job satisfaction. If I could make every top-level executive read this book, I would. The businesses that will be the success stories of the future will be the ones that pay attention to the issues presented in this book. On another note, reading this book will also make it clear why our schools and government are so dysfunctional, since they embrace corporate models with such fervor. Bottom line: people are not machines or widgets. Treat them as such to your own detriment.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Ivan

    All-around helpful and actionable takeaways for both managers and emerging leaders.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Whit

    Easy to read with some solid guidance on managing people and a workplace to get both productivity and happiness. It's rare that I can finish books like this--usually 1/2 through I get the picture and move on, but this kept me interested through the end. I will definitely keep it on hand as a reference for the day I am the Big Boss Lady. Easy to read with some solid guidance on managing people and a workplace to get both productivity and happiness. It's rare that I can finish books like this--usually 1/2 through I get the picture and move on, but this kept me interested through the end. I will definitely keep it on hand as a reference for the day I am the Big Boss Lady.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Nabil

    An interesting overview of positive workplace behaviour. Unfortunately, there's a tonne of cliche'd statements and examples that sound good on the surface, but don't actually hold up to light when scrutinized. It's like a Gladwell book about the workplace, without the excitement of a Gladwell book. An interesting overview of positive workplace behaviour. Unfortunately, there's a tonne of cliche'd statements and examples that sound good on the surface, but don't actually hold up to light when scrutinized. It's like a Gladwell book about the workplace, without the excitement of a Gladwell book.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Sandro Mancuso

    I’ve learned a lot from this book. As a person trying to create a great working environment, you will find great advices in many areas like definition of success, impact of office spaces, how to turn a group of strangers into great colleagues, leadership, intrinsic motivation, how to give feedback, how to highlight achievements, how to deal with people problems, tips on hiring, cultural fit and diversity of opinions, pride at work, and much more. Highly recommended for any person interested to m I’ve learned a lot from this book. As a person trying to create a great working environment, you will find great advices in many areas like definition of success, impact of office spaces, how to turn a group of strangers into great colleagues, leadership, intrinsic motivation, how to give feedback, how to highlight achievements, how to deal with people problems, tips on hiring, cultural fit and diversity of opinions, pride at work, and much more. Highly recommended for any person interested to make their workplace a great place to be.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Meredith

    This is one of my favorite management books I’ve ever read. I highly recommend for leaders and managers who can more deeply engage their teams. It Uses a conversational tone to apply relevant psychological and sociological research to create a structure/framework that makes workplaces and management practices more effective at improving engagement and performance. It was very accessible and easy to read. And had a lot of great insights. I wrote notes in the book as I read and plan to go back and This is one of my favorite management books I’ve ever read. I highly recommend for leaders and managers who can more deeply engage their teams. It Uses a conversational tone to apply relevant psychological and sociological research to create a structure/framework that makes workplaces and management practices more effective at improving engagement and performance. It was very accessible and easy to read. And had a lot of great insights. I wrote notes in the book as I read and plan to go back and make a summary outline I can use to figure out the best way to apply these insights to our org. Very enjoyable to read and I learned a lot of practical tips that I look forward to implementing.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Alaeddin Hallak

    Bit depressing to see how far local companies have yet to go to abandon their Industrial Age ways of creating a working environment, but ultimately worth the read. Every workplace can improve – and as a leader, you can change yours for the better. All it takes is a willingness to prioritize your employees’ happiness and well-being. You have to be seriously committed in order to create a more positive environment, but it will be well worth it, leading to increased productivity and better results.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Mariah

    Great meld of scientific research and real life stories. Finally a book about work that didn't bore me. Great meld of scientific research and real life stories. Finally a book about work that didn't bore me.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Evin Ashley

    This book was good, worth a read - but since I have interest in the topic, or perhaps because of the time and space I occupy, most of the information presented was either well established or trendy, thus already familiar. I liked that Friedman emphasized the human connection / innovation / creativity aspect of work being crucial to the success of any organization - especially in the age of increasing automation - but didn't like the emphasis on how to cultivate these crucial ingredients. Namely, This book was good, worth a read - but since I have interest in the topic, or perhaps because of the time and space I occupy, most of the information presented was either well established or trendy, thus already familiar. I liked that Friedman emphasized the human connection / innovation / creativity aspect of work being crucial to the success of any organization - especially in the age of increasing automation - but didn't like the emphasis on how to cultivate these crucial ingredients. Namely, nap time and bottomless buffets and hierarchically flat organizations. Isn't that kindergarten? I agree we all crave autonomy, but autonomy should be earned. An organization that has a flat structure for fat cats will likely not have strong mission and purpose to impart on the rest of society. I kept thinking about the structure of work in general and how as society evolves, our workplace evolves, and historically the most effective organizations of any generation have been those that have a clearly defined sense of purpose, training to that end, and a bit of fire under their bums. Organized play time by Google sounds like my worst nightmare. Doesn't creativity come from the spaces in between - other parts of your life that are disparate, but when you are able to recharge them separately, you become whole and more effective in each? I don't really like the emphasis on making our work and our personage interchangeable. One is a product of the other, not the other way around. I appreciate the argument that you are able to be your whole self in both contexts, but the truth is our public and private lives will always be different, and our labor and the fruits of such should be tended to differently. So while I may have found a few ideas lackluster, I did appreciate the thought process this book provoked. We may be living in a time where we have the luxury of deriving great joy through our workplace - but if our loyalty, focus and identity lie solely on the source of our income, if we don't shape the mission of our organization to consider the personal and public outside of work as sacred, what will that do to us as a society?

  11. 4 out of 5

    Grace Mead

    In college, when I asked the psychology chair for a recommendation for law school, he reluctantly agreed, saying: "The last thing this world needs is more lawyers." This book reminded me of my enormous draw to social psychology and the insights it has generated. When I read about transitioning, I consistently read that it improved work performance but couldn't imagine it doing so. In hindsight, I realize it has because I'm so much happier. Friedman amasses impressive empirical research that happi In college, when I asked the psychology chair for a recommendation for law school, he reluctantly agreed, saying: "The last thing this world needs is more lawyers." This book reminded me of my enormous draw to social psychology and the insights it has generated. When I read about transitioning, I consistently read that it improved work performance but couldn't imagine it doing so. In hindsight, I realize it has because I'm so much happier. Friedman amasses impressive empirical research that happiness improves productivity, particularly in creative jobs. For example, the stocks of companies with the happiest employees outperform competitors by a factor of two. This book is a celebration of the research about how to work more creatively, productively, and passionately. Highly recommended.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Syed Saqi

    After finishing 5 years at my previous workplace, my boss gave this book. I wish i could share it with him for there were many things to start working on ;) no puns here ok.. the review goes as below. We all want an equitable, challenging and a rewarding Place to work. Ron Friedman, gives us mantra - make employees feel Autonomous, Feel competent at work do and finally make the firm, its work, its vision and purpose related to employees and their aspirations. While these are just 3 things to action After finishing 5 years at my previous workplace, my boss gave this book. I wish i could share it with him for there were many things to start working on ;) no puns here ok.. the review goes as below. We all want an equitable, challenging and a rewarding Place to work. Ron Friedman, gives us mantra - make employees feel Autonomous, Feel competent at work do and finally make the firm, its work, its vision and purpose related to employees and their aspirations. While these are just 3 things to action, they can be done in hundred different ways, and the multiple examples and case studies come in handy. The range of literature cited is as old as 1954 ( Cave Experiment) to as latest as recruiting gaffes at google (interviews replicating work scenarios). Chapter summary for managers and leaders give handy takeaways to implement. Overall a very readable book.

  13. 5 out of 5

    TEELOCK Mithilesh

    The best place to work brings together decades of psychological research into a package that offers an organization concrete advice to improve the well-being of workers and the quality of work. Combining powerful stories with cutting edge findings, Friedman shows leaders how they can use scientifically proven techniques to promote smarter thinking, greater innovation and stronger performance at every level. The book is divided into three parts: designing an extraordinary workplace experience, mo The best place to work brings together decades of psychological research into a package that offers an organization concrete advice to improve the well-being of workers and the quality of work. Combining powerful stories with cutting edge findings, Friedman shows leaders how they can use scientifically proven techniques to promote smarter thinking, greater innovation and stronger performance at every level. The book is divided into three parts: designing an extraordinary workplace experience, motivating excellence and, finally, attracting an retaining top performers. Each chapter addresses different aspects of the workplace, offering illuminating and often counter-intuitive best practices for making one’s organization effective. The conclusion of each chapter cites some of the action items that are worth to ponder for managers and emerging leaders of organizations across the globe.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Amber

    If you need to understand org culture, few books are as adept at giving you 70 years of management research in a digestible narrative. While the insights are familiar, Friedman’s storytelling style and his clear organization make this an enjoyable and useful read. I especially appreciated that each chapter ended with two summaries: one for executives and one for emerging leaders.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Brian Heckber

    Must read on organizational health If you oversee people, this is a great book to build your team. Built upon solid research, Friedman gives great ideas for making your workplace the best it can be.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Clifton

    This was the most readable, accessible, and practical book about workplace culture I have ever read. Nice, right? That's the good news. The bad news? I had basically read all the insights and case studies in other places. It is more literature/research review than anything else. So if you are new to this field, start here. If you are pretty well read on the topic, it is a decent (but familiar) summary. This was the most readable, accessible, and practical book about workplace culture I have ever read. Nice, right? That's the good news. The bad news? I had basically read all the insights and case studies in other places. It is more literature/research review than anything else. So if you are new to this field, start here. If you are pretty well read on the topic, it is a decent (but familiar) summary.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Eric Brooke

    A good book for those who wish to improve their workplace. Provides a lot of evidence e.g. psychology studies, but crafts them into a compelling narrative. The actions at the end of each chapter are useful. A lot to learn here for all leaders and those who wish to be leaders. And maybe even for progressive trade unionists. And of course for people who would rather improve their workplace, rather than complain about it! For an America business book it is not to over the top, which was nice. A couple A good book for those who wish to improve their workplace. Provides a lot of evidence e.g. psychology studies, but crafts them into a compelling narrative. The actions at the end of each chapter are useful. A lot to learn here for all leaders and those who wish to be leaders. And maybe even for progressive trade unionists. And of course for people who would rather improve their workplace, rather than complain about it! For an America business book it is not to over the top, which was nice. A couple suggestions, not all of the the studies are foot noted on each page. Yes there is a page by page list at the back, some are more obvious then others. The footnotes are helpful, when we need to understand something deeper, perhaps in the next edition? As I feel they encourage curiosity. The other is some of the evidence is the organizations in question, marketing their own er horn.. The last two chapters, Part Three, I felt were weaker and there were a number of examples given where the Author did not really do his research. There were also a couple points where there is much counter research, to the points laid out. But I appreciate this is Authors story.. I have no doubt I will read this book several times.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Mukesh Emes

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. One of the best business book I've ever read. In this book Ron Friedman explain the importance of a healthy work environment in the success of a company. He redefine the conventional employee management techniques. The ideas he deals in this book are really amazing. He spend a great time in researching several different areas of psychology. He discuss a lot work related things like office space design, the benefits of office relationships, and even the importance of failure. I really love this q One of the best business book I've ever read. In this book Ron Friedman explain the importance of a healthy work environment in the success of a company. He redefine the conventional employee management techniques. The ideas he deals in this book are really amazing. He spend a great time in researching several different areas of psychology. He discuss a lot work related things like office space design, the benefits of office relationships, and even the importance of failure. I really love this quote “Mistakes are the tuition you pay for success.” Doesn't matter whether you are the owner of a business, or a manager dealing with employees, or an employee this book will be a great experience.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sandy Irwin

    What can I say? This is the best work-related book I've ever read. It takes psychology, and the multitude of studies completed on work and engagement, and weaves them together into a relatable and practical guide. I came away with a ton of ideas. And I work for a library, where we have to be creative because we are limited in discretionary funds. I love this book! What can I say? This is the best work-related book I've ever read. It takes psychology, and the multitude of studies completed on work and engagement, and weaves them together into a relatable and practical guide. I came away with a ton of ideas. And I work for a library, where we have to be creative because we are limited in discretionary funds. I love this book!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Amanda Paulin

    Great read. I love how it just further cemented our mission here at FULL. If we focus on bridging the gap between our work life and our home life, we can create happy and healthy team members.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Marcus

    Amazing book that should be read by everyone working with management or organizational development

  22. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    The book has good insights into effective workplaces and includes psychological research and anecdotal examples. The writing style is engaging.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Missy

    Ch. 1: "Creative geniuses don't just attempt more solutions--they also miss quite often." "When practice is effortless...learning stops. It's by walking the precipice between your current abilities and the skills just beyond your reach that growth happens." Ch. 2: "Frequently, the higher up an organization you go, the more space you're allotted and the more inaccessible you become. Status begets isolation, which can have a crippling effect on teams whose work depends on collaboration." Ch. 3: "Thin Ch. 1: "Creative geniuses don't just attempt more solutions--they also miss quite often." "When practice is effortless...learning stops. It's by walking the precipice between your current abilities and the skills just beyond your reach that growth happens." Ch. 2: "Frequently, the higher up an organization you go, the more space you're allotted and the more inaccessible you become. Status begets isolation, which can have a crippling effect on teams whose work depends on collaboration." Ch. 3: "Think back to your last truly great work-related idea. Now ask yourself: Where were you? Chances are that you weren't sitting behind your desk." "If you want to regularly generate brilliant ideas, you must be purposeful about what you are putting into your head. The challenge in most workplaces is that employees are exposed to the same information day after day, making it difficult to come up with new and innovative solutions." "In today's knowledge economy, it's the quality of your thinking that matters most, and quality thinking is directly tied to energy level." "No reasonable person expects to visit a gym and lift weights continuously without a break. We openly acknowledge the limitations of our muscles. But we don't do so for our minds. Declining performance is not as readily visible to us in the office as it is in the weight room, and so we continue plodding along, oblivious to the fact that we are contributing at a fraction of the rate we were earlier." Ch. 4: "...the experience of progress is the single most important component of a satisfying workday." Ch. 7: "Being ignored is often more psychologically painful than being treated poorly." "He who praises everybody praises nobody." Ch. 8: "PEARLS=Partnership, Empathy, Acknowledgement, Respect, Legitimation, Support. "Listening is a motivational tool. It's not just something you do when you're trying to be polite or mentally reloading another argument. It's when you're at your most influential." "No matter how much you differ with another person, your disagreements don't need to be disagreeable." "When you're trying to change behavior, the more you dominate the conversation, the less you persuade." "If your employees are constantly worried about whether or not they have your respect, they're devoting valuable mental energy that could be better applied to their work." "If you find yourself locking horns in a workplace power struggle, beware. Winning arguments is often predictive of losing long-term relationships." "Punishment doesn't drive behavior. Copying and modeling and the social expectation of your peers are what drives behavior...Every human organization is an ecosystem. All it takes is a single spreader to start a virus." Ch. 9: "Managers influence employees in more ways than they realize....Flooded with stress? Take a look. So are your direct reports. Emotions are contagious, especially those of a team's leader." "facing an employee with a bad attitude? Shake up his network. The company we keep has a powerful influence on the way we think." Chapter 10: "No matter how well you manage, how often you recognize, or how generously you reward, there's simply no substitute for selecting talented people and placing them in the right roles." Chapter 11: "He who has a why can bear almost any how." Conclusion: "How do you get employees engaged in their work? By providing opportunities for them to experience autonomy, competence, and relatedness on a daily basis."

  24. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    This was one of five or six books I honed in on for my yearly work related readings. The concept seemed the most fun and light which would make for a good starter book. I thought I was going to already know a lot of the “cool” companies and their “cool kid” work environments that would most likely be discussed in this book since I live in Silicon Valley. To my surprise this book is not just one giant homage to Google and Facebook. It’s great to know companies all over the nation are doing intere This was one of five or six books I honed in on for my yearly work related readings. The concept seemed the most fun and light which would make for a good starter book. I thought I was going to already know a lot of the “cool” companies and their “cool kid” work environments that would most likely be discussed in this book since I live in Silicon Valley. To my surprise this book is not just one giant homage to Google and Facebook. It’s great to know companies all over the nation are doing interesting things to help employees at work. What I loved about this book was the variety of ways the author gives that can be used to improve a work environment. It almost leaves any business little excuse not to invest in their employees’ happiness and comfort since it’s not a one size fits all plan. And not only does this book offer mangers advice on ways to improve, it also gives individual contributors ways they can do their part even if management or your current employer is not utilizing any of the author’s great tips. Sometimes reading business books can be a bit disheartening because it seems like their ideas only apply to someone in management, but this book puts the ball in anyone’s court. I didn’t have anything negative to say about the book so I’m just going to keep pointing out what I really enjoyed. Instead of just going straight for the methods one could use to improve their work environment, the author always starts the chapter with an interesting story that ties in to the overall theme of the chapter. It draws you in and keeps you invested in the chapter because you want to see how that chapter’s tip affected the outcome of the story. Another thing I appreciated was his summaries at the end of each chapter. A lot of business books do this but it is literally a repetition of what you had just read which makes it a snooze fest to read through. With Friedman’s summaries, he restates what we’ve just learned by saying how managers or individual contributors can use the advice, which makes it feel like we are still learning something new versus just restating what has already been said. I’m really glad I chose to start with this book for my work related reading. It was so fun to read and really eye opening instead of feeling like homework the way most work related books could feel. Sure, the author mentions some of the highly publicized perks that big companies like Google possess but this book was chock full of really clever insights into company policies that I had never heard of before. It gives me hope that with so many companies, not just a Google or a Facebook, trying innovative ways to make employees happier that more companies, including my own, will adopt this mindset.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    I heard of Friedman through some productivity podcast or social media postings. He offered a free webinar and regular newsletters which I have watched/read and enjoyed the pragmatic approach. The book promised to be filled with productivity porn and content around organisation culture and the many things I enjoy about observing and working in organisations of 21st century. My current project requires a lot of solo effort and I was hoping get new tools or ideas of how to maximise my output, even I heard of Friedman through some productivity podcast or social media postings. He offered a free webinar and regular newsletters which I have watched/read and enjoyed the pragmatic approach. The book promised to be filled with productivity porn and content around organisation culture and the many things I enjoy about observing and working in organisations of 21st century. My current project requires a lot of solo effort and I was hoping get new tools or ideas of how to maximise my output, even though I was 75% through by the time starting the book. There is a lot of practical examples and quick wins for managers or leaders to try out or reflect upon based on their situation. It was published in 2014 and there are more ideas and examples now but this is a very good introduction to possibilities and includes traditional text book workplace examples like Taylorism from early 20th century. It has left me with some actionable behaviours to remember like; compliment the behaviour not the person and introduce some routine or habit when switching between tasks, like tennis players between points.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Erin Kernohan

    Should probably be titled "Why Google is... The Best Place to Work". This is one of those management books where a lot seemed to be lost in the execution. Many of the concepts and ideas are fine, and if anything are already being practiced to some degree in my workplace (albeit not on a Google - whose examples he uses FREQUENTLY - scale of grandeur). The examples, on the other hand, were often frustratingly convoluted, contained blatant inaccuracies, or were riddled with cherry picked details to Should probably be titled "Why Google is... The Best Place to Work". This is one of those management books where a lot seemed to be lost in the execution. Many of the concepts and ideas are fine, and if anything are already being practiced to some degree in my workplace (albeit not on a Google - whose examples he uses FREQUENTLY - scale of grandeur). The examples, on the other hand, were often frustratingly convoluted, contained blatant inaccuracies, or were riddled with cherry picked details to the extent that the lesson of the story was undermined. If this is an entry level for an A-type manager who wants to learn a softer approach, then by all means check out this book. If you're already there, then there are probably more satisfying books out there for you to consult, even if you're just looking for validation.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Nikunj

    This book is not just meant for business managers - it is readable for anyone who works. I found myself incorporating several of the principles in my own practice. Bottomline: positive behaviors yield positive results. The book provides specific prescriptions you can take or leave. A weaker aspect of the book is the discussion regarding telework - where many of the principles become somewhat complex or breakdown. Regardless, everyone reading this book will probably find at least a few a nuggets This book is not just meant for business managers - it is readable for anyone who works. I found myself incorporating several of the principles in my own practice. Bottomline: positive behaviors yield positive results. The book provides specific prescriptions you can take or leave. A weaker aspect of the book is the discussion regarding telework - where many of the principles become somewhat complex or breakdown. Regardless, everyone reading this book will probably find at least a few a nuggets of management and working with others that make the workplace that much nicer.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan Godwin

    I'm always trying to learn new things about running a successful business....how to do new things, how to inspire creativity, how to be a better leader....and this book gave me some new ideas regarding creating a better workplace. As leaders and business owners, we get busy and stuck in ruts on a regular basis. We have to be intentional about bringing ourselves out of those ruts and keeping our teams engaged, and this book was a great reminder of that fact. The comparisons to Malcolm Gladwell an I'm always trying to learn new things about running a successful business....how to do new things, how to inspire creativity, how to be a better leader....and this book gave me some new ideas regarding creating a better workplace. As leaders and business owners, we get busy and stuck in ruts on a regular basis. We have to be intentional about bringing ourselves out of those ruts and keeping our teams engaged, and this book was a great reminder of that fact. The comparisons to Malcolm Gladwell and Daniel Pink were spot-on. If you enjoy those guys, you'll enjoy this book as well.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen

    I had mixed impressions of Friedman’s book’s helpfulness chapter by chapter. Some topics - office space design, motivation, active listening, and recruiting - resonated with me, while others were echoes of Atlantic articles of yesteryear. Probably good basics for everyone to be familiar with, but best to skim for topics of your particular interest. The conclusion is actually a good summary of the importance of psychology in driving employee engagement - so if you only have 15 minutes, read the l I had mixed impressions of Friedman’s book’s helpfulness chapter by chapter. Some topics - office space design, motivation, active listening, and recruiting - resonated with me, while others were echoes of Atlantic articles of yesteryear. Probably good basics for everyone to be familiar with, but best to skim for topics of your particular interest. The conclusion is actually a good summary of the importance of psychology in driving employee engagement - so if you only have 15 minutes, read the last chapter!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Curtis

    The author provides a lot of food for thought in this work. He highlights several areas and studies that have shown to boost performance and increase workplace satisfaction. I have used these ideas over the past six months in my own workplace to help my coworkers experience greater levels of satisfaction each day. I hope to draw on more ideas found in this book and integrate them into my life in the future.

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