I was looking forward to reading this book: the idea of creating a pleasant and productive work environment is certainly something that the majority of workers could benefit from. Unfortunately, this book adds little to the debate other than insisting chapter after chapter that treating co-workers and customers with dignity, respect and friendliness makes for a better business. This core idea, repeated endlessly through motivational-poster style one-liners told in the style of fictional third-person prose, is great but the book never delves into the practicalities of making this work in a real business environment.
The fictional prose element is really irritating. It makes it hard to find the concrete points that anchor the author's philosophy, and it's simply irrelevant to know that Sophie from Austin - whose father isn't paying child support and hasn't for years - enjoyed the airport because a band was playing and the TSA inspectors were in a good mood, while the wafting smell of authentic Texas barbecue put her in a near-Catatonic state. First, I lived in Texas, and I can tell you that Austin airport is the last place I'd go for anything authentic. But more importantly, this two-dimensional fiction overlaying a business book is completely unhelpful.
The other weakness is that in simplifying the problems of running a business down to a lack of cheer leading results in conclusions that are just plain wrong or redundant. "Gut feelings are never wrong" according to this author (just look at my gut feeling that this book would be good), and gossiping in offices is unproductive (which is true, but the more important question is how to eliminate it). The series of tall tales 'prove' these points but provide no instructional information on how to migrate your organization towards what she is advocating.
Basically, although I'm sure the author speaks at many of the Fortune 500 companies, the reader is left with no clear steps to become one of the "many businesses [that] double profits and size within three years". My cynical side suspects that this book is a teaser to drive her consulting business, and it's yet another publication from Financial Times Press that is remarkably thin on actionable content.
PS - I'm going to jump on the bandwagon and write a book called "How to Be Rich and Successful" where the key skill is that you need a really good idea, and recite endless stories of successful people (who are rich).
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