Book Review: The Best Place to Work by Ron Friedman PhD

BestPlaceToWorkAs a consultant working in the business and organisational change arena, I found this book to be absolutely brilliant at explaining many of the factors that are involved in building an effective and efficient workplace and culture.

If you enjoyed Daniel Pink’s Drive and Blink by Malcolm Gladwell then this book is for you.

The Best Place to Work,  is a charming and entertaining read in which Friedman explores exactly why employees are dissatisfied with their jobs and their companies. He also explains how easily companies could reduce that dissatisfaction if only they’d make small investments in critical areas and they understood how people want to be challenged and rewarded for their efforts.

Some readers, who regularly devour  business books will find some of this material familiar but these are areas that are certainly worthy of revisiting and Friedman’s treatment is both engaging and amusing. There is, however, lot of great new material here and judging by the morale and performance of many organisations, that material is worthy of knowing and applying.

The book is well structured and one of my favourite approaches to business books is to have a precis and advice on how to apply the various lessons explored. Friedman more than delivers on this approach and it is the chapter summaries that will keep me returning to this book again and again.

There are several stand out chapters that are important to consider including “How to think like a hostage negotiator”, “How to turn a group of strangers into a community” and a section on “Attracting and retaining top performers” which is a perpetual challenge for most businesses.

Friedman’s writing style does much to hide the academic rigour and underpinning research that has been used to support and validate his argument. But don’t mistake this for a common business book that offers quick fixes.  Much work has gone in to identifying these observations and approaches and there is still lots of effort required to put this material to work…It is however, offer the most mature descriptions of how to create the best places to work and so is the closest to best practise that I have found in this domain.

The Best Place to Work, should be considered required reading for anyone looking to build a strong working environment and should a frequent read for any current or aspiring leader.  I would also consider it if you operate as a change agent or transformation consultant in the business domain.

Dare to Aspire

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