The Best Place to Work by Ron Friedman, Ph.D

bestplacetoworkIn The Best Place to Work, award-winning psychologist Ron Friedman 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 defuse a workplace argument, why placing a fishbowl near your desk can enhance your thinking, and how incorporating strategic distractions into your schedule can help you reach smarter decisions. 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.

• Why successful teams make more mistakes than other teams.
• How the design of our workplace impacts our performance.
• Six insights to delay the adaptation that erodes happiness.
• Why the best managers focus on themselves.
• How to provide daily opportunities for autonomy, competence and relatedness.

Friday Book Review! Play Bigger

readinglist_playbiggerWhat do Uber and Birdseye frozen foods have in common? They are what the authors of a new book, Play Bigger, call category kings. Category kings are unique companies that revolutionize industries by inventing entirely new categories — and then dominating that category. Play Bigger is written by Al Ramadan, Dave Peterson and Christopher Lochhead, three Silicon Valley entrepreneurs who co-founded a consultancy focused on designing category king companies — the name of the book is the name of their consultancy; a fourth co-author is long-time technology journalist Kevin Maney. The authors begin by defining the term “category.” A great category, they write, “solves a problem people didn’t know they had, or solves an obvious problem no one thought could be solved.”

On a visit to the Arctic, Clarence Birdseye, who created the frozen food category, watched the Inuit catch a fish and throw it on the ice, where it would instantly flash freeze. Birdseye’s reaction was not, “Finally, the solution to the problem of frozen food!” — for the simple reason that frozen food was not a concept and, therefore, not a problem. The founders of Uber, on the other hand, realized that their concept would solve a problem familiar to nearly anyone who has been near a city: the often frustrating experience of trying to hail a cab. It was an obvious problem but not one that people thought could be solved.

Finding the Missing

A vision for a new category, write the authors, often emerges from what they call a “missing” — the recognition by entrepreneurs that there is something missing in the market and that their solution can fill the gap. Marc Benioff realized that the cloud offered a way to provide CRM solutions without the expense and hassle of software. Leaving Oracle, he founded a new company called, which would become the king of the cloud-based salesforce automation. An inventive idea, however, is just a small initial step in the category king strategy. The authors tell the story of a company called Jawbone. Among its inventions was a small headset that connected wirelessly to cell phones — just as states were passing no-hands regulations for drivers. However…(click to continue reading this review)


FREE Webinar with Nick Gianoulis – tomorrow @12PM ET

ihwx-c98d796e-39c2-498f-b9b6-768fd51b4279-200-175Fun as a Competitive Advantage
Date: Thursday, December 1
Time: 12:00 PM ET
Speaker: Nick Gianoulis

Register for this FREE webinar!

Whether you’re a believer in the proven theories that fun in the workplace can lead to endless business benefits, or just starting to wonder if this may be true, you’ve come to the right place.

In this FREE Soundview Live webinar, Fun as a Competitive Advantage, Nick Gianoulis will show you how to take the traditional (and sometimes expensive and ineffective) concepts for fun at work and turn them into customized, brief, cost-effective and highly impactful experiences.

What You’ll Learn:

  • The foundations on which to develop a positive and productive culture
  • The specifics of what to do, where to start and how to implement fun in your workplace
  • How to spark conversation, ignite team unity and boost employee engagement across your company

Be the Boss Everyone Wants to Work For

51dzn4smhhl-_sx322_bo1204203200_You’ve been promoted to leadership — congratulations! But it’s nothing like your old job, is it? William Gentry says it’s time to flip your script. We all have mental scripts that tell us how the world works. Your old script was all about “me”: standing out as an individual. But as a new leader, you need to flip your script from “me” to “we” and help the group you lead succeed. In Be the Boss Everyone Wants to Work For, Gentry supports and coaches you to flip your script in six key areas. He offers actionable, practical, evidence-based advice and examples drawn from his research, his work with leaders, and his own failures and triumphs of becoming a new leader. But this book is more than a series of best practices — it’s your guide to internalizing a leader’s perspective. Gentry helps you flip your script so you’ll know what to do to help yourself and the team you lead succeed. That’s the kind of boss everyone wants to work for — and the kind of boss who accomplishes the most. Get started flipping your script, and become the kind of boss everyone wants to work for.


• Why becoming a new leader brings a sea change in roles and expectations.
• The six ways you can “flip your script” to become a boss everyone wants to work for.
• The importance of non-verbal communication among leaders.
• How to adjust to new relationships with subordinates and teams.
• How to gain a leader’s perspective and develop and focus on others.

Friday Book Review! Invisible Influence by Jonah Berger


invisible-influence-9781476759692_hrWho Makes Our Decisions?

In a provocative new book called Invisible Influence, Wharton professor Jonah Berger explains that we are not the independent thinkers making well-informed decisions and choices that we might think we are. The reason is that many of our decisions and choices are made based on what others are doing. This is called social influence, and in Invisible Influence, Berger demonstrates, through scores of stories and academic research, the power of others on our decisions.

What Makes a Hit

For example, Berger describes an experiment by Princeton sociologist Matthew Salganik based on a website where people could download free music (actual but obscure music that no one knew). Salganik provided a list of songs to choose from, and included in the list how many other people had downloaded the song. Eventually certain songs began to attract more and more downloads, while other songs elicited much less interest. Over time, the chasm between the popular and unpopular songs grew wider and wider. Most people were attracted to the songs that most people had already downloaded.

However, the most surprising stage of Salganik’s experiment was yet to come. Salganik, writes Berger, decided to create eight different websites but with exactly the same list of songs and the same rules. Only the listeners were different. Over time, the same chasm between popular and unpopular songs appeared. The popular and unpopular songs, however, were different for each of the eight websites. Salganik thus demonstrated that if any song started to gain momentum, the mimicry gene kicked in: People decided that was the song they liked best. (Quality plays a role, but smaller than we might think).

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Great Teams by Don Yaeger

Image result for great teams don yaegerWhat makes a team great? Not just good. Not just functional. But great? Over the last six years, long-time Sports Illustrated associate editor Don Yaeger has been invited by some of the greatest companies in the world to speak about the habits of high-performing individuals. Yaeger was approached by his most consistent client, Microsoft, to develop a talk on what allowed some teams to play at a championship level year after year. What do some organizations do seemingly better than most all of their opponents? Yaeger took the challenge. He has conducted more than 100 interviews with some of the most successful teams and organizations in the country. From those interviews, he has identified 16 habits that drive these high-performing teams. Building on the stories, examples and first-hand accounts, each chapter in Great Teams comes with applicable examples on how to apply these characteristics in any organization. Great Teams is a powerful companion for thought leaders, teams, managers and organizations that seek to perform similarly. The insight shared in this book is sure to enhance any team in its pursuit of excellence.


• The four essential pillars and 16 characteristics that set a Great Team apart.
• The synergistic leadership style of Great Teams.
• The importance of culture in Great Teams and organizations.
• How Great Teams embrace change and manage conflict.
• How Great Teams avoid the pitfalls of success.

Friday Book Review! Chaos Monkeys by Antonio Garcia Martinez

160627143727-chaos-monkeys-book-780x439A Visit to the Entrepreneurial Zoo

In 2007, digital advertising veteran Antonio García Martínez left Goldman Sachs for the startup world, joining one ad tech startup before launching his own startup, which he would eventually sell to Twitter for $10 million.

Martínez describes his adventures in Silicon Valley in colorful (and sometimes lurid) detail in a new book entitled Chaos Monkeys. The term refers to software invented by Netflix that tests a product’s or website’s robustness. A chaos monkey, as Martínez explains, is the digital equivalent of a “chimpanzee rampaging through a data center,” destroying the place by randomly yanking cables or smashing boxes. Symbolically, he writes, “technology entrepreneurs are society’s chaos monkeys, pulling the plug on everything from taxi medallions (Uber) to traditional hotels (Airbnb) to dating (Tinder)… Silicon Valley is the zoo where the chaos monkeys are kept, and their numbers only grow in time… The question for society is whether it can survive these entrepreneurial chaos monkeys intact, and at what human cost.”

Taken out of the book’s context, these paragraphs may position Martínez as a concerned observer of the zoo. In truth, however, Martínez was a joyous participant in the zoo’s antics, describing a place where extremes — in money, risks and sex — are celebrated. It is also a place where business is combat and few rules of traditional business seem to apply.

Martínez’s fascinating description of the sale of his ad tech startup to Twitter, which includes a chapter appropriately titled “Acquisition Chicken,” offers a case in point. In the early discussions, Martínez and his two co-founders reject Twitter’s offer of $5 million, a sum that in Silicon Valley is equivalent to a low-ball offer. As Martínez explains, given that “the market price for acquired engineers in the Valley then was anywhere from half a million to $2 million each… $5 million for three hires plus intellectual property Twitter might use… was way too cheap. We hadn’t risked everything from our finances to our sanity for just over a million each that would take four years to earn.”

Martínez decides to dangle the company in front of Yahoo, which passes on the company. However, they are interested in poaching Martínez, who must then decide whether to abandon his fellow entrepreneurs. This type of situation, he writes, is typical for the Valley.

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Don’t miss out! Next FREE webinar- Tomorrow @ 12PM EST

51pqqn0xr8l-_sy344_bo1204203200_Writing Without Bullshit: Boost Your Career by Saying What You Mean

Date: Thursday, November 10
Time: 12:00 PM ET
Speaker: Josh Bernoff

Click here to register for FREE

The average news story now gets only 36 seconds of attention. Unless you change how you write, your emails, reports, and Web copy don’t stand a chance.

In this practical and witty Soundview Live webinar, Writing Without Bullshit: Boost Your Career by Saying What You Mean, you’ll learn to front-load your writing with pithy titles, subject lines, and opening sentences. You’ll acquire the courage and skill to purge weak and meaningless jargon, wimpy passive voice, and cowardly weasel words. And you’ll get used to writing directly to the reader to make every word count.

What You’ll Learn:

  • How clear writing can boost your career.
  • The top ten tips for writing that succeeds at work.
  • About the Iron Imperative, to treat the reader’s time as more valuable than your own.
  • How to plan and execute writing projects with confidence.

Fixing the 7 Fatal Flaws of Thinking

Image result for winning the brain gameEach day, a game of mind versus matter plays out on a field defined by the problems we must solve. Most are routine and don’t demand a more mindful approach. It’s when we’re faced with more difficult challenges that our thinking becomes vulnerable to brain patterns that can lead us astray. We leap to solutions that simply don’t work. We fixate on old mindsets that keep us stuck in neutral. We overthink problems and make them worse. We kill the ideas of others as well as our own. Worse, we keep doing these things, over and over again, naturally and instinctively.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. In Winning the Brain Game, author and creative strategist Matthew E. May explains these and other “fatal flaws” of thinking, revealing seven observable problem-solving patterns that can block our best thinking. Calling on modern neuroscience and psychology to help explain the seven fatal flaws, May draws insights from some of the world’s most innovative thinkers. He then blends in a super-curated, field-tested set of “fixes” proven through hundreds of creative sessions to raise our thinking game to a more mindful level. Regardless of the playing field, mindful thinking is the new competitive advantage, and the seven fixes are a magic set of tools for achieving it. Winning the Brain Game will lead you to better decision-making, higher levels of creativity, clearer strategies and overall success in business, work and life.

• The seven fatal flaws of thinking and the fix for each one.
• The importance of reframing and generating the right questions.
• Concrete ideas and strategies for practicing each cure.
• How neuroscience can help solve problems.

Friday Book Review! Pre-Suasion by Robert Cialdini

pre-suasion_cialdini_book-209x300In 1984, a book by unknown psychologist Robert Cialdini purported to show the world the best way to influence people. Influence would become an international best-seller and help introduce the concept of social psychological analysis to a skeptical world.

In Pre-Suasion, his first solo work since 1984, Cialdini adds a new take to the art of influence. “Pre-Suasion,” as he calls it, is the ability to do or say that one thing at just the right time before attempting to influence someone.

For example, Cialdini tells the story of Jim, a fire-alarm system salesman who consistently sold significantly more of his company’s expensive systems than any other salesman. When Cialdini accompanied Jim, he saw only one thing that Jim did differently from the rest: While the prospects were filling out a fire-alarm test, he would invariably say that he had forgotten something in the car and ask if he could go get it. Because the prospects were in the middle of the test, this involved letting himself back in the house, sometimes with the help of a borrowed key.

How was this planned forgetfulness helping Jim sell his alarm systems? The reason, according to Cialdini, is that letting someone enter the house on his own, with or without a key, is a sign of trust; subconsciously, Jim’s little (slightly unethical) charade made him much more trustworthy to the prospects, who were thus more inclined to believe his argument that they should have the system. Jim had instinctively discovered the power of pre-suasion.

As Cialdini explains, there is a moment in time just before the attempt to influence (e.g., a sales pitch or a speech) called a “privileged moment”; during this window of opportunity, influencers should get the people they are trying to focus on something that will help the influencer’s cause.

Here’s a simple (and actual) example from a research test. The researchers stopped people in a mall and asked them to fill out a survey. Only 29 percent agreed to participate. The researchers then started stopping people and asking, “Do you consider yourself helpful?” Invariably, most of those people (77.3 percent) responded yes and filled out the survey. The response rate went from under 30 percent to more than 77 percent … just because of one simple question.

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