Box of Crayons Blog


Ron Friedman’s Five Essential Books for Creating an Extraordinary Workplace

In his book The Best Place to Work: The Art and Science of Creating an Extraordinary Workplace, Ron Friedman uses the latest research from the fields of motivation, creativity, behavioural economics, neuroscience and management to reveal what really makes us successful at work. So I am thrilled that he is my guest blogger today, sharing his essential books for creating an extraordinary workplace.

Book 1: Organizational Culture and Leadership

By Edgar Schein
This is an invaluable book on organizational culture, which, Schein explains, is not a product of a company’s mission, vision or values, but rather a set of norms that are communicated through the behaviours of a company’s leaders. Therefore, culture trickles down from the top, and importantly, it is largely unconscious — we don’t set out to mimic our CEOs, but we do because a large part of being human is fitting in with people who possess power and influence.

Book 2: The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement

By David Brooks
The Social Animal is not your typical business book; it is structured like a novel, centring on the experiences of two characters, Erika and Harold, whose stories Brooks uses as an anchor, interweaving countless studies from the behavioural sciences on topics as varied as attraction, decision making, biases, problem solving and happiness. Among the many powerful insights: our primary motive is not money or power or even status, but what they yield — connection with others.

Book 3: Quiet Leadership: Six Steps to Transforming Performance at Work

By David Rock
Rock makes the case that in most conversations, we are tempted to try to solve other people’s problems; he recommends instead training yourself to change your default response from offering solutions to asking a series of targeted questions that help your conversation partner generate their own ideas. And the better you are at helping people clarify their thinking, the more they’ll view you as a positive force, valuing your relationship.

Book 4: Wisdom: From Philosophy to Neuroscience

By Stephen S. Hall
Hall argues convincingly that there is an important distinction between being smart and being wise, and suggests that true wisdom is characterized by the ability to manage your emotions, even when things aren’t going your way. In addition, wisdom involves knowing what to focus on and, more importantly, what to ignore.

Book 5: Bounce: Mozart, Federer, Picasso, Beckham, and the Science of Success

By Matthew Syed
While having wisdom can help you reach better decisions, what it won’t necessarily do is make you better at doing your job. For that you need to master new tasks, deepen you knowledge base and improve on a regular basis, which Syed explores how to do, with excellence.

Meet Ron Friedman

Ron Friedman, PhD, is an award-winning social psychologist who specializes in human motivation. His new book, The Best Place to Work: The Art and Science of Creating an Extraordinary Workplace, has been described as “stunning,” “eye-opening” and “a contemporary classic,” and praised by New York Times bestselling authors Daniel Pink, David Allen, Marshall Goldsmith, Susan Cain and Adam Grant. Dr. Friedman has served on the faculty of the University of Rochester, Nazareth College, and of Hobart and William Smith Colleges, and has consulted for Fortune 500 companies, political leaders and the world’s leading non-profits.


Twitter: @ronfriedman

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