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

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

Language: English

Pages: 352

ISBN: 0399165606

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

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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her keynote at Inc. magazine’s 2011 Women Summit is available at: Edward Burger: See Edward Burger, “Teaching to Fail,” Inside Higher Ed, August 12, 2012, available at:; Stephen Spencer Davis, “Star Math Teacher Applies the Power of Failure, Squared,” Globe and Mail, August 31, 2012, available at:

Encourage mistakes? Reward failure? A surprising number of prestigious organizations believe the answer to that provocative question is a resounding yes. THE RIGHT WAY TO REWARD FAILURE In 2011, ad executive Amanda Zolten took a serious risk. She and her team at Grey Advertising were about to pitch an important client. A major kitty litter manufacturer was looking for a new agency and Zolten wanted badly to win. To stand apart from the competition, Zolten knew her team would have to show some

likely to experience challenging events as stressful, knowing that our teammates are there to back us up. Minor hiccups appear less intimidating, which helps us keep our emotions in check and enables us to make better decisions in the face of crisis. Studies show that the way we perceive our social network is vital to our mental health. When we believe that those around us are available to provide social support—by offering assistance, advice, and emotional reassurance—we tend to be healthier

in the behavior of the male interviewers. When the men thought they were speaking to an attractive woman, they behaved in ways that brought out their partner’s best qualities. They acted more friendly and demonstrated considerably more warmth, which in turn drew out a more positive response. Their first impression had created a self-fulfilling prophecy. A similar process unfolds when we interview job applicants. Our initial expectations lead us down a path that influences the information we

wonder that so many of us view failure the way we do: as something to avoid at all cost. We’re implicitly taught that struggling means others will view us poorly, when in reality it’s only by stretching ourselves that we develop new skills. Some educators have begun recognizing the way this fear of failure is impeding their students’ long-term growth. Edward Burger, for one, is doing something about it. For more than a decade the Williams College mathematics professor has literally been

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