Jul 23, 2007

Book Review: Fun Works

Author Leslie Yerkes' people contacted me and asked me if I'd like to review her book "Fun Works" second edition and I agreed straightaway.

Let's face it, you can be doing either great work with great people or lousy work with co-workers who grumble all day long. Fun as a concept differs from people to people. For some people doing challenging work itself may be the idea of fun. For others the fun may be in the way people interact with each other and not the work itself. And for a rare group fun pervades all kinds of organizational culture and processes.

In the original edition Yerkes had studied a group of organizations and come up with 11 principles of "work/fun fusion". In this book she revisits these organizations after some time and sees whether they are prospering or not. She finds that if the "hard science" has been flawed (i.e. the business model or strategy) then post 9/11 these organizations have had trouble surviving, however, if that has been correct, then the "soft science" of the culture that fuses work and fun has caused the organizations to bounce back better.

So what are the Fun/Work Fusion Principles that Yerkes talks about?
  1. Give permission to perform
  2. Challenge your bias
  3. Capitalise on the spontaneous
  4. Trust the process
  5. Value a diversity of fun styles
  6. Expand the boundaries
  7. Be authentic
  8. Be choiceful
  9. Hire good people and get out of the way
  10. Embrace expansive thinking and Risk Taking
  11. Celebrate

This is a book that's written with guts and instinct, and not really with too much research based data as to why certain organizations were chosen and others were not. However, there is a lot of wisdom that Leslie Yerkes writes in this book, along with lovely quotations from great thinkers on what is work and fun and their relationship together.

All in all, a great read.