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Work Rules’ Back-of-Book Description
From the visionary head of Google’s innovative People Operations comes a groundbreaking inquiry into the philosophy of work — and a blueprint for attracting the most spectacular talent to your business and ensuring that they succeed.
“We spend more time working than doing anything else in life. It’s not right that the experience of work should be so demotivating and dehumanizing.” So says Laszlo Bock, former head of People Operations at the company that transformed how the world interacts with knowledge.
This insight is the heart of Work Rules!, a compelling and surprisingly playful manifesto that offers lessons including:
- Take away managers’ power over employees
- Learn from your best employees-and your worst
- Hire only people who are smarter than you are, no matter how long it takes to find them
- Pay unfairly (it’s more fair!)
- Don’t trust your gut: Use data to predict and shape the future
- Default to open-be transparent and welcome feedback
- If you’re comfortable with the amount of freedom you’ve given your employees, you haven’t gone far enough.
Drawing on the latest research in behavioral economics and a profound grasp of human psychology, Work Rules! also provides teaching examples from a range of industries-including lauded companies that happen to be hideous places to work and little-known companies that achieve spectacular results by valuing and listening to their employees. Bock takes us inside one of history’s most explosively successful businesses to reveal why Google is consistently rated one of the best places to work in the world, distilling 15 years of intensive worker R&D into principles that are easy to put into action, whether you’re a team of one or a team of thousands.
Work Rules! shows how to strike a balance between creativity and structure, leading to success you can measure in quality of life as well as market share. Read it to build a better company from within rather than from above; read it to reawaken your joy in what you do.
I think I’ve mentioned before that I am working on getting my Master’s degree. I am about halfway through now and expecting to graduate in July 2021. One of the courses I took – Organizational Behavior and Human Resources Management – had this book as required reading. This is pretty neat, in my opinion, because Work Rules! is exactly the kind of book I would have been interested in anyways (if I had heard about it).
It’s written by someone who was, at the time, the head of People Operations at Google – which is like a cooler, more interesting way to say “Human Resources”. (This book was first published in 2015 – I have since learned through a LinkedIn search that the author has moved on to another company.)
The subtitle of the book is “Insights from Inside Google That Will Transform How You Live and Lead.” I’m not totally sure about the ‘live’ part, but I do agree with the ‘lead’ aspect. Reading about some of their processes and the proven track record of their successes really makes me feel like I would want to adopt some of these leadership principles if I was in a management or policy-making position.
Work Rules! is written in an easy to understand and digestible manner. Even the order of the chapters is great because some ideas build on themselves, so when you get to the end you have a complete picture. Actually, when you get to the end you have a whole checklist of things to do or think about in order to create a more open, creative environment for your employees; one that encourages participation, innovation, and loyalty. Each chapter lists the key takeaways, and at the end of the book, they are all listed together, ready for you to use.
The author talks about their hiring processes over the years, the employee resource initiatives they’d adapted, an internal method for recognizing and rewarding coworkers, as well as performance evaluation and management structures. It was cool to get a peek inside Google, but it eventually just felt like an interesting business book that could easily be about any large tech company. (In other words – it didn’t read like one giant ad for Google. Thankfully.)
The writing was enjoyable, not too dry, and full of a lot of anecdotal stories. I found it really interesting and I certainly had no trouble keeping up with the reading for the class. And there were so many solid pieces of advice and good quote – I could have taken a highlighter to the book (but I didn’t. I’m not a lunatic). I did however jot way more than normal down below.
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Favorite Quotes From Work Rules!
“…leaders who build the right kind of environments will be magnets for the most talented people on the planet.”
“Indeed, it’s when the economy is at it’s worst that treating people well matters most.”
“It is within anyone’s grasp to be the founder and culture-creator of their own team, whether you are the first employee or joining a company that has existed for decades.”
“The most talented people on the planet what an aspiration that is also inspiring. The challenge for leaders is to craft such a goal.”
“It can be easy in an interview to focus on your needs: You’re busy and need to assess this person as fast as you can. But they’re making a bigger decision than you are. After all, companies have many employees, but a person has only one job.”
“People will disagree with data if it runs counter to their intuition.”
“The truth is that people usually live up to your expectations, whether they are high or low.”
“What most managers miss is that every time they give up a little control, it creates a wonderful opportunity for their team to step up, while giving the manager herself more time for new challenges.”
“Workplaces that permit employees more freedom tap into that natural intrinsic motivation, which in turn helps employees feel even more autonomous.”
“If people shoot for the stars and only hit the moon, don’t treat them too harshly. Ease the pain of failure to leave room for learning.”
Work Rules! gets 4 stars from me. It was enjoyable to read and provided a cool peek inside Google. There were parts where if you didn’t care about Human Resources or ideas for properly managing people, you would definitely find boring. But then if you weren’t interested in that, why would you read it?
I would definitely recommend this book to small business owners or professionals starting out (or already working) in a managerial role. There are great insights for things to implement to make it a more productive, open place for your employees! It would also be good for students in the business management field. I’d even suggest it to people who just like to learn about how large, important companies operate.
*Would make a great gift for any of the above types of people 🙂
Thanks so much for reading this review of Work Rules! – there are plenty more reviews to check out here. Be sure to share this site with other readers and consider pinning one of the quotes below to your favorite quote or book board!