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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AMAZING
A fanstatic book with great Ideas! This paired with Maynard Rolston's "Time Management is an Oxymoron" can do so much for a business. "Fish" can help you develop a huge sense of urgency for you and your co-workers, and "Time Management is an Oxymoron" takes hours out of busy work. By Incorporating ideas from both, your business will be at...
Published on April 27 2004

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great, inspiring read but poor teaching methodologies.
FISH is written in a parable (short story using fictional characters) format, reminiscent of the style apparent in the classic, bestseller The One Minute Manager. The goal of the FISH Philosophy is to learn how to boost morale and improve operational results in a business organization. As the authors put it "Enclosed are the keys to creating an innovative and...
Published on April 6 2002 by Dan E. Ross


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great, inspiring read but poor teaching methodologies., April 6 2002
By 
Dan E. Ross "Dan Ross" (Frisco, Tx USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
FISH is written in a parable (short story using fictional characters) format, reminiscent of the style apparent in the classic, bestseller The One Minute Manager. The goal of the FISH Philosophy is to learn how to boost morale and improve operational results in a business organization. As the authors put it "Enclosed are the keys to creating an innovative and accountable work environment where a playful, attentive, and engaging attitude leads to more energy, enthusiasm, productivity, and creativity."
The four key points of the philosophy are:
• Play - have fun and create energy at home or at the office.
• Make their day - how can you engage fellow employees, customers and make each other's day?
• Be Present - How can you make sure you are fully available and aware during conversations with people? It is about create a greater sense of intimacy between individuals.
• Choose Your Attitude - Each day you choose how you are going to act or which "side of the bed" you wake up on. The choice is yours and, the way you act, affects others.
In my opinion, this business parable, like the rest of them, is great and horrible at the same time.
It is a great read for the following reasons:
1. It is a quick read. I read it in about 2 - 2.5 hours and I am a fairly slow reader.
2. The book is able to illustrate one point extremely effectively. For example, in this book they show how workers attitudes can impact a setting and how many of us don't understand how our attitude impacts our work setting and quality of life.
3. These are the kinds of books that employees will read as they are 100-150 pages in length and easy to read so a massive investment of time and energy isn't required by employees.
It is a poor book for the following reasons:
1. The authors never give you ways to implement the ideas. Once I was done reading the book I was thinking, "WOW, this is great stuff. Now how do I implement it in my company and, more importantly, what will it take for this to be successful." Which leads me to the next point...
2. While they illustrate certain key elements in the book they neglect to mention that:
a. Employees must trust management.
b. Top managers must be fully committed and "practice what
they preach."
c. Both of the above points are conveyed in the story but
the authors don't tell you about the importance of what
academics term "social capital" in an organization.
My concluding thoughts: This is a brief, simple, but elegant book that is an eye opener for those of us who grew up with notions like: "Work is serious, let's have no fooling around!" or "Profit is 'the only' way to measure business success." I commend the authors on conveying this to readers. HOWEVER, the cons outweigh the pros in this book. Like I pointed out, I really enjoyed reading the book and thought it was pretty effective in showing how an organization can completely turn around but, at the end of the day, no tools were presented to help the reader understand how to implement the FISH philosophy. If top managers don't cooperate or "practice what they preach" or understand why and how this philosophy works it goes nowhere, just like most management programs designed to attain all of the above mentioned goals of productivity, energy, etc.
If you want a great book on business principles I highly encourage everyone to read "The Essential Drucker" by Peter Drucker. Jack Welch is a big Drucker fan and this book is a compilation of his best work of over 60 years and 30 books on management principles.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Always Smell Your Fish Before You Buy, July 12 2004
By 
David Wilbur (Des Moines, IA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This book was given to me as part of a Fish seminar conducted by my company. The book must be addressed on three different levels: as a story, as a philosophy, and as a business book. The story is about a woman who takes over a failing department in her company, finds the inmates are running the asylum, learns some pearls of wisdom from some local fishmongers, teaches the employees the philosophy, and ends up with a successful department. The preceding explanation is only slightly shorter than the book itself, which contains so much white-space that it could easily be halved, and repeats so often that it could easily be halved again. As bad as the story and writing are, the philosophy underlying the Fish idea is even worse. It is essentially a hedonistic philosophy - that what employees really need to perform well is enough fun at work. The problem is that all jobs and careers involve a certain amount of tedium. Everone must "pay their dues." Too often the people complaining the loudest are those that refuse to deal with tedium as a fact of life. As a business book it fails as so many business books do because the ultimate goal of the book is not to attract a reader, but to convince corporations to buy a whole suite of products and services: the books, videotapes, fun fish things, decorations. Avoid this book, read Drucker instead.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AMAZING, April 27 2004
By A Customer
A fanstatic book with great Ideas! This paired with Maynard Rolston's "Time Management is an Oxymoron" can do so much for a business. "Fish" can help you develop a huge sense of urgency for you and your co-workers, and "Time Management is an Oxymoron" takes hours out of busy work. By Incorporating ideas from both, your business will be at 110% in a very short time.
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1.0 out of 5 stars I like the ideas, but not in a business book, March 18 2004
By 
Leo E. Walsh "ebraynz" (Mentor, Oh United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I like having fun and being entertained, and I really liked the ideas in this book. But marketed as a business book?
Let me set some boudries, first of all, to show you how important I think the material is. If this was Doctor Suess- like book, marketed and written with my kids in mind, I would be cool: five stars easlily. If it was marketed as a self-help book for reframing your attitude, it would get four, maybe five stars. If it were a hippy/ new-age book about just being and enjoying life, five stars plus.
However, as a business book, it is pure fluff.
I was forced to watch this in a corporate setting. Instead of fostering honest, human fun amongst our workforce, it seemed like an invitation for many on the management staff to work on trivial activities. Using Covey's "Seven Habits" and "First Things First" language, they were spending their time in Quadrant 4 of the time management matrix (unimportant, not urgent), instead of the stewardship that comes from Quadrant 2 (important,not urgent).
And employees were ignored while these managers "played," bringing in megaphones and making silly videos. If you want to find out about how to create good customer service, try "Customers for Life," "Raving Fans," or "Hug Your Customers." If you want to motivate your workforce, "The Streetwise Guide to Motivating and Rewarding Your Employees," or a reprint of the HBR article by Herzberg, "Once Again, How do You Motivate Your Employees?" is an excellent place to start.
This book, from my experience, will likely lead to the denial of serious issues, which are actually a blast to tackle in my experience.
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3.0 out of 5 stars If it were only this simple..., March 10 2004
By 
I thought the book had a couple things going for it. I loved the four principles: choose your attitude, have fun, make their day, and be present. These are all idealistic and special when they can be implemented. I also enjoyed the parable format and found the book to be a quick read.
On the other hand, the book has some serious flaws. For example, one of the principles is "Choose your Attitude." It would be wonderful if every person could be magically transformed into having a good attitude. But that's not the way it works in the real world. Though I deeply believe that a lot of people can develop a great attitude if they are managed correctly, the truth is that there are some people out there who have terrible attitudes (i.e. they are lazy, don't work well with others, don't take pride in their work, etc.) and will never change regardless of how they are managed. It's a shame this has to be done, but the best way to deal with this problem is to fire these types of employees (after giving them a fair chance to get better) and replace them with people who have a good attitude.
Also, the authors virtually said nothing about the importance of how employees are managed. If you want an employee to have a good attitude, I personally feel that genuinely listening to their ideas or giving them a sincere compliment on their work will often do the trick. But good management techniques such as this aren't touched on in the book.
In summary, the book is worth reading since it'll only take an hour or two of your time. But remember that this Fish! is swimming in shallow water.
Greg Blencoe
Author, The Ten Commandments for Managers
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1.0 out of 5 stars This Fish stinks, Jan. 13 2004
I was thinking that there would not be another book that insults the intelligence of the reader like the "Cheese" book did. Well, here comes this "Fish" book and compared to this, the "Cheese" book deserves the Nobel for literature.
Do the authors really feel that by writing generic sentences like
1. Choose your attitude.
2. Play; have fun.
3. Make their day; engage your customers.
4. Be present
the situation can be improved and a "toxic dump" (the authors's words) can be turned into a place where others want to work in. Funnily ( it took 3 people to write this book!!!) the book doesnt give how these catchwords were brought into action ( except for some powerpoint bullet points).
Better read actual business books like "Built to last" or "Good to Great" to understand how organizations and individuals work. And if you want to read a simplistic self improvement book stick to "7 habits" or "5th Discipline".
The book "The 48 Laws of Power" has a law (Play on People's Need to Believe to Create a Cultlike Following). People have an overwhelming desire to believe in something. Become the focal point of such desire by offering them a cause, a new faith to follow. Keep your words vague but full of promise; emphasize enthusiasm over rationality and clear thinking. Something like this is going on here.

This Fish stinks.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Fun, Quick Read, Oct. 30 2003
By 
David T. Wayne "aka The 'JollyBlogger'" (Glen Burnie, MD United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
It took less than an hour to read this book and it was a pretty fun read. It's the story of how a supervisor at a financial institution brings about great changes in one of the company's worst departments. This change is brought about as it uses the philosophy of the world famous Pike Place Fish Market.
This book is a story, not a straight dicactic tome. That may be one reason that this book and the whole "Fish" franchise is succeeding. It is built on stories - real and fictional - of people and companies who have made great changes using the Fish philosophy. The "Fish" message is simple - choose your attitude, play or have fun at work, make someone's day, and be totally present wherever you are. This is not deep stuff, but conscientiously following these steps can make a big change in the way you work and live.
As regards choosing your attitude, the Fish people remind us that we cannot always choose our work, but we can choose our attitude toward work. The message here is of personal responsibility. As regards play, this book reminds us that it is ok to have fun at work. In fact fun is integral to work - people who are basically happy and enjoy what they do will be far more productive. The message of making someone's day simply resonates with the Biblical imperatives of servanthood. We exist to serve others and this servant attitude can permeate our work lives and make a difference. The final step, of being present wherever you are reminds us all to engage the people and surroundings we find ourselves in at any moment. Rather than being pre-occupied with someone or something else, we need to focus on those around us.
The story sometimes is a little contrived, but for the most part it makes the point well in an enjoyable fashion. As one who is a stranger to the Pikes Place fish market I would like to have heard a little more of its history. If that is not in one of the follow-up books to this then it would be good as a forward or afterward in future editions of this book.
All in all, it's a quick read, worth a little of your time.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Fishing in the Real World, Oct. 6 2003
By 
charmaine (QC, philippines) - See all my reviews
After reading the book "Fish!", all I could think of was the fact that people would either love or hate this "engrossing parable" that stars Mary Jane as the manager who turned the toxic-energy dump of the 3rd floor into be a productive and pleasant place with the help of Lonnie, who works in the work-renowned Pike Place Fish market. And the latter group of people who will hate this book will be the hardened skeptics, the 'been-there-done-that' workers who have been around for years. People who already have their minds set that nothing is that easy, thank you. In short, real world people.
I appreciated how the book was approached as a short and sweet parable, and how the four key principles were presented in a light, simplistic way. However, Mary Jane's world of suddenly complacent employees and suddenly helpful boss seemed light years away from the unyielding people we usually have in the workplace we call the real world. The skeptic in me refuses to believe that everything is just this easy and everyone is just as willing to change their views. In the child care center where I work, we could hardly get the owner to dole out money for an emergency substitute teacher. I could just imagine the heart attack he'd get if we asked for a budget of $200 to be spent at our own discretion to work on a group-motivating project, and sad to say, I could easily imagine most of today's bosses with that attitude as opposed to the SOB-turned-softy Bill that was Mary Jane's boss.
Another thought that entered my head is how the book left everything to vague. Choose your attitude. Play. Make your customers' day. Be present. Ok, now how do we do that (in a real world sense, that is)? And what if your definition of play conflicts with my definition of play, and has an adverse effect? The book was very helpful to me in a sense that it reinforced these self-help concepts in my head, but it may have helped better if it took that into consideration and told us how to deal with differences of opinions.
I'm not saying I didn't like the book. It gave me, at the least, something to read and ponder about while waiting for the 28 bus. At the most, it inspired me that turning an ordinary child care center around into a wonderful, thriving place for kids and parents takes nothing more than choosing to have a healthy attitude and playing. Then the bus pulls over with a squeal of brakes, and I remember my director's name is not Mary Jane and the only fish place close to us only offers whiting sandwiches, not inspiration. Sighing, I board the bus.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Good principles, bad follow-through, Sept. 28 2003
Although there is no doubt that the principles of choosing your attitude, being present, and having fun will create a more enjoyable work environment and, therefore, more productivity, better relations with customers, etc., the failure of these concepts is that the book doesn't carry the thought to completion. Yes, we all like to have fun, we can agree on that. However, people's definition of fun differs. How do you get a large group of people to agree? What if your definition of fun conflicts with my definition of fun, and has an adverse effect? I can already hear the grumbling if the manager at my job required everybody to go to the fish market on their lunch hour, because it is so much fun. When the workers bring up the point that they already have plans for their lunch hour, and the manager tells them to cancel those plans, the issue has shifted from "let me show you something really fun" to "I'm the one who decides how you should spend your lunch." As a result, you have already alienated at least some of your people. The book gets three stars for the good intentions and the sound principles, but only three stars, because it's not very useful in the real world, unless you also delve deeper into people's definition of these principles.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Motivation ?, Sept. 26 2003
FISH! is he story of a woman searching for a way to revitalize her workgroup and in the process save her job. The solution she finds comes from the unlikely place of the local fish market. By listening to the stories of one of the market's clerks our heroine is able to take back to her own problem four basic tenets for success. She meets her staff at the corporate "toxic waste dump" and is able to convert them to a person from a group of dispirited losers into the best team in the company.
The 112 pages of this book read very quickly and the ideas in the book are quicker still. They are basic and they certainly are sound ideas for motivating people. However, I think that the parable of Mary-Jane and her dysfunctional team was far too simplistic to stand up to real world application and that is a serious detriment to the book. Once the lead is converted she meets with her team who, after one negative comment, begin to embrace the ideas wholeheartedly. Where are the perpetual whiners ? Where are the "We have always done it this way" complaints. How about that perennial favorite "It isn't our fault" ? And best of all - The sullen non-complainers who will agree to anything to get the meeting over with but resist any real change ? I am not trying to be a spoil-sport here but these are serious obstacles to the kinds of change that this book tries to implement. I think that this book is either much too long to explain what the four ideas are (and they are good), or it is much too short to actually serve as any kind of an implementation tool.
It is also a poorly written story. Rather than as a parable of one woman's self discovery, I would much rather have seen it as a non-fiction management book with the story of Mary-Jane interjected as an example. As written it is not a good manual nor is it a helpful example.
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Fish!: A Remarkable Way to Boost Morale and Improve Results
Fish!: A Remarkable Way to Boost Morale and Improve Results by Stephen C. Lundin (Paperback - Aug. 1 2001)
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