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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Celebrating the "joy" of organizational excellence, June 26, 2007
This review is from: Why is Everyone Smiling? The Secret Behind Passion, Productivity, and Profit (Hardcover)
As I began to share Paul Spiegelman's thoughts about "the secret behind passion, productivity, and profit," I realized that there really isn't a "secret" to be revealed. Rather, the challenge is to assemble and then - key point - retain those people who are so excited about being part of a given organization that they eagerly and cheerfully go what Napoleon Hill once characterized as "the extra mile" to add value to their organization and to its customers. It is no coincidence that many (most?) of those on Fortune's annual list of the "most admired companies" are also #1 or #2 in their respective industries in terms of profitability and cap value. They also have the highest retention rate of valued employees and far more applicants for an open position than do any of their competitors. In fact, those who work for competitors are the most eager to work for them. The title of Spiegelman's book is apt: If an organization's employees (or if you prefer, as do Wal-Mart and JCPenney, associates) are not smiling, you can be certain that its customers aren't.

This is an especially personal book and it must be because Spiegelman is obviously a passionate as well as a thoughtful and sensitive person. However, what he shares is really not about him; rather, it is about others within and beyond the Beryl organization who have found joy for themselves and created joy for others in the modern workplace, one in which, regrettably, joy is seldom experienced. I especially appreciate his provision of "stories" shared by thoughtful and caring people such as Julia, John, Melanie, Michael, Lance, Jared, Lali, Juli, Maricela, and Rhonda. Throughout the narrative, Spiegelman also includes a number of communiqués between and among people who are struggling to understand important business issues, to solve problems, and to share (often with stark candor) their opinions about a given situation. However different high-performance organizations may be in every other respect, all of them are transparent in terms of communication, cooperation, and most importantly, collaboration.

In the final chapter, Spiegelman explains that he wrote this book to "share simple secrets that might help other leaders successfully advance their business. I wrote it as an appeal for old-fashioned values in the commercial arena, with special emphasis on treating coworkers well." The "stories" provided by others provide a human context for each of the "simple lessons." In this instance, I am reminded of what Oliver Wendell Holmes once observed: "I would not give a fig for the simplicity this side of complexity, but I would give my life for the simplicity on the other side of complexity." What Spiegelman and his Beryl associates share may seem "simple" and that's true, but only if viewed within the context of Holmes's observation.

There is a great deal of substantial value to be learned from this book. That said, the challenge to each reader is to apply lessons learned effectively and consistently. Awaiting them is what Jeffrey Pfeffer and Robert I. Sutton have aptly characterized as "The Knowing-Doing Gap." I agree with former Texas football coach Darrell Royal: "potential" means "you ain't done it yet." Credit Spiegelman and his Beryl associates with sharing what they have learned about the "what" and "how" of establishing and then sustaining passion, productivity, and profit within any organization (regardless of size or nature) by putting a smile on everyone's face, by having fun, and thus sharing a sense of joy in what they do and how they do it...together. It remains for each reader to apply effectively what she or he has learned.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spiegelman Gets it, July 4, 2007
This review is from: Why is Everyone Smiling? The Secret Behind Passion, Productivity, and Profit (Hardcover)
Paul Spiegelman gets it. He knows that the secret to building a culture of excellence starts with a focus on people. In his book, Why is Everyone Smiling?, The Secret Behind Passion, Productivity and Profit, (2007, Brown Books Publishing),Spiegelman demonstrates that when the leader shares a passion for excellence and empowers his staff to do the right thing at the right time for the right reason; great things will happen. As the CEO and co-founder of Beryl, Spiegelman has first-hand experience building a successful company from the ground floor up. He's no stranger to the trials and tribulations of entrepreneurship but his steady, unwavering approach to focusing on the work environment and doing the right thing was a prescription for sure success.

In order to build a reputation as a service-centered company that goes above and beyond the expected to thrill its customers, Beryl went above and beyond to excite and thrill its employees. The results have been stellar.

This book is not written as a "how to" manual but rather as a story of one company's journey from a tiny start up to a nationally recognized brand. From the beginning, the founders understood that employees' loyalty leads to customer loyalty and ultimately a profitable business. These guys know that they need to be accessible, visible and approachable in order to gain their employees' respect and trust. I especially appreciated Spiegelman's candor about mistakes he made along the way and the important lessons learned in the process.

As an entrepreneur myself, I was equally enthralled with the Spiegelman brothers' business journey as I was with their culture-enhancing approach to leadership. Their story of the Beryl Corporation is one worth sharing. It reminds us to never lose sight of our vision and to remain true to our values in virtually every decision.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bravo!!! A magnificent example for other organizations, October 28, 2007
This review is from: Why is Everyone Smiling? The Secret Behind Passion, Productivity, and Profit (Hardcover)
It was my good fortune to be in Dallas last week speaking to the management team at Sewell Automotive and to the Innovation Council. While in town, I met up with a friend who told me about this book. Once I began reading the story of The Beryl Companies, its founders and employees on my return flight to NYC, I couldn't put it down.

Like Sewell, Beryl is an excellent example of a Connection Culture that I write about in Fired Up or Burned Out: How to Reignite Your Team's Passion, Creativity, and Productivity. Vision (the stories that define an organization's mission and character), Value (beliefs and behaviors that value people) and Voice (encouraging employees to honestly share their opinions and ideas) are all here. The result is a culture that is similar to a sled dog team that pulls together rather than a dog-eat-dog team destined to eventually fail.

Let me add that I was impressed with Beryl CEO Paul Spiegelman's self awareness as a leader. The fact that he actively engages on an ongoing basis with a number of mentors shows a degree of humility and desire to learn and grow that is necessary for the long term success of every leader. If there was one aspect I would have liked more of in the book, it would have been the events in Paul Spiegelman's life that shaped his convictions and character. I hope he writes about them for the sake of his team. I suspect there are wonderful, inspiring stories about Paul Spiegelman's journey in life that would reinforce the values that shape the Beryl Companies' character.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a must read for anyone with a large group of employees, June 23, 2007
This review is from: Why is Everyone Smiling? The Secret Behind Passion, Productivity, and Profit (Hardcover)
This is a great book. Spiegelman describes the ABC's for becoming a great company - from building the brand to become a premium provider while at the same time being a top place to work. The first-person, connect to purpose employee stories at the end of each chapter are powerful.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A 5 star read!!, December 15, 2013
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This book is so uplifting and inspirational that I had a difficult time putting it down. It has wonderful business/people management ideas, but, the basic philosophy behind all the ideas is that the ideas are a wonderful way for one to live one's life. Terrific read even if you do not run or own a business....This is good way for one to live life.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Paul vision, August 20, 2013
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I hope sincerely that this vision can reach the deep human mind to finally everybody can understand the meaning of the dicotomy employer/employee.
It's fascinating when we read Paul about his understanding of this paradigma.

I could risk to say: myself and probably every people always been waiting to an oportunity to work in a company where this theory was more than a few words said too many times.

To fix this issue we only have to find a lot of Paul's and spread them to the right place and then we can start to live our lifes with happiness and go to work with a contagious smile.

Thank you Paul
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5.0 out of 5 stars Pleasant Surprise, July 27, 2012
This review is from: Why is Everyone Smiling? The Secret Behind Passion, Productivity, and Profit (Hardcover)
I saw this book recommended in the review of another business book. My expectations were low. Even after reading the into, I expected this to be a lightweight, feel good book on creating a fun business culture. This book is much more. First of all it is very honest. Some stories reflect well on the author; some poorly. But it also covers much more ground than a fell good book about making employees happy. This book is about branding. This book is about ethics. It's about a business that could be much larger than it is. But, instead, the owners decided to be a premium services provider rather than a commodity. This guiding principal has guided their decision processes along the way. I would recommend this book to any small business owner as a how to guide for developing the vision, brand and culture of a small business; and how to make the decisions along the way to stick to these principals.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Uplifting, June 20, 2011
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This review is from: Why is Everyone Smiling? The Secret Behind Passion, Productivity, and Profit (Hardcover)
This book is a must read for all people leaders. It shows in a real practical case how managing people really well can make quite a difference to all aspects of business. The points listed might need to be read twice and taken out so you can action. A must read for all managers who want to be more than just caretakers of their people
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, February 26, 2011
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T. Howard (Coppell, TX USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Why is Everyone Smiling? The Secret Behind Passion, Productivity, and Profit (Hardcover)
I found out about this book after listening to a presentation by the author. The book is an interesting read about an entrepreneurial company that puts employees first. The philosophies discussed and practical applications demonstrated will be inspiring to anyone looking to find ways to value their co-workers and create a better work environment.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Simple, honest, and effective, December 18, 2010
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This review is from: Why is Everyone Smiling? The Secret Behind Passion, Productivity, and Profit (Hardcover)
When was finishing writing The New Small, I became aware of Paul's book. There's a simplicity and honest about it, making it an indispensable management book. Spiegelman's approach to management is people-oriented, with a particular bent on cautious and long-term growth. Rather than glossing over mistakes, Spiegelman details errors in judgment, adding to his credibility. In an era of rampant dishonesty, it's refreshing to know that there are companies like Beryl out there. No, this book won't singlehandedly transform your business, but following its principles will infuse much needed humanity into the workplace. A refreshing reminder that work is, first and foremost, about people.
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Why is Everyone Smiling? The Secret Behind Passion, Productivity, and Profit
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