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Fundamentally Different Hardcover – June 17, 2011

4.9 out of 5 stars 60 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

David Friedman is the former President of RSI, an award-winning employee benefits brokerage and consulting firm in the Philadelphia area. He is a frequent guest speaker and seminar leader on organizational culture, leadership, and values. A graduate of the College of William & Mary with a degree in Philosophy, Friedman currently lives in Moorestown, NJ with his wife and 2 college-age children.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Infinity Publishing (June 17, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0741466805
  • ISBN-13: 978-0741466808
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #346,691 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

How does a philosophy major with virtually no finance, marketing, or management education go on to become an award-winning business leader?

To understand that, you have to understand David Friedman's approach to life. While he's always been known for his discipline and his relentless work ethic, what sets David apart, more than anything, is his curiosity and his philosophical nature. He's a student of business, and of life. Quite simply, he's a thinker. And that thoughtfulness has influenced his entire career.

"I never felt my lack of formal business education was a limitation," says David. "I always thought of it as an asset. Not being saddled with traditional thinking, at every stage of my career I felt free to follow my instincts - even when it led to what some might consider to be unconventional approaches."

From the beginning, David saw RSI not as an insurance agency, but as a generic customer service business. He was curious to learn what made a service organization great and he was quick to apply what he was discovering. Under David's leadership, RSI became the standard by which not only other insurance agencies were measured, but service companies in other industries as well.

He also became fascinated by leadership and organizational development. From Open Book Management to The Collaborative Way, David developed a deep appreciation for the power of organizational culture. While he may have had an instinctual knack for leadership, it was his philosophical nature that prompted him to search for underlying principles he could more easily teach to those around him.

In fact, David is a natural teacher. He has a remarkable ability to explain even the most difficult concepts in ways that anyone can easily understand. Ever the philosopher, David not only sees the subtleties and nuances of complex issues, but he has a true gift for communicating his insights with amazing clarity. His recent book, Fundamentally Different, is perhaps the greatest testament to this gift. As you read it or listen to it, you'll no doubt see both the philosopher and the teacher at his best.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Friedman cites over and over again, Stephen Covey (Author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People) as an inspiration for his Fundamentals. Covey doesn't hide his belief that God is the source of his advice and principles in 7 Habits. Covey was a Mormon, and placed Mormon concepts such as being Gods in embryo stage into his book by rewriting it as "limitless potential".

Friedman uses the word Rituals to describe his process for ingraining the Fundamentals into a business. The top 5 definitions of the word "Ritual" are religious in nature.

At one point he cites the success Ritz Carlton had in ingraining desired customer service via their 20 Basics. But in Ritz Carlton's case, it was tangible, measurable things directly related to job duties such as "Escort the customer to an area of the Hotel rather than just pointing the way".

Friedman's version of the 20 Ritz Carlton Basics are not tangible, measurable things directly related to specific jobs, but instead are more generalized personal betterment and philosophical ideas such as "People are good, fair and Honest". I felt the book veered into general self-help rather than anything that can and should be implemented into offices.

He advocates starting every meeting with a Ritual, such as contemplating a Fundamental. This is eerily like a prayer and reflecting upon Holy Scripture. Considering Freidman is a big fan of Covey's pseudoreligious writing and teachings, it starts to make sense why the book feels like I am being indoctrinated into a faith, rather than being given solid business advice.
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Format: Hardcover
Author: David J. Friedman

ISBN10:0-7414-6680-5: ISBN13: 978-0-7414-6680-5

Publisher: Infinity Publishing

One of the most striking features that jumps off the page of David J. Freedman's Fundamentally Different is his talent in driving home meaningful points by having his readers see them, feel then, smell them, and hear them and this is realized with his down-to-earth language and numerous practical illustrations. This is something that many business authors seem to shy away from for fear that they will sound unoriginal or perhaps even unprofessional. The result is that what they are trying to convey becomes cold and in the end fails to influence readers. Put it another way, values have little meaning without stories and examples to bring them to life and engage us on a personal level. We have an easier time understanding the principles forming the basis of these values when we can relate them to our own experiences. To exemplify, as I was reading Fundamentally Different, I experienced two situations where I began evaluating the kind of service I was receiving from two different companies, one of which involved an insurance claim and the other subscribing to a new cable service. The latter should run to the nearest book store and purchase a copy of Friedman's book, as it failed miserably with a culture that seemed to say that I am doing you a favor by taking your order. How many times have we unfortunately encountered this attitude?

Friedman is the former President of RSI, an award-winning employee benefits brokerage and consulting firm. Over a period of twenty-seven years he implemented a winning culture that garnered over a dozen awards for such disciplines as leadership, workplace culture, quality, growth, business success and best work-place.
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Format: Hardcover
Fundamentally Different is an inspiring read that presents strategies for managing your business (or even your life!) in a manner that ensures consistency, and by providing a methodology that makes it easy to implement. I've found that far too many business books do a great job of presenting a compelling case for action/change, only to find that the day-to-day pressures of everyday life have immediately swallowed me back up, preventing me from changing my behaviors. This book provides situations and challenges that we can all relate to in an easy to read style, with real-life examples to demonstrate how the author's fundamental business practices and values have been employed. There are quite a few fundamentals presented to review, and I expect that readers may want to follow the author's advice and start-out on a smaller scale with a handful of values that are most important to them individually before expanding the list to a larger size. I see this as a strategy to create long-term, sustainable improvement in individual or organizational performance that doesn't require radical tools or even disruption to existing work flows. I bought copies not only for those on my staff, but for those for whom I work in the hopes that they'll be inspired to adopt that changes that I'm already implementing.
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Format: Hardcover
David Friedman’s book Fundamentally Different is a unique approach to intentionally creating, driving and reinforcing corporate culture. Many books on the subject are full of wonderful stories or give insights into the science behind organizational behavior. Interesting reads, but leaving executives perplexed at how to get their own employees to act the right way, consistently (and even when the boss isn’t watching). Friedman takes you through the behaviors (which he calls the Fundamentals) that drove how business was conducted and how people were treated, at his former company, RSI. Fundamentally Different outlines the system that helped make RSI a place where people wanted to work and where customers became fiercely loyal. I’ve watched companies implement the system that Friedman outlines in the book, and they’ve enjoyed remarkable results. Part of the brilliance of this book is the practical ways that Friedman deals with leadership ADD and ensuring that an initiative as important as corporate culture doesn’t run out of gas. It’s a great concept, effectively delivered, and proven out in companies I’m familiar with. I highly recommend this book.
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