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Gray Matters: The Workplace Survival Guide Paperback – October 9, 2003


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Editorial Reviews

Review

“This must be one of the most entertaining business books around…wonderful cartoons make this guide book outstanding.” (City to Cities, July 2004)

"GRAY MATTERS: The Workplace Survival Guide isn't your average business book. Sure it's full of tips and tactics, but it's also a comic book. Don't let the illustrations fool you; GRAY MATTERS is serious about addressing the real challenges we all face at work today and offering practical strategies to overcome them. GRAY MATTERS, already a business best seller, was selected by the readers of Fast Company magazine as its first business book of the month. Bob Rosner, author of GRAY MATTERS and long-time contributor to ABCnews.com, sat down with ABCnews.com to discuss creative strategies for surviving today's frenetic workplace and what it's like to work with characters who only have three fingers." (ABCnews.com)

"...constructive [and its lessons]...seem perfectly timed at a moment when the only business constant is constant change." (Fast Company, December 2003)

From the Back Cover

WARNING: Gray Matters is addictive; get ready to laugh and learn

Forget deserted islands, today’s toughest survival challenge is the workplace. Threatened with layoffs, reorganization, or other dramatic changes, people need a guidebook for navigating the treacherous wilds of work. Full of uncommon insight and practical guidance, Gray Matters offers real business wisdom in an action-packed, endlessly entertaining illustrated format that trades cynicism for solutions.

You’ll meet Gray Blanderson, a frazzled product engineer who devises a road map for survival and overcoming the toughest workplace challenges, including:

  • How to avoid the seven deadly workplace sins
  • How to thrive in a changing environment
  • How to sell (even if you aren’t a salesperson)
  • The six keys to success at work today
  • How to handle rapid innovation
  • How to get on the right side of workplace politics

"Gray Matters shows us business books don’t have to be boring; fun and provocative is better!"
–Bob Nelson, PhD, bestselling author of 1001 Ways to Reward Employees

"A unique and humorous insight into how to stay ahead in today’s highly competitive workplace."
–Harry Paul, bestselling coauthor of Fish!

"Gray Matters is Heloise meets Dilbert–hints for the workplace with artwork and humor!"
–Heloise, Internationally syndicated columnist, author and broadcaster

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Product Details

an interview with the author! [91kb PDF]
  • Paperback: 360 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (October 9, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471455083
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471455080
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,213,882 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

From the corner office to the cube, work is tough. There are competing agendas, lack of loyalty or we're just burned out. Bob Rosner offers information, insight and inspiration for creating a more engaged workplace.

Bob is a best-selling author and award-winning journalist who has personally responded to over 50,000 emails from bosses and employees. He's learned that many bosses struggle to listen and many employees struggle to speak up. Bob offers practical strategies and tools to bridge this "empathy" gap. He's been called "Dilbert, with a solution." Bob is a regular contributor to the Today Show, CNBC and other media outlets.

Bob Rosner bio:
* Bob is a best-selling business author; "The Boss's Survival Guide," reached #4 on Amazon's sales ranking and was a Wall Street Journal business best-seller.
* He's been featured in People, The Wall Street Journal, Glamour, Fortune, Newsweek, Readers Digest, Playboy, Time, etc. Bob has been a regular contributor to the Today Show, and interviewed by NPR, 60 Minutes, CNN, Fox, Good Morning America, etc.
* Bob has been a keynote speaker to corporations and associations in Argentina, Australia, England, Canada, New Zealand, Scotland, the Philippines and in 48 of the 50 United States for the past 25 years.
* He's consulted with many of the Fortune 500.
* He has his MBA and has been an adjunct professor to MBA students.
* For more than thirteen years he's been an internationally syndicated columnist and contributor writing workplace911 (formerly called Working Wounded).
* He has founded four corporations (three were non-profits).
* Bob has received a Sigma Delta Chi award for Journalism Excellence, the Surgeon General's Medallion from former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop and was the 1989 Commencement Speaker at the University of Puget Sound.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 9, 2003
Format: Paperback
I have been a fan of Bob Rosner's irreverent newspaper column for a while now so have been seeing promos for it on his funny website ([...]) This book is both hilarious and heartbreaking at the same time. Hilarious describes the comic-book-within-a-book but heartbreaking because the riffs on the corporate world are so, so true. It may remind you of Dilbert, but I thought the checklists, quizzes, and things you cut out and put on the bulletin board put it in a class by itself. You can easily take it for a cynical look at the workplace, but look more closely. There is some really practical stuff for making your day pass a lot faster. You might even learn how to look forward to going to work again. Remember those days?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By PJ on December 16, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is such a refreshing business book! Not like all those other dreary, hard to read missives that are published these days. Gray Matters is a wonderfully easy to read book that addresses very practical at-work issues. One of the best things about the book is that the authors also provide a myriad of ways to address each issue, from an intra- as well as inter-personal perspective. A year ago I was faced with some tough work challenges that I was very tired of dealing with. Looking back, I can see that having this book in hand would have given me a breath of fresh air and new wind to face things with different results. I'd highly recommend this book to anyone that wants to beef up their work or gain some fresh perspective.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By John Amazon on February 3, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I approached this book with an attitude of "I know this content already," "I could have written this book". . . . But a few pages into the book, I realized I was learning.
The content is surprisingly complete. When skimming the Table of Contents, the topics did not seem comprehensive. But after reading this book, the important things were covered; including sensitive areas that are usually not discussed.
I appreciate that much of the content is in comic strip format. I know, I know, this doesn't sound good. But I have so many books that I've started and stopped because I don't have time to read it all. So it's very gratifying to get through the content of the book in one evening.
In summary, I learned some important stuff from this book and know that I can return to this book for reminders and details. Five stars!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 19, 2004
Format: Paperback
When I first read Gray Matters I was surprised at how easy to read the book was! I didn't find myself bored and I found a lot of useful information. Gray Matters is a great book for those just getting started and those who have been working for years because the advice is just so good. I have used the book to beter my performance at work. Make this a gift for yourself and for those young adults just getting out of college!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 5, 2003
Format: Paperback
Gray Matters is an easy-to-read business book which means that it will appeal to more people than just "business junkies". It combines the ease of reading of a comic (e.g. Dilbert?) with the actionable suggestions of a best selling business book. I don't think I've seen something that has stood out like this since I read "The Goal" by Goldratt!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By "senorpusspuss" on January 12, 2004
Format: Paperback
Due to a workplace injury a few years ago, I was literally thrown into a management position overnight. A helpful co-worker gave me some management books that I found to be full of mushy phycho-BS, and I must admit that when I was given a copy of "Gray Matters," I expected more of the same. Unexpectedly, I ended up reading it every night until I was finished. I've also been laughing at it; not because it's lame, but because it's funny and I can relate to just about all the situations presented. I started with the "Seven Deadly Workplace Sins," and the section on Dysfunction describes my office perfectly. For some reason (perhaps wishful thinking), my favorite part was the cartoon that had the team leader yelling "help" after being locked in the treehouse (it all makes sense in the book). I've heard of "Gray Matters" being compared to Dilbert, and I don't entirely agree with that: Dilbert's purpose is humor with a bit of cynicism, while Gray Matters is meant to be helpful first, with a little humor thrown in. It's possible that I found it particularly funny, because it looks like Rosner and Harcrow spied on our office before writing "Gray Matters." I would recommend this book for anyone who would like a little insight into workplace dynamics and politics, perhaps as a gift for a co-worker or new manager. I gave this book 5 stars, because it is exactly what it is supposed to be.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 24, 2003
Format: Paperback
I have a friend in business school, and when I hear of what he's being taught, I have to laugh sometimes, because I know that there is a lot of difference between theory and reality. In the "real world", people don't care about cooperation and teamwork and profit margins. They care about keeping their job and doing their job with the least amount of pain/effort possible.
Gray Matters: The Workplace Survival Guide by Rosner, Halcrow and Lavin is an enlightening look at the typical workplace in an atypical way. It uses an entertaining comic book format to act out the various principles that are articulated in the book. The "hero" of the comic, Gray, has to battle the evil workplace villains, namely "lack of cooperation" and "management" on his way to trying to save his reorganized division from possible closure. Unlike other books that try to teach business philosophy in a "fun" way, Gray Matters does a few things brilliantly:
1) The team that he's organizing isn't cooperative - Gray needs to learn to suck up to them in their favored ways, including appealing to egos and giving away his own ideas to another for the sake of team success. Anyone that has been in real business knows that there is plenty of sacrificing individual success if team success is to be realized.
Note though, but not for the risk of plant closure, Gray may not have stepped up, and the others in the story may not have cared that he did. This is an important point that needs to be recognized: people need a reason to team.
2) The team members have many annoying quirks that Gray must learn to recognize as valuable. That is, once he gets over being irritated, he starts to realize that there is something that he can learn and use from everyone.
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