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It's Always Personal: Navigating Emotion in the New Workplace Kindle Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Length: 256 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

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Editorial Reviews Review

A Letter from Author Anne Kreamer

© Lucy Andersen
I was told when I started work that if I wanted to be professional, I should never let my feelings show at work--that emotion had nothing to do with success. But somehow once I’d been working for a few years I realized that that advice seemed mainly to apply to women. The well-known chairman of my Fortune 500 entertainment company thought it was completely acceptable to call me up and scream at me because a good deal I’d made had not moved up the price of the company’s stock. He got explosively angry at me, but I certainly didn’t feel like I could reply in kind. So I cried. And felt even worse, but I sucked it up and went on, burying that experience until a few years ago when a former colleague and I were talking about how every woman we knew had had a similar experience. Because of my personal experience I realized I really needed to understand why crying on the job was such a taboo.

That simple question led me on a fascinating journey. Over the course of the last two years I roamed the country talking to dozens of neuroscientists and other experts and more than 200 working Americans, from top corporate CEO’s to waitresses on the Navajo nation to entrepreneurs in their basements, about their feelings--positive, negative, and in between--while on the job. The neuroscience of emotion is an exiting new field and the conversations I had with people confirmed first-hand what the cutting-edge researchers are discovering. People basically fall into two groups, those who cry easily and those who don’t, and women are several times more likely than men to be criers, which makes crying at work even more stressful for women. Nobody likes working with angry people. And all of us are looking for ways to reduce on-the-job anxiety.

Through my own original research with J. Walter Thompson, the largest advertising firm in America, I discovered that a lot more men cry on the job than you’d think, but what really surprised me was there is no “tissue ceiling”--successful people from every level of the professional hierarchy reported that they cried at work. And people who cry at work are not necessarily unhappy in their jobs. I poured through the scientific research and uncovered some remarkable things--like the fact that saleswomen make more sales during the ovulation phase of their cycles, and that the cultivation of positive emotions isn’t some New Age dream but a scientifically proven tool to better problem solving.

Work in America today is fraught--the economy is transformed and precarious, and more is being done by each of us with fewer resources than ever. Simultaneously, with women making up more than half the work force for the first time in history, and with science illuminating more precisely than ever how biology drives behavior, we are at a unique moment for reflection and useful rethinking. With the practical insights I gained in understanding the main emotions we encounter at work--anger, fear, anxiety, joy and empathy--and with the specific tools tailored to each emotional state that I offer to help each of us develop better emotional resiliency, I hope my book inspires you to believe that the more of your authentic emotional self you bring to work the happier and more effective you will be.


Praise for It's Always Personal:

“Throughout this heartfelt book, Ms. Kreamer comes down on the side of accepting and expressing one’s authentic feelings, though in sensible and constructive ways. “It’s Always Personal” argues that greater emotional openness could lend vitality to American business, and it urges both men and women to ‘bring their full, true selves to the game.’ It’s a stimulating read bolstered by snippets of some of the best recent work on emotional intelligence and the science of happiness.”
—Clare McHugh, The Wall Street Journal

"It's Always Personal will transform the way you look at office culture and work relationships.  In an insightful analysis packed with research, evidence, and real-life examples, Kreamer demonstrates why emotion matters so much in the workplace--and, with practical advice, she identifies ways to be happier and more effective at work." 
--Gretchen Rubin, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Happiness Project
"This will be one of the most fascinating and useful books you'll ever read.  In this groundbreaking study, Anne Kreamer looks at emotion in the workplace through first-hand experiences, scientific research, and empirical data.  What's the role of anger, fear empathy, anxiety and tears?  This book explains them in ways that will make you a better worker, boss and human being." 
--Walter Isaacson, President and CEO, The Aspen Institute and former CEO of CNN   
"It's Always Personal made me want to stand up and cheer!  I love this book.  And every person who has ever been a boss or an employee needs to read it.  Superb reading and highly practical!" 
--Christiane Northrup, M.D., New York Times bestselling author of Women's Bodies,...

Product Details

  • File Size: 3638 KB
  • Print Length: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Random House (March 29, 2011)
  • Publication Date: March 29, 2011
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004IK8PZ0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #66,636 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

I became a writer in my forties. Before that I'd been fortunate to work in a lot of wonderful places. In the late 1970s and early 80s I was part of the team that distributed and co-produced Sesame Street around the world. A few years later I helped launch SPY magazine, about which has been said, "It's pretty safe to say that SPY was the most influential magazine of the 1980s." In the 1990s when my kids were young I had the perfect job -- Worldwide Creative Director for Nickelodeon and Nick at Nite, where I created and launched Nickelodeon magazine.

At the turn of the century, I switched careers becoming a columnist for the cutting-edge business magazine Fast Company. After that I created the monthly "American Treasures" column for Martha Stewart Living. In 2007 I published my first book, Going Gray, What I Learned About Beauty, Sex, Work, Motherhood, Authenticity And Everything Else That Matters, and wrote a Yahoo blog, "Going Gray, Getting Real." Random House will publish It's Always Personal, my new book exploring the new realities of emotion in the workplace.

Although I now live in Brooklyn, with my husband, the author, Kurt Andersen (Turn of the Century, Heyday, Reset), and our two great daughters, I was born in Kansas City and will always consider myself a Midwesterner at heart.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I could neither read IT'S ALWAYS PERSONAL fast enough because it is so compelling, nor slowly enough, so much did I want to memorize it -- all 234-information-packed thought-provoking pages. No sentence is a waste. And I didn't want to put it down - because I was reading about me, and you and our emotions in the context of the massive amount of research that Anne Kreamer has culled from myriad authoritative sources. She thought about this material, interpreted it and put it together so deftly, I found tears running down my face halfway through the book, a book that could change your life. At the least it will make you feel less alone if you ever think you screwed up emotion-wise on the job or elsewhere. It will help you better understand yourself, your emotions and those of others in the workplace, which -- Kreamer notes - is increasingly everywhere, because of the mobile communications boom. In fact, Kreamer, herself says, she was relieved to learn that she "was probably born tense." She also writes about emotion management and the differences between how men and women are wired with a refreshing and calm voice and an oeuvre that wakes you up with surprise after surprise. I hope she writes a lot more books.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"It's Always Personal" (Random House, March 2011), Anne Kreamer's newest book, gets to the heart of our emotional lives in the workplace. It's a fascinating account of the tears and fears most of us struggle to suppress when we're in the office. As a former corporate executive and someone who now coaches business leaders, I understand this landscape well. Kreamer has meticulously researched her subject, includes real-life examples (in full disclosure, one of those examples belongs to me), and further provides Emotional Toolkits with each chapter, ideas and strategies for managing our emotions at work.

Kreamer opens the book with her own experience as a senior executive at MTV Networks, a division of Viacom run by the mercurial Sumner Redstone. She paints the picture of a triumphant deal and celebration with her colleagues after months of labor when an unexpected phone call arrives from Redstone. Could it be congratulations for a job well done? It wasn't to be. The Viacom Chairman reamed her from bow to stern because the deal announcement had not created an up tick in the stock price. She was in a word, devastated.

As Kreamer makes clear, we can't we have a conversation about emotions in the workplace without raising the issue of gender. She asks a provocative question, "Have you ever cried at work?" It's the inquiry she made of me during her early days of research and one she posed to many others in her pursuit of understanding what happens to our emotional selves when we cross the office threshold. In answer to her question, I have certainly wanted to cry at work but with the exception of some prodigious "welling up", have never done so. I believed then (and a part of me still does) that it was not allowed, that I would lose credibility in the doing.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a pioneering work, one which aims to look at the emotional life of people in the workplace and help them understand how to better thrive at work. The story begins with the author's having taken a terrible dressing down from her boss after she thought she had made a major accomplishment. Her reaction was tears, and she began to wonder about why and how people reacted to emotional situations in work. Her findings are often surprising. It is not surprising that a larger percentage of women cry at work, but it is surprising that those tears receive more sympathetic responses from Men than from Women. It is not surprising that the crying may come wherever the person is in the work heirarchy but it is surprising that that crying is fairly equally distributed throughout the heirachy. But it is not only tears, but the whole range of emotional life from Fear to anger, anxiety, and on the other side Joy and happiness which are considered. Kreamer hopes this book will be of help to working folks, and she makes the point that today work is done 24/7 by many, and done everywhere they are. It is not just that more people work at home but more people work wherever they happen to be. The technology which liberates is the technology which enslaves.
This is a highly recommended and interesting work.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have never been compelled to write a book review, but Anne Kreamer's "It's Always Personal" gave so much to me that I want to give back to her. I feel, too, that I owe it to anyone like me, male or female, manager or "managed", who is navigating the personalities of the present-day workplace, to tell them about this remarkable book. Indeed, I take this one very personally...

The new workplace is a far cry--maybe even a good cry--from that of "Working Girl". It is an emotionally-charged arena where one's best intentions and well-laid plans often collide with unexpected and derailing passions. In the first pages of "It's Always Personal", Anne Kreamer draws you right into this new dynamic. She describes her own experience years ago as a high-ranking executive at Nickelodeon. I don't want to give away the particulars, but suffice it to say that you can feel the range of emotions that Ms. Kreamer felt; you can identify fully with her situation. It is the frustration of almost simultaneous euphoria and agony, and achievement and humiliation. It is as if you've trained and competed hard in a high-stakes athletic championship, and when it's over and you think you've won, you find out that the rules have entirely changed. With Ms. Kreamer's help, you won't likely find yourself unprepared for such a circumstance. She teaches you how to channel and manage emotions, part and parcel of today's workplace environment, and turn them into healthy and effective tools. Blurred vision turns into clear, productive vision.

After the opening pages hook you, the rest of "It's Always Personal" doesn't let you down. Candid and revealing real-life experiences of other professionals are spread throughout the book, interspersed with national surveys and scientific data.
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