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Wired to Care: How Companies Prosper When They Create Widespread Empathy Hardcover – January 19, 2009


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: FT Press; 1 edition (January 19, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 013714234X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0137142347
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.6 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #252,942 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. A veteran business strategist and adjunct faculty member at Stanford Univ., Patnaik explores the role of empathy in successful companies, producing a thoughtful, practical meditation on the power of walking in someone else's shoes. Though he utilizes examples from his work with Harley Davidson, Cisco and Nike, his skills in the classroom get a good showcase too, with lessons on history and biology, as well as revealing exercises from his class (called Needfinding) with "aha" revelations like: "For thousands of years, people made things for other people they knew"; it was the Industrial Revolution that divided producer from consumer. Essentially, Patnaik proposes that a successful company must cross that divide and learn about their customers' needs by interacting with, understanding and, in some cases, hiring them. Incorporating some familiar ideas-the power of "framing," the golden rule-Patnaik manages to keep his text fresh and brisk, making this a cagey but compassionate guide for execs and business students.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

A veteran business strategist and adjunct faculty member at Stanford Univ., Patnaik explores the role of empathy in successful companies, producing a thoughtful, practical meditation on the power of walking in someone else’s shoes. Though he utilizes examples from his work with Harley Davidson, Cisco and Nike, his skills in the classroom get a good showcase too, with lessons on history and biology, as well as revealing exercises from his class (called Needfinding) with “aha” revelations like: “For thousands of years, people made things for other people they knew”; it was the Industrial Revolution that divided producer from consumer. Essentially, Patnaik proposes that a successful company must cross that divide and learn about their customers’ needs by interacting with, understanding and, in some cases, hiring them. Incorporating some familiar ideas–the power of “framing,” the golden rule–Patnaik manages to keep his text fresh and brisk, making this a cagey but compassionate guide for execs and business students. (Publishers Weekly, Jan.)

More About the Author

Dev Patnaik is the CEO of Jump Associates, a hybrid strategy firm focused on helping large organizations grow. He is a trusted advisor to senior executives at some of world's most admired companies, including General Electric, Nike, Procter & Gamble, Target and Hewlett-Packard. When Dev is not at Jump, he moonlights down the road at Stanford University as an adjunct professor, where he teaches innovation methods to design and business school students. A frequent speaker at business forums, Dev was featured on CNBC's "The Business of Innovation," and his articles on innovation and strategy have appeared in several leading publications, including BusinessWeek, CNN, Fast Company, and Forbes. He is also the author of Wired to Care, a critically acclaimed book about the connection between empathy and business growth.


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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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And it's a great feeling to put that into practice even before you've finished reading the book.
Lauren Pollak
Empathy helps the bottom line - because it helps companies reach, understand and provide exactly the kind of goods and services their customers want.
T. Fraser
The money-saving book talked about looking at what other people had put out for trash / recycling and if something seemed interesting.
Lisa Shea

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By John W. Pearson VINE VOICE on June 15, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This book is a sleeper that, I predict, will become a classic. The author writes, "More than one business leader has complained to me that their company is attracting smart and ambitious young people who lack any sort of gut sense for the work they do."

I'm on the hunt for the 10 best books for each of the 20 buckets (critical competencies) that help all of us with leadership and management issues. Dev Patnaik's book is a gem and immediately landed a spot on my Top-10 books for the Customer Bucket. (See my book, Mastering The Management Buckets: 20 Critical Competencies for Leading Your Business or Non-profit.) I'll tempt you with three stories on how "widespread empathy" (what's going on in other people's lives) will help you stay close to the customer.

STORY #1: Eisner's Tiger Encounter. When Joe Rohde, a Disney Imagineer, wanted to convince Michael Eisner to open a safari-like experience for guests, he needed a way to get past the mantra "Disney doesn't do zoos." After making the pitch to CEO Eisner (still unimpressed), Rohde opened the doors of the executive suite to let in a 400-pound Bengal tiger. After experiencing this immense beast (bigger than his desk) up close, Eisner responded simply, "I see your point." Disney's Animal Kingdom was born.

STORY #2: Eat More Jell-O. Author Dev Patnaik, founder and principal of Jump Associates, a growth strategy firm, was invited to meet with the senior leadership of Jell-O about their declining sales. "For several hours, we sat through presentation after presentation of depressing quantitative research that described the situation. At some point, I had to raise my hand. I looked around the room and asked if anyone there had eaten any Jell-O in the past six months. No one raised a hand. Interesting, I said.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Lisa Shea HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 19, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Wired to Care combines real life stories about many companies we know and understand along with business background information to help us apply the lessons to the places we work.

The core message here is that caring for your customers isn't just new-agey PR material. It provides tangible benefits for your company and helps you succeed.

The examples demonstrate this lesson. Many motorcycle companies were failing - but Harley Davidson put its efforts into building up its connections with its loyal fans. It was those fans who helped Harley thrive in a down economy.

You need to really know where your customers are coming from. Many if not most Harley employees own and ride Harleys. A schoolteacher doesn't need to BE eight years old, but she needs to understand what eight year olds worry about and how they learn best. An Indian doctor is not African-American, but she can still work to understand her patient's concerns.

Microsoft is a juggernaut - but they have had successes and failures. When they wanted to make a game system, they took a bunch of gamers, had them develop a system THEY would love, and they were able to take on the powerhouses of Sony and Nintendo. However, turning their attention on Apple's iPod, they didn't build the same quality team of "music lovers". The result was a MP3 player which failed miserably.

I loved the story about coffee. Several decades ago Arabica (tasty coffee) was expensive, while Robusta (bitter) was cheap. Coffee manufacturers slowly added more and more robusta into their blend over the years. Existing coffee drinkers got used to the new flavor and coffee makers thought they were all set. However, they weren't bringing in new drinkers!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Wolf on October 23, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This book presents a design-inspired exploration of empathy as a driver of business growth, sustenance and ethical behavior. It provides a practical body of work on the importance of empathy as it relates to customer connections and market engagement.

While the author suggests that empathy has been detached from modern capitalism and the contemporary organization by default, one sees the presence of empathy in several exemplary, large companies. Further, Patnaik gives reference to the common religious, cultural and philosophical roots of empathy that are met in the forces of neurophysiology to suggest that empathy is part of our make-up, our meaning and our human purpose.

A couple of slot-references in Wired to Care are especially useful and valuable to those who lead and manage growth strategy:

1.Getting Beyond Original Visions... organizations are evolving entities that must transcend what energies and inventions may have given them their rise. What founders gave, others must advance.
2.Getting a Deeper Sense of Meaning... companies are culture-sensing entities, and as such, people who lead and manage must have their "meaning-making" gears engaged to sustain themselves.

This book is a nice complement to Prepared and Resolved in terms of both orientation and strategic approach. Patnaik references thought leadership that includes Dale Carnegie, Mintzberg, Gandhi and the world's faith traditions as guideposts for creating widespread empathy. As strategists and researchers have noted for a long time, getting close to customers is a powerful thing. Patnaik and his team at Jump take this to a higher level of engagement, which is a more powerful thing. Drucker and others would agree as part of what we see as the social ecology mindset of business.
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