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

4.4 out of 5 stars 86 customer reviews

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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.
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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.)
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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: 5.7 x 0.9 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (86 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #419,814 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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If you have any position of responsibility at any organization in the world, (including a family) you should read this book. As a business book, it is probably one of the best ever written. There are plenty of reviews telling you what the book is about... lemme instead tell you what the book will do for you.

---IF you read and interpret analytical reports for your company you ABSOLUTELY need this book.--- It tells you how the numbers can lead you down the garden path to cluelessness.

Reading it opened my eyes to why some institutions work and others just don't. I've always looked at my business as solving problems for people and wondered why so few companies do this. This book explains it. Most organizations have simply lost sight that there is a human out there trying to use their product.

The book gives dozens of case studies on how intelligent, well meaning people get 'bubble disease' (my term) and lose track of the people and the world around them. Now when I see this in people or in institutions, I have a better understanding of how they got that way. And more importantly, how to make sure I never do.

For example, although the author was notably apolitical in the book, it explains why so many politicians are so clueless... They have no idea how real people have to live with the stupid nonsensical laws they create. They are in their isolated world and how no idea how to run a small business or do anything except collect a government paycheck. (we all know this of course but the book really removes all doubt) It also explains how some climate scientists have been quoted as saying the Sun can not change our climate. These poor folks are so mired in academia and detached from the real world, they think their spreadsheets are more important than the Sun!
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Dev Patnaik is the founder of Jump Associates. He and his team help companies see what they can't see themselves in regards to their customer's needs. He also teaches at Stanford University. From the minute I started reading this book I could tell Dev Patnaik is a natural teacher. He also was given a lot of good advice on his initial manuscript which makes the book very polished and easy to read. His editor must be highly talented! I've rarely seen a book written this well.

What is especially intriguing about this book is the way the information is presented. Mostly stories are told about famous companies and how they reached a place of ultimate success. You will learn about Nike, IBM, Mercedes, Pixar, Target, Netflix, Harley-Davidson, Spalding, Smith and Hawken, Microsoft, Kodak and OXO. The story about OXO Good Grips was especially interesting to me as I love to cook and have several of the items they sell. I especially love the lemon zester and peeler.

Some of the stories in this book also explain how some companies don't get it. There are mistakes being made that could be corrected with the right philosophy.

Dev Patnaik drives home the point that you should see the world the way your customers do. Therefore you can serve them better and keep them loyal. This book makes you say: "Yay, finally someone is saying what needs to be said."

I felt the writing style in this book was very fluid and easy to comprehend and process. You will learn so many valuable things about life. It helps you understand how life really works. I enjoyed reading the sections on reciprocal altruism and open book management.

Wired to Care is a book business owners everywhere should be reading and applying to real-life situations. This book teaches business leaders how to show empathy and really listen to their customers.

Highly Recommended! 100 Stars. I live to find books this good!!!

~The Rebecca Review
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