- Hardcover: 256 pages
- Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (February 9, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0470316683
- ISBN-13: 978-0470316689
- Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.8 x 9.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 10 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #619,443 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Fearless Fish Out of Water: How to Succeed When You're the Only One Like You 1st Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
Roffer, CEO of entertainment branding firm Big Fish Marketing, has long felt like a "fish out of water" in the office place (a convenient metaphor, to be sure, but also smart marketing). Instead of conforming to corporate culture, however, she learned to achieve success by turning "uniqueness into an advantage." From her own experience and others', Roffer draws seven "career-tested steps" to help anyone facing the daily problem of feeling "left out, undervalued, unheard, ineffective, or misunderstood." Unsurprisingly, finding and accepting yourself is the first step; later steps encourage risk taking, open-mindedness and trusting one's instincts. At first glance, chapters entitled "Find a Few Fish Like You" and "Swim in Their Ocean Your Way" seem counter to the book's thesis, but are rooted in solid strategies: identifying what gives you comfort "so you can anchor yourself in your own uniqueness," and observing closely the office ecosystem. Thoughtful, motivating and compassionate, Roffer does an excellent job laying out the give and take of corporate culture-and how not to get taken.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Roffer, CEO of entertainment branding firm Big Fish Marketing, has long felt like a “fish out of water” in the office place (a convenient metaphor, to be sure, but also smart marketing). Instead of conforming to corporate culture, however, she learned to achieve success by turning “uniqueness into an advantage.” From her own experience and others’, Roffer draws seven “career-tested steps” to help anyone facing the daily problem of feeling “left out, undervalued, unheard, ineffective, or misunderstood.” Unsurprisingly, finding and accepting yourself is the first step; later steps encourage risk taking, open-mindedness and trusting one’s instincts. At first glance, chapters entitled “Find a Few Fish Like You” and “Swim in Their Ocean Your Way” seem counter to the book’s thesis, but are rooted in solid strategies: identifying what gives you comfort “so you can anchor yourself in your own uniqueness,” and observing closely the office ecosystem. Thoughtful, motivating and compassionate, Roffer does an excellent job laying out the give and take of corporate culture—and how not to get taken. (Feb.) (Publishers Weekly, February 23, 2009)
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This is a great book for anyone who is feeling anxious about fitting in at the workplace or at school. There's useful exercises and helpful tips included as you read.
We can look at "over-conformity" from a different perspective than that of doing dumb things. We can look at it from the perspective that too much conformity stifles your potential to achieve. Roffer takes this other perspective in this book. What she's talking about is embracing what makes you different and using that as a strength.
This concept may violate what you read in many career success books (talk this way, dress this way, etc.). And it may conflict with the cliquish culture among some influencers in your organization (what do you mean you won't golf with us?). But when you stop and think about it, this concept is logical.
Consider what every company does in the marketplace. It tries to show its unique selling proposition, a concept marketers call "USP." What is it that differentiates you from the herd (or in Roffer's metaphor, school) and makes you special?
I have come across some good works by motivational speakers and others who advise to be true to who you are. They expound on the virtues and benefits of this and that's good. What has been missing is the same kind of thing presented from a business mentor viewpoint. This is where Roffer comes in.
She doesn't have a formula or paint by numbers process, so it's not a book that you can mindlessly follow. But it is laid out logically. And if you read it and think over the concepts you will find it contains much wisdom and insight. It also contains practical tips, easy-to-follow guidelines, and useful exercises for further developing and applying what you learn.
Her basic premise is that rather than "fix what's wrong" with being different, use what sets you apart as a powerful force for achieving your goals. People want to fit in. They want to be accepted by others. You can be accepted without changing who you are. You can be you without apology and without alienating others. Roffer explains how to make that happen.
Most nonfiction books consist of ten chapters. That's the standard formula. Roffer chose to write hers in seven chapters. She could have chosen to "fit in" by adding three fluff chapters, but her focus instead was on serving the reader. She had material for seven chapters, so seven chapters it was. She had material for seven chapters because she provides a seven-step process for succeeding as the person you are.
She uses a fish metaphor throughout. She uses examples, mostly from the entertainment industry, to illustrate various points and concepts. Here are the chapters:
Step 1: Go Fishing for the Real You. Self-knowledge is a lifelong process. This chapter helps move that along.
Step 2: Use your Differences as a Lure. This chapter focuses on presenting what's different in a positive light, rather than apologizing for it.
Step 3: Find a Few Fish Like You. How to create a support system, basically.
Step 4: Swim in Their Ocean Your Way. I found this chapter particularly interesting. My approach has generally been to just stay out of the water (avoidance). Her approach relies on engagement.
Step 5: Put Yourself Out on the Line. Great stuff here on self-advocacy, an area where many people go way overboard and many others just don't get off the pot.
Step 6: Evolve by Casting a Wide Net. Being yourself doesn't mean being insulated from the rest of the world. How do you strike a balance?
Step 7: Reel in Your Unique Power. This chapter looks at how to turn belief and courage into action.
This book has a few flaws. For example:
*The profusion of sentences constructed in parallel. These always make a reader have to do mental flipflops.
*The persistent use of "flounder" where, judging from the context, the author meant "founder." These are not synonyms.
*Other grammatical errors, such as using a modifier with "unique."
*Too many references to television. People tend to be readers or television watchers, but not both. The reason is physical, because the brain adapts to the particular use. A knowledgeable medical examiner can identify which group an autopsied person belonged in by looking at the structure of that person's brain. Readers and television watchers really are that different. So, many of her references were simply foreign to this avid reader.
*The writing style lacked snap. One reason is Roffer used many complex, compound, multi-clause sentences.
The flaws are form, rather than substance. But they do detract from the reading experience. The message is good, and the author knows what she's talking about. I think for anyone who feels anxiety about fitting in, this book is a good investment of time and money.
Yet there's much in this book that a retailer, particularly a small retailer, those of us who ARE our stores, can benefit from. In a concise, tightly written book, Roffer delivers a critical message: It's not bad to be different -- in fact, it can make your career.
This is a particularly relevant message when we're in tight economic times. Anxiety creates cautious decision making: after all, it's the tallest dandelion the lawn mower hits first. Roffer teaches the dandelion to dance, by detailing the need to identify opportunities, evolve with changing times, and forge strong value-based relationships with others. It's great advice on an individual basis, but works well on the organizational level too.
Lest you think this is all feel-good, self-esteem boosting fluff, let me spell out some of Roffer's credentials. As the CEO of Big Fish Marketing, she works with clients like Sony, CNN, NBC Universal and more.
There is some material on thriving in a corporate culture that at first glance will not seem of much value to the average retailer -- until you stop and think that each and every day we're in business, we're creating a corporate culture, for our employees!
At $24.95, the book is a good value for the small retailer who worries about reconciling a strong or unique personality with the need to run a good business. Roffer's position that personal authenticity matters is both a comfort and a challenge.
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