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It's Always Personal: Navigating Emotion in the New Workplace by [Kreamer, Anne]
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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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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: #116,351 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By D. F. Morin on April 12, 2011
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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The core challenge facing business organizations today, at least in the U.S., is that human beings have become the paramount source of enterprise value -- yet business culture hasn't had time to catch up with the realities of human nature. To be blunt, people didn't matter much in business until recent decades. The state of the art of unlocking value from people remains primitive: nobody's yet cracked the code. It's the equivalent of IT in the 19th century.

Kreamer's book takes on one important piece of the problem: the emotional nature of human beings. More specifically, the intolerance of human emotion at work. Always an issue, it has become even more critical with the dramatic increase in the female working population. (Gender issues are an important thread in this book.)

As Kreamer observes, correctly in my view, the typical workplace frustrates people. Instead of addressing human issues, business leaders too often avoid them, relying on denial, pretense, and a veneer of rationality to evade the unavoidable.

This is a good book -- brief, well-argued, and clearly intended to contribute to solutions. For people struggling with emotion at work, there's plenty of thoughtful advice. Its orientation is more to self-help and action than to theory, which probably makes it more useful.

Business culture is urgently in need of some consciousness-raising. This book will help. Pass it on.

Full disclosure: I know Anne Kreamer personally. She interviewed me for the book, and I participated in the research survey. I'm delighted to say that I think the conclusions she draws from her research are entirely sound.
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