- Series: no edition stated
- Hardcover: 218 pages
- Publisher: Gallup Press; 1st edition (August 1, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1595620079
- ISBN-13: 978-1595620071
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 8.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 44 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #393,317 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Vital Friends: The People You Can't Afford to Live Without Hardcover – August 1, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
Friendship may be coming into vogue as a topic (to wit, Joseph Epstein's new book Friendship: An Exposé), but Rath (coauthor of the bestselling How Full Is Your Bucket?) takes a pragmatic rather than philosophical approach. He explores the inherent value of friendships and says that the need for friends goes beyond commonality or companionship; in particular, he devotes a section to friendship at work, which, unlike many companies and managers, Rath sees as a positive force. Rath's research shows that employees who have a best friend in the office are more productive, more likely to engage positively with customers, share new ideas and stay longer in a job. Citing illuminating cases and surveys (many conducted for the Gallup Organization), Rath shows that many people succeed or fail based on the support and involvement of their best friends. Rath posits eight vital roles friends play: some are champions for each other; some collaborate; some connect people with others; and some build each other up through encouragement and trust. Rath's bullishness on friendship is based on solid research and couched in intelligent prose. 150,000 first printing. (Aug. 1)
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The Washington Post
Friendships are good for business. Companies are coming to discover that, yet are at a loss at what to do about it. ... what Gallup has uncovered about best friends stands out as novel.”
Let friendship ring. It might look like idle chatter, but when employees find friends at work, they feel connected to their jobs. Having a best friend at work is a strong predictor for being a happy and productive employee.”
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The content is not what I expected. This book is loaded with example after example to back up theory on benefits of friendship. You cannot help but conclude that we'll live longer, healthier, more productive and successful lives when we experience true friendships daily. That may sound simple, but as presented in this book, friendship in the long run is a matter of life and death.
The most touching story is about the successful career of a woman that had been in humble circumstances. One friend, a woman with a successful career, connected with her. This friendship inspired job growth, career growth and finally a prestigious result. I'll bet you tear up listening to this story. There is nothing like friendship.
Friendship is often forgotten in our busy lives, leaving a terrible void. The experience of listening to this book several times over a period of years has given me a deep understanding of the benefits of friendship. In fact, the benefits are so great that they completely override disappointments in friends. There are good reasons to be a friend and have friends, and knowing this in a deep sense, we'll be less likely to act carelessly with our friends and potential friends.
In terms of friendships at work, the author shows this to be a win-win situation for employees and employers, improving both happiness and productivity. A case is made, therefore, that employers should take action to encourage this. Unfortunately, the author completely avoids the downside to this - namely its putting all the eggs in one basket - if one leaves or loses one's job, one loses, or it least becomes more distant from, one's friends. This can also make it more difficult to leave companies that head in a bad direction, inhibiting them from "getting while the getting is good." I'm not saying that having friends at work is bad, just that the negative consequences should be acknowledged.
Finally the book talks about eight distinct roles of friendship, and how expecting one friend to cover all roles is not only unrealistic, but damaging to the friendship as well. By thinking of your friends in the role(s) they fulfill for you, and you for them, it helps one decide whom to see for what purpose. This is original and very useful information.
The accompanying web site gives you a means to identify who your various friends are and what role they can play in your life and which types of friends you may need to seek out and cultivate.
The poll results indicate a connection that is pretty much undeniable but without direct evidence of a cause-effect relationship. Mr. Rath's division of friends at work into eight vital roles provides convincing reasoning on how positive work relations positively impact the work experience. Builders, Champions, Collaborators (in the positive sense of that word only), Companions, Connectors, Energizers, Mind Openers, and Navigators are described and guidelines are provided for identifying such friends, developing them, and developing yourself into each kind of friend.
While I find the work compelling and interesting, I'm not sure how easily some of it can be put to use. The "art" of friendship is somewhat overlooked in favor of a comparatively sterile look at the means that can be used to cultivate and take advantage of your friendships. To be sure, no part of the book countenances "politics" or "using" friends for gain. I was still left with a slightly uncomfortable feeling at the thought of consciously taking advantage of my friendships rather than just thoughtlessly enjoying the benefits.
I wish the book had more information on the negative impact of some friendships and tips on countering them.
Overall, I found Vital Friends an interesting read and a valuable addition to my library.