HR Management & Compliance

A Year in Review: Resources for Humans Top Five Reviews

Last October, we launched Resources for Humans: A Review of the Best Books for HR. So this week, we are taking a look back at the five most popular reviews. We hope you have enjoyed this first year and found many helpful books. We look forward to bringing you another year full of great reading.

— Resources for Humans Managing Editor Celeste Blackburn

1. How Starbucks Saved My Life. In his fifties, Michael Gates Gill had it all: a mansion in the suburbs, a wife and loving children, a six-figure salary, and an Ivy League education. But in a few short years, he lost his job, got divorced, and was diagnosed with a brain tumor. With no money or health insurance, he was forced to get a job at Starbucks. Having gone from power lunches to scrubbing toilets, from being served to serving, Michael was a true fish out of water. Employment law attorney Michael Maslanka reviews Gill’s book, highlighting some of its lessons about how Gates’ perspective changed after he worked “on the other side of the counter.”

2. Strengtsfinder 2.0. Are you unsure where your true talents lie? Do you feel that you are both a person who gets things done and someone who offers penetrating analysis? Well, you can discover whether you are truly an “achiever” or an “analytical” by completing the online quiz. Then, the book will give you “ideas for action” and tips for how best you can work with others. HR manager David South reviews Tom Rath’s book, focusing on how the book and accompanying website help employers find employees’ talents.

3. I Can’t Believe She Did That! Why Women Betray Other Women at Work. Nan Mooney visits a broad range of offices from all over the country, and the voices of these “scientists, social workers, waitresses, lawyers, bankers, soldiers, editors, salespeople, athletes, and schoolteachers” resonate with the same frustrations, disappointment, feelings of betrayal and guilt, and reveal both patterns of behavior (such as “looking clean and dealing dirty” and “the new tokenism”) and longstanding issues that affect interaction between women at work (physical attractiveness, work-life balance, race and class issues, and age differences). Resources for Humans Managing Editor Celeste Blackburn reviews Mooney’s book, summarizing its theory on why women don’t get along in the workplace and suggesting that the book contains many valuable lessons for HR.

4. The Three Signs of a Miserable Job: A Fable for Managers (And Their Employees). Another fable from Patrick Lencioni, the author of The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable. Here, the fictional Brian Bailey sells his company and begins retirement only to find that he needs stimulation. He becomes the weekend manager at a local, down-at-the-heels pizzeria — and sets about motivating the employees and building the business. HR manager Paul Knoch highlights the book’s examples of why some companies’ cultures are attractive to employees while other companies struggle with low morale and high turnover rates.

5. Death to All Sacred Cows. Written by Beau Frasier, David Bernstein, and Bill Schwab, the owners of advertising agency The Gate Worldwide, this book aims to take the sacred cows of business out to pasture, showing how adages like always trust your research, success breeds success and the customer is always right, are not only old and tired but may lead a business completely astray. Employment law attorney Michael Maslanka reviews the book and highlights its theory about how e-mail does not always save time and tips for effective use of e-mail.

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