Weekend Reads: It's your dream year, love your work and creative flow

Office productivity isn’t always perfect or streamlined, but these book suggestions give tips and tricks on how to surround yourself in a positive and productive office environment.
Best Place to Work book cover-1Are you happy at work? Does your office environment make you feel happy and productive? Every so often, on a regular schedule, you get a paycheck. Not long ago, that was the extent of what an employer offered: you got paid, and if you weren’t happy with that, well, you had one option. Then big-tech companies began offering big perks and the realization hit: “Happy employees mean bigger profits.” Author Ron Friedman, PhD, explains in his book “The Best Place to Work,” that bonuses, trips, and company t-shirts can all backfire, so instead offer employees a change in corporate attitude, and let them fail. When employees know they won’t be penalized for messing up, they tend to be more creative and innovative – therefore, happier. Friedman continues with various tips for employers to ensure a comfortable and inviting work environment with suggestions like a “cave and campfire” atmosphere or allowing employees to work from home one day a week. So find and read “The Best Place to Work,” and then picture your employees’ smiles. Available for purchase here.
9781591847298_Dream Year_JK.inddYou’ve decided that you’re going to change a lot of things this New Year – love, finances, and work, for starters. Especially work, because you’re fed up and frustrated. And that is the biggest catalyst, says author and entrepreneur Ben Arment. Frustration is “the fuel” that really lights an entrepreneurial fire – and in the new book “Dream Year,” he explains how you can nurture your spark. You’ve decided to bring your dream to the world and that’s good because, today, “nothing is stopping you from constructing your own system to sustain your livelihood.” “You,” says Arment, “…are the only gatekeeper for your dream.” Even though starting a new business or taking an idea from its infancy to a full-fledged sustainable business can be hard, it’s your dream – so make it happen! Available for purchase here.
Yes, And book coverFor weeks now your top client has been dancing around a decision and he just can’t commit. You’re getting a little worried that he might waltz right out of the deal and you may need some fancy moves to keep things on track. So how do you learn to be light on your feet in this situation – and others? Start with “Yes, And” by Kelly Leonard & Tom Yorton. In their long careers with The Second City, Chicago ’s famed comedy center, Leonard and Yorton have had the good fortune to watch talented performers shine through the use of improvisation. Improv, in comedy and at work, lets practitioners respond more quickly to a situation. Comedy and business have three major things in common, say the authors: “Creativity, Communication, and Collaboration,” and there are seven elements inside those three basic “pillars.” The “bedrock” of them all is “Yes, And,” which is a way to keep ideas flowing, solve problems, and keep employees involved. Yes, And helps with “creating something out of nothing” by asking for more. It builds on everyone’s contributions and levels the “playing field of the conversation.” If your sales or marketing department needs freshening up, this book and the exercises inside it may help, and they’ll surely make things fun. Available for purchase here.
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Contributions by Terri Schlichenmeyer