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When Fish Fly: Lessons for Creating a Vital and Energized Workplace from the World Famous Pike Place Fish Market
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When Fish Fly: Lessons for Creating a Vital and Energized Workplace from the World Famous Pike Place Fish Market

3.81 of 5 stars 3.81  ·  rating details  ·  130 ratings  ·  32 reviews
In this revealing business advice audiobook, the magic of the World Famous Pike Place Fish Market proves a dynamic example of what a group of people can create when they are aligned and living a powerful vision. Here for the first time, owner John Yokoyama explains in his own words just how he transformed his business into a workplace that is renowned worldwide.

Published August 3rd 2004 by Random House Audio (first published April 29th 2004)
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Through various news stories over the years, I have heard about the throwing fish mongers at Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle. As a food lover, this is a place that I am eager to visit one day. I did not realize what an amazing business model the market is, and that a number of small businesses, large corporations and school districts have used the lessons the market has adapted over the years to positively shift the way every employee, supervisor, and the owner sees themselves and the impact o ...more
Stefan Kanev
A great book about a great workplace.

This book tells the story of, ahem, World Famous Pike Place Fish, a fish market in Seattle. It used to be quite unsuccessful and unrofittable, but the owner managed to transform it (and himself) applying a very curious philosophy to the workplace. One they decided that they want to make it "world famous". They committed to that vision eventually succeeded. This book tells the elements of the philosophy that helped them accomplish it.

It's a very inspiring book
Brian Eshleman
I am new to anyone who says they do not like to read writing a book, so the author's language is predictably utilitarian. I would say he gets to the how-to point, but with him it might be the how-to-be point. That is, he says we focus too much on how to accomplish a certain goals believing we can do so effectively without being changed ourselves. Instead, he says our main focus should be on being the person we want to be with the attitude we aspire to and that results will change as a consequenc ...more
Many people are familiar with the books about the FISH Philosophy, as practiced by the guys at Pike's Place Fish. Well, this book is by the owner of the market and he goes into details about his management, leadership, and customer service philosophy.

I've read quite a bit on leadership, and this was actualy quite good. I really liked what he had to say, and thought his approach was unique and insightful in many ways.

Defenitely worth a read if you are into this stuff.
B.C. Crow
For a self-help business book, this one stands out to me. I've read many, and I really liked the way this was presented. I enjoyed not only getting the advice and perspective of John Yokoyama, but I also liked his back stories of how he was raised and sent to a Japanese internment camp during World War II.
Anyone looking for a good business book should definitely give this one a try.
Tim Crabtree
While this book is probably a good resource for thinking about the workplace, it mostly made me want to throw a fish like the guys in the market do.
Joseph McBee
This book takes some basic, universal principles for doing good business and addresses them from the context of Pike Place Fish Market.

The principles, things like, vision, communication, coaching, service, etc. can sound tired if not applied to a fresh context. That's one of the things I enjoyed about the book the most, the topics, best practices, and principles were brought home with example after example (both positive and negative) from Pike Place Fish Market. This context made the "tired" pr
Align your people and live a powerful vision together.
Don Weidinger
to build a ship yearn for the sea, to make a difference for the people we touched for the fun of it, a purposeful vision, empower each employee, fish stink from head, capacity for growth, celebrate people, when I perceived this I felt this, how quick customer smile, prison internment and housing camp, target of prejudice, change conversation to responsibility, when belief is incompetent reaction is to overload self, listen to make difference, greatest good to reveal other’s riches, knowers vs le ...more
Jim Serger
What a business book, well let me rephrase that; what a great people first book. Bar owners, restaurant owners, teachers, CEO, Veterinarians, salesman-- it does not matter what line of work we are in, for the message of the Pike Place Fish Market can we shared and felt in this book--the owner created change in his life, which created change in employees life which created the World Famous Market Place. Great book on what can be achieved when we change and except change for the better.
I'm not a big fan of these types of books, but this one rocked. It sprung from the owner's realization that by empowering and allowing his staff to be more creative that would translate into more profits for the business.

There is a plethora of feel good management books that are handed in organizations every year, but if the upper management isn't committed and engaged, its pointless.

I listened to this on audio.
A superb, uplifting book about what it means to lead people and manage a business. Yokoyama encourages management with humanity--something that should be fairly obvious but, unfortunately, isn't. I wanted to disbelieve that his methods would work, but he gives proof after proof that they do. If a fish market can be such a happy, positive working environment, then surely my workplace can, too.
Julia Atwood
I liked this book...I am almost positive that this author and business owner attended the Lifespring training and then incorporated it into his business model. For it to be a success for 15 years only goes to prove that the principals are was inspiring what one man can do to effect positive change.
The books tells what the author (owner of Pike Place Fish in Seattle) gained in his many years of owning the shop. He worked with his employees in creative and helpful ways. He was not perfect but learned from his mistakes and makes it possible for his readers to do the same in their interactions with employees.
Beth Bonvie
I am not sure why I have been interested in buisness type books lately but this one was very interesting. All about the guy who started Pikes Place Fish market in Seattle, and it had many ideas that I could not only take back to my classroom, but into my life! Really good book!
The story of Pikes Place Fish Market in Seattle. It validates the role of leaders of setting the tone and the necessity of fostering honest communication between employees, and between employees and management. Check out the web site,
Zulkarnaina Mess
If you are interested in learning about management style that incorporates team building, rewards, giving back to the community, exciting performance, increasing productivity, this is one great book to read or listen to.
May 15, 2009 J.C. rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: small business owners, anyone wanting to create a more positive work environment
Shelves: audiobooks
listening to the audio CD in my car, gathering ideas for upcoming staff retreat for work...
This was helpful in preparing some material for our staff retreat. I especially liked the section on listening and peer coaching.
This was kinda painful to read. A few interesting points, but it basically felt like self-help literature. If anyone actually reads this review, can they please let me know how to get better at skimming?
There's something special about those quick reads you can finish in under 24 hours. I enjoyed reading about this business model and I hope that I can apply some of the lessons to my future work.
Common sense life lessons for the work place.
I know most of this... good reminder thought that we each choose how our day will go, and how our encounters with others will go as well.
Should marketing also. It did not take long to read and I learned a lot about the Seattle Fish Market workplace.
This is a great motivational book to read with principals and ideas you can apply to your own work world.
Suzanne LaVenture
A mildly interesting book about successful business practices. I'll probably try a thing or two.
Great book about team spirit in the work place. Super principles and an easy read.
Better than FISH! Gives a great backgound of Pikes Place Fish.
Great business book. I really want to see this fish market.
Sean Vangordon
A very good read for small business owners.
Jul 29, 2013 Jun rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Small business owners
Loved the book and read it over and over.
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When Fish Fly: Lessons for Creating a Vital and Energized Workplace from the World Famous Pike Place Fish Market When Fish Fly: Lessons for Creating a Vital and Energized Workplace from the World Famous Pike Place Fish Market

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