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Vital Friends: The People You Can't Afford to Live Without
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Vital Friends: The People You Can't Afford to Live Without

3.48 of 5 stars 3.48  ·  rating details  ·  280 ratings  ·  41 reviews
What's the quickest way to ruin a friendship? Do great friendships have anything in common? Are close friendships in the workplace such a bad thing?

These are just a few of the questions that #1 New York Times bestselling author Tom Rath asked when he embarked on a massive study about the impact of friendships. Along with several leading researchers, Rath pored through the
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published June 29th 2006 by Gallup Press
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Peg Burington
Apr 02, 2009 Peg Burington rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: adults
The best books usually come from recommendations made by friends! This book is no exception. A close friend handed the book to me last week. Author/researcher Tom Rath explores the way in which friends can enrich your life and how fostering friendships at work can make an organization even more productive. According to new research, finding friends at work can make employees feel more connected to their jobs and the ideal situation is where the people you work with are "like family." Having frie ...more
This book is a terrific testament to the fact that strong friendships are vital to our health. What was really amazing to have affirmed was that friendships @ work are very important and should be cultivated. How many times have we heard that we SHOULDN'T socialize with people from work? How many times have we heard colleagues say that they don't want to socialize with people from work? This book was so interesting because it asserted that refraining from building friendships @ work is a BAD ide ...more
I should probably withhold my rating until after I've done the assessment that comes along with the book, but I should also probably get some thoughts down before I lose them!

The book helped me to see, more, why Gallup is currently so invested in it's Wellness work. It really does draw together the strengthsfinder, Q12 and this work into more of a coordinated whole.

I'm not sure why this book didn't get more traction than it did. There is clearly some interesting work here on the importance of f
I thought this was an interesting take on a business book. We all spend so much time honing our professional skills, but in a lot of cases, data seems to indicate that we make the greatest advances as a result of our relationships with others--- they offer us opportunities, help us see the best parts of ourselves, really take us beyond what we can do on our own.

I listened to the audiobook, and though it says it's unabridged, I was left with doubts about the validity of the research. That may be
Kristal Cooper
This is a description of one researcher's scientific findings about the effects of having close personal friends. It also describes the eight main types of friends you have and why you need some of each. Much of the focus is on the workplace and how much a good friend there enhances your experience and output. Given the survey results, I'm surprised that all employers aren't hiring groups of sorority girls. I'm not trying to be sarcastic here, it's just that being able to have friends at work is ...more
Who knew that people who have a "best friend at work" are seven times as likely to be engaged in their job?! This book offers this and other statistics like it. While I enjoyed taking the online assessment of the people in my life to discover exactly what their contributions are, in general this book just was an easy read with a simple not too surprising message--we are people who need people, and different people bring different things to our lives, and we should capitalize on those things for ...more
Jan 16, 2011 Marci rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: All
A close friend recommended this book to me and I couldn't have been more pleased by Tom Rath's insight to friendships throughout life and in the workplace. 'Vital Friends' has a section where you can take a quiz to see what strengths your friendship with X provides in your life. I really enjoyed that section and found it helpful with how I relate to specific people in my life and what I can do for them in return.

A very enjoyable & easy read.
Still didn't finish it but I wanted to share my review with you guys.. So this book is exactly what I need! It shows you new perspective about friendships and relationships.. I've always been so picky when it comes to best friends because in a way or another it affects you.. I've seen it for example if you had a healthy best friend you will start being more careful with your diet and lifestyle habits, and so on.. Though I still stand by my point but this book made me realize that what is really ...more
Alex Wong
An interesting read that helps highlights the importance of friendship and it's impact in our lives - at home and at work. The illustrations are helpful and helps provide something to anchor on such a topic. The vital friends assessment was useful as well. The descriptions on the 8 vital roles and how to build on them were also very useful in application and creating conversation with friends.

Some of the key points for me include:
1. We need a best friend (even at work)
2. There's a 3-close frien
book and on CD
2CDs 2.5 hours
from the library c2006 text

this book is so important that I should copy out sections of text for
ADP start with part 2 beginning and go forward and backward from there

8 vital roles: builder, champion, collaborator, companion, connector, energizer, mind opener, navigator
• Builder (motivator)
• Champion (sing your praises)
• Collaborator (has similar interests, passions)
• Companion (always there for you)
• Connector (introduces you others, widens your circle)
• Energizer (
Jun 02, 2008 Jillian rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Managers, lonely people, those looking to expand their circle.
I liked this, although I think the information in this book has been repeated so many times in women's magazines that it's almost repetitive at times. I thought the studies of the homeless and their lack of friends was really interesting since like many people I thought substance abuse or mental illness was the main cause of homelessness. The information about why it was important to have close friends at work was pretty interesting too-and would be helpful for managers. I liked what it said abo ...more
Picked this up after reading Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose, and I can see why that author recommended it.

To be honest - this book shifted the way I thought about my friendships. I think too often I think someone needs to fulfill multiple roles, or that because they fill a role that most people don't, it means we should be "more than friends" - when we shouldn't. I didn't quite realize that til I read this book, honestly. If I take nothing else from it, that was th
Oct 09, 2007 John rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Cavedwellers, especially those with no friends
This book speaks to the Gallup question, "Do you have a best friend at work." The book is interesting, but I did not find it very useful. The book starts with an overview of why you need a friend. Nothing new there, unless you're a cave dweller. Most of the book speaks to relationships, and categorizes those relationships: Builder, Champion, Collaborator, Companion, Connector, Energizer, Mind Opener, and Navigator. It's possibly useful to think of your relationships that way. Maybe more useful t ...more
Rick Yvanovich
Like the author, I too did not realize that "vital" really is a key word to add into friendships. I can see now that there are friends and vital friends and there is a world of difference between the two. How could something so obvious be so overlooked?! Anyway, loved the book.
Apr 10, 2013 kelly rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People needing Scientific Evidence to Mucky Mucks that their work friendship is good for the company
Recommended to kelly by: Someone in charge of my salary
This is essentially a long magazine article defending friendships at work followed by tests to categorize your friends. I hadn't realize friendships at work needed to be defended, but you will learn about companies that prevent them and what happens to people when they lose friends at work (hint: they may become alcoholic and then homeless).
The saddest part to me was one of the FAQs in the back of the book: "What if I am too busy? How can I invest in friendships?"
Wow, are there really people ask
A book about relationships and how having best friends helps us to work better, be happier, have a better view of our job (and even our pay rate), and makes us healthier. It discusses the different roles that friends play in our lives and how we can't expect every friend to fulfill each function. It is an interesting read; well written with good examples that were easy to understand.
This book takes a different spin on relationships in our lives. To me, it shows God's detail in placing people in our lives that spur us on, encourage us, fellowship with us, open our minds to new things, etc. There is a purpose for every person our lives. It made me aware of the contributions that others make in my life as well as the contributions I can make in theirs.
I learned the value of friends, and particularly friends at work, through Rath's insightful research. I didn't get as much out of the "How to" (find a friend/keep a friend) part of the book, nor all the categories of friends he says one needs. Either I don't think in those categories or I'm just really impoverished.
Mark Fallon
Friends have always been important to me, and Rath reinforces why.

My dad once told me, "If you can count your true friends on more than one hand, you're fooling yourself." Rath uses the term "best friend", and adds that you need at least four best friends.

Looks like my dad was ahead of his time.
All based on extensive research and polling by folks with Gallup, examines the roles our various friends play. In particular, focuses on the value of having a best friend at work, claims that we are 7 times more engaged and likely to succeed when we have a best friend on the job.
Aug 06, 2007 DumDum rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People with no friends
Guess what? Good friends are good for business. "Having a best friend at work is a strong predictor for being a happy and productive employee." Mr. Rath is a genious! who'd a thought!
The Gallop Poll sent this book to me FREE because I regularly take their surveys. Maybe I'll stop.
This book looks at the science of friendships and the impact they have on our lives. Easy read, great examples based on solid research from the Gallup organization.

Rath asserts what Solomon said long ago, "as iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another."
Sally Liu
This book was OK for me. I thought it would have more suggestions for finding a friend at work. Rather, it segments the type of people you will find to be friends at work. It did teach me to tell friends why they are so special in your lifeand to thank them.
Joy Chen
Since I love friends, this was totally a book for me! I enjoyed the classifications of how each friend category is unique and valuable. I personally seek to be able to be all 7 types and know that I have a bounty of people who fulfill and enrich my life.
Quick, easy read I picked up from my boss. It makes so much sense and a lot of it is what I already knew, but maybe I didn't spend this much time labeling it. As I was reading, I just started to name my "vital friends" and realized how lucky I am.

This book seemed too mushy HR-friendly to it, even though it was discussing HR-nonfriendly things like MAKING FRIENDS in the workplace. Has some good tidbits but mostly forgettable.
I read this book on a break at work and shared it with co-workers. We had a great discussion! Find out who your vital friends are and why you need them at work.
This book deals with the necessity of having vital friends. It categorizes frinds by type (builder, navigator, collaborator, etc.) It is worth scanning thru.
I think that I must have read that book in a matter of minutes because I couldn't get to the meat of it. And when I was done I determined that it was all milk.
very interesting look at relationships and how different relationships can help you. I also really enjoy the online participation
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