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The Progress Principle: Using Small Wins to Ignite Joy, Engagement, and Creativity at Work

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  906 Ratings  ·  84 Reviews
What really sets the best managers above the rest? It’s their power to build a cadre of employees who have great inner work lives—consistently positive emotions; strong motivation; and favorable perceptions of the organization, their work, and their colleagues. The worst managers undermine inner work life, often unwittingly.

As Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer explain in Th
Kindle Edition, 270 pages
Published (first published July 19th 2011)
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Roy Klein
I've decided to stop reading this book halfway through.
The reason is that the book contains a small amount of simplistic advice, almost no practical methods for implementing this advice, and a large body of narrated stories of people who the writers researched. The narrative is interesting at first, but grows tedious and uninformative very quickly. I suppose the writer didn't want to throw to waste all the body of text she collected from her tests subject, but that doesn't make that body of tex
One of the main points of the book is a by-the-way in chapter 8 that isn't even mentioned in the chapter title. What doofs! So here's the deal: work nourishers, catalysts and a sense of progress matter. If you are manager, don't leave those things to chance. Instead, make a checklist and make sure those things happen for your people. There, now you don't have to read the book.
Nelson Zagalo
Teresa Amabile e Steven Kramer, ambos professores de psicologia, realizaram um estudo com 238 empregados em 7 empresas, a quem pediram para todos os dias preencherem um diário das suas atividades, tendo tudo resultado em mais de 12 000 entradas que foram depois analisadas qualitativamente. O seu achado, dá nome a este livro, e apesar de ser bom, sabe a pouco. Não que o estudo não seja válido, mas porque a conclusão não difere tanto de outros estudos sobre motivação já existentes, e que são aqui ...more
Jun 14, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Was prompted to read this book by review by Seth Godin. Primary concepts are pretty much a no brainers once they are explained. I recommend it because it brings light to the common sense we know, but need reminded that we do know. Plus the idea that creativity has many facets hopefully will empower a reader.

It continues to amaze me that current management dogma has largely missed the boat on these precepts. It is somewhat repetitive, but that seems to be a hallmark of current business related li
André Bueno
Jan 30, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business
Good book though I felt it was a bit redundant and long winded.


Inner work life has to do with how an employee feels about working somewhere and which direction you are shifting theor feelings toward their goal. Do you make them feel good about being apart of the organization?
Three components of inner work life: emotions, perceptions, and motivation.

Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation
Happiness boosts creative problem solving that can longer and build up over time

David Phillips
May 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a great book for leading other people. It helps those leading others to see what really matters to others. It helps focus our efforts at inspiring and motivating others and to help those we lead make progress along the way to meaningful work and a healthy inner life. Based on a year of research with multiple companies, this book is worth the leaders time and reflection. The more meaningful the work, the more healthy our inner life and the more progress we make in our work, the more effec ...more
Dec 30, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not bad. It's research, so it takes a while before we get to any practical bits. Once we did get into the meat of it though, there were lots of insights into how managers can cultivate productive work in their teams. I wish I had read this five years ago.
Bernd Schiffer
Good research, over time boring and repetitive narrative.
Yevgeniy Brikman
This book would've been far better as a blog post. It makes several important arguments in the preface and then repeats them over and over again for a few hundred pages, adding only a handful of valuable nuggets throughout the rest of the book. So, to save you some time, here's a summary that captures 95% of the book's content:

* Making progress in work—small incremental steps forward on a daily basis—is one of the most important drivers of happiness, productivity, and motivation. Consider video
Sep 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: productivity, agile
An enjoyable reading addressing how positive and negative work environments arise and how they affect people's creative problem solving.

This book is based on a study conducted in a set of 7 companies in 3 different industries in which knowledge workers and professionals working on complex problems collected and reported daily diary entries about their inner work lives, i.e., their perceptions, emotions, and motivations during the work day. Although most questions asked for numerical ratings, the
Oct 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Managers and project team members.
Recommended to Scott by: Custom internet search
This book is a psychological look at the human side of management. Rather than measuring employees and productivity with simple numbers or behavioral psychology, the authors conducted a survey of employees at work to judge cognition, perception, and emotion. The employees were from numerous businesses, all with different management styles, goals, and operational environments. One theme was that employee[s invisible and inner perceptions, emotions, and motivations effect productivity. Utilizing d ...more
Feb 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"The Progress Principle" states simply that progress in meaningful work is the single greatest factor when it comes to creating high functioning teams and work environments. Progress in meaningful work serves as trigger for positive perceptions, emotions, and motivations. This creates a virtuous feedback loop, greatly increasing workplace performance.

The tenor of the book echoes that of "The Happiness Advantage" and "Drive", suggesting that by supporting progress, providing positive catalysts, a
John Pestka
Oct 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent and insightful. The authors make it incredibly clear that managers must realize and recognize that making progress in meaningful work is the top motivating factor for employees, leading to, as they call it, superior inner work life. I appreciate that it's another book backed by lengthy, significant research, this time following employees at various companies for months on end and asking them to do daily journal entries. Another book I highly recommend for anyone that supervises/manages ...more
Elyse Bradley
I really struggled with this book. The concept that progress is essential to fulfillment in work and relationships is something I felt was fairly obvious, which is why I chose this book. I had hoped to find some applicable ways to apply the power of progress more into my work life. Unfortunately, the text failed to so. The principles felt redundant at times and seemed to extol the virtues of its own research without giving the reader a firm grasp on how to incorporate it in the workplace.

Dec 31, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The whole book can basically be outlined by these ideas.

Journaling everyday with discipline is the most important contributor to progress and reflection. It also contributes to self realization and happiness

Focusing on progress everyday no matter how small is the biggest contributor to growth.

Create positive feedback loops instead of negative because...negative happenings have a stronger effect on psyche than positive ones

Helping people helps you

Work that is meaningful is difficult and that's ok
Oct 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Confirms what seems to be intuitive that our perceptions about our work, what we do, how we do it can not only be influenced positively and negatively but will ultimately impact our ability to perform. And that making progress no matter how small is the key drive, good stuff along with some takeaways that can be used to help create the environment for progress and a fulfilling inner work life.
Nathan Holm
Apr 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A book full of insightful and practical ideas for anyone looking to work with teams to accomplish meaningful work.

I found some very easy to incorporate tools, techniques and approaches to incorporate into my role as a leader.
Iris van Ooyen
Jul 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well-founded. Has a lot of valuable insights and practical information any manager needs to get the most out of his/her team with the most fun and ease!
Kevin Sea
Helpful research on how to optimize inner work life. But narrator sounded like sky was always falling. last chapter on optimizing my work life was disappointing-just told me to keep a journal. unlikely.
Bryan Power
You’re fine if you read the cover and the jacket flaps. Not much depth.
Barry Davis
Subtitled Using Small Wins to Ignite Joy, Engagement, and Creativity at Work, this book is an excellent example of what I like to call “uncommon sense,” insights that seem to be patently obvious but are simply not observed. Describing the powerful impact of what the authors call Inner Work Life, they quote – “Managers can’t help but influence subordinate’s inner work lives; the only question is how.”

The authors’ research involved reading and analyzing 11,637 diaries from 238 individuals in 26 te
Lenny D
Jul 16, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I talk about employee engagement a lot for work, so I'm always interested to see original takes on the subject. I read this book on the strength of a review that said Amabile and Kramer use a ton of evidence to support their management theory. They do, but in a way that's not particularly interesting.

The book is a string of anecdotes that the authors use to draw out a sensible, if messy, management theory that they call the progress principle, I guess. The book is the product of a large-scale st
Mar 01, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: motivational
What really sets the best managers above the rest? It’s their power to build a cadre of employees who have great inner work lives—consistently positive emotions; strong motivation; and favorable perceptions of the organization, their work, and their colleagues. The worst managers undermine inner work life, often unwittingly.

As Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer explain in The Progress Principle, seemingly mundane workday events can make or break employees’ inner work lives. But it’s forward moment
Jun 01, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dit boek geeft een zicht op vele jaren veldonderzoek naar wat motivatie drijft in bedrijven. Het is duidelijk dat vooruitgang en kleine overwinningen op de werkvloer zeer belangrijk zijn. Volgens de auteurs bestaan er "voeders" die ervoor zorgen dat progressie verder gestimuleerd worden en "vergiften" die progressie tegenhouden. Het is belangrijk om deze elementen zo te bespelen dat de groep in een positieve spiraal van progressie terechtkomt, want eenmaal zover wordt het een zelfversterkend eff ...more
David Janzen
Jul 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was an outstanding book. It is really relevant to trying to build an organization centered around people that provides meaningful work for team members to excel at. I loved this book. I’ve already recommended it to a few other friends and former classmates and colleagues.

The central topic of the book is a review of the author’s discoveries from a study across nine or ten different organizations that had team members and managers log their work lives each day. They then reviewed the diary en
Bibhu Ashish
Feb 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I heard the audio book while commuting to and from the work. This book not only was enjoyable to listen but also gave me a lot of food to think about how to have a great motivated team.I would suggest all the people having any managerial responsibilities and dealing with people to read or hear this book once. The principle which this book is based on is a time tested one. Though a lot of people are aware of the principle but sometimes it is easier said than done to adhere to the principle of hel ...more
Jan 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Simple principle yet most forgotten when it come to management and art of managing.
It todays hyper-connected world, competence is not scarce, your team is talented enough to figure out how to solve the problem . So as a manager, it is not the solution or direction that they are looking for. Give them autonomy to figure out a solution but what they are looking for isolation from distraction what we call blockers, impediments. What is most fundamental to human satisfaction is whether I had progres
May 16, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: leadership-books
I loved the concepts presented in this book. It provides some great, practical advice for managers backed by solid research. Any manager or leaders could benefit from understanding the benefits of progress, nourishers and catalysts.

As much as I loved the concepts, I just couldn't love the book. In a sense, I think the book's greatest strength is also its greatest weakness. While I appreciated the solid research behind this book, the examples provided became really distracting. I couldn't keep st
Leslie Shreve
This is an extremely insightful book because of all the research that went into it. The stories based on the nearly 12,000 journal entries that were collected from 26 different companies really shed light on what creates a really healthy and productive inner work life. They say that "inner work life" for professionals includes "consistently positive emotions; strong motivation; and favorable perceptions of the organization, their work and their colleagues." Forward momentum - *progress* - is wha ...more
Peter Kahn
Sep 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: leadership
In the same league as "Peopleware" this book builds theories from evidence and provides scientific backing for what seems self evident.

Happy engaged people do better work and a key driver of engagement is a series of small wins. A little progress every day results in better productivity and creativity.

This is why scrum and especially Kanban have the impact they do. It also explains the benefit of the pomodoro method and even continuous integration (feedback from the build/the-work rewards the
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“If management generally overrides people’s decisions, they quickly lose motivation to make any decision, which severely inhibits progress.” 4 likes
“key to leveraging the progress principle: giving people meaningful work.” 3 likes
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