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Joy, Inc.: How We Built a Workplace People Love
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Joy, Inc.: How We Built a Workplace People Love

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  1,160 ratings  ·  138 reviews
The moment you walk into Menlo Innovations, you can sense the atmosphere full of energy, playfulness, enthusiasm, and maybe even . . . joy. As a package-delivery person once remarked, “I don’t know what you do, but whatever it is, I want to work here.”

Every year, thousands of visitors come from around the world to visit Menlo Innovations, a small software company in Ann
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published December 26th 2013 by Portfolio
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Nate Mckie
Feb 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
I am grateful for this book. Some partners and I formed a very similar company to Richard at around the same time; he started out Agile whereas we found Agile after a few years of struggle with traditional methods. What Richard describes is music to my ears; Menlo seems to have carriedthe concepts we embraced much farther than we ever did, and it encourages me that they are still working. It tells me that we need to find ways to push the envelope even more with the way we work in projects and as ...more
Sergey Shishkin
May 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The idea to put employee happiness first in order to make customers happy is not new. What is unusual is the openness with which Richard Sheridan talks about experiments – both successful and failed – that his company ran over the years in pursuit of joy at work.

I don't necessarily agree with every aspect of the Menlo way of working. Nonetheless I've enjoyed every chapter of the book and the stories Richard had to tell.

I'd like however to see more discussion on cultural diversity at Menlo. The
Jan 22, 2015 rated it liked it
This was a pretty good book about work (and I really wish I could give it a 3.5). It was amazing to read of how the author built a workplace that inspires people to do their best while allowing for family life and encouraging community interaction. I just found it difficult to see how this could be translated into other arenas - I'm pretty sure that it would not work in the hospital I work at; well, at least not for the physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and other staff - it might be okay in the ...more
Tony Bottrell
Aug 01, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: business
If you're a programmer who has always dreamed to work at an assembly line type environment -- where you're surrounded by constant noise, do not have your own place to sit and think, have no ownership over any of your code, take turns holding people's babies while you're trying to work; though half the time you're just watching someone else (dual programming) -- and as a bonus, get to work for a CEO who is in love with himself - then submit your resume right away to Menlo Innovations - and ...more
Zach Hughes
Mar 05, 2015 rated it it was ok
I didn't enjoy this as much as I hoped I would. With a title like "Joy, Inc" and tagline like "How we built a workplace people love," I expected some big transformation leadership ideas. Instead, I found a tedious and detailed account of software project management tactics and methodologies. Additionally, Sheridan describes the ideal workplace as a "factory." This is hardly a joy-inspiring metaphor. I felt like this was a big bait and switch.
Feb 14, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some useful insights, but felt it was repetitive and not that much of a how do you. The final chapter provide the most insight on how to begin a journey towards a work place of joy.
Nic Brisbourne
Aug 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I love a book that makes me think, and this is definitely one. From the way he tells it Rich Sheridan has done a great job of building a strong business, but more importantly a fantastic culture. His people are happy. On the back of reading this book I'm more sure that's what we should do at Forward Partners and more ambitious for how good that can be.

My key takeaways:
- Pair work sounds amazing, but may be hard to implement working for startups like we do given cost constraints. I believe the
Nov 23, 2017 rated it liked it
This book was a lot more about programmers' process than intentional corporate culture. I wasn't able to take anything away that I could really incorporate in my day to day at work.
Feng Ouyang
Sep 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Joy, Inc.: How We Built a Workplace People Love by Richard Sheridan
This book tells the story of Menlo Innovations, the software service company that the author serves as founder and CEO. The book describes the value, operating principles, and success of the company from various angles. Fundamentally, the book promotes three practices.
• Open space. All employees, including the CEO, share a common workspace without walls. The primary communication tool is “rapid voice system,” which sounds like an
John Gillis
Jan 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Richard Sheridan and his partner have dared to act on the belief that man is a being that in and of himself possesses a moral conscience, which springs from his original and essential character, and which his human nature requires. I am paraphrasing the 18th century Radicalists (and Shari’ati). Too melodramatic? I don’t think so, and I have studied businesses (and the human condition) for a lot of years.

The only arguments against Joy, Inc. are that man must be controlled because he is incapable
Apr 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: leadership
This was a very encouraging read. Sheridan finds me to be a like-minded vocational hedonist. If I am going to spend thousands of hours at work each year I want to enjoy this time. There are two factors that distinguish this book from the typical leadership book. First, Sheridan is in the trenches and is actually working as CEO of Menlo Innovations. Second, he convinced me that he actually had helped create this joyful work culture at Menlo. The proof is in the pudding.

The major lessons I will
Bob Wallner
Jul 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I really liked Joy, Inc. You get to look into the world of a company who broke "the rules" of business to build an organization that people really want to work for and with.

The sad reality is that most of us may never have the opportunity to work for a truly joyful company. I don't think that the textbooks are ready to be rewritten to include the word "Joy" into their vocabulary and I think we are still several years/decades from (if ever) from Wall Street embracing this thinking as a business
Kelsey Yates
Dec 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is a really good business book. Since it outlines exactly how their business model works, there were fewer principles for me to glean. I loved all the "low-tech" processes (paper, tape, the human voice)they used, especially since they are a software company. Their solution to scope or project creep helped me think about how I plan my time. They have a large square drawn on paper or poster that represents the 40 hour work week. They have cards that are folded to represent the number of hours ...more
Evgen Schekotihin
Dec 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Lots of culture elements and processes from Agile.
But here you can find information about:
- pair programming and it stunning cosequences for quality and knowlege sharing
- very poverfull description of fear which kills willingnes for changes, and it`s the main reason of unsuccesfull end of the projects with heavy losses
- and genius win-win position when clients can pay for 50% of work with royalty, and people who works on creation of this product can use 50% of their salary to by that royalty.
Apr 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Richard Sheridan and his colleagues at Menlo Innovations have built one of the best places to work in the world -- and it's a software company. The respect, clarity, and fairness of the culture they have created mean that Menlo regularly wins "best company" awards and gets visitors from all over the world studying them to see how its done. And of course the irony is that simple human decency is at the base of their success. It shouldn't be rocket science. It shouldn't take a genius. Then why is ...more
Jerico Aragon
Sep 08, 2015 rated it liked it
Some part felt too good to be true, it felt like there's more to it than how it was portrayed. Others are just hands-down insightful (fear being a mind-killer, how they deal with problems, experiments). I read this with a grain of salt: taking what's useful to me, ignoring what my gut tells me to ignore.
John Newman
Jan 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Its wonderful to see the Menlo Innovations story in a book. Rich, James, Bob and team have built a very special company that is worth our attention. I highly recommend reading the story of how they put joy at the top of their corporate mission. And I highly recommend signing up for a tour of their factory (in Tally Hall on Liberty). It will change the way you think about "the office".
Sep 17, 2014 rated it liked it
Reads more like a PR press release or company prospectus. Interesting subject, but I'm very sceptical about the implementation details. I suspect these folks stumbled into a good place and continue to stumble around.
Sarah S.
Oct 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Yes! This book totally changed my way of thinking that things had to be a certain way. I love the freedom that it is already bringing into my office.
Dec 16, 2015 rated it liked it
A fascinating, eye-opening read for many, but I've lived the Menlo life. I wanted more examples and a bit more coaching.
Mar 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
I normally avoid tech evangelist books written by CEOs using their life and company as models for changing the world. But when I saw there were 12 copies in my company's library, I decided I should at least read one so I can have an informed and passionate debate with other people who read it. To my surprise, I finished this book to completion in less than 24 hours, finding myself in agreement with many of the concepts presented.

Joy is organized into fifteen chapters and pivots between
Suraj Krishnan
Since I am on the verge of setting up my first company, I was tempted to read “Joy, Inc.: How We Built a Workplace People Love“ to build a company culture where everyone loved to come to work. Richard Sheridan, CEO of Menlo Innovations, a small software company in Ann Arbor, Michigan, has successfully strived to create a culture filled with ”Joy“ which has garnered praise from all around the world.

Richard has attempted to explicate these stories regarding his company’s culture and how it
Max Rohde
Aug 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, business, it
Reading through the first 10-20 pages of this book, I was expecting to find revolutionary ideas and practices that can help make work more joyful. I was quite surprised then that most of the practices portrayed are just what I believe most modern software development firms practice (the companies I work(ed) for certainly do). Specifically, a lot of the ideas in the book originate from the so called extreme programming methodology.

Notwithstanding many of the ideas feeling familiar, there were
May 20, 2018 rated it it was ok
Reading group read. I was hoping to gain overall ideas for improving Joy, outside of the workplace as a retiree. As I was reading I found the book lacking, but in the end, I realize that I fully embraced many of these concepts years ago and because of it I continue to feel an overwhelming sense of joy!

The book is about a software development company, so discussions of QA, programmers, documentation systems, Lean, Six Sigma, etc tickled my career funny bone!

I can always receptive to MORE JOY, so
Nov 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Reinforced the need for executive level sponsorship for an agile initiative. Although the focus of the book is on how his team adopts and adapts the agile mindset the foundation of that behavior is his support and encouragement. The Menlo process is a blend of scrum and extreme programming. especially as detailed in Chapter 4 "conversations, rituals, and artifacts." Notably, Menlo does 1 week sprints and estimates in hours, not points. But their rigorous reflection and adaptation strike to the ...more
Michiel Rutjes
Jan 02, 2019 rated it liked it
The content of the book was great, I’m always thrilled to hear about workplaces that show how fun and rewarding work can be. And even more to hear from the people who created this work atmosphere how they created it.

However, I found it a difficult read because of form. Although the author shares transparently his faults as well as his successes, he doesn’t discuss alternative outcomes to successes or shows any interest to share how similar practices might work within other contexts. One example
Lindsay Bolender
Jul 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Such good takeaways!

"We could clearly and obviously see where their own culture of fear was defeating their ability to perceive a problem. This blind spot also prevented them from discerning potential solutions."

"There are two freedoms - the false, where a man is free to do what he likes; the true, where a man is free to do what he ought."

"Clearly, fear manufactured by authority figures produces unethical behavior even in the most honest people."

"A worker has the right to know what is expected
Jan 20, 2019 rated it liked it
This is a good book. As with many business books it has it's share of fluffy stories. Additionally, a good chunk of the advice I have read in other books at this point so the value add was less for me, but I did have a number of take aways I am grateful for:
The very extensive elaboration on the benefits and mechanics of pairing work.
Babies at work.
Keeping track of actual actuals.
No work without estimation.

Beyond that a lot of the rest came down to practicing what I would call 'true' agile
Bob Bemrose
Feb 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
The title is a bit misleading. As this is a book that is really a case study of one companies success building a culture that works for them. At its surface, it flies in the face and some the recent literature on the subject. As you dig deeper you can see how the company melded a lot of popular techniques to build their culture. Things like agile and design thinking. But more interesting is how they managed to build a very work focused culture, in a very noisy and open office setting. Something ...more
Oct 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely worth reading, if only for the fact that Sheridan will make you rethink many of the current practices of management and organizational effectiveness. I recently had the pleasure of working a 2-day conference with James Goebel, one of Sheridan's partners, and between the book and the conference I have come around to the idea of paired work and using human-centric tools to make the workplace both more effective and more fun. If we can't have fun at work, then why aren't we looking for a ...more
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“Joy is designing and building something that actually sees the light of day and is enjoyably used and widely adopted by the people for whom it was intended.” 2 likes
“A company doesn’t exist to serve its own people; a company exists to serve the needs of the people who use its products or services.” 1 likes
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