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Fish!: A Remarkable Way to Boost Morale and Improve Results
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Fish!: A Remarkable Way to Boost Morale and Improve Results

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  25,968 ratings  ·  1,053 reviews
Here's another management parable that draws its lesson from an unlikely source--this time it's the fun-loving fishmongers at Seattle's Pike Place Market. In Fish! the heroine, Mary Jane Ramirez, recently widowed and mother of two, is asked to engineer a turnaround of her company's troubled operations department, a group that authors Stephen Lundin, Harry Paul, and John Ch ...more
Hardcover, 112 pages
Published March 8th 2000 by Hachette Books (first published 1996)
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Average rating 3.94  · 
Rating details
 ·  25,968 ratings  ·  1,053 reviews

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Aug 04, 2008 rated it did not like it
Suckiest book ever! This was an obligatory "work read". It was the classic corporate mumbo jumbo. Imagine a sucky group of employees with bad walks this great boss. With only the tap of a wand and a field trip to a local fish market she transforms this group of losers into productive happy cogs. With really clever phrases like "choose your attitude" this sage was able to get her team back on track and loving their jobs, life and eachother. Wow! Not once did they explore what made ...more
K.D. Absolutely
Our company is using Fish! philosophy. I have been working for the past 27 years and all my previous three or four employers did not allow any of these: Halloween area decorations contest, global festival contest, monthly birthday celebrants dinner with the general manager, santacruzan (based on catholic religious festival), interest clubs (book club is one of these and I am one of the members and I will use Goodreads), etc. Honestly, I am not sure if they add value to the business (including th ...more
Nicholas Karpuk
Jul 21, 2011 rated it did not like it
I don't know if I've ever heard so much negative feedback on a book that no one's actually read.

A coworker cleaning out his desk handed me this slim hardback volume along with "Leadership and the One Minute Manager," both of which he received at some sort of managerial seminar. I'm usually up to give read just about anything, and neither volume extended much beyond 100 pages. When I asked him about fish, he casually explained that it was a book on how to brainwash your employees.

Not sure he read
David Sven
Read this for work. Easy and quick to read.

The Fish philosophy is modelled on the work culture of a fishmonger's at Seattle's Pike Place Markets.

1. Choose your attitude
2. Play/Have fun (They threw fish around at the markets)
3. Be present (for customers and others generally)
4. Make their day

3 stars

Oct 20, 2008 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: no one
I gave this book one star only because Good Reads won't let me give it half a star. It was a work assignment. How do I loathe it, let me count the ways:

1. Abysmal writing. Fish was apparently written in a land where contractions seldom happen, and the dialogue reads like a 1950s industrial about the perils of poor hygiene.

2. The "story." Lundin et. al. felt the need to tack a "plot" onto their corporate philosophy book: a plot that was thin, forced, and, with the implausible love story stuck i
Apr 25, 2008 rated it did not like it
My boss gave me this book to read and tell her what I thought. My review here will be essentially what I told her.

The FISH concept is exactly that, a concept that has been heard before from countless speakers at every business conference you have attended. Chose your attitude, have some fun at work, pay attention to people, and be focused on the present. None of these are breakthrough concepts. The book itself is a quick read; I finished it on my lunch break after she gave it to me. Large font,
Oct 26, 2011 rated it did not like it
A GR friend listed this, which reminded me that I "owned" a copy at one time. Actually what happened was this: My former employer was sending us office peons to a motivational retreat out in the country, which happened every other year or so to our great collective dread. Much forced teamwork joviality and irritating group exercises and presentations that reminded me of kindergarten ensued. The latest management fad of the week that was used to "theme" and structure one of these particular retre ...more
Jul 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
I know it is a matter of perspective certainly, but I think a one star rating is missing the point of this book... It is absolutely not going to be winning any writing awards, but it contains lessons that I think we all need to be reminded of periodically. I always feel better when I read it and I always take something away from it. Quick read... an hour tops! Buy it for yourself, buy it for friends, buy it for coworkers... We can all benefit from the Fish philosophy!

1) Choose the attitude you b
Fish is a business book written as a parable. Its purpose is coach its readers into a new way of carrying out their business environment in order to make employees more productive. It does so by enlightening us with less conventional methods of expressing ourselves at work.

In order for employees to be more productive, they need not experience work as a hum-drum experience. After all, who gives their all when they are bored and disengaged? Cliche as this may sound, Fish claims that passion in wha
Hannah Ross
Dec 03, 2020 rated it did not like it
Required reading for work. It was so bad. Only putting it on here so it will count towards my 2020 Reading Challenge.
Olivia Bruns
Apr 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Even though the book was boring at first it is really good when one reads till the end. Plus the end is so good!!!!!
Feb 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I got called in as a temp today, and inbetween breaks of answering phones, I noticed this book sitting in the office and I picked it up and read it. It's short and sweet and to the point, and a REALLY good book. It reminded me a lot of Victor Frankl's book Man's Search for Happiness, how even when our freedoms are taken away, we always have the freedom to choose our attitude toward things and events. This applies the choice of attitude to the workplace. Maybe you have a job that really sucks. Th ...more
Tiffany Tyler
Dec 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
This has a few ideas that I'll definitely implement at work. It's a nice, quick read that I would recommend to anyone that is looking to change the culture at their workplace. ...more
Alysha (For The Love of Christian Fiction)
Super quick read, and TOTALLY worth every second!

Easy to understand, and an engaging story!

This is a philosophy I will take to my new job & implement even more in my life!

I’ll be recommending this to everyone now!

5/5 stars!
Mindy Reads
We had to read this book for work. Although some of the ideology in this "self help" book could be useful (mainly to the companies who want to get the most out of their employees), it is extremely disheartening to read this book as someone who has suffers from mental health issues and who also tends to get wrapped up in work. My main issue with this book is that it presumes that anyone who isn't a go getter, isn't happy all the time, isn't 100% dedicated to the job, must be in a rut and they nee ...more
Oct 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: young professionals, new managers
I really liked this book when I first bought it, in 2001. Back then, I was a young and idealistic 23-year-old, so I pretty much assumed that a corporate culture could be changed by smiling and being nice to the customers. Of course, I've since learned that it's not nearly that easy. The book's message is simple enough; it's a cross between the Serenity Prayer (don't dwell on what you can't change) and the Franklin or Eleanor Roosevelt quote to "do what you can with what you have where you are."

Jacqueline Koyanagi
Jun 29, 2012 rated it did not like it
This was required reading for my day job. While I appreciate what the folks at my job are attempting to do, and am always on board for being as positive and present-minded as one is capable of being, therein lies the rub--this book did not account for individual variation in ability whatsoever. I wasn't surprised in the least to find that a book used as corporate motivation would be extremely ableist, erasing the reality of physical and mental disabilities as an involuntary factor in whether a p ...more
Jul 22, 2016 rated it it was ok
I don't want to be too critical of this book. After all, it's just a damn parable. I was surprised that this book was actually recommended by entrepreneurs and bosses to boost their employees' morale. HAHA! The way this book delivers its message is tad unrealistic, even for a parable. I understand the message that the book was trying to deliver was a noble one; get rid of "toxic energy" in the workplace. To achieve that purpose, the main character, Mary Jane took help from fishmongers who had a ...more
Jul 29, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
My company works with the Fish principles, and so I believe they will start rolling the book out to employees soon. I can see how the four principles would help to have better energy at work. But you do need all the company to know them, and all of them on board. The principles are fine, a bit obvious if you will, but there's a good explanation behind them.
But the way it was told, with Mary Jane's story just sucks. I mean, I would have rather have a more theoretical book, than having a shitty st
Mar 04, 2008 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Teenagers and bright eight-year-olds.
Shelves: business
Fish! A simplistic yet overbearing, cloying, smiley-fish face concept guaranteed to annoy, yet not challenge, any employee forced to read it. And there's absolutely no getting around the immediate reaction to all things Fish: is this about Jesus Christ? It isn't, it's about soulful fish-flingers from Seattle leading lives of great fulfillment that we should all envy. Why? Because they choose happiness. Like we all should. All of us. People from all walks of life. From the humble to the mighty. I ...more
Anna Piranha
Jul 06, 2008 rated it did not like it
Could have been a pamphlet. I was conscripted to read this for work some time ago. Essentially, the 'author' advises that if you hate your job, well you should just stop doing that. O RLY? Be present, play, something something. I never thought anything could suck the joy out of reading for me. Reading self help business books full of oversimplified advice has actually done what even Jude The Obscure with miserable love and suicidal children could not. KUDOS, sanctimonious buttmunch! ...more
Scott Smith
Sep 13, 2009 rated it liked it
I've been dipping into some management books with the new job and since this one has been on my shelf forever (and it's short) I gave it a read. It's a little simplistic (and honestly reads a little too much like a kids' book at times), but the maxims it uses (Choose Your Attitude, Be Present, Make Their Day, Play) are smart. Of course, figuring out how to implement them is the hard part, and the book doesn't offer much in the way of guiding you on that score. ...more
Jul 10, 2015 rated it it was ok
A generic alagory with unrealistic characters and story line. The intent was genuine enough, everyone would love to work in an enjoyable environment. However, a fish monger who likes to throw fish isn't a character that people in an office environment can relate to. While the point of the book was to help employees find their "ah ha" moment and change their attitude, the book fell flat. It had good advice, but I've read better. ...more
Sep 22, 2007 rated it it was ok
yes I read this. the book's point is great-- the book itself (the supposed story) SUCKS BALLS. this book could have been a one page handout, with five bullet points. good thing it only took an hour or two to read. ...more
Jul 03, 2011 rated it it was ok
Loved the concept, hated the writing. It did, however, make me want to go work at a fish market.
Janelle Franco
Sep 03, 2017 rated it it was ok
Good ideology, horribly written.
Mar 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The book I read was Fish!: A Remarkable Way to Boost Morale and Improve Results by Stephen C. Lundin. This book is about the fundamentals of boosting your team's morale. The main topic of this book is there in a business, and “the dump” is the work level that has all the older adults. It is a very dull place and not a lot is accomplished. Many ideas are brought up in this book about ways to improve morale. She tries to create a book structure where she sets up a situation then she explains way o ...more
Feb 17, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2020
I read this tiny book for work as most other reviewers did. In my case, it wasn't required reading but a suggestion from our CEO who loves motivational types of books, speeches, etc. The ideas that the fictional company adopts as a way to get rid of their "toxic dump" mentality are sound. Choosing your attitude, play (making work more fun), being present, and making someone's day are all worthy goals that will probably help any organization be a better place to work. But it is too simplistic to ...more
Teena in Toronto
Nov 11, 2018 rated it liked it
I've read this book a couple times over the years ... the last time was in 2006. Gord and I were talking about Pike Place Fish Market a couple days ago for some reason (he hadn't heard of it) and it inspired me to read the book again.

Mary Jane is a widow with two young children. She recently got promoted to manage a department in the company she works for which is known as a toxic energy dump. She can't afford to quit her job and her manager threatens to fire her and the team if they don't turn
Jennie Damron
Jul 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
My CEO asked my coworker and I to read this book. At first I was like, really, I have to read a morale book for the office?!? But, I am so glad I read this book. I loved the concept of choosing your attitude and being there. So many times I feel my choices are robbed from me, but that is not the case. I can choose my response and in turn how I treat people in my day to day life. Yeah this book is for the work place, but I can apply this to my every day life and I think it will improve the qualit ...more
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Stephen Lundin is a writer, entrepreneur and filmmaker with a rich history as a graduate level business school professor and dean. Steve has written a number of books including the multimillion copy best selling FISH! and the simply bestselling FISH! Tales, FISH! Sticks and FISH! for Life.

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“As you enter this place of work please choose to make today a great day. Your colleagues, customers, team members, and you yourself will be thankful. Find ways to play. We can be serious about our work without being serious about ourselves. Stay focused in order to be present when your customers and team mebers most need you. And should you feel your enegery lapsing, try this surefire remedy: Find someone who needs a helping hand, a word of support, or a good ear - and make their day.” 11 likes
“There is always a choice about the way you do your work, even if there is not a choice about the work itself.” 3 likes
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