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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

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  22,950 ratings  ·  846 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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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
Shelves: 2008
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
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
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,
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
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
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
Reading in Black & White
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.
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
António Ganhão
Este ano recebi o livro “Fish, uma nova cultura na empresa.” Desta feita, os três simpáticos ratinhos (Quem Mexeu no Meu Queijo?) deram lugar a peixes voadores lançados através do mercado mais famoso do mundo. Encontramo-nos novamente no domínio da parábola – o que parece ser uma fórmula recorrente dos livros de autoajuda dedicados à gestão empresarial. Em Fish permanecemos no universo das mensagens simples: não podemos escolher o melhor emprego do mundo, mas podemos assumir a melhor atitude do ...more
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
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.
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
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
Tyrkysová Knihovnička
Když vás neodradí trochu dětinské pojetí obálky a název knihy, opravdu se dozvíte pár zajímavých tipů na to, jak své zaměstnance (nebo kolegy) vhodně motivovat a naladit na tu správnou vlnu. Nalaďte své zaměstnance (nebo sebe a kolegy) pozitivně, naučte je milovat svou práci a být na ni hrdí.
Celý článek zde :)
Cheryl Durham
Sep 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Loved. Loved. Loved.. Who Moved My Cheese was a great fable to address change. Fish went a step further. Mr. Lundin helped us to see that boosting morale can be done in such a fun loving and remarkable manner. Moving on to Gung Ho. Getting better....means doing all!
Janelle Franco
Sep 03, 2017 rated it it was ok
Good ideology, horribly written.
This was required reading for a staff meeting at work, but I'm glad I read it and found it to be mostly enjoyable. It was quick and easy reading with a good message. There was also a fictional storyline presenting the lessons which made it more interesting and engaging. I enjoyed the story aspect and thought it was kind of cute. All in all, the book was a little cheesy and I don't think it will change my life, but it was worth the little bit of time it took me to read. I'd love to see these idea ...more
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
Jeffrey Jose
Oct 21, 2012 rated it liked it
Another business parable/fable book in an easy to digest format. The book doesnt convey anything earth-shattering, takes a simple enough story and tries to get across a simple concept - What would it take a dull, inefficient team in a fictional company back up running.

The story involves our main character Mary Jane Ramirez, who has gone through a fair share of troubles with her personal life, with her husband dying all of a sudden from a disease, given responsibility of "third floor" of the comp
Academic Eric
These basic principles of high performance and high morale took on new life in this story based upon the Pike Place Fish Market. Crafted into a fictional story by people who were not directly involved in creating that World Famous fish market, the authors still had some helpful principles to share:

Choose Your Attitude,
Make Their Day,
Be Present

It seemed a little too simple and easy though - a little too gimmicky. I've been involved in a workplace that had the video and didn't really integrat
Brendan Miller
Jun 07, 2015 rated it did not like it
Started fair, mildly believable, even. Around half-way through the book becomes a cheesy super-dramatic 80's sitcom learning-lesson. The author(s) treat you like a child the entire way.

Here's an actual excerpt:
"I was living a busy life... trying to make ends meet and working both sides against the middle. One day my daughter asked me to go to the park. I told her it was a wonderful idea but I had a lot to do at that moment. I said she should wait until later, after I had a chance to catch up.. D
Deborah Pickstone
Dec 15, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Sounds wonderful! The film they made was also....well, if every workplace was like this, how happy we would all be! It's just......

It wouldn't work. I mean it really wouldn't work. I tried applying it to my workplace and as far as I can see everyone thinks that theoretically this is great long as it doesn't involve them. Making the effort, that is. Accommodating the people they work with that they don't like. Doing the tasks no-one relishes. Having fun. At work.

It goes against the grai
Apr 23, 2008 rated it did not like it
The writers of this book are responsible for the documentary about Seattle's world famous Pike Place fish market, whose employees' enthusiasm and playfulness have become a model for businessess of all types and also schools. Since it's not practical for the small family run business I work for to rent the film for $500, I decided to read this slim inexpensive book instead. The Fish philosophy revolves around four key ideas: Choose the attitude you go to work with each day, be playful, make the c ...more
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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.” 7 likes
“There is always a choice about the way you do your work, even if there is not a choice about the work itself.” 2 likes
More quotes…