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First, Break All the Rules: What the World's Greatest Managers Do Differently

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  35,316 ratings  ·  655 reviews
Gallup presents the remarkable findings of its revolutionary study of more than 80,000 managers in First, Break All the Rules, revealing what the world’s greatest managers do differently. With vital performance and career lessons and ideas for how to apply them, it is a must-read for managers at every level.
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published May 5th 1999 by Gallup Press (first published May 5th 1998)
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 ·  35,316 ratings  ·  655 reviews

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Natalia Luneva
Oct 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
The best managers are those that build a work environment where the employees answer positively to these 12 Questions:

1. Do I know what is expected of me at work?
2. Do I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right?
3. At work, do I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day?
4. In the last seven days, have I received recognition or praise for doing good work?
5. Does my supervisor, or someone at work, seem to care about me as a person?
6. Is there someone at work who encoura
Feb 27, 2008 rated it really liked it
"People don't leave jobs or companies - they leave managers."
Aug 13, 2008 rated it really liked it
Yesterday, I had a conversation with my best friend. she told me that her new principal (she's a 5th grade teacher) enrolled her in a number of training sessions. I immediately asked, "Why would she do that? She doesn't even know you yet!" My friend was slightly shocked, I think, because we have been conditioned to believe, as employees, that investment in YOU means that someone cares or thinks you're pretty hot stuff. After reading the first third of FBATR, I feel as though managers do too much ...more
Feb 04, 2008 rated it did not like it
A perfectly good tree died for this book.

Bob Selden
Aug 04, 2008 rated it liked it
Other than present the findings of the research studies by the Gallop organisation, I’m not sure what aim the authors had for “First break all the rules”. The title sounds like a “how to” book, yet the introduction does not suggest this.

Chapter one sets out the research results, Chapter two debates what the authors term “conventional wisdom”. The remaining chapters, based on the “4 keys” to successful management, do indeed become a “how to”.

Chapter one is excellent. The 12 questions developed
Aug 04, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: managers
Shelves: self-improvement
This book had some sound advice as it focused on the four key principles all great managers know and practice: 1) select for talent, 2) define the right outcomes, 3) focus on strengths, and 4) encourage employees to find the right fit. It's worth a read, but I feel like I have to have a degree in psychology (or psychiatry for that matter) to be a great manager. Nonetheless, time will tell!
Ali Sattari
Jul 01, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: leadership
I couldn't shake off the sense of cliché all over the book.
Apr 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I've just finished reading Marcus Buckingham's book First, Break All the Rules: What the World's Greatest Managers Do Differently recently, and enjoyed it immensely.

I generally like books that go against conventional wisdom, and this book is quite different than the other management books I've read in the years.

For example, the "break all the rules" in the title were touched upon at the introduction section, and I quote directly from the book:

"The greatest managers in the world do not have mu
Jan 30, 2012 added it
Some notes:

People don't change.

Value talent, not experience.

Value outcome, not steps.

Cast people for fit, not the rung on the ladder.

Focus on strengths, not weaknesses.

Happiness at work:
1. Do I know what is expected of me at work?
2. Do I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right?
3. At work, do I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day?
4. In the past seven days, have I received recognition or praise for good work?
5. Does my supervisor, or someone at work, seem to
Andrew Bihl
Dec 10, 2009 rated it did not like it
Maybe I'm already a "great manager" or maybe they were just trying to make me think so, but it seems to me that all of the recommendations in this book are pretty obvious...all employees are different and require different inspiration, focus on your best performers, communicate often and clearly.

Definitely not groundbreaking or even informative from my perspective.
Nov 11, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: business
Gallup interviewed 8000 people. However, only about a dozen people were actually cited in the text. There really wasn't much that this book did for me. There was no "A-ha" moment. The author didn't even explain what these rules are that we are supposed to be breaking. Just disappointing.
Aug 17, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone who has a job
Recommended to Ashley by: volenti
I'm not a manager, but this book felt especially relevant to me since my company just did an employee survey based on the 12 questions Gallup formulated through this study. It was interesting to compare my thoughts on the survey without knowing anything about it, to learning all the mechanics and data of 'why' behind it all.

I've also been thinking about my next steps at my current company, and this provided some guidance on really taking time to figure out what I'm good, what I enjoy, and not j
May 27, 2011 rated it liked it
As another research-based business book, this one presented a great point-of-view on managing people. While it does seem that Buckingham departed from his research slightly from time to time, the message still rings true. I would recommend that all managers consider the idea that people are all different, and therefore should be managed differently, not the same.

While I like the main message of this book, I will say that the delivery was somewhat lacking. The content was good, but it just isn't
Oct 27, 2010 rated it it was ok
This book greatly annoyed me. It poses as giving the secrets to managers to motivate employees into being the best. Very little gave me any confidence it could possibly work.

We have to trust the authors the "great" managers really are since very little information is provided about them to independently judge.

I'd like to see experimental data where the methods described indicate strong evidence they work. Otherwise, there could be any number of other factors influencing why employees improved.
Michael Thelin
Jun 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed it's scientific approach, and it's hands on explanations and tips.

As a fairly junior manager and leader, the book has made me retrace my steps a bit, especially on what my priorities should be, and as part of that, how I evaluate myself. It's also lead me to put effort into reflecting how I'm coloured by what the author describes as 'conventional wisdom about management', which while not necessary is always wrong, is worth questioning. Such things are treating everyone equally,
Viet Hung
Apr 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone who does people development (developing him/herself as well as others)
The findings in this book would surprise many of us, who do self-development or others-development everyday. It would give you an effective framework in recruiting the right ones, setting the right goals, focusing on the strengths, and assigning the right roles to the subordinates. That'll help to bring the best out of them. What would surprise you is that you'll find many myths that you used to think it is right, but it is not from the findings of Gallup.
Jerry Nechal
Oct 27, 2011 rated it it was ok
I read this a few years back. Overall I did not find this book and its approaches to management all that impressive. I have also heard Buckingham speak at a conference. He strikes me as someone who has not managed a lot but has a lot advice on how to do it.
Nov 09, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business
All about managing people.

It would seem that the way to be a successful manager is to find successful people to manage :-)
Cathy Allen
Cathy Allen A few years back, in a fit of misguided patriotism, I took a J.O.B. in a government agency with a mission to help people who would otherwise struggle to get by. Two weeks in, I realized I was reporting to a supervisor who knew nothing about being a supervisor. Worse, one of her colleagues decided to "help" by inserting himself into everything our unit did. I had two bosses, and I had no idea how to make either of them happy.

Then one day, I spotted this book on Boss #2's shelf. I'd al
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: top-favorites
I've approached this book from different points of view and, by extension, different needs:

1. as a program manager of a management learning program (2004 - 2007):
to find out if the book is suitable as a thought-provoking gift to a group of new managers who have
just completed their management development program.

2. as a management consultant (2007 - 2011):
to learn the words and pictures used to describe talent, superstar performers, expectations and the
different behaviors.

3. as a manager (
Dhiraj Sharma
Feb 12, 2013 rated it liked it
This book was recommended to me by one of my colleagues. I usually don't read management or self help books as I find them boring but this one read like a novel and I could relate to several instances and situations which I face everyday in corporate world.

Probably the best management book written so far. Its based on market research conducted by Gallup over a span of many years.

The results are outstanding and help to break many conventional ground rules followed by Management across many comp
Ed Gibney
Oct 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: influences, business
This was the book that launched Gallup's HR consulting practice. Taking their organizational core competencies of surveys and data analysis into the workplace yielded a magnificent business book that for once wasn't personality or anecdote driven. Gallup surveyed millions of workers, defined success for a business unit based on quantifiable outcomes, and then conducted qualitative interviews to follow up on what the best managers were doing differently. Understanding the results will make you a ...more
Drew Flynn
Jun 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: managing
It's more of a 4.5 than 5. This book wasn't one of my favs per se, but I did learn a lot from it and there were many truths that I took for granted that it proved wrong in business management. Later sets up a game plan for being an effective manager, something that I'm sure has been used thousands of time since the books conception and maybe one day will be used by me.
Mark Roossinck
Jul 13, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: business
An interesting book, confronting the old-school method of management for a model more productive. This book did not hold my attention, mainly because I wasn't as interested in some of the other topics I have read. This was on my professional to be read lists. It was helpful in many ways, grabbing various seeds of thought to add to my "productivity hopper."
Jul 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Great book to teach about management and coaching. Also a great read for anyone looking to empower their own career. I feel you don't need to be in management or interested in being a manger to get value from this book.
Jun 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Buckingham and Coffman believe that all of the conventional rules for how leaders ought to manage are wrong. If we are going to learn to manage well, we need to break those rules.

About a year ago one of our pastors (Zach) introduced me and then our leadership team to Strengths Finders. It has been an encouragement to watch our team grow in our understanding of our own strengths and our co-workers strengths.

Zach tipped me off to this book as well and I’m so glad he did. It’s a great book. Gallup
Mar 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audio-books, business
Playbook on how to be a great people manager (what questions to ask, what to focus on, what to look for, etc). What really makes this book stand out is the depth of the research and the specific examples of how to match talents to roles (and the consequences of not doing so). I really did NOT enjoy the flashy management consulting writing (I hate the title...), but the content and clarity made it well worth it. Great for unlearning what you think a manager should do and better understanding your ...more
Aug 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: business, own
First, Break All the Rules by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman is the culmination of the lessons in management identified in 80,000 interviews at 400 companies. The book introduces the importance of good management, by providing evidence that a manager, rather than a company’s policies, procedure, and culture, has the biggest impact on the productivity and retention of talented employees and that employees are a company’s most valuable asset. It then lays out 12 questions which act as a survey ...more
Sep 08, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't finish the book. Lot of content is on the results of the Gallup research, such as how top performers answer differently on employee surveys versus average performers (such as knowing the purpose of their work and having the resources to do their work). Companies that need to rely on surveys do so because management is already disconnected from the employees. Another problem with the book is that it didn't make sense how the authors defined talent. There was an example of a person with t ...more
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Application of principles 1 2 Sep 05, 2019 12:47PM  
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In a world where efficiency and competency rule the workplace, where do personal strengths fit in?

It's a complex question, one that intrigued Cambridge-educated Marcus Buckingham so greatly, he set out to answer it by challenging years of social theory and utilizing his nearly two decades of research experience as a Sr. Researcher at Gallup Organization to break through the preconceptions about a

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