Quinn's Reviews > The Three Signs of a Miserable Job: A Fable for Managers

The Three Signs of a Miserable Job by Patrick Lencioni
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it was ok
bookshelves: books-to-take-notes-on

2.5 / 5

The premise of the book is that it follows the life of a recently retired CEO as he develops a theory on what makes a job miserable. This doesn't mean low pay, but instead means a job that is extremely unsatisfying. According to the author, the three main signs of a miserable job are:

1) Anonymity
This is when those around you, and especially your manager, do not know you as a person.
2) Irrelevance
This is when it is unclear who your job affects, be it a customer, another employee, or your manager.
3) Immeasurability
This is when it is not possible to rate your own performance, good, bad, or otherwise.


- The work makes reasonable points about how to be a better manager, and how to seek out meaningful work (or, failing that, how to create it for yourself)
- Presents said points in a digestible way (especially in the last quarter of the book)
- Is short, clocking in at about 4.5 hours

- Despite the short run time, the same points could be made even more succinctly. I still hold that you could listen to the last 45 minutes of the book and still get virtually the same experience
- The dialogue feels wooden and unrealistic
- The chapters on the audiobook make no sense, and are few and far between
- The author shoehorns in god at the 90% mark, and mentions how "god made humans this way." This felt really out of place, and is really only mentioned two or three times in the last 10% of the book.
- There are one ore two especially cringe-worthy bits of writing in the book, like when the MC jokes about being diagnosed with schizophrenia as an explanation for his actions. Classy.

In short, the excessive run time for the content presented kept this from rising to even a 3 for me. If the message wasn't more applicable, I would have probably given a lower score still. Ultimately, I think you are better off reading some of the summaries / reviews on Goodreads. You'll get almost all the content without the clunky dialogue or the need to spend hours listening.
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Reading Progress

July 11, 2018 – Started Reading
July 11, 2018 – Shelved
July 11, 2018 – Shelved as: books-to-take-notes-on
July 11, 2018 –
15.0% "It's not like I am frustrated at my job or anything... /s"
July 12, 2018 –
66.0% "Gripes so far: the chapters of the audio-book make no sense. It was kinda gross when the narrator tried to emulate a Hispanic accent. It was cringe-worthy when the MC joked about having schizophrenia. The dialogue feels wooden and forced, designed to hammer home the author's points rather than be anything resembling an actual conversation.

With that said, I think there is something to the author's underlying theory."
July 13, 2018 –
95.0% "Opinion: you could listen to the last 45 minutes of this audiobook and still get the author's main points. I was also a little surprised when the author mentioned god at around the 90% mark; it was something to the effect of "god made humans this way." This struck me as odd, especially given god didn't appear anywhere else in the book.

I think the author makes reasonable points, but there is a lot of padding, too."
July 14, 2018 – Finished Reading

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