We have read well over 500 books related to happiness at work. Here are the ones that have inspired us the most. Happy reading!
Turn The Ship Around by David Marquet
The inspiring story of a nuclear submarine captain who turned his ship around from worst to first by giving his people more trust and freedom. David shared his story at our 2013 conference.
Joy Inc by Richard Sheridan
Describes how Menlo Innovations in Ann Arbor, Michigan became one of the happiest IT companies you can imagine. Especially interesting for anyone in tech or anyone working with agile processes. Our review.
Everybody Matters by Bob Chapman
What if you ran your organization based on actually, genuinely caring for every single person in it? How would that inform strategy and leadership and how would it affect employees and the bottom line? Bob Chapman’s leadership at Barry Wehmiller shows what that looks like and it is amazing. Our review.
Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh
The incredible story of Zappos – a workplace so cool that they pay people to quit. Describes how to create a great customer service culture that makes both employees and customers happy. Our review.
The No Asshole Rule by Bob Sutton.
A great book with a great point: That assholes have no place in a modern workplace – especially in management. Our review.
The Customer Comes Second by Hal Rosenbluth
One of the most inspiring business books we’ve ever read. The subtitle explains the message: “Put your people first and watch them kick butt.” Our review.
Nuts! by Kevin Freiberg and Jackie Freiberg
The story of how Southwest Airlines became so happy and successful. Our review.
The Seven-Day Weekend by Ricardo Semler
The story of Semco in Sao Paulo – the company where employees set their own salaries and working hours and choose their own boss. Radical! Our review.
Happiness: Lessons From a New Science by Richard Layard
An economist looks at the happiness research and concludes that we should no longer make economic growth the main political goal – we should focus on growth in a nation’s happiness instead. Our review.
Let My People Go Surfing by Yvon Chouinard
The incredibly inspiring story of how Chouinard started Patagonia – a company that is devoted entirely to improving the environment.
Punished by Rewards by Alfie Kohn
A very heavily researched book that shows that performance rewards end up hurting people and leading to lower performance.
No Contest by Alfie Kohn
Competition is bad. It does not motivate us long term, brings out the worst in us and leads to lower performance both in education and in business. We should stop using competition to motivate people. Our review.
Non Zero by Robert Wright
The world is becoming better and better. It pays to be nice. Those who cooperate are more efficient than those who compete. This book challenges many of our preconceived ideas, all backed up by science. It’s also a great read. Our review.
Freedom and Accountability at Work by Peter Koestenbaum and Peter Block
Applies the lessons from existential philosophy to the workplace and shows that each of us are responsible for our own work lives. Our review.
The Southwest Airlines Way by Jody Hoffer-Gittel
A book about an airline that has focused on creating great relationships between employees and managers and why this gives them a competitive advantage. A must-read book!
The Progress Principle by Teresa Amabile and Steve Kramer
Shows that the most important factor that makes us happy at work is progress in meaningful work. Fascinating. Another must-read!