Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Booknote: It's Called Work for a Reason!

This is the review as I wrote it for my GoodReads profile. I really think it is a book that more librarians should read because it does address things we see in our libraries. Just because it is a "business" book, it does not mean it does not have lessons for us--both for individuals and for our libraries. I did not give the 4 out of 5 stars out of any particular dislike. Four stars means I really liked it, which I did. However, five stars means the book is amazing, according to the GR scale, and as much as I liked it, it's not amazing for the reason that a lot of  what Mr. Winget writes is common sense; as I like to say, it is not rocket science. He just expresses it in his unique style, and by the way, if you read it, notice the parts on the importance of finding your uniqueness when it comes to your work. Overall, I definitely recommend it.

It's Called Work for a Reason!: Your Success Is Your Own Damn FaultIt's Called Work for a Reason!: Your Success Is Your Own Damn Fault by Larry Winget

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I just finished it, and I know there are parts I may want to read again. There were a few things I could identify with personally. There were also a lot of coworkers that I identified right away as the lazy bums they are that, if they worked for Larry, would have been long gone by now. A lot of this book is common sense, or at least readers may think it is common sense until they start reading. I say the readers may think it is common sense because if everybody actually embraced at least some of the ideas Mr. Winget is presenting the workplace would be a much better place-- we would have better customer service; we would have workplaces where workers put forth their best work; we would have bosses that would not micromanage and would know to get out of the way so those of us who actually work can get on with work.

Mr. Winget has a very blunt and straight style. To some it may seem like yelling on the page, but tell it like it is he does. There is no reason to accept poor customer service. There is no real reason to tolerate shoddy work in the workplace. The fact is these things would go away if more people would stop tolerating them. It's like I say: you support what you tolerate. Now, Winget does not say you have to be rude in order to demand change, but you do have to stand up and demand change--change in yourself and change in others. If you tolerate the mediocrity, you are just supporting it, and in the end, you would be as bad as those mediocre people. It's a pretty simple idea. Another simple idea: you should do the work you get paid for. It's a simple concept. You take the job, and you agree to do it for the pay the boss agrees to give you. Anything else--liking your coworkers, whether the environment is pleasant, so on-- is extra. Do your job. Don't like it, leave, but it does help if you do like the job.

Winget covers leadership and management, the workplace, advice for workers and for bosses, how sell better (and it is not just selling a product. You sell yourself every day), and customer service. Some of his stories will make you smile, and others will make you cringe. I do think that readers, whether they agree or disagree, whether they like his somewhat abrasive style or not, will gain something from this book. The sad thing is that I know many managers and workers will not read this book. I am not a big reader of "business" or "self-help" books, but this is definitely one to read and to reread when you need a little more inspiration. In some cases, you may want to grab the book and smack a certain someone over the head with it, then tell him to read it.

On an additional note, even though Mr. Winget's work is focused mostly on the business world, and a big part of it deals with sales (probably because Mr. Winget does have ample sales experience), there are lessons here for librarians and librarianship. True, we do not exist to generate a profit, but we still deal with things like customer service, our reputations and work ethic, and for those of us in the trenches, we do have to deal with the occasional less than ideal boss or coworker. And in times when libraries are suffering cutbacks, we need more than ever to be selling our products if we are to prove our value and survive. That is not just the business world. That is something we can learn and act upon as well. Overall, this is a book I would like to place in more people's hands, and it is a book I think will provide benefit to librarians who read it, discuss it, then act on it.

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