Monday, April 18, 2011

The Shark and the Goldfish: Positive ways to thrive during waves of change

The Shark and the Goldfish: Positive ways to thrive during waves of change
By Jon Gordon

Book review by Richard L. Weaver II, Ph.D.

Oh no, not another business-related parable!  The author writes “A Confession” on page ix: “I recognize the fact that in real life goldfish cannot survive in the ocean’s saltwater—and that fish really can’t talk, either. [He inserts a smiley emoticon here!] This is an imaginary story meant to convey an important message.  After all,” Gordon writes, “Mickey Mouse, Shrek, Nemo, and Superman are invented characters as well.”  I’m very pleased he pointed this out for like my belief in Santa Clause and the Easter bunny, I had always believed that Mickey Mouse, Shrek, Nemo, and Superman were real!  Darn him!!

There are 78 pages in this little ( 5" x 7") book, and close to 30 of them are devoted to illustrations, thus, this is a book of just about 50 pages.  If you have a couple of hours to spare, this is a “fun” book to read, and you’ll still have time left over for other things.

The four principles for thriving during change include: 1) Embrace the wave of change, 2) ride the wave of change, 3) stay positive during change, and 4) thrive because of change.  At the end of the book, Gorden challenges readers in each category by asking questions that he labels, “Food for Thought,” designed as “Individual/Small Group/Team Discussion Questions.”

Although the book is well-written, the story “cute,” and the principles simple, I’m not certain that Gordon offers enough that is new, challenging, or innovative that can’t be found in more substantive books that are well-researched, evidence-based, and experience-proven.

Don Snyder, "The Idea Guy," from Columbus, Ohio, writes in his review of the book at  “Phenomenal book!  I'm a little hesitant of the "business fable" books (never really understood the hullabaloo regarding "Who Moved My Cheese") but The Shark and The Goldfish is on my personal list of favorite books of the year. There's nothing outrageously original about the message, but isn't that true of all universal messages? The story was engaging and the important themes weren't lost in the fable. Buy copies of this book for your entire team -- they should sell them in groups (Groupers?) so you can gift them to your entire "school" of Goldfish friends!”

Monty Rainey, from New Braunfels, Texas, ends his review at, with these two paragraphs: “I'm looking forward to introducing this story at my next meeting. There are some great training tools here on positive ways to not only face change (in an ever changing world) but how to come out on top of change and make that change work to your benefit.

“If you're looking for a quick and easy read that will change focus and outlook, this is it. I have several employees who all but refuse to read. This one can easily be digested in about an hour, so it perfect for non-readers to get them on the right track and create a positive change for them.”

I think it is a great book for non-readers.

This book is available at The Shark and the Goldfish: Positive ways to thrive during waves of change

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