Vital Friends: The People You Can't Afford to Live Without (Anglais) Relié – 1 août 2006
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What’s the quickest way to ruin a friendship? Can bosses actually learn something from marriages? Are very close friendships in the workplace such a bad thing?
These are just a few of the questions that #1 New York Times bestselling author Tom Rath asked when he embarked on a massive study of friendships. Along with several leading researchers, Rath pored through the literature, conducted several experiments, and analyzed more than 5 million interviews from The Gallup Organization’s worldwide database.
His team’s discoveries produced Vital Friends, a book that challenges long-held assumptions people have about their relationships. And the team’s landmark discovery — that people who have a “best friend at work” are seven times as likely to be engaged in their job — is sure to rattle the structure of organizations around the world.
Drawing on research and case studies from topics as diverse as marriage, management, and architecture, Vital Friends reveals what’s common to all truly essential friendships: a regular focus on what each person is contributing to the friendship — rather than the all-too-common approach of expecting one person to be everything.
The book includes a unique ID code that provides access to the Vital Friends Assessment and website. This groundbreaking test reveals which friends play each of the eight vital friendship roles in your life.
Tom Rath’s fast-paced and inviting storytelling takes a mountain of important research and makes it remarkably accessible and applicable. By the time you finish reading Vital Friends, you’ll see your family, friends, coworkers, and significant other in a whole new light.
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Selon Rath, nous sous-estimons dans de nombreux domaines - santé, motivation au travail etc. - l'importance d'avoir des amis.
Exemple de conséquence concrète, pour un employeur : pour développer l'attachement des salariés à l'entreprise, il faut en priorité renforcer l'attachement des salariés entre eux !
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This book continues on in Gallup's use of theory that asks us all to not expect people to be what they are not, and tries to help people be who they were created to be.
If your friend is an encourager, let them encourage, but they might not be the strongest mentor that you will have in your life. Do not put your friends into roles they are not capable of fulfilling - have lots of friends - Rath makes all these good points and more in his book, "Vital Friends."
An easy read, Vital Friends explores why relationships are important to success in life, career, family and more. This book is worth reading - another good effort from the folks at Gallup, and Tom Rath.
* One is that having friends at work is very beneficial to the employer. With a best friend at work, you are much more likely to be productive. Without a best friend at work, there's only a 1 in 12 chance you'll feel engaged! With three good friends at work you are 96% more likely to be extremely satisfied with your life. (All the numbers are from a Gallup poll.)
* The second point he makes is that you can't expect all your friends to be all things to you. He says different friends fullfill different needs and describes the different types of friends:
+ Motivators and coaches
+ They push you
+ They know our strengths
+ They provide moral support
+ Stand up for you
+ Sing your praises
+ "Thrive on your accomplishments and happiness"
+ Share similar interests, ambitions and passions
+ Do a lot with you
+ Always there for you
+ Make sacrifices for you
+ First person you call
+ Always introduce you to others
+ They seem to "know everybody"
+ Your "fun friends"
+ Make good days, great
+ People you call to have a good time or to relax with
o Mind Openers
+ Ask good questions
+ People you share ideas and express yourself outloud with
+ Give advise
+ Steer you
+ Share dreams and goals
Interestingly, he says that in friendships we don't play the same role to each other. So you might be a mind opener to your friend and your friend might be a champion for you.
This book was an easy and interesting read. You can easily read it in a day. (I read it on a two hour plane ride.) However, I would have liked a lot more detail and depth.
He starts the book by stating that so much of the focus on personal and professional success is on self-improvement. But is that really the key? His answer is, "The energy between two people is what creates great marriages, families, teams, and organizations." In fact, his first chapter is entitled, "Who Expects You to be Somebody?" where he wisely observes that it is almost always the influence of meaningful people in our lives that drives us to achievement.
The second chapter, "The Energy Between," discusses how, "Focusing on the individual is too narrow -- and focusing on the entire group is too broad. The real energy occurs in each connection between two people, which can bring about exponential returns." His next chapter, "Better than Prozac?" cites some interesting research, including a Duke University study showing people with less than four close friends had more than double the risk of heart disease.
The most helpful concept he develops in the book is that of "the rounding error" in chapter 5. It is easy, he says, to expect a friend to be "well rounded"-- in other words, to be good at everything: inspiring us, being a companion to us, giving us an energy boost, expanding our horizions, and a dozen other different things. This often subconscious expectation is both unrealistic (no one person can meet all our relationship needs) and a potential relationship killer, both in friendships and in romance and marriage.
In a similar vein, he warns us of expecting friendships to be "reciprocal." In other words, I may be an energizer to my friend, but he may be a mind opener for me. Expecting to receive the same of what I give to a friend again is both unrealistic and a potential relationship killer. I surmise that is why the Duke health research found that it takes at least four close friends-- because different people will speak different things into your life, and you need different kinds of friends to have well-balanced friend "nutrition" for your soul, just as you need different foods from different groups to give your body what it needs.
The second part of the book goes into more detail about the vital importance of friends at work, citing both anecdotes and research. The final part of the book more fully develops his system of eight vital friendship roles:
He discusses how these roles differ and how to develop these roles both in your life and in the lives of your friends. The book also gives you an access code to a website where you can take a survey to help classify your own friends as to the roles they play in your life.
I realized the importance of my friends before I picked up this book. But after reading Vital Friends, I had more appreciation of my friends, new insights into the nature of our friendships, and greater skills & determination to develop our friendships further.