High Five!: The Magic of Working Together
by Ken Blanchard & Sheldon Bowles, William Morrow Publishers. 200 Pages, $20.00 Hardcover, December 2000, ISBN 0688170366
About three months ago, I was interviewed by The Industry Standard about the success of fable-based business books like Who Moved My Cheese? The attitude of the interviewer was that the books are lightweight fluff (not unlike today's pop music) that simply proves that the world is indeed going to hell-in-a-handbasket. I rather vehemently disagreed with the interviewer saying that these books can change the business world more quickly and thoroughly than a book written by the most distinguished professor. Think about it. We learned many of our most valuable moral lessons via Mother Goose, and we all know the lyrics to at least one Beatles song. Pop culture is pop culture, because it is popular. Books like Cheese reach the greatest number of people at various levels of an organization, because they are readable and engaging, and should not be disregarded because of their popularity.
The originator of the fable-based business book is Ken Blanchard, whose One Minute Manager (cowritten by the author of Who Moved My Cheese) jumpstarted the trend. Blanchard continues to couch his business advice within compelling fables in Gung Ho! and Raving Fans, written with Sheldon Bowles. Now, he and Bowles offers a third book in this trilogy, High Five!.
The essence of High Five is captured in one catch phrase: None of us is as smart as all of us. I love simple ways of looking at complex ideas. This book is the story of a guy who is laid off from his job because he is a lone wolf and not a team player. He takes over his fifth grade son's hockey team, and finds a "guru" in a retired teacher who was the winningest girls basketball coach in the state. Ultimately, he learns how to coach his team and to become a better team player. Again, I think the authors have created a book that can explain a rather abstract concept, which will appeal for a very broad base of readers.
About Dylan Schleicher
Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.