Book Review: Fish!

Choose your Attitude, Play, Make their Day and Be Present.

Fish! (A Remarkable Way to Boost Morale and Improve Results) is a short parable which teaches the reader exactly what it says that is how to be productive and enjoy work regardless how boring the work may be. Fish! has four principles, which are simple, yet very crucial ones which when used will result a productive and fun work atmosphere. 

The book is about a middle aged supervisor named Mary Jane who works for a company called First Guarantee. A single parent with two kids, she accepts her new job as the supervisor for the department in the third floor although reluctantly. The third floor is called a ‘toxic dump’ because of their attitude towards work. Their work is crucial yet goes unnoticed and very boring which is the main reason behind their attitude. Nobody in the company likes to deal with these ‘zombies’. Mary Jane finds herself trapped with no solution to improve their productivity and attitude till she accidentally walks across Pike Place Fish Market.

The Pike Place Fish Market, titled ‘world famous’ is a fish market which is abuzz 24×7. Mary Jane finds It to be completely opposite to her toxic dump, where workers have fun, and are happy to work as well. It is not only till she meets a fishmonger named Lonnie that she finds out the secret to their success.

And thus, Fish! points out the four secrets for better productivity.
1. Choose your Attitude.
2. Play.
3. Make their Day and
4. Be Present.

The later part of the book deals with how Mary Jane advices her ‘zombies’ to apply these principles. The book succeeds in its fun and simple plot but can these principles be applied in anywhere at all? Yes, there are organizations applying these principles but in my opinion these principles would be shirked away even by the top management in no time. The art of these principles depends on the type of organisations and the type of management style. If it were a short organisation like a Fish Market, it would be easy and yes, fun to apply these principles but the question arises when it comes to MNC’s. And the suggestions on how to apply these principles are just pointed out and not explained. Although not a problem, but some suggestions could have been explained more to see their practicality.

The later part of the book reminded me of my own college HRM lectures where we are given case studies and asked to give our remedies and suggestions. I’m disappointed that they didn’t at all recommend this book during college. The book gives many simple yet useful ideas for improving productivity and morale. And Pike Place sets a good example for a fun, productive, yet serious work environment. After nearing bankruptcy, they had labelled themselves ‘world famous’ and improved. This simple attitude made them highly successful and really- or nearly- world famous. They are also known for throwing the fish after the customer has ordered them for wrapping. The customers get in the process by sometimes catching their fish as well. After a short research, Pike Place indeed seems exactly the writers had written about in Fish! They choose their attitude to be happy and productive, play around, make their customer’s day and concentrate only on the customers during their ‘moments of truth.’

The Fish! secrets may help or may not help organisations. It all depends on the people at the company. I only have four months of professional work experience, so I can’t clearly say where it’s useful and where it isn’t. Although, my workplace was fun, with fun employees right till the end. Maybe I will blog about these principles later on when I get more work experience to make this review more accurate and complete.

– The Moonshaker

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