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Work, for the most part, isn't fun. After all, when Adam got kicked out of the Garden of Eden and ordered to "till the ground," it was meant as a punishment. But the authors of Fish! Tales, this month's No. 8 hardback, say drudgery isn't inevitable. Key to what they call the "Fish! Philosophy" is the idea that on-the-job play increases workforce commitment and creativity.

The book describes several rejuvenated workplaces, many of them at high-stress, modest-pay companies. In each instance, unconventional behavior is celebrated: A Sprint manager impersonates Elvis to perk up his customer-service agents, for instance, or a nurse's assistant plays his clarinet to a hospital patient. In the end, everyone feels better and is more productive. Fish! Tales also suggests adopting a positive attitude and being kind.

Is that all it takes to improve work? Put it this way: Don't expect your office to turn into the Garden of Eden.

By Hardy Green


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