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The BusinessWeek Best-Seller List

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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