Vital Friends: The People You Can't Afford to Live Withoutby Tom Rath
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 about the impact of friendships. Along with several leading researchers, Rath pored
What’s the quickest way to ruin a friendship? Do great friendships have anything in common? Are 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 about the impact of friendships. Along with several leading researchers, Rath pored through the literature, conducted several experiments, and analyzed more than 8 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 management, marriage, 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 work and 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 coworkers, family, friends, and significant other in a whole new light.
The Washington Post
“Friendships are good for business. Companies are coming to discover that, yet are at a loss at what to do about it. ... what Gallup has uncovered about best friends stands out as novel.”
“Let friendship ring. It might look like idle chatter, but when employees find friends at work, they feel connected to their jobs. Having a best friend at work is a strong predictor for being a happy and productive employee.”
- Simon & Schuster Audio
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Read an Excerpt
What Roles do Your Friends Play?The studies that VITAL FRIENDS is based on show that people have significantly better friendships if they can easily describe what each friend contributes to the relationship. To make that possible, Gallup built an assessment to help you determine the roles friends play and to give both participants the language to talk about those roles and how to make them better. Each book and galley has a unique code that allows readers to take the assessment that identifies what role a friend plays in your life. Here's a look at the top eight roles that research uncovered:
- BUILDER Builders are friends who motivate you, invest in your development, and truly want you to succeed -- even if it means they'll go out on a limb for you. These friends help you see your strengths and advise you on how best to use them. They are generous with their time and encourage you to accomplish more. They'll never compete with you and will always be standing at the finish line to cheer you on.
- CHAMPION Champions stand up for you and your beliefs and they praise you to everyone else they know. They are the friends who "have your back" and will advocate for you when you're not around to defend yourself. Champions are your strongest supporters who thrive on your accomplishments and happiness.
- COLLABORATOR Collaborators are friends with similar interests, those who share your passion for sports, hobbies, religion, work, politics, food, movies, music, or books. Shared interests are what often make Collaborators lifelong friends and those with whom you are most likely to spend your time.
- COMPANION Companions are always there for you, whatever the circumstances. You share a bound that is virtually unbreakable and when something big happens in your life, good or bad, this is the person you call first. These friends are always giving you meaningful gifts and they will sacrifice for your benefit.
- CONNECTOR Connectors are the bridge builders who help you get what you want. These friends get to know you and then instantly work to connect you with others who will share your interests or goals. They extend your network dramatically and give you access to new resources. If you need a job, a doctor, a friend, or a date, call a Connector.
- ENERGIZER Energizers are fun friends who are always there to boost your spirits and create more positive moments in your life. They pick you up when you're down and can turn a good day into an even better one. Energizers are those to call on when you need a laugh, a smile, or a bit of relaxation in your day.
- MIND OPENER Mind Openers are the friends who stretch your viewpoint, introduce you to new ideas, opportunities, cultures, and people. They help you to expand your vision and create positive change in your life. These are the friends who challenge conventional wisdom and come up with creative solutions to whatever problems or obstacles you face. They are stimulating and motivating and allow you to express opinions that you might be uncomfortable articulating to others.
- NAVIGATOR Navigators are friends who give advice and direction. You seek them out when you need guidance and counsel -- they're great at talking through your options. Navigators are best at hearing your dreams and goals and then helping you find the path to achieve them.
Having the right expectation of your friends is everything, writes Tom Rath in VITAL FRIENDS. If your expectations of a friend are in line with what they contribute to your friendship, the relationship is poised to thrive and make both of you better off in the process.
Adapted from VITAL FRIENDS: The People You Can't Afford to Live Without, by Tom Rath, publication August, 2006, The Gallup Press.
Meet the Author
Tom Rath is coauthor of the #1 New York Times and #1 BusinessWeek bestseller, How Full Is Your Bucket? With more than 500,000 copies in print within its first year of publication, his book has spent 15 months on the domestic bestseller list. Now available in more than 10 languages, Rath’s book has also been an international bestseller.
After 12 years with The Gallup Organization, Rath now leads Gallup’s Workplace Research and Leadership Consulting worldwide. He also serves on the board of VHL.org, an organization dedicated to cancer research and patient support.
Rath earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Michigan. He is currently pursuing graduate degrees at Johns Hopkins University and the University of Pennsylvania. He lives in Washington, D.C.
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