Books to change the way we approach our work in healthcare and pharma communications

In my drive to work differently, I’m always looking for fresh takes on routes to success.  I’ve found three gems that have given me plenty to think about and act on in my everyday working life. Here’s the second:

It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work – Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson

For me and almost everyone I know, “crazy at work” seems to have become the new normal. Our workday is sliced into tiny, fleeting work moments by an onslaught of distractions, while we’re unhealthily obsessed with growth at all costs.

A lot has been written about work-life balance – but this book really delves into why we feel compelled to work at this pace and intensity, exposing the misconceptions behind our behaviour.

People are working longer, later, earlier, at weekends, on vacations… we’re always on, turning life into work’s leftovers! Though we’re working more, we seem to be getting less done. We need more time. Or do we? How about if the way to turn that round wasn’t more hours, but fewer?

Written by the owners of the software company that built Basecamp, a brilliant virtual office platform that we use to manage all Collective communications at The Difference, It Doesn’t Have to be Crazy at Work suggests we recognise and reject our destructive belief in “growth at all costs”. Fried and Hansson are calling out false “busyness” and the ego-driven goals that we pursue to keep up with our peers and rivals. Instead, they advocate building our companies differently.

The book proclaims that the modern workplace is sick. Of the 40, 50 or 60 hours a week people are expected to spend at work, only a small proportion are actually productive, with too many wasted in meetings or other inefficient business practices. Chaos should not be the natural state at work. Anxiety doesn’t help us make progress. Sitting in meetings all day doesn’t fuel success. These are the side effects of broken models.

Instead, we are urged to embrace calm as the new way forward. Fried and Hansson don’t set goals and don’t compare themselves to others. They work a maximum 40 hour week and fully embrace JOMO. They don’t negotiate, they stay out of the talent war… and yet they lead one of the most profitable companies in their sector.

As founder of an organisation built around the advantages of Working Differently, I love and am going out of my way to share some of the practical lessons in this book. It’s comforting and empowering to find further evidence that we can all thrive when we choose to be a bit less crazy and a bit more different in our approach to work.

Read Angie’s reviews of two other recommended titles for working differently:

The Win Without Pitching Manifesto – Blair Enns

Communicate in a Crisis – Kate Hartley



About the author

Angie, Founder, has worked in healthcare communications for nearly 30 years, ultimately building one of the most successful UK healthcare consultancies. Throughout her career, she has constantly looked to do things differently and make a difference to the healthcare communications industry.

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