Summary of The Three Signs of a Miserable Job

A Fable for Managers (And Their Employees)

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The Three Signs of a Miserable Job book summary
To keep employees, treat them humanely, show that their work matters, and supply metrics they can use to track their goals.


7 Overall

8 Applicability

7 Innovation

8 Style


Business books take many forms, but seldom are they fables. Patrick Lencioni breaks the mold with this charming book about a manager who turns his workers’ miserable jobs into fulfilling ones. He presents the fictional story of Brian Bailey, a big-hearted CEO who gets bought out, finds retirement dull and tries managing a seedy pizza parlor where the employees hate their jobs. Bailey quickly changes everything by the way he treats the shop’s people. Later he works his magic as the new CEO of a failing retail sporting-goods company with a ruinously high turnover rate, where his humane techniques turn things around again. Lencioni’s book is fun to read; its fable is touching yet credible. He reinforces important lessons all managers should know about getting the best from the people who work for them by providing empathy and recognizing the meaning of their work. If you are up for a parable, getAbstract recommends this engaging book. It spotlights a clear axiom: Treat people humanely and they will do as you wish – a valuable lesson for any manager or, indeed, anyone at all.

In this summary, you will learn

  • What are the three primary reasons employees are miserable at work; and
  • What you as a manager can do to make them happy about their jobs.


The Fable
Brian Bailey never had enough money to attend a full four years of college. Instead, he went to work in a San Francisco factory that manufactured automobiles. He married young. He and his wife Leslie had three children. Bailey was a smart, hard worker. The car company’s COO made...
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About the Author

Patrick Lencioni is the author of numerous business books, including the bestselling The Five Dysfunctions of a Team. Lencioni is the founder and president of a business-consulting firm that helps organizations function efficiently through superior leadership.

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Contained in Knowledge Pack:

  • Knowledge Pack
    Employee Retention
    The only way to keep great people is to treat them right, but what does that require from you?

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