Review of Pulling Together

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Pulling Together book summary
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  • Applicable
  • Well Structured
  • Engaging


This concise guide to better teamwork packs a punch in fewer than 80 pages, many of which contain illustrations. Author John Murphy emphasizes a cultural shift in which organizations and the people in them turn away from recognizing individual accomplishments and toward reinforcing a team perspective. Murphy’s rules are straightforward and well-known. Though his presentation may seem somewhat superficial, don’t let its brevity fool you; implementing his ideas may take time and work depending on your organization’s current culture. He emphasizes recalibrating performance goals and rewards as he outlines different traits to look for when hiring, and tells leaders to exemplify the behaviors in the rules first before demanding the same from their teams. getAbstract suggests using this book as a catalyst to start discussing culture change and building high-performing teams. Share its rules with each member of your team.

About the Author

Former college football player and corporate manager John J. Murphy writes and speaks internationally about leadership and teams. He is president of Venture Management Consultants.


The book’s lessons mirror Murphy’s “10 rules for high-performance teamwork.” They are:

1. “Put the Team First”

Like countless others before him – including experts he quotes in the book – Murphy points out that high-performing teams accomplish far more than collections of individuals pursuing their own ends. He emphasizes that teams enable ordinary people to achieve extraordinary outcomes; they make the whole greater than the sum of the parts. His thesis may be familiar, but it is undeniably true and useful. He says to build cohesiveness by organizing goals, rewards and dependencies around teams, not individuals. He recommends rallying your teams and bringing them together by establishing an inspiring, shared vision and common objectives. Encourage people to help their teammates by sharing. Make sure that everyone understands his or her own part in achieving shared goals.

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