Summary of The Business Romantic

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Adventure. Mystery. Suspense. You don’t usually associate these words with commerce. Confirmed “business romantic” Tim Leberecht suggests that’s why workers are discontent. Many contemporary companies have eliminated emotion, ambiguity and sacrifice from the marketplace. Yet, deprived of a romantic quest for goals greater than profit, people may find that their work lacks meaning. Leberecht, chief marketing officer for the design firm NBBJ, suggests ways to nurture workplace passion, whimsy and beauty by using 10 “Rules of Enchantment.” His treatise is not a how-to; it’s a poetic meditation on the need for Byronic intensity amid financial transactions. At times, Leberecht waxes so poetic that he’s a little hard to parse. Even though he touts obscurity as a desirable value, he’s most persuasive when he’s talking, as usual, clearly and candidly. getAbstract recommends his off-the-beaten-path, thought-provoking approach to educators, entrepreneurs, consultants, executives who’d like to add a dash of romanticism to their companies and anyone who feels their work lacks it entirely.

About the Author

Tim Leberecht serves as chief marketing officer of the design and architectural firm NBBJ. He is a two-time TED speaker and writes regularly for Harvard Business Review, Forbes, Fast Company, Wired, and other publications. Leberecht serves on the Values Council of the World Economic Forum.



The “Romantic Quest”

A great business should be rational, productive, efficient – and romantic. Unfortunately, the romantic aspect seldom comes to the fore. Traditionally, businesses try to strip romance from their cultures and focus on measurable qualities like productivity and efficiency. To eliminate uncertainty and risk from their decision making, contemporary companies increasingly base their actions and policies on the cold logic of algorithms.

As a result, work can be devoid of romance, beauty, mystery and meaning. Perhaps this explains why as many as 87% of workers in 140 countries reported varying levels of disengagement from their jobs in 2013. Some businesses are addressing this problem, such as firms that offer yoga facilities and meditation. And, some human resources departments have programs that address worker “wellness.” Management thinker Peter Drucker advocates the model of a “purpose-driven business,” which seeks meaning through accomplishing social or environmental good.

The “Business Romantic” goes a step further, and looks for substance and fulfillment in work itself, not in lofty goals or plum amenities. The romantic believes the quest ...

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