The Best Business Book I Have Ever Read

For nearly 2 years (while I was in CCIE do or die study mode) all I ever seemed to read were Cisco Press books. And even now my forearm muscle memory cannot forget carrying those 500(!) page books on 2 hour round trip commutes in crowded Tokyo trains, with one hand on the hanging strap for balance, and the other carefully cradling the book against my chest.

On finally passing the lab exam and thus being mercifully released from that particular study treadmill, I then acquired an interest in personal development materials. Authors and their ideas came and went in my head while life and career continued to stream steadily by (yes, I began to feel more and more that I was observing events as much as participating in them.)

One book in particular has left a striking impression on me because it’s basic premise is so ridiculously obvious and simple.

That book is Building The Happiness-Centred Business by the self-styled crazy Australian Dentist, Paddi Lund Australian Dentist (But I quickly concluded that our Paddi, in his wisdom, is crazy like a fox!)

After reading about the toils and troubles in running his Dental practice (and noting with wry humor the sadly high suicide rate in the dental profession), I take Paddi’s basic premise in writing the book to be:

I discover I had sacrificed happiness, to earn money that bought less happiness than I had sacrificed. (page 42)

Sound familiar?

He then proceeds to do something about that and declares:

My Goal became happiness at work. (page 32)

I found it fascinating (and funny) how his experiments with creating a happiness meter led to most everyone in his dental team overstating their scores, while on the inside some were still lugging personal baggages of resentment through the working day.

I guess that was when he realized that a systematic approach to creating a working environment where happiness (and the associated emotional behavior) could flourish between staff, especially in full view of the customers, was the way to go; remember it was HIS business and HIS happiness goal.

And so he goes on to introduce a stress meter and then eventually a systematic approach to creating a happy business environment where it is easier to use the system than to ignore it!

The book goes into some detail on his Courtesy System: Revisiting The Simple Basics Of Politeness as a way of demonstrating his belief in business systems that build happiness and profits.

I think Paddi is deadly serious (pun intended).

He’s figured out through experience that not only his own happiness but his sanity depends on having business systems that let him live his happiness goal (as much as possible) each and every day.

So this is way beyond some kind of happy-dippy touchy-feely book (I just made that phrase up!) as you’ll see from the examples in the book and on his website. In pursuit of that (very profitable) happiness goal he’s gone where few dentists dare to go e.g. chopping up the reception desk, installing a real espresso machine,firing his worst customers and taking his business name out of the phone book!!

A truly marvelous and inspiring read for any small business owners or consultants who see a link between their happiness and business success. There is much to chew over here and then adapt to your own circumstances and desires. Certainly, give some time and thought to how Paddi&‘s basic premise applies in your life or career. It has strongly affected mine.

And what if you’re a corporate drone? A wage slave? A cubicle prairie dog? (All said with a note of well-meaning but mischievous Irish humor 😉.) Well, first of all remember that words and labels have real power to influence behaviors and beliefs; so drop any self-deprecating cudgels you may be dragging along and start seeing yourself first and foremost as a Tech Professional.

Better still, start seeing yourself as a Tech Professional whose goal became happiness at work. And hence your journey will begin.