cover image Vital Friends: The People You Can't Afford to Live Without

Vital Friends: The People You Can't Afford to Live Without

Tom Rath, . . Gallup, $22.95 (218pp) ISBN 978-1-59562-007-1

Friendship may be coming into vogue as a topic (to wit, Joseph Epstein's new book Friendship: An Exposé ), but Rath (coauthor of the bestselling How Full Is Your Bucket? ) takes a pragmatic rather than philosophical approach. He explores the inherent value of friendships and says that the need for friends goes beyond commonality or companionship; in particular, he devotes a section to friendship at work, which, unlike many companies and managers, Rath sees as a positive force. Rath's research shows that employees who have a best friend in the office are more productive, more likely to engage positively with customers, share new ideas and stay longer in a job. Citing illuminating cases and surveys (many conducted for the Gallup Organization), Rath shows that many people succeed or fail based on the support and involvement of their best friends. Rath posits eight vital roles friends play: some are champions for each other; some collaborate; some connect people with others; and some build each other up through encouragement and trust. Rath's bullishness on friendship is based on solid research and couched in intelligent prose. 150,000 first printing. (Aug. 1)