Book review: Vital Friends

In Vital Friends, Tom Rath makes two main points. 

  • One is that having friends at work is very beneficial to the employer.  With a best friend at work, you are much more likely to be productive.  Without a best friend at work, there’s only a 1 in 12 chance you’ll feel engaged!  With three good friends at work you are 96% more likely to be extremely satisfied with your life.  (All the numbers are from a Gallup poll.) 
  • The second point he makes is that you can’t expect all your friends to be all things to you.  He says different friends fullfill different needs and describes the different types of friends:
    • Builders
      • Motivators and coaches
      • They push you
      • They know our strengths
      • They provide moral support
    • Champions
      • Stand up for you
      • Sing your praises
      • "Thrive on your accomplishments and happiness"
    • Collaborators
      • Share similar interests, ambitions and passions
      • Do a lot with you
    • Companions
      • Always there for you
      • Make sacrifices for you
      • First person you call
    • Connectors
      • Always introduce you to others
      • They seem to "know everybody"
    • Energizers
      • Your "fun friends"
      • Make good days, great
      • People you call to have a good time or to relax with
    • Mind Openers
      • Ask good questions
      • People you share ideas and express yourself outloud with
    • Navigators
      • Give advise
      • Steer you
      • Share dreams and goals

Interestingly, he says that in friendships we don’t play the same role
to each other.  So you might be a mind opener to your friend and your
friend might be a champion for you.

This book was an easy and interesting read.  You can easily read it in
a day. (I read it on a two hour plane ride.)  However, I would have
liked a lot more detail and depth.