Reading List: Joy, Inc.

Richard Sheridan, CEO and co-founder of software developer Menlo Innovations, acknowledges upfront that his belief that workplace joy is possible, achievable and a driver of success “may sound radical, unconventional and bordering on a crazy business idea.” But Sheridan, a self-described eternal optimist, isn’t daunted by the doubters. His company’s success proves that joy and business are compatible.

In Joy, Inc. Sheridan explains the genesis of his business philosophy and illustrates through anecdotes and examples how to apply it to everyday situations such as interviewing, hiring and managing people; nurturing innovation and creativity; implementing discipline; and improving quality and performance. Along the way, he serves a hearty helping of life lessons: Honor people over process, grow leaders not bosses, and hire humans not polished résumés. Sheridan opines that happiness and joy aren’t the same. Joy is “deeper and more meaningful and purposeful”; happiness is more fleeting. “You can be joyful without being happy every moment,” he writes.

Judging by the accolades that his Ann Arbor, Mich.-based company has received, Sheridan is onto something. Menlo Innovations has won the Alfred P. Sloan Award for Business Excellence in Workplace Flexibility for eight years running and has tripled the size of its physical office several times. Sheridan’s enthusiasm is infectious, and his business style and insights are valuable.

by Richard Sheridan

December 2013
Portfolio/Penguin; $27.95

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