The one-sentence summary

The workplace is no longer fit for purpose so we need a more flexible and social approach.


  • This book is subtitled Why work isn’t working and what you can do about it.
  • The workplace is no longer fit for purpose so we need a more flexible and social approach. Businesses need to provide physical and cognitive space for employees to flourish.
  • Reimagining business involves bringing together flexible working, being social, and the management of change.
  • A recent study showed that 71% of Americans are not engaged with their work.
  • Open plan offices have turned workers into antelopes on the savannah – spending most of the time feeling vulnerable to the wide open nature of their habitat.
  • Productivity is now viewed as office-bound, process-focused and unimaginative. It’s about how much you get done, not the quality of it.
  • Being slaves to email was never part of our vision of the future.
  • The most vital question is: “Why do we do it like this?” The worst answer is: “Because we’ve always done it like that.” This is what Jonathan Margolis calls ‘the arrogance of the present.’


  • According to Tony Crabbe, creativity divides into three categories of activity: 1. Intellectual ambling. 2. Connecting brains. 3. Deep thinking.
  • It takes 15 minutes to achieve optimum ‘flow state’ thinking, but few modern executives ever get 15 minutes of uninterrupted time.
  • 70% of office workers say they get more done when away from the office.
  • 38% say they can be more creative when away from the office.
  • Multi-tasking makes us 30% less effective.
  • While social technologies are used by 70% of organisations, there is only a 10% success rate with such projects. This is because social collaboration is by its very nature disruptive, the technology is often outside of the traditional suite of corporate tools, and the risk of democratisation frightens many companies.
  • Collaboration is well demonstrated by this anecdote. When JFK visited NASA in 1962 he asked the janitor what he was doing. The reply was “I’m helping to put a man on the moon.”


  • There is no index or bibliography, which is a bit frustrating.
  • The Knowledge Worker descriptor at the start is never defined.