Tipping Sacred Cows Book Summary - Tipping Sacred Cows Book explained in key points
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Tipping Sacred Cows summary

Jake Breeden

Kick the Bad Work Habits that Masquerade as Virtues

3.9 (10 ratings)
9 mins
4 key ideas
Audio & text

What is Tipping Sacred Cows about?

This book will challenge your assumptions about what virtues really matter in the workplace. It explains how the seven “sacred cows” – balance, collaboration, creativity, excellence, fairness, passion and preparation – may actually be hindering your organization’s performance. It outlines some alternative strategies that will make you and your employees happier and more productive.

About the Author

Jake Breeden is a writer and consultant who specializes in marketing, communications and leadership. He's advised leaders from some of the world's leading companies, such as Starbucks, Microsoft, Google and IBM.


© Jake Breeden: Tipping Sacred Cows copyright 2013, John Wiley & Sons Inc. Used by permission of John Wiley & Sons Inc. and shall not be made available to any unauthorized third parties.

Table of Contents

    Tipping Sacred Cows
    summarized in 4 key ideas

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    Key idea 1 of 4

    We all want fairness, but often equate it to sameness.

    The desire to live in a fair world is hardwired into our brains.

    When we see someone experiencing an emotion, our brains mimic it. In fact, one study of this phenomenon showed that if you see someone getting an electric shock, your brain reacts as if you've been shocked.

    This natural tendency toward fairness isn't always a good thing, though.

    In our quest for fairness, we sometimes confuse it with sameness. We form empathetic connections with others, but sometimes project our own thoughts onto them. Have you ever caught yourself buying someone a gift that was actually something you wanted? When we want something, we often assume others want it too.

    In business, this conflation of fairness and sameness often leads people to make the mistake of treating every customer the same. We imagine our customers must all want the same things we want. This can make us accidentally shut out any customers who are different.

    So what's the better alternative? Well, you need to constantly remind yourself that everyone is different; strive to treat everyone as an individual.

    The Four Seasons hotel implements this doctrine well. It encourages employees to make their guests feel at home, and give them any service they desire. By contrast, the Ritz Carlton have specific rules; e.g., they have to stand at least ten feet away from all guests and greet them with, “How may I help you, [sir or ma'am]?”

    Of the two hotels, the Four Seasons has a higher customer satisfaction rate, and a growing market share. It may be because people prefer to be treated as individuals.

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    Who should read Tipping Sacred Cows

    • Entrepreneurs, and anyone interested in business
    • Anyone interested in developing their leadership skills
    • Anyone who wants to avoid common fallacies of the workplace

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