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Tear down the grey wallpaper of your work life and let some sun in. It’s fish time.



Welcome to 3 Things You Can Use, where Maddi and I decode self-improvement and entrepreneurship through books, three things at a time. This week’s book is Fish: A Proven Way to Boost Morale and Improve Results by Stephen C. Lundin, Harry Paul and John Christensen.

With over 5 million copies sold, this book has got to be worth something, right?

If you want to know more about fish, fishing and cleaning fish, this book is not for you.

But if you’re ready to re-energize the other half of your life… the dull, dreary and dull part, you’ll want to stick around and see,


What are three things we can use from this book?


3 Things You Can Use


1. Story

Okay, so you’re headed to work.

Another day at the fish market. Smells, scales, grey — and don’t forget staring, dead fish eyes everywhere.

With that on the horizon, your day goes how?

and not just today. A job isn’t just a one time thing. You do your job a lot.

Everyday pretty much.

Whose idea was it to have jobs take up so much time —

and worse yet whose idea was it to frame your job as such an unpleasant experience — to put it lightly.

I mean what kind of…

Wait a minute… You hear that?

As you approach the fish market you hear crowds cheering and people playing.

Must be a new booth by the fish market, eh?

But wait, you get closer, hear the people laughing and now you’re seeing fish flying through the air.

Okay… A new fish booth?

Nope that’s your fish booth. Employees and customers alike are having a blast even with the fins, the gills, the grey and… the eyes…

But, people can’t enjoy working at a fish place?


Can they?


2. The Four Elements

The employees at the fish market enjoyed what they did and woke up everyday wanting to go to work.

You might not be lucky enough to work at a fish market, but what if you could look forward to going to work somehow.

What’s the secret?

The secret, it turns out, is called the fish philosophy. It’s modeled after the Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle.

There are four elements in the fish philosophy and they all build on each other.


1. Choose your attitude

Your attitude, fundamentally, is a choice.

Going to work and enjoying yourself and going to work and having a bad time is a difference in the attitude that you bring to your day.

And not to mention that more and more research is showing, also as evidenced in the books Subliminal and Stumbling on Happiness, that the facial expressions that come as a result of your emotions, actually cause the emotions themselves. That is to say that smiling can make you happy, and frowning can make you sad.

So, obviously stand up to mistreatment, but if you can’t control something, try to find the bright side. And since we’re talking books here, this is a stoic philosophy that is also reiterated in the Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday.

So really, you can’t go wrong with choose your attitude.


2. Play

What do you mean play?

Well, respect your work, don’t let it affect productivity, but enjoy yourself. Create games, have fun, include others and play.

Plenty of new research coming out on play — for adults. It’s pretty much all around good. Socially, creatively, and especially if it’s tinted with an element of productivity, like at your job. It helps you problem solve, as most things that spark creativity do. It elevates your mood, gets your brain juice flowing and it bonds you with your fellows.


3. Be There

This is presence. Attentiveness. And is more in regards to working with customers.

It’s more than just giving them the time of day, mind you, but it’s intently listening to them and understanding them. Essentially going full empathy mode, being them while they talk.

This not only pays off in regards to how the customer feels about the interaction, the ripple effect of the business’ reputation, and fantastic reviews you’ll get, but also, it gives meaning to your experiences. It brings presence back into your day to day, which is an extremely important part of life… and really — the only important part of life.

Because, is being in autopilot really living anyway?


4. Make Their Day

A combination of Play and Be There.

Including them in the play, the customers.

So if you’re going to play, you can really get things going by playing with the customers.

Take the fish market for example, they weren’t just throwing fish to each other, they had the customers come up and catch the fish too. They would joke and laugh and include the customers.

They were creating an experience for the customer that was not only memorable because it was out of the ordinary, but it made their day.

The benefits of this just sloppy joe right out of the sandwich of workplace effectiveness.


3. Implementation

But how can we think in these terms!? We have no fish to throw!

What questions can we ask ourselves to help to frame the fish philosophy for us and improve our lives at work?

Can we bring the fish philosophy not only to our jobs, but our classrooms and our homes and therefore, shake the bore dust off of our dull robotic horses we ride through a the foggy grey landscape of zombified faces and lame black and white memos. How can we shoo away the circling buzzards overhead?


1. What if your company was world famous?

This is what the Pike Place Fish Market asked themselves while on the brink of bankruptcy in 1986. This made a huge difference in the behavior of the employees, fishmongers, if you will.

Would you act the same way if your company was world famous?

You choose your attitude. Will you go to your job and work like it’s world famous?


2. What’s the worst that can happen?

There might come a fear with the idea of being present or trying to implement play in your workplace. But don’t be disheartened you coward.

Run through the worst that could happen if your being present comes off as a little awkward because you’re a little rusty. Or you try to play a bit and you smack the paper out of the air when someone tries to shoot it into the trashcan and you get a foul look. Nothing bad can come of these things. And if your superior asks you what the heck have you been doing lately, just point them to the book. Or tell them to give me and Maddi a call.


3. What’s the alternative?

What’s the alternative to choosing your attitude, playing, being there and making their day?

You know the alternative…

It’s The Pike Place Fish Market or it’s the office space of fish markets.

Which one do you choose?

Treating work like a part of your life? or as another thing you need to get through?



There’s a fish market in Seattle that is changing the way people see cold wet dead fish work… They love it.

If you want to love your cold dead wet fish work, try choosing your attitude, playing, being there and making their day.

Ask yourself everyday before work, what if your company was world famous? What’s the worst that can happen? and what’s the alternative?


So this book is framed around a training seminar that is built on the principles of The Pike Place Fish Market.

They make up a story about a woman who has challenges at work, discovers the fish market and turns her workplace around. It’s a good story, though sometimes it had me cringing at how made up it was but at the same time trying so hard to be genuine.

But the principles are great and this is quite the popular method, this book selling over 5 million copies.

So, obviously, learning the fish philosophy is worth the read.

Their website is: if you want to check them out.


That’s all for this one!

Thank you for watching, if you’re not subscribed, make sure to subscribe so you don’t miss next week’s video, and –

we’ll see you next week!


Want to Read it?

Audible Free Trial (get this book for free!)

Fish (Audible Version)

Fish (Physical Copy)

(These links give me a little bump if you decide to use them. Thank you!)




  • Punching Sounds by: Mike Koenig
  • Reading Photo at end of video by: Marketa