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Joy at Work
Cover of Joy at Work
Joy at Work
A Revolutionary Approach to Fun on the Job

Imagine a company where people love coming to work and are highly productive on a daily basis. Imagine a company whose top executives, in a quest to create the most "fun" workplace ever, obliterate labor-management divisions and push decision-making responsibility down to the plant floor. Could such a company compete in today's bottom-line corporate world? Could it even turn a profit? Well, imagine no more.

In Joy at Work, Dennis W. Bakke tells the true story of this extraordinary company—and how, as its co-founder and longtime CEO, he challenged the business establishment with revolutionary ideas that could remake America's organizations. It is the story of AES, whose business model and operating ethos—"let's have fun"—were conceived during a 90-minute car ride from Annapolis, Maryland, to Washington, D.C. In the next two decades, it became a worldwide energy giant with 40,000 employees in 31 countries and revenues of $8.6 billion. It's a remarkable tale told by a remarkable man: Bakke, a farm boy who was shaped by his religious faith, his years at Harvard Business School, and his experience working for the Federal Energy Administration. He rejects workplace drudgery as a noxious remnant of the Industrial Revolution. He believes work should be fun, and at AES he set out to prove it could be. Bakke sought not the empty "fun" of the Friday beer blast but the joy of a workplace where every person, from custodian to CEO, has the power to use his or her God-given talents free of needless corporate bureaucracy.

In Joy at Work, Bakke tells how he helped create a company where every decision made at the top was lamented as a lost chance to delegate responsibility—and where all employees were encouraged to take the "game-winning shot," even when it wasn't a slam-dunk. Perhaps Bakke's most radical stand was his struggle to break the stranglehold of "creating shareholder value" on the corporate mind-set and replace it with more timeless values: integrity, fairness, social responsibility, and a sense of fun.

Imagine a company where people love coming to work and are highly productive on a daily basis. Imagine a company whose top executives, in a quest to create the most "fun" workplace ever, obliterate labor-management divisions and push decision-making responsibility down to the plant floor. Could such a company compete in today's bottom-line corporate world? Could it even turn a profit? Well, imagine no more.

In Joy at Work, Dennis W. Bakke tells the true story of this extraordinary company—and how, as its co-founder and longtime CEO, he challenged the business establishment with revolutionary ideas that could remake America's organizations. It is the story of AES, whose business model and operating ethos—"let's have fun"—were conceived during a 90-minute car ride from Annapolis, Maryland, to Washington, D.C. In the next two decades, it became a worldwide energy giant with 40,000 employees in 31 countries and revenues of $8.6 billion. It's a remarkable tale told by a remarkable man: Bakke, a farm boy who was shaped by his religious faith, his years at Harvard Business School, and his experience working for the Federal Energy Administration. He rejects workplace drudgery as a noxious remnant of the Industrial Revolution. He believes work should be fun, and at AES he set out to prove it could be. Bakke sought not the empty "fun" of the Friday beer blast but the joy of a workplace where every person, from custodian to CEO, has the power to use his or her God-given talents free of needless corporate bureaucracy.

In Joy at Work, Bakke tells how he helped create a company where every decision made at the top was lamented as a lost chance to delegate responsibility—and where all employees were encouraged to take the "game-winning shot," even when it wasn't a slam-dunk. Perhaps Bakke's most radical stand was his struggle to break the stranglehold of "creating shareholder value" on the corporate mind-set and replace it with more timeless values: integrity, fairness, social responsibility, and a sense of fun.

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About the Author-
  • Dennis Bakke is the author of The Decision Maker: Unlock the Potential of Everyone in Your Organization, One Decision at a Time and the New York Times bestseller Joy at Work: A Revolutionary Approach to Fun on the Job. Bakke previously co-founded and served as the president and CEO of AES, a Fortune 200 global power company. He lives with his wife in Arlington, VA.

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  • President Bill Clinton A timely and inspiring book that challenges us to rethink the purpose of business in society. It is all the more important because Dennis Bakke's personal life mirrors the principles he advocates.
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    All copies of this title, including those transferred to portable devices and other media, must be deleted/destroyed at the end of the lending period.

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Joy at Work
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A Revolutionary Approach to Fun on the Job
Dennis Bakke
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