Hook, Line, & Sinker: A Collaborative Review of Fish!

It’s easy to feel bogged down at work. Outside influences creep in, the pile in your “in” tray doesn’t get any lower, and someone is always stopping by your desk to give you something else to do. Feeling trapped, frustrated, and exhausted by your work is nothing new for people—after all, that’s where “having a case of the Monday’s” comes from. But if you’re tired of feeling out of control and down all the time during the 40+ hours a week you spend hard at work, here’s some probably unexpected advice—go Fish!


Pike Place Fish Market Mongers | pikeplacefish.com

The philosophy behind Fish! by Stephen C. Lundin, Ph.D., Harry Paul, and John Christensen is modeled after the Pike Place Fish Market and serves as a technique to make for happy, attentive, and driven individuals in businesses and schools. The philosophy is meant to improve organizational culture by focusing on four positive points of improvement:

  • Choosing your attitude,
  • Playing at work,
  • Making someone’s day, and
  • Being present

In 1997, Christensen visited Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle, WA, and in observing the fish sellers, noticed that the market had an energetic air that extended from the sellers to pedestrians walking by. The sellers gave their all to each customer, ensuring their full attention was poured into engaging the customer and that each customer had a good experience at the market. This was even more impressive once Christensen’s observations confirmed that the actual work the sellers were doing was repetitive, cold, and laborious—that indicated that it was the sellers’ choice of how they approached their work that made it the positive experience it was for them and their customers, both.


Pike Place Fish Market Mongers | pikeplacefish.com

Today, the philosophy illustrated in Fish! is applied in companies as far from its origin as the Middle East, including in Wild Wadi Water Park in Dubai. In short, the book is an effective strategy in very few pages—107 to be exact. Set up in the narrative of a short story, a full read of Fish! flies by in no time at all. In fact, it’s so quick, the whole team found time in our busy schedules to see what all the fuss was about.

Now, the real question… What did we think?

“My favorite quote from the book was, ‘There is always a choice about the way you do your work, even if there is not a choice about the work itself.’ I think it just serves as a good reminder that sometimes we will like our work, and sometimes we won’t, but we always choose how we react to what we are doing.” — Jason Boothman


Fish! was an easy read since it was so story-driven. While all the lessons from the book were relevant, the concept about choosing your attitude was especially impactful—it seems like such an easy thing, but it’s often difficult to put into practice. Working in such a close-knit environment at Reusser makes choosing a positive attitude all the more important. Whether I’m in a good mood or not, I have to choose look at my work with positivity—especially since so much of my work is dependant on others. I like that we were all able to read the book together and gain different insights and takeaways. This will keep us on common ground going forward.” — Katie Hecox

Javon, Brandon, and Jarrod all agreed that the “Choose Your Attitude” point in the book was important to remember and that having the reminder from Fish! that each person is in control of how they react and choose to feel at work was helpful to them and would be helpful in the future for business.

The four main points serve as a great reminder on how to approach all parts of our lives. One great example for our work lives would be when we are providing support to clients—making their day will go a long way in keep the client satisfied, but will also keep them happy about doing business with us or recommending us to new potential clients in the future.” — Austin Drummond


If you’re looking for a quick read or something to pass out to your employees, Fish! is a great option. It boasts being “a proven way to boost morale and improve results,” but don’t take our word for it. Check it out for yourself and let us know what you think!