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Games at Work

How to Recognize and Reduce Office Politics (Jossey-Bass, $24.95)

With the poor economy, stress levels are high and job security is down. In these conditions, workers are more likely to play "office games"—hidden agendas, manipulations and basic unproductive and malicious behavior—that offer them an escape from the workplace.

In the new book Games at Work, authors Mauricio Goldstein and Philip Read identify and address many of these office games created by today’s environment. The authors kick off the book by explaining what office games are and defining a few specific ones and then get right into how to go about avoiding these problems.

A few common office games include "Gotcha," where employees act like catching someone else’s mistake is an accomplishment; "Blame," in which people blame scapegoats to excuse themselves; and "Pessimism," when individuals make a task seem more difficult to lower expectations.

Goldstein and Read explain the negative impacts games can have on a business and why they have such an effect. The authors then urge the reader not to participate in such games and outline effective ways to carry out their choice, using the acronym AIM—Awareness, Identification, Mitigation—to outline appropriate steps to take.

Games at Work is full of bullet points, checklists and challenges directed at the reader. These make it simple to remember important ideas and easy for the reader to interact with the book, self-evaluate and improve.

— Kassia Shishkoff