By @SimonCocking, review of Dream Teams: Working Together Without Falling Apart, by Shane Snow. Available to buy here

The best teams are more than the sum of their parts, but why does collaboration so often fail to fulfill this promise? In Dream Teams, Snow takes us on an adventure through history, neuroscience, psychology, and business, exploring what separates groups that simply get by together from those that get better together.

You’ll learn:
  *  How ragtag teams–from soccer clubs to startups to gangs of pirates–beat the odds throughout history.
  *  Why DaimlerChrysler flopped while the Wu-Tang Clan succeeded, and the surprising factor behind most failed mergers, marriages, and partnerships.
  *  What the Wright Brothers’ daily arguments can teach us about group problem solving.
  *  Pioneering women in law enforcement, unlikely civil rights collaborators, and underdog armies that did the incredible together.
  *  The team players behind great social movements in history, and the science of becoming open-minded.

This was a fun read. Interesting, insightful, and looking to pull in relevant examples from diverse and unusual sources. Snow is also willing to dig deeper into the topic and look at examples, and then counter-intuitive ones too in his quest for more nuanced and thoughtful insights and takeaways. Having reviewed a lot of leadership books recently, this book was a breath of fresh air. It’s always a good sign when your teenager starts reading the book over your shoulder and then borrows it to read it. The World of Warcraft and Star Trek examples never hurt, but overall the author has worked hard to ensure that it makes for a provocative and useful read.

The case studies are good, it is an ongoing and near eternal challenge to work out how to build good teams. The whole discussion around diversity causing greater conflict but ultimately better results illustrates that it is not an easy path to follow. However if it was easy to build great teams then everyone would be doing it. It still remains important to be human, empathetic and able to relate to others. Not necessarily to be best friends with your work colleagues, or to even want to be so, but to be willing to go in and fight for their corner. The Rusian ice hockey players were a recurring case study through the book, and yielded lots of interesting, and often counter intuitive successess. A good book to read, for many of the family (as the teenager removes it again to read).

If you would like to have your company featured in the Irish Tech News Business Showcase, get in contact with us at [email protected] or on Twitter: @SimonCocking

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