Monday, November 21, 2011

Fundamentally Different - author interview - David Friedman

Paperback Writer welcomes David Friedman author of the business/leadership Fundamentally Different. 

About Fundamentally Different
In Fundamentally Different, Friedman uses stories and examples from his 27 years of business leadership experience to make clear the connection between values and success in a way that’s as enjoyable to read as it is insightful. 
Is organizational culture just a New Age obsession that distracts us from the real work of business?  What role do values play in organizational success?  How can we create greater consistency between the values we say are important and the ones that actually show up in the routine behavior of our people?   What’s the most important common denominator found in all dysfunctional organizations, and how can we avoid it?
In his new book, Fundamentally Different, David Friedman provides the answers to these questions and more.  You’ll learn: 
  • The 8 keys steps the most successful companies use to institutionalize their values
  • Why listening can actually have more impact than speaking
  • What a “filter” is and how it affects everything we believe to be true
  • The 5 components of good decisions
  • The role of curiosity in increasing effectiveness
  • Why “rebar” is the key to creating lasting change  
With his compelling logic and easy-to-understand style, David shares the most important insights he learned during a 27-year business career in which he led one of the most unique and successful companies in his industry.  Captured in his self-styled Fundamentals, this collection of wisdom is so simple, yet powerful, that you’ll wonder why the principles he describes aren’t more commonplace in every organization across America. 
But David’s Fundamentals aren’t just about business.  They’re a guidebook for life.  And like so many other people who’ve already embraced them, you’ll no doubt find your life enriched by their practice.

Visit the author’s tour page at Pump Up Your Book
Purchase the book at Amazon in kindle or book format

About David Friedman

How does a philosophy major with virtually no finance, marketing, or management education go on to become an award-winning business leader?

To understand that, you have to understand David Friedman’s approach to life. While he’s always been known for his discipline and his relentless work ethic, what sets David apart, more than anything, is his curiosity and his philosophical nature.  He’s a student of business, and of life.  Quite simply, he’s a thinker.  And that thoughtfulness has influenced his entire career.

“I never felt my lack of formal business education was a limitation,” says David.  “I always thought of it as an asset.  Not being saddled with traditional thinking, at every stage of my career I felt free to follow my instincts – even when it led to what some might consider to be unconventional approaches.”

From the beginning, David saw RSI not as an insurance agency, but as a generic customer service business.  He was curious to learn what made a service organization great and he was quick to apply what he was discovering.  Under David’s leadership, RSI became the standard by which not only other insurance agencies were measured, but service companies in other industries as well.

He also became fascinated by leadership and organizational development.  From Open Book Management to The Collaborative Way, David developed a deep appreciation for the power of organizational culture.  While he may have had an instinctual knack for leadership, it was his philosophical nature that prompted him to search for underlying principles he could more easily teach to those around him.

In fact, David is a natural teacher.  He has a remarkable ability to explain even the most difficult concepts in ways that anyone can easily understand.  Ever the philosopher, David not only sees the subtleties and nuances of complex issues, but he has a true gift for communicating his insights with amazing clarity.  His recent book, Fundamentally Different, is perhaps the greatest testament to this gift.  As you read it or listen to it, you’ll no doubt see both the philosopher and the teacher at his best.

Visit the author online at or You’ll find his blog at


Q:  Do you write on a computer or with pen/pencil and paper?

I write on a computer as I’ve become much faster typing than writing.  It’s also much easier to read what I’ve typed than it would be to read my handwriting.  However, my notes are usually handwritten.  I find that when I’m just thinking through an idea, or trying to figure out how I want to approach a topic, or working out the flow of ideas, it’s easier for me to do this with a pen and paper. 

Q:  Do you work from an outline?

I don’t usually make a formal, detailed outline, though I almost always have a plan in mind.  Typically this looks like a handwritten, often scribbled, list of topics and the order in which I want to cover them.  I tend to be a very logical person and I like to have thought through how each idea will flow into the next one to create a narrative that’s easy for the reader to follow.

Q:  What’s next for you?

Right now, I’m pretty focused on speaking and consulting engagements, and working on developing materials to supplement my book.  I often do talks, seminars, and workshops teaching the concepts that are in the book.  As I do these, I’m always thinking about additional materials that I can create that will help make the program I deliver more impactful for people.

Q:  Who is your favorite author, and why?

I don’t really have a favorite author.  I like many different authors in many different genres.  However, one that I particularly enjoy is Robert Fulghum.  He’s the author of All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, as well as several other books.  I love his wisdom, his humor, and his ability to communicate in such a warm, unpretentious, inviting style.

Q:  Where do you write from? (location and description)

I have an office in my house where I do my writing.  I have a large desk and credenza, 2 computers (a PC and an iMac), and plenty of space to spread out.  The office has a beautiful view of my backyard so I get plenty of sunlight.  I also have a massage chair that can be awfully nice to sit in when my back and shoulders are sore from sitting at the computer for too long!

Q:  Time Frame: From start to finish

Believe it or not, I wrote my entire book in just 5 weeks!  To be fair, it was really years in the making in that the book is based on lessons I learned and taught throughout my career.  When I actually sat down to begin writing it, I set goals for myself in terms of milestones I wanted to reach at different points in time.  I figured it would take me about 3 months to complete.  However, the more I wrote, the more excited I became about how good it was, and the more excited I became about seeing the finished product.  Of course, my family will tell you that I tend to become obsessed when I get excited about something and I worked mostly non-stop for 5 weeks to finish it!

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