The Book: Personality Poker: The Playing Card Tool for Driving High-Performance Teamwork and Innovation by Stephen Shapiro, Portfolio, Hardcover, October 2010.

Everyone faces business challenges, and everyone can think up different ways to approach work, but the way we do these things can be categorized into certain styles. For some, results are the focus. For others, how creative the process feels is important. Figuring out your style will reveal things about yourself that can help you become more focused and productive when challenges arise. However, understanding other peoples' work styles is the critical part. As most of us know, working together can either be a blessing or a curse. Better understanding others' motivations can make or break new product launches, marketing strategies, management issues, and a wide variety of common and unique business situations.

Steve Shapiro's Personality Poker is a seriously fun way to wrap our heads around our own and others' work styles. Understanding leads to improved communication, appropriate expectations, and better work. In Shapiro's words:

Personality Poker can help you understand why some employees become frustrated when your organization's culture conflicts with their innovation styles. With it, you can diagnose the reason your company is struggling to grow. And it can help you, as an individual, be happier and more successful by aligning your style to your role. When we understand our personality style, we can perform at higher levels and better enjoy what we are doing.

Shapiro's book can also smooth some of the rough edges that inevitably occur in teams, perhaps helping employees appreciate those that might rub them the wrong way or get in their way. Personality Poker teaches us that it is sometimes the most difficult people who are actually the ones we need to work with the most—a useful counterintuitive lesson.

The surprise with Personality Poker is that Shapiro hasn't just written a book and given it a clever title. Instead, the title is literal: Personality Poker is also a card game that comes packaged with the book, a fun tool to help individuals and small groups work better together. Often, meetings are held before a project to define responsibilities and goals. Just imagine replacing these rote meetings with a card game, an approach that will help your team accomplish more and have fun in the process.

Invest in Personality Poker and find out if you're a heart, club, diamond or spade, and, as a result, you will become a better team member or leader when the work is dealt out.
Reviewer Jack Covert is the founder of 800-CEO-READ, a leading bookseller to corporations and large organizations, based in Milwaukee.