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The Cactus and Snowflake at Work: How the Logical and Sensitive Can Thrive Side by Side

Gabbi Cisneros

October 25, 2021

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Neither sensitivity nor snowflakes themselves should be labeled as lesser than, and through The Cactus and Snowflake at Work, we can see and learn how to use the strengths from both personality types.

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The Cactus and Snowflake at Work: How the Logical and Sensitive Can Thrive Side by Side by Devora Zack, Berrett-Koehler 

While it's easy to divide a population of employees, friends, siblings, or community members between introverts and extroverts, that would be unfair not only to others but to ourselves. By acknowledging that our personality styles are unique to each individual, we can be more accepting of ourselves AND benefit more fully from books like Devora Zack's latest, The Cactus and Snowflake at Work. 

What stick out to me most about this book are Zack's humorous asides and overall informal tone. Content that investigates human behavior could easily be conveyed more analytically, but the fact that Zack infuses logical writing with playful humor helps her communicate with both people who process life as thinkers or as feelers–Or as she calls them, Cacti and Snowflakes, both of which are "positive metaphors for contrasting predilections." I like that this book attempts to redefine our internalized understanding of "snowflake" as an insult. Instead of seeing one way of processing the world as wrong and the other as right, Zack helps us understand how each element of our interactions is important to reaching Cacti and Snowflakes. Words, for example: 

If you want your words to reach and inspire others, you may want to practice translating from Snowflake lingo to Cactus dialect and back again ... Those who highly identify as Cacti even more strongly favor versions of the word ‘think,’ whereas strongly identified Snowflakes more readily default to variations of ‘feel.’ 

The author's voice shines through in the quirky metaphors and comments that she makes. Her lighthearted disposition paired with interactive content—quizzes, follow-along exercises, and thought-provoking case study stories—makes the content feel fresh and easy to apply to your own life. 

Neither sensitivity nor snowflakes themselves should be labeled as lesser than, and through The Cactus and Snowflake at Work, we can see and learn how to use the strengths from both personality types.

About The Author

Gabriella Cisneros is usually ‘Gabbi.’ She is a recent graduate of UW-Milwaukee, with degrees in Film and Spanish, and she’s a new addition to Porchlight Books. It’s kind of a dream job for someone who has a 55 page, indexed document of interesting words she’s found in books. Gabbi regularly makes time for taking photos, traveling, attending concerts, trying new restaurants, listening to the podcast "Ologies," blogging, filmmaking, fitness, and—of course—reading.

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