This may be the best book I've had the pleasure to read all year! Barry Schwartz and Kenneth Sharpe have outdone themselves. In Practical Wisdom they point to multiple sources of research that says that because we are so laden down with rules and over incentivized with rewards at work that it's killed our discretion, engagement and purpose. They talk about how rules and incentives have deteriorated teaching and the practices of law and medicine, though the ideas in the book apply to any type of work.
At times this book had me in tears or storming mad, it showed me how bad things have gotten in the legal, medical and educational systems. But it doesn't stop there, it goes on to talk about how some people, who they call "system changers" are already working on fixing these systems by creating environments that are conducive to practical wisdom. The book also spends a good bit of time talking about "canny outlaws," people who actively resist, at great risk to themselves, things like scripted teaching and unethical behavior that has become the norm.
It all comes back to autonomy, mastery and purpose. They call autonomy, discretion and say that it's a critical component of being engaged at work. Mastery is important because we learn through trial and error making adjustments and improving. Purpose is about serving others and making people's lives better. The book says that when work is meaningful, engaging and is discretion-encouraging it rises to the level of a calling.
Using practical wisdom starts a virtuous circle, "We are happiest when our work is meaningful and gives us the discretion to use our judgment. The discretion allows us to develop the wisdom to exercise the judgment we need to do that work well. We're motivated to develop the judgment to do that work well because it enables us to server others. And it makes us happy to do so."