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The Inner Game of Work: Focus, Learning, Pleasure, and Mobility in the Workplace Paperback – September 11, 2001

4.6 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Since the publication some two decades ago of his bestselling The Inner Game of Tennis and The Inner Game of Golf, Timothy Gallwey has come to believe that those books' overriding principle--eliminate negative internal interference to bring about positive self-change--is applicable to virtually any activity. Now, in The Inner Game of Work, he applies that principle to the arena where the biggest turn-of-the-millennium game of all is being played. "We are constantly told that we live in an age of change," Gallwey writes, "and nowhere are we told more frequently that we have to change than in the workplace." As on the court and the course, he contends, those changes necessary to survive and thrive can be effectively realized by quieting our inner doubts and learning to rely on our own natural instincts and behavior.

How does Gallwey suggest we do this? His method is twofold: "focus of attention ... the quintessential component of superior performance in every activity" and "clarity of desire behind the focus." Through example and clear instruction, he shows how to minimize self-distracting thoughts that serve to undermine our confidence in the workplace and similar settings, and subsequently to begin "playing in the zone" like elite athletes who have learned to visualize their goals unerringly and proceed unremittingly (and almost unconsciously) in their pursuit. It will take no small amount of dedication to put these ideas into practice, but those who do should find that Gallwey's advice relates as well to the working world as it does to the sporting world. --Howard Rothman --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

He's done golf and tennis, so Gallwey takes on a bigger challenge: working on the inside so that outside, at the office, we can be our best.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks; Reprint edition (September 11, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375758178
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375758171
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #52,049 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Rachel Conner on October 11, 2002
Format: Paperback
Is your job boring or stressful? The author shows you how to overcome the obstacles and make it challenging and managable. By making your job into a game, you can let yourself enjoy your job more. Does that sound refreshing or what?
If you have had a bad manager... or if you want to be a good one... this book will encouage you toward motivating yourself and others in a way that will actually work.
The book's genius is in its observation about human beings, their work, and their motivational patterns. Through paying closer attention to the internal state of the worker and to the details of the job, the author brings the work into sharper focus. He advocates that workers also choose to notice details about their jobs; in this greater level of awareness, they can make better choices about the work... and can get past layers of defensiveness or fear in order to do better (more enjoyable!) work.
Not every chapter will speak to you, and not every concept will be just what you need. But I would bet money that somewhere in this book you will find a gem of insight into yourself or others you work with... and if you follow that insight, it will be worth the price of the book.
This book helped me sort out the logic behind my "good days" and "bad days" so I could make more of my days good. I sometimes struggle with being content with my job, and this book is giving me tools to use to enjoy my job more!
PS - I'm not the only one who thought this book was worthwhile. Go to the other edition of the book for more reviews.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book presents a fundamentally different view on working and learning. This other view leads to more pleasure, better performance and more effective learning in work. The ideas in this book are so powerful and relevant and Gallwey describes them so clearly that it seems virtually impossible nót to apply them. Gallwey's core message is: the traditional way in which we try to improve ourselves and our performance -through (self-)instruction and supervision- blocks what we try to achieve. To be more specific: an instructive, controlling approach to performance improvement does not lead to better but to worse performance!
After Gallwey finished his English study at Harvard University in the nineteen seventies, he went to work as a tennis coach. Doing that, he discovered that nearly all his pupils tried very hard to improve one aspect of there play that they did not like, for instance their backhand. They expected Gallwey to give them the remedy for their problem. First, this was exactly what he did: "hold your racket like this, stand there, hit the ball then", etc. He instructed pupils but noticed that they showed resistance to his instructions and that their learning did not go well. Then he noticed, to his surprise, that the performance suddenly was better when pupils stopped trying so hard to correct their mistakes but instead just played tennis for fun. Based on this observation that the 'forced mode' of learning was less effective than the `natural' mode Gallwey built his approach. His book `The Inner Game of Tennis' became a bestseller.
Gallwey proposed that the ineffective, instructive dialogue between coach and pupil also existed within the head of the pupil.
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Format: Hardcover
Years ago in an art class, I overheard a very pregnant woman extolling the benefits she gained from reading "The Inner Game of Tennis" and how she was applying what she learned. I didn't play tennis (still don't), but couldn't resist buying and reading a copy - I, too, gained from it.
Now, years later, I stumbled on "The Inner Game of Work" and rediscovered the magic of the inner game principles. After practicing a few of the very tangible and specific techniques outlined in this book, I am exploring one option it continually reminds me that I've always had - to employ my own inner resources to enjoy whatever it is that I do.
If you are interested in maximizing enjoyment at work (no matter what it is you actually "do" - from management to maintenance engineer and anywhere in between), this is the definitive "must have" reference book that will redefine the way you think about work. Thank you, Tim Gallwey, for shedding light in an area we all presuppose should be, at best, a normal daily grind, and pointing out the real possibility of breaking out of those boundaries.
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Format: Paperback
I read the Inner Game of Tennis in the 70s, found it revolutionary and find myself dipping into it every few years. I picked up the Inner Game of Work with great expectations, particularly after seeing Peter Senge's endorsement as The Fifth Discipline is a great book. However, I am disappointed. The writing style is turgid, the arguments not as tight as the Inner Game of Tennis and overall, the effort to transpose Inner Game concepts to the world of work don't quite come off. Perhaps tighter editing would have made for a more cohesive work?
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Format: Hardcover
This book deserves more than five stars, because it explains how you can be most effective in learning, gaining experience, and achieving higher performance. The principles are based on Mr. Gallwey's earlier successful coaching experiences and books about the inner games of tennis and golf. That may sound like an unlikely way to approach becoming more effective at work, but it is unusually effective for those who have ever played tennis or golf by providing a visceral point of reference.
I could immediately relate to the book's ideas, because both my tennis and golf performances are hindered by the critical stream of commentary that flows in my head as I play these sports. Occasionally, I quiet the criticism and I play much better.
To me, the explanation of how to help someone improve their tennis or golf games, or do their work better was a real eye opener. If you encourage someone to simply notice what is going on during the performance of the act (where they strike the ball relative to their feet in tennis, the lie of the ball in golf, or the important circumstances of the work environment), the person will quickly and easily find their own solutions to becoming more effective. That made sense to me because I have been operating without taking golf lessons for about a year and a half now, and many parts of the game have improved in major ways. I have taken charge of making my own diagnoses of what I need to do differently, and have learned a lot that I did not grasp from taking lessons. That experience validated the author's approach for me.
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