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The Way We're Working Isn't Working: The Four Forgotten Needs That Energize Great Performance Paperback – February 1, 2011
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
“Now, more than ever, we need a unified science of energy--what makes us work (and what doesn't.) [Schwartz] begins to unlock essential insights we're going to need to get more done and feel better while we're doing it.” (Seth Godin, blogger and bestselling author of Linchpin)
“I’ve read dozens of books about leadership and management. What makes this book unique and essential is the integrated and comprehensive way it addresses the challenge of getting the best from people. At Zappos we deeply believe that truly meeting our employees’ needs is what inspires their great performance. [Be Excellent At Anything] lays out a compelling new workplace paradigm and a detailed roadmap for organizations, leaders and individuals seeking to gain true competitive advantage, even as the rules change every day.” (Tony Hsieh, CEO Zappos.com)
“[Tony Schwartz] is essential reading for anyone who wants a more productive and meaningful life. It’s less a self-help book than a peer-reviewed survival manual for the modern age ...[He] provides a road map for how to take back control of our lives from our faster-better-more-techno-merry-go-round culture.” (Arianna Huffington, The Huffington Post)
"[Schwartz] takes a look at self-destructive behaviors that are common in the workplace, then gives a prescription for correcting each...entirely refreshing." (The Wall Street Journal)
"An engaging, thorough, and authoritative manual for optimal performance and for a rewarding life. Tony Schwartz has done it again. A business must read." (Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence)
About the Author
Tony Schwartz is the founder and president of The Energy Project, a consulting group that works with a number of Fortune 500 companies, including American Express, Credit Suisse, Ford, General Motors, Gillette, Master Card, and Sony. He was a reporter for the New York Times, an associate editor at Newsweek, and a staff writer for New York Magazine and Esquire and a columnist for Fast Company. He co-authored the #1 worldwide bestseller The Art of the Deal with Donald Trump, and after that wrote What Really Matters. He co-authored the #1 New York Times bestseller The Power of Full Engagement with Jim Loehr. Jean Gomes is Managing Director of DPA, a London-based management consultancy specialising in leadership and culture change. For the past 20 years, he has been advising companies like Coca-Cola, Pfizer, Cable & Wireless, Sun Microsystems, Sony, ICL, The Home Office, Nokia and Intel in the US, Japan and Europe. He is also Chairman of The Energy Project Europe. Catherine McCarthy is the former COO of The Energy Project and currently an independent consultant. At The Energy Project, Catherine delivered keynotes, facilitated training and coached executives at companies such as Google, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Ernst & Young, the Los Angeles Police Department and Goldman Sachs.
Top customer reviews
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The overall striving for balance is straightforward, although the idea that a vacation is a time for renewal, rather than a slackening of effort is largely in the hands of corporate senior leadership and the company "culture." Discussion of multitasking and the illusion of increased productivity is useful as both society and technology have clearly enhanced distraction. On the other hand, although only 7 years since publication, other concepts and advice are rapidly becoming dated (likely due to the act that much of the thinking underlying the book goes back much further). For example, email is regarded as mere distraction to be relegated to a low point in the day as an opportunity for clearing all the junk spam. In fact, internal and external communications have evolved away from snail mail and phone conversations redefining how businesses operate. In addition, with global activities, timeframes for interactions may be narrow and cannot be arbitrarily set. Some of the diet advice is also dated with an emphasis on grazing behavior to maintain a steady, even blood sugar. Ironically, the concept of working in spurts with breaks seems in opposition to the dietary advice.
While the overall theme of balance is certainly reasonable, there is a bit too much expectation on senior leadership paying for the author's services so that the advice will trickle down to the rank and file along with realignment of corporate culture to allow for sufficient implementation to make a difference.
This book really brought home the importance of pacing yourself. Like many people, I tend to think that -- if I have an extra hour or two -- it's okay to fill every moment with work. Whether or not it's actually a productive use of that time... that gets lost in the illusion of "busy is better."
Also, Tony Schwartz emphasized the importance of what you do when you're not working. This book recommends balance in your life.
That's easy enough to say. Plenty of books do. What make this book different (and better) are the many clear and detailed of routines that work (and don't work) for other busy people.
I'm still struggling to apply all of Schwartz's suggestions. I'm adding one new one every couple of weeks.
However, if you're "tired and wired," and need to find a better answer to work- and time-management routines, this is essential reading.
Originally titled, "The Way We Work Isn't Working," it makes a strong scientific case for getting more sleep, making time to meditate daily (and how to focus during meditation) and working in 90 minute bursts for maximum effectiveness.
But the book does more than provide logic as to why to adjust, but also how. The author shares stories of others, which makes the idea of change more real and accessible. I found the entire book compelling and very useful.