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Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements Hardcover – Deckle Edge, May 4, 2010
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Why It Pays to Give a Damn: The Business of Wellbeing
-- From CNBC (read more: cnbc.com/id/37149447)
"The Gallup recommendations take immediate gratification and turn it on its head, making short-term satisfaction an ally rather than an enemy." --The San Francisco Chronicle
"the Wellbeing website...is as addictive as crack" --The Huffington Post
From the Inside Flap
Their groundbreaking research reveals how organizations can help employees boost their overall wellbeing -- from their satisfaction with their careers to their financial security and level of community involvement. After conducting this extensive study, Rath and Harter discovered that much of what we think will improve our wellbeing is either misguided or just plain wrong. When striving to improve our lives, we're quick to buy into programs that promise to help us make money, lose weight, or strengthen our relationships. While it might be easier to treat these critical areas in our lives as if they are independent, they're not. Gallup's comprehensive study of people in more than 150 countries revealed five universal, interconnected elements that shape our lives: Career Wellbeing, Social Wellbeing, Financial Wellbeing, Physical Wellbeing, and Community Wellbeing.
Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements provides you with a holistic view of what contributes to your wellbeing over a lifetime. Written in a conversational style, this book is filled with fascinating research and innovative ideas for boosting your wellbeing in each of these five areas. As a complement to the book, you'll have the opportunity to use Gallup's online Wellbeing Finder to track and improve your wellbeing. By the time you finish reading this book, you'll have a better understanding of what makes life worthwhile. This will enable you to enjoy each day and get more out of your life -- while boosting the wellbeing of your friends, family members, colleagues, and others in your community.
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Authors Tom Rath and Jim Harter marshaled the considerable resources of the Gallup organization to identify the elements of wellbeing. They began by defining wellbeing as all the things that are important to how we think about and experience our lives. They then used carefully constructed survey methods to gather data from more than 350,000 adults in 150 countries, representing 98% of the world's adult population.
Their findings are grouped into these five distinct statistical factors that describe important aspects of our lives that we can do something about:
+ Career or occupational Wellbeing: how people occupy their time during the day and whether it is fulfilling. Do you like what you do each day?
+ Social Wellbeing: the quality of relationships in people's lives
+ Financial Wellbeing: the degree of financial security people have
+ Physical Wellbeing: the extent to which people can do what they want to free of pain
+ Community Wellbeing: the extent to which people feel safe and are involved in giving to their community
For each of these five areas, they describe the detailed research findings followed by three actionable recommendations for improving your wellbeing in that area.
Their research highlights the importance of balance; while a majority of people are doing well in at least one of these five areas, only 7% are thriving in all five. They also stress the importance of finding short-term incentives that are consistent with our long-term objectives.
These results are remarkable because they are so unremarkable. Your grandmother may have given you similar advice, and that is good news! Absent from the list are the extremist ideologies used to justify so many wars. Trendy fashions, religious fundamentalism, and Joe Camel did not make the list.
The main text is quite short; however the book includes several informative and data-rich appendices.
The book purchase includes an access code to unlock an on-line program including the wellbeing finder and daily tracker intended to measure and help manage your wellbeing. These tools can help identify conditions that limit or contribute to your own wellbeing, and suggest changes that can increase your wellbeing.
This book takes one more step towards establishing a broadly accepted standard for assessing and achieving wellbeing. It takes a scientific approach to discovering what humans value most and helps bring us toward a consensus on this essential issue.
The book covers all of these areas, as well as much of the research, and provides a rather straightforward guide to help individuals get more out of life and boost their own wellbeing. More than that, within the book you will be able to find a key that allows you to do an online assessment of all these five areas and compare yourself to a large database of individuals demographically. In addition it is possible to record well-being on a daily basis, on all of these five factors, and get some sense of how sometimes subtle changes in your routine or experience can have a significant affect on your wellbeing.
What I love about this book, and the online assessment tool, is that reading it and actively participating in the process really provides you with some concrete areas to improve. The authors make it clear that many of us are unwilling to make long-term changes in our habits even if we know that maintaining our presence lifestyles will lead to significant long-term consequences. Their understanding that regular evidenced-based feedback and concrete goals and action plans can make a huge difference in whether we just survive or thrive.
This is going to be a very popular book!