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on February 5, 2013
I work for a company that promotes wellness. I was actually really confused when I first heard of these "five essential elements of wellbeing" and thought someone must have made an error in the presentation I was listening to because there was absolutely no mention of any psychological or emotional wellness contributing to wellbeing. I found out it's not one of the five components. So I bought the book, thinking surely it would explain the absence in some reasonable way to me. Not so. It's just... missing. As if the 57.7 million Americans with mental disorders could just get a better job or improve their social lives and perhaps their illness would disappear?

I'm not saying the components mentioned aren't important- all of those things contribute to the authors definition of wellbeing: "the things that are important to how we think about and experience our lives." But I found that the authors' "advice" even on these other topics was pretty flimsy. In the career wellbeing section we are advised to "avoid sustained periods of unemployment (over a year) when you are actively seeking a job but unable to find one." Since most unemployed people are not unemployd by choice, and the author is actually acknowledging that they are unable to find a job...I fail to see how that is at all helpful (and it's actually a bit insulting... to the unemployed person and my intelligence).

Basically, the views here are quite simplistic. We found out that people with "high wellbeing" are passionate about their work...so everyone should have a job they are passionate about. What a lovely idea! How exactly, does that work? Since it's probably more realistic in many cases to say that a person would be unable to leave a job they are unhappy with due to financial obligations and a poor job market, focus might be better placed on improving an employees' outlook (psychological/emotional) or improving the workplace environment. I think most of the book, and the financial chapter in particular, is speaking to a smaller percentage of Americans who do have more economic choices and freedom... in the midst of our present economy, and when the reality is that a third of the country has a household income of less than $25k, advising people to spend money on vacations for "the experience" comes across as a bit out of touch.

Reporting data is one thing. Interpreting what that data really means is much more complicated. This book does a great disservice to the data by leaving big chunks of who we are out of the picture.
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on September 26, 2015
Well Being is a pretty good book for those interested in learning about well-being. The five areas they have identified are certainly important ones and people who with minimal stress and reasonable satisfaction in those five areas are indeed more likely to be happy with their lives. However, there are several problems with the approach taken by the authors. First, by quoting lots of studies and polls, they make it sound like this is all very scientific, and therefore to an age that over-idolizes science, they make it sound like they must be right. But as a scientist myself, I see people misusing science all the time as well as expecting that it can answer everything when it cannot. Second, the authors don't say much about the likelihood that how well one is satisfied with each of their five areas is as much dependent on one's attitude toward it as any objective facts about one's career, friends, finances, etc. I would humbly suggest that if you tend to be satisfied with what you have in each area, you will have a pretty good well-being, and those attitudes are partly familial and partly dependent on whether one has found a spiritual or religious understanding of what life is all about. There are only 2 sentences in the book about this, perhaps because the authors prefer that readers focus on their topic areas rather than on what is more fundamental.
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on September 8, 2013
I've adopted the well-being philosophy in everything I do and everything I do can be placed within one of the five elements. Research shows that for a person to be truly satisfied with their life they need to thrive in these five elements of well-being: physical, financial, community, career, and social. It's not enough to thrive in only a few. You know the saying, "Money doesn't buy happiness." Well here's the research. If you are not thriving in even one category, it can have a major impact on your overall wellbeing.

The key to implementing strategies to improve your well-being is small steps. Take on one element at a time. But when you move on to the next element, you need to continue what you've been doing to improve the other. Gradually adding small things for each area to make an until you are thriving in all five. It's not impossible, but it take patience, persistence, and positivity.

This book comes with an access code to take WellbeingFinder which will allow you to track your overall and elemental well-being daily and monthly through a series of questions. It really works!

I recommend this book to anyone looking to discover why they don't feel satisfied when it feels like they may have everything they need.
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on October 20, 2016
This was a great conceptual way to look at essential elements of my own well-being, get a baseline measurement and track over 6 months to improve aspects of my overall well-being. I set some goals, and had accountability reminders to help me work toward those goals. I will recommend it to other members of my team, or anyone struggling to take small but consistent actions to improve their well-being.

Revision: after 1 year of using this book & online resource to track my well-being, I can honestly say this had a tremendous impact on me. I will recommend it to friends and colleagues alike. I wish there were translations in other languages - I would like to share with my international colleagues as well.
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on November 12, 2012
Many definitions of wisdom focus on judgment and actions that increase wellbeing. With wellbeing central to the concept of wisdom, it becomes important to know what it is and how it can be improved.

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.
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on February 22, 2016
Tom Rath and Jim Harter craft a model that simplifies life domains into five essential elements. Looking at wellbeing and flourishing within five domains of career, social, financial, physical, and community we can ascertain current wellbeing and strategically identify opportunities for improvement. As with many books from Gallup, a code is provided to complete an individual wellbeing index. As we have come to expect from Gallup, the constructs are clearly supported by sound research. When life gets unbalanced, this book provides perspectives and resources to get back in balance to achieve integrated wellbeing.
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on February 7, 2016
For those of us who have heard all the 'Quack' talk about our well being and finding happiness in life, Rath has hit the nail on the head by not being just one more snake oil vendor. His data driven suggestions in the five key areas of well being, including things to actually do to make a difference in each area, should give hipe to many who have sought ways of making more informed decisions about their lives leading to more enjoyment on a day to day basis. I read one copy, and sent the other two copies to my children who I am sure will enjoy and benefit from his great insights. Wish I'd read it fifty years ago!
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on May 23, 2010
This book, Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements, is more than just an amazing read it's also an ongoing process. I'll explain. Tom Rath and Jim Harter, both associated with Gallup, were involved in the design of an assessment - the Wellbeing Finder - that tested hundreds of questions across 150 countries and multiple languages, with populations in vastly different life situations. What emerged from the research were five universal elements of well-being that differentiate individuals who are suffering or thriving in their lives. These elements include career wellbeing, social wellbeing, financial wellbeing, physical wellbeing, and community wellbeing.

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!
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on April 9, 2014
If you only knew how many times I've referenced this book since reading it! Its a great book. It's an easy read and the way its written is perfect for people who lose interest or get easily distracted when reading a book and never finish. Male, female, atheist, or religious folks should all read this book. The best thing about the book is that it backs up all their points with research. Its really a fantastic book, I highly recommend it.
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on March 21, 2016
Great evidence-based research is an easy read that does a good job of framing the discussion and simplifying how to increase your well being. The information brings making healthful decisions to the forefront of your mind. Each chapter ends with three actions you can take to improve the 5 elements of your well being. I would definitely recommend this book for anyone that understands we are continuously growing and always improving no matter how old we are and wants to be happier and healthier all around.
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