Through his years of intensive work consulting to companies including Procter & Gamble, Sony, Toyota, Microsoft, Ford and Ernst & Young, with his firm The Energy Project, Schwartz has developed a powerful program for changing the way we are working that greatly boosts our engagement and our satisfaction with our work and increases our performance. In this book he marshalls a wide range of powerful evidence from business research and psychology that shows that the current model of work is not only not optimal, it is specifically counter-productive because it saps us of our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual energy.
In order for us to perform at our best, we must make a set of key changes in our work lives -- and in order to develop the full potential of their work force, our managers and companies must institute changes that will provide us with the regular physical renewal, emotional reward, mental focus and stimulation; and sense of purpose and significance that we need.
Schwartz, CEO of the Energy Project, stretches an obvious thesis to the breaking point in his plaint on how the American workplace theoretically where technology has allowed us to reach for more, bigger, faster has bred an atmosphere in which workers have become disengaged from their work. We fail to take care of ourselves, he points out, and end up undermining our health, happiness, and productivity. Using a series of quadrants describing the emotional workings of both employees and companies, he argues that nothing is gained and much is lost by constantly pushing people to achieve more and more in less time and with fewer resources; rejuvenation and rest are necessary for creative breakthroughs and broader perspectives. All well and good, but the bulk of the book is then eaten up exhorting readers to get more sleep, exercise, eat better, and take care of their emotional health. While a reminder to cultivate engagement and mindfulness is always relevant to the modern business reader, the usable content is slim and fluffed out beyond the point of readability.