Book Review: "The Way We're Working Isn't Working"

What's my rating for "The Way We're Working Isn't Working"?

I gave the book a 5 out of 5 Rockstar rating.

It’s an amazing book! Schwartz has done his research and has had a direct hand in helping us learn what leads to great performance. The result of all that effort is this fantastic book, which contains what he’s discovered and has applied in his own life. I could not put it down and found myself saying “YES!” out loud on numerous occasions.

Tony Schwartz doesn’t mince words. The way we’re currently working is detrimental to both workers and employers. The workplace is now a place full of distractions and immediate demands that suffocate our ability to think deeply about problems or opportunities. Add to that longer hours, the need to reach for conveniences that lead to poorer food choices and lower activity levels, less time spent connecting with others in a meaningful way and lower physical activity levels. The result is that today’s worker is fighting a losing battle to maintain, let alone increase, personal performance.

Unfortunately, what gets measured—usually face time and/or checkmarks on a never-ending “to-do” list—gets done, but it’s not what matters most… to anyone!

The ethic of more, bigger, faster has prompted us to spend far more energy than we adequately renew, in a frenzied and largely futile effort to keep up with relentlessly rising demand.
— Tony Schwartz, "The Way We're Working Isn't Working", p. 50

Superior performance demands both deep concentration and intermittent breathing room, and we’ve managed to choke both of these to such an extent that they’re now deemed unaffordable luxuries. Schwartz is here to convince us the opposite is true: we can’t afford to not pay attention to the need for deep thinking and recovery, because therein lies the greatest potential for us to be successful over the long-term.

For the individual, that means focusing on four sources of energy, or “dimensions”, and the corresponding human need they address:

  1. The physical (sustainability)
  2. The emotional (security)
  3. The mental (self-expression)
  4. The spiritual (significance)

To find out more about the book and my thoughts about it, read my full review here and/or watch a video summary:

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