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The Inner Game of Work: Focus, Learning, Pleasure, and Mobility in the Workplace

(inner Game)

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  533 ratings  ·  45 reviews
Do you think it's possible to truly enjoy your job? No matter what it is or where you are? Timothy Gallwey does, and in this groundbreaking book he tells you how to overcome the inner obstacles that sabotage your efforts to be your best on the job.

Timothy Gallwey burst upon the scene twenty years ago with his revolutionary approach to excellence in sports. His bestselling
Paperback, 256 pages
Published September 11th 2001 by Random House Trade Paperbacks (first published 1999)
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Average rating 3.92  · 
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Jul 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I really enjoyed this book. I have a feeling it will take me years to fully appreciate the deep lessons it imparts, even though understanding them was easy. I also liked The Inner Game of Tennis, but this one was more applicable to more people, since so many people work. It isn't full of answers or neat prescriptions, nor claim that it's just a matter of following a patented formula. This book offers tools, ways of finding answers more quickly. Highly recommended for anyone seeking the
Mar 28, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: coaching
The central idea in this book is that there is a better way of thinking about working and learning that comes down to giving more priority to our inner capacities and whishes and less to external expectations, norms and instructions. Learning to let go and trust is the greatest gifts that we can give to ourselves and each other.

Gallwey proposed that the ineffective, instructive dialogue between coach and pupil also existed within the head of the pupil. While playing, the pupil continuously gave
Aug 24, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: management
The differentiation between self 1 and self 2 was a good concept, but that was all about the book in my opinion. Too many words for a simple concept. The advice given later on in the book was nothing new really.
Amy Rhoda  Brown
I read this book for the first week of the Professional Coaching course I'm taking. It was a good, quick read, but there's a lot of stuff in here that I've come across before in other reading: mindset, fast and slow thinking, active listening, and other stuff. I guess it would be a comprehensive introduction to a lot of these ideas for someone who hadn't encountered them before. There's also a virtuosic example of how to coach someone in a skill that you know nothing about right at the end of th ...more
May 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
I like this book. The author shares many examples of how paying attention to tiny details can help you learn more effectively, and how a coach’s role isn’t to provide answers but rather to help draw the student’s awareness to the right things and encourage them to trust in their own learning process.
Mar 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book helps ua to redefine work to achieve peak performance through mindfulness, flow, and the elimination of false selves so that work is connected to our authentic selves. The chapter on coaching alone is worth a read.
David McCleary
Nov 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Tim Gallwey is a genius that we all need to learn from - both this one and his Inner Game of Tennis are some of the best books on human learning and development
Jan Joshi
Feb 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Great book on coaching. Must read for managers and parents
Anna Wagner
I only got halfway through. Maybe I'll revisit it one day but I got bored... ...more
Oct 01, 2019 rated it liked it
This is the third book in the "Inner Game" series that I have read.

The author is an accomplished tennis player and tennis coach. The Inner Game of Tennis was the first in the series and the first I read. It was also clear that it was the book and subject matter which was the most finely-honed regarding the "inner game method."

Next, I read the The Inner Game of Golf. Although it too was helpful and provided some insights, it was clear that the author was less comfortable in the context of golf
Dec 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I am generally jaded with self-help books, since I read my first (How to Win Friends and Influence People, of course) twenty years ago at age ten. But I felt I really needed the help that this particular book gives. I was recommended the Inner Game of Tennis by a friend, and I liked it; I therefore picked up this one, and boy, is it great!

As a graduate student, I have struggled greatly with focus and the "conflict of the two selves", as the book describes: a part of me wants to constantly cycle
Dexter Zhuang
Sep 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Good, useful read. My favorite idea was that Performance = Potential - Interference. A lot to dig into here including the idea that unlearning interference that's getting in the way of our path can be a greater boon than trying to raise our potential.

The ideas of the triangle of Performance, Learning, and Enjoyment and bringing key variables to awareness were also fascinating and applicable.

With that said, this book felt a little outdated since all his examples were from AT&T in the late 1970's.
Mar 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A book to be savoured slowly, stopping every now and then to reflect upon what has been said. What Tim tells is something which, if we reflect, is evident in all our lives. Only we have never stopped to think and study why it has happened.
As I read the book I felt a certain affinity to all that Tim was talking about and I could totally relate to it. I had been ignoring my natural self and maybe thinking too much.
Our natural self always knows what to do. It’s totally tuned in and always in the ‘F
Aug 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great book. If you’ve read The Inner Game of Tennis - you already know basics of the Inner Game.

In this book, Timothy Gallwey applies the Inner Game principles to managing organizations, the dynamics created by an organization and the impact of these dynamics on the individuals within the organization. Worth reading, particularly if you’re a fan, or haven’t read his first book and want to understand how the thinker and the doer contribute to the quality of our individual and team performance wi
Andrew Shipe
Jan 26, 2019 rated it it was ok
This book seemed more designed for consultants than for workers. While there were some interesting bits in it, bits that I feel I could use as a teacher and leading workshops for other teachers, I can't say there was much I'll be applying to my own work. There were a lot of interesting stories about consulting work Gallwey has done, but--maybe because my work doesn't fit into the corporate mold--I didn't see much I could apply to myself. ...more
Aug 03, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
What’s this book?
1. A self help manual?
2. A coaching guide?
3. Propaganda for the author’s coaching work?

The entertaining parts (the first couple chapters and the very last one) give very few applicable advice, and the parts that suppose to give advice on how to put into practice the inner game coaching are profoundly boring (and still not very applicable), so I must assume that it’s option 3.
Sarah Hegland
Nov 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I love the Inner Game books--they've helped me clarify so much about learning and teaching. Everything he says feels right in my body, like I've always known that this is how it works. The way I was taught things growing up seems upside and backwards in comparison. ...more
Dec 07, 2019 rated it liked it
I found this book so difficult to get through. The advice is wonderful, and I’m sure I will use it throughout my career, but good God- I just could not stand the way the author wrote. It wasn’t engaging at all.
Carmel O'
Feb 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Book Wisdom: The greatest challenge and consequently the greatest possibilities, lie in overcoming the self-imposed mental limitations which prevent the full expression of ideas and subsequently potential.
Sangeeta Sumesh
Aug 07, 2017 rated it liked it
Few concepts like Self 1 & 2, STOP etc. are good but otherwise the book is unwantedly elaborate and sometimes beating around the bush. Wish it were more crisp and to the point.
Petr Meissner
Jan 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Guides how to increase an ability to find or set and reach and enjoy reaching of professional goals or help others with that.
The approach guides to get rid of judgement and focus on perception, concentration and identifying critical variables helping to get better instead.
Presented unorthodox re-framings help to move forward.
The start is slow if you are familiar with similar approaches, but the end pays off.
Brian Ross
Dec 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
I really liked Gallwey's combination of theory and practice in this book. I found his concept of Self 1 and Self 2 - the notion that contained within us is an natural "intrinsic" self (Self 2), and a "manufactured" self which is really an amalgam of how we perceive the values of the outside world - Self 1 - to be really useful. It is a nice way of explaining the often dueling voices in ones head - the "I want" vs "I should". But he is non-judgemental about it, and most importantly he applies thi ...more
Mar 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: psychology
Tennis coach turned performance consultant Timothy Gallwey applies his 'inner game' methodology to the world of work, helping people those who perform even the most seemingly mundane tasks to find the inherent enjoyment in their work and develop a learning mindset. He revisits the analogy of the two 'selfs'; Self 1, the coach which is constantly telling the other self what to do, and Self 2, the actor who silently completes the task. His approach to learning is to put far greater trust in Self 2 ...more
Feb 06, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: professional
Concept of Self 1 versus Self 2 useful in determining ways in which we hold ourselves back from peak performance on the job. Good discussion of the importance of focus of attention and how to develop and strengthen focus of attention. Interesting case study details re: how author got employees to improve concentration and performance while doing repetitive tasks; finding something interesting to notice/pay attention to. Later sections of book seemed less developed; some were based almost entirel ...more
Toby Jensen
Aug 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: supporting-work
50 how
51 little attention
53 full attention
57 what distracts
64 while selling, onto selling at AT&T
70 time
80 golf
86 work triangle
92 $0 ask in sales
96 time
103 suspend sales quotas (temporarily)
110 pigeon >116
174 buy back stock
177 chapter 9 How to Coach
190 the three part conversation
212 define the gap
225 work is play with purpose
226 constraints

210 tuba player
What would you most like to learn?
What did you notice?
How did you know?
what happens ____________ ?
Aug 14, 2009 is currently reading it
Picked this up for free when they purged the library at work. I read the first chapter, and then I did something I never do -- I read the last chapter! And then I cheated again and read the last chapter a second time! I really like the ideas he has conveyed in these two chapters, and I have to say that I had approached the book skeptically. Now I'm hooked and I'm definitely going to read the chapters in between. ...more
Chet Brandon
Dec 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: management
This author is well known for the same themed concept very successfully applied to sports (tennis most notably). His premise is that our negative inner thoughts disrupt the natural ability to succeed. The example is the athlete over-thinking the technique and blowing it as a result. The application to work is, simplistically, wasting time on negativity and overthinking strategies. This is an important lesson experienced leaders eventually learn and then apply for success.
Oct 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
It's to list all the important insights this books have. In brief:
- value of focus and awareness and how that can transform learning and change process
- how to bring more 'flow' into work and, or any performance
- how to make learning a natural process (STOP tool)
- and of course pretty comprehensive description of what coaching
Matt Root
Dec 22, 2015 rated it liked it
I have no doubt that this was a very important text in its time and it still will likely speak strongly to people coming at the topic of human development and engagement for the first time. However, having read fairly widely on these issues, I've seen what he's talking about said better in other places since this was published. ...more
Anil Bhat
Feb 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Got a reference to this book when I was searching for books on how to practice playing guitar. It is about mindfulness, but explained in a way that is completely free from jargon. The references to Self 1 and Self 2 were something I could relate to. Made lots of notes during the course of reading this to be applied at work. Definitely a must read for all leaders.
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W. Timothy Gallwey (born 1938 in San Francisco, California) is an author who has written a series of books in which he has set forth a new methodology for coaching and for the development of personal and professional excellence in a variety of fields, that he calls "The Inner Game." Since he began writing in the 1970s, his books include The Inner Game of Tennis, The Inner Game of Golf, The Inner g ...more

Other books in the series

inner Game (7 books)
  • The Inner Game of Tennis: The Classic Guide to the Mental Side of Peak Performance
  • The Inner Game of Music
  • The Inner Game of Golf
  • The Inner Game of Fencing
  • The Inner Game of Stress: Outsmart Life's Challenges and Fulfill Your Potential
  • The Inner Game of Wrestling

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