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The Way We're Working Isn't Working: The Four Forgotten Needs That Energize Great Performance

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  2,449 ratings  ·  158 reviews
"The Way We're Working Isn't Working "is one of those rare books with the power to profoundly transform the way we work and live.

Demand is exceeding our capacity. The ethic of "more, bigger, faster" exacts a series of silent but pernicious costs at work, undermining our energy, focus, creativity, and passion. Nearly 75 percent of employees around the world feel disengaged
Hardcover, 334 pages
Published May 28th 2010 by Free Press (first published May 8th 2010)
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really liked it Average rating 4.00  · 
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Nathanael Coyne
Jul 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Nathanael by: Clare
This book makes so much sense - it's frustrating that these principles aren't understood widely and incorporated into our lives and culture. The concept is actually similar to another book I recently read - Mood Mapping - where various states are explained in four-quadrant graphs. Physical, emotional, attention and focus.

A recurring theme in the book is the idea of waves, the need to oscillate from intense states of exercise or productivity to "recovery" states of rest, relaxation and big-pictur
Jan 12, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is written for the corporate world, so I had to adapt it to my very un-corporate life. Some of it just didn't apply to me, but there was some excellent information that really helped me. I LOVED the idea of periods of work mixed with periods of rest and renewal. And now I am going to go take a well-deserved nap :). ...more
Jun 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: life, business
This book seems to be _The Power of Full Engagement_ all over again. I'd be hard-pressed to identify any differences. But, since I "read" that one on audio, I never felt like I fully absorbed it, so I've been meaning to read it again anyway.

The premise is simple: instead of rushing around frantically and/or making ourselves sit at our desks longer in attempt to get more done, we need to get more efficient. That happens by working in sprints followed by breaks; getting enough sleep; eating well;
Uwe Hook
Jan 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Generally, I record my book reviews on Goodreads but this book by Tony Schwartz was so close to the core mission of BatesHook that I wanted to share it with a wier audience.

The basic premise of the book is: The furious activity to accomplish more with less exacts a series of silent costs: less capacity for focused attention, less time for any given task, and less opportunity to think reflectively and long term."

Below are a few of the big ideas that resonated with me:

" Rather than trying to get m
Florin Grigoriu
Jul 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Good book, describing inner needs to excel. From physical needs(which were pretty un-exciting to read) to the emotional and spiritual , which is the part this book excel.
I Listened this book twice , guess I really liked it :-)
Sean Goh
May 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
No career automatically provides a purpose, but no job precludes our finding a purpose in it either. It isn't the role we fill that prompts a sense of purpose but how we choose to approach whatever work we do.

The bigger the reservoir of value of value and well-being, the less emotionally vulnerable we are to everyday challenges.
Our core mental need is self-expression, the freedom to put our unique skills and talents to effective use in the world.

Selflessness can be as, if not more costly than s
Christina Lear
Mar 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is designed as a self-help style book for corporate people who are burnt out. Not something I would normally pick up since I don't work in the corporate sector, but I think that the theoretical base of this book is really important for ALL people in our busy, stressed-out culture. I would definitely recommend you read this book if you feel overwhelmed or unsatisfied in your current work life.

Basically, Schwartz argues that we don't work in ways that allow us to be our most creative or effe
May 08, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: productivity
This is a very helpful book. Not that anything he says is revolutionary, but he does bring it together in way that makes you think. He covers everything from taking breaks at work, to eating right, to exercising and a myriad of other factors that sap our energy and make us less of the person we want to be. His basic premise is that because we think we need to work harder and longer hours, we are not actually doing good work anymore. He talks about the work he has done with many big corporations, ...more
Jamie Doerschuck
Jun 03, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: did-not-finish, self
DOes the book have a lot of useful information? Yes. But the way it's presented is long winded, repetitive, and annoying. I got approximately 61% of the way through the book (according to Kindle), and I just couldn't take anymore.

There's nothing wrong with the book, I just can't stand the author's writing style.
Mar 08, 2020 rated it liked it
Be Excellent At Anything: The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working
Four primary needs: physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual.
Physical: nutrition, fitness, sleep, and rest. renewal that is active or passive.
In order to think more creatively, strategically, and imaginatively, we should cultivate attention to the right hemisphere of the brain.
Is the life you’re leading worth the price you’re paying to live it?
extroverted/introspective, decisive/open minded, confident/humble, logical/intuitive, t
Jan 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
In Be Excellent At Anything, Tony Schwartz along with Jean Gomes & Catherine McCarthy points out the flaw in our way of working. In this era of high demand, people often work like a machine until they absolutely burn out (physically and emotionally). This book argues about how people are not designed to work at high speeds, continuously, for long periods of time. Instead, people are designed to spending energy and renewing energy constantly in a span of the day. A concept that often forgets by m ...more
Sep 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is a great book to read if you are a manager or hold a leadership position in your job. The book is written by three folks who founded the Energy Project, which works with larger companies to change their cultures in order to create happier and more effective employees. The book is broken into the four needs of employees - physical, emotional, mental, spiritual. They believe that happy and healthy employees = more productivity = more money/success for the company. They have had some big cli ...more
Derek Winterburn
Aug 27, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This is a 'summary of the field' of current thinking about productivity and management. In some senses it takes the ideas of a book like '7 Habits of Highly Effective People' and applies them to the corporate and organisation worlds.

The authors take each of e.g. Covey's 'Four Human Needs' and think of them as sources of energy (Physical/Sustainabiity, Emotional/Security, Mental/Self-expression and Spiritual/significance.) The book then becomes an exploration of how an individual in an organisat
Apr 16, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
As homework assignments go it's just all right. As homework assignments for a leadership work-group it's pretty good. It is an interesting study in the good and bad ways we depleate and renew our energy reserves... and I have to say, "holy bad habits, Batman," there is a ton of stuff we do to ourselves that is just down right self-destructive. It is an eye-opening look at how our lives can be leveraged toward greater success if we just understand that the difficulties we face draw upon a single ...more
Beth Cain
Nov 05, 2014 rated it liked it
I thought that this was a good summary of the different aspects of yourself that you need to balance to maintain a sense of well-being: rest, exercise, nutrition, meaning, challenge, emotional safety, etc. I was completely pulled in to the argument of living a balanced life in order to be more productive.

"I want to take a walk right now and the exercise will help me get more done after than I would've without it."

However, I read an article in NYT that discussed how bizarre it is that Americans
Jan 26, 2011 rated it liked it
Typical business model book with the four quadrant diagrams and perfect world scenario. So much of it is common sense and individual change driven. I try to follow a number of its suggestions - but that isn't always easy or practical. How much businesses can be responsible for fostering these ideals is an open question. But still everyone should at least remind themselves that there are better ways to act in order to strive for work, personal and family ideals. Book club discussion was lively an ...more
Shaeley Santiago
Jan 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Shaeley by: Drake University initiative for staff
Helpful framework for assessing your personal and business life from the physical to spiritual. I especially found the part about the stories we tell ourselves to be enlightening. Based on a few facts, we often fill in the rest of the story from our perpective rather than reserving judgement or researching to find the truth behind those facts. As such, we allow ourselves to believe our own version of the events whether they are true or not.
Ahmad Moshrif
Jul 07, 2014 rated it liked it
Too many things in one book, without talking strictly about the way we are working !!

good but not a great book!
Lynn Ellison
Apr 01, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I frequently recommend this book, even though I haven't been able to implement the techniques. ...more
Jun 12, 2019 rated it really liked it

This book starts by confronting us with a harsh truth we already know but often act as if we don't - namely, that the 10- and 12-hour days many of us are logging at the office, as well as the additional hours we're spending on our BlackBerries at night after we've left the office, result in less productivity, not more. And the toll is not limited to the quality of our output - it shows up more significantly as deficits in the physical, e
Oct 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm giving this one five stars in spite of some minor flaws because I believe its message is that important.

The idea that we need to align our working methods to our biological rhythms for optimum performance should be neither controversial nor 'new,' and yet here we are in the 21st century still trudging along as if people were factory machines from the industrial revolution-era mode of thinking.

This book presents a comprehensive and well-researched alternative mode, one which unfortunately pr
Angela Lam
This is one of the most comprehensive, structured and well-written non-fiction books I’ve read. It has applications for both individuals and teams/organizations a good blend of research background, details and practical tips.

If you’re new to self-help, this book gives a great introduction to a wide range of topics and concepts—from energy and productivity to emotional/intelligence management, cognitive capacity and focus, engaging the whole brain, physical health and wellness and purpose/fulfil
Apr 14, 2021 rated it really liked it
A very solid, good book. If you‘ve read a lot of similar books on productivity, business etc., you will have probably come across a lot of these ideas in some way already. This did make me drift off from time to time, however, I think this book is great particularly for people who are new to this genre and people who would like a very good overview on a lot of different important productivity topics. It can get a bit repetitive at times, because some ideas are mentioned several times. I struggle ...more
Mar 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thoroughly appreciated the wealth of wisdom, research and concepts that went into this book. Though it was directed toward a corporate entity, I could readily apply the same concepts toward my family and other spheres of involvement. These concepts were most helpful:
1) The relentless urgency that characterizes our life undermines deliberation, creativity, engagement, and sustainable high performance.
2) Human beings are designed to pulse between the expenditure and the intermittent renewal of ene
François Wouts
Nov 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
A rich book with many valuable insights around how we manage our energy, our emotions and our attention.

Some of the statements may be questionable (e.g. around nutrition). I also found that a lot of the lessons around organisational transformation only come from a couple of concrete examples (e.g. from the authors' consulting at Sony). While the methods they instituted are likely beneficial, I would have liked to see more discussion of the challenges encountered, and a more realistic look at thi
Jun 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: od
Not everything in this book is revolutionary, but this book does bring some fundamental topics together and frame them in a good way that is easy for everyone to read. There are so many 'meat' to digest in this book and it is difficult to integrate them at one set. The biggest take-away for me after reading this book is that I have a framework to understand how corporate can support its people to make them more energetic and work better from working on four aspects - physical, emotional, mental, ...more
Sep 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a business book that can be applied to one's life, as others have mentioned it teaches power of full engagement. It has lots of learnings, from health to peers to bosses to work, focusing on email distractions, emotions. It gives some action items at the end of each chapter, initially was excited about these, but as they say until you really try it out it will just remain there.

Another good thing about this book (especially this being business book) is it clubs big ideas from each chapt
Jan 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you ignore the very "american" title and pick up this book, you will be rewarded !

This book is a condense Bible of a load of advice to balance work and personnal life. It is full of examples and actionable advice without ever feeling repetitive.

A must read for literally everyone, but especially a must read if you feel overwhelmed by your work, don't find enough time for yourself, want to be more productive, fulfilled, .... or are a leader in an organization/of a business and want to make your
Sep 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: self-development
A good read. I appreciate the chapter recaps toward the end to refresh. We spend too much time trying to do too many things at once. Multitasking zaps our energy and keeps us from fully engaging and learning. However, people will continue to do busy work, multitask and continue living in a way that is never whole, but anything less is not accepted in corporate business. It is an inspiring book and if you can put 10% of it to work for you it will make a difference.
Jul 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
A good read. I appreciate the chapter recaps toward the end to refresh. We spend too much time trying to do too many things at once. Multitasking zaps our energy and keeps us from fully engaging and learning. However, people will continue to do busy work, multitask and continue living in a way that is never whole, but anything less is not accepted in corporate business. It is an inspiring book and if you can put 10% of it to work for you it will make a difference.
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Tony Schwartz is a journalist, business book author, professional speaker,and the ghostwriter and credited co-author of Trump: The Art of the Deal. He is the founder and head of the productivity consulting firm, The Energy Project.

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