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Book review: The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working by Tony Schwartz with Jean Gomes and Catherine McCarthy, Ph.D


This book is about finding ‘satisfying, productive, and sustainable ways to work and live’, and explains that humans have four core energy needs which should be met in order for them to perform at their best.

To show the reader about how to do this, Schwartz uses quadrant diagrams to show functional (positive) and dysfunctional (negative) behaviour/emotions/tools. These visually highlight how using the right activity and rest combination can be beneficial for both employees and employers, and the well-known consequences of getting the combination wrong. The chapters goes in depth into each of the energy needs, looking at the factors within each of the quadrant diagrams, and gives practical advice about how to achieve a personal positive activity and rest combination for the reader. There is a positive tone and ‘can-do’ attitude throughout the book, which helps the reader believe that small changes can be made to help the bigger picture. You can feel the energy and passion from the author on the subject, and throughout the book he has peppered good use of anecdotal experiences from real people from well-known global organisations help to show that the ideas can work in practice and make a difference.

Although some Schwartz’s advice may not be easy to implement throughout all workplaces, I would recommend employers and employees read it for their own development. His advice makes sense and we have probably all heard it before, but this book summarises it in a way that is easy to refer to, and gives you permission to make the small changes that can help to influence your individual work practice. An enjoyable read, and something that I will refer back to again and again to continue reminding me (and give myself permission) on how to cope with all the demands from home as well as work.

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