Friday, June 22, 2018

Book Review: 'How We Work: Live Your Your Purpose, Reclaim Your Sanity, and Embrace the Daily Grind' by Leah Weiss




How We Work: Live Your Your Purpose, Reclaim Your Sanity, and Embrace the Daily Grind
Leah Weiss
Harper Wave/An imprint if HarperCollins (March 2018)
“What many people don’t realize is that two goals — a paycheck and a sense of purpose — need not be mutually exclusive.”
All major research studies of worker satisfaction indicate that feeling that they and their work are appreciated is ranked among at or near the top of what is most important to them. What about compensation? It is ranked between #9 and #12, depending on which study is involved. Of course, there are also bills to be paid so what people earn is a reasonable consideration.
This is what Leah Weiss has in mind in this passage: “What many people don’t realize is that two goals — a paycheck and a sense of purpose — need not be mutually exclusive. And yet many if us ‘are not engaged’ or worse — truly suffering. The paradox is that being mindful of our experience of work, even to our dissatisfaction, disengagement, and ambivalence, is the first step toward turning it around. Indeed, paying attention to our feelings is the very definition of mindfulness.”
She then observes: “Prototype, experimentation, and informed redesign — the contemporary Western system for innovative thinking known as ‘design thinking’ that is de rigueur all over Silicon Valley — has a surprising analog in a two-thousand-year-old Tibetan system called darma sum. Literally, and rather poetically, darma sum means ‘good in the beginning, good in the middle, and good in the end.’ This three-part mindfulness training instruction applies to everything we do or want to do. Not coincidentally, I think, both design thinking and darma sum trace the basic structure of another famous learning strategy: the hypothesis, experimentation, and conclusion of the scientific method.”
As I think about all this, I am again reminded of how the mind (what the brain does) can be developed — over time — to integrate reason, intuition, and emotion with the five senses in ways and to an extent that artificial intelligence cannot equal, much less surpass.
These are among the dozens of other passages that also caught my eye, shared to suggest the scope of Weiss’s coverage:
o Skills: Soft vs. Hard (Pages 29-33)
o Three Kinds of Mindfulness (42-61)
o Meta-Cognition (52-59)
o Purpose Makes Your Job More Satisfying (66-70)
o Purpose Makes Us Healthier (71-75)
o Articulating Your Purpose (82-87)
o Radical Prioritization (90-94)
o What Is Compassion? (99-110)
o Connecting across Differences (116-121)
o What Is Self-Compassion? (125-140)
o Self-Compassion and Self-Esteem (143-146)
o Managing Emotions: What Doesn’t Work (152-159)
o Mindfulness Strategies for Emotional Regulation (162-166)
o What Is Reflection? (179-1870
o Elements of Courage (204-215)
o Managerial Moral Courage (216-222)
o Leader-Initiated Approaches (227-252)
I am also commend Weiss on her skillful use of Mini-Commentaries as well as “Accomplish This” interactive exercises throughout include:
o Define Your Purpose (Page 70)
o Practicing Compassion Toward Others (108-109)
o Accelerator Moment (136-137)
o Self-Compassion (142-143)
o Identify the Ladder of Inference (161-162)
o Walking Meditation (166-167)
o Quick Ways to Access Mindfulness at Work (171-172)
o Change Your Interpretation (180-181)
o Applying Reflection Practices (197-198)
o Taking Inventory of Fear (207-208
o Staying on Track (214-215)
o Motivating with Purpose (219)
o Cultivating Responsibility (223)
At one point, Weiss observes: “Prototype, experimentation, and informed redesign — the contemporary Western system for innovative thinking known as ‘design thinking’ that is de rigueur all over Silicon Valley — has a surprising analog in a two-thousand-year-old Tibetan system called darma sum. Literally, and rather poetically, darma sum means ‘good in the beginning, good in the middle, and good in the end.’ This three-part mindfulness training instruction applies to everything we do or want to do. Not coincidentally, I think, both design thinking and darma sumtrace the basic structure of another famous learning strategy: the hypothesis, experimentation, and conclusion of the scientific method.”
It would be an excellent idea to have a lined notebook near at hand while reading this book in order to record questions, comments, and page references as well as completing various exercises. Doing this will facilitate, indeed expedite frequent review of key material later.
Obviously, no brief commentary such as mine could possibly do full justice to the abundance of information, insights, and counsel that is provided in this book. However, I hope I have at least indicated why I think so highly of Leah Weiss and her work. I agree with her: “The path to productivity and success is not to change jobs, to compartmentalize our feelings, or to create a false ‘professional’ identity but rathe to listen to the wisdom of our feelings offer.”






Editor's note: This review was written by Robert Morris and has been published with his permission. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right. 

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