The Power of Full Engagement - Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz

This is the last in a pile of management books recommended by work's training doodah. Somehow we got the 'printed in India (not for export)' edition, so the cover has to be seen to be believed. Tacky does not start to cover it.

Anyway, what's this book about? It's by professional sports coaches who seem to have decided there's more money in coaching executives! When I say 'sports coach', I don't mean technical coaches, but more, er, focus coaches, to make them perform at their best in matches, independent of technique.

What do they say? Mostly 'don't run yourself into the ground'. It's nice to see a management book where the main advice is to sleep well, get exercise, take breaks, relax from time-to-time and eat sensibly! :p This 'full engagement' business is about focussing when you need to, and avoiding burning out by putting too many hours in. They're into stress/relaxation cycles - push yourself, and then recover, rather than slogging on, by analogy to their preferred physical training.

Generally, it seems non-contentious, but their backing logic is sometimes a bit screwy. Pretty much "This top workaholic got cancer. See what can happen? No proof, just sayin'".

What else do they like? Incremental change to stop you getting overwhelmed fixing things up, 'rituals' (i.e. forming positive habits) and values (a la 7 habits).

Is it any good? It's ok. There's plenty of overlap with other books. It's not as general and idealistic as 7 habits, nor as specific and practical as the Mind Gym books. I don't think it's really as good as either. It has some nice (if a little tacky) case studies, and it does fit in a niche. I don't think it's the first, or even second book I'd get in this genre, but it'd still be on the 'buy' part of the list.

Posted 2010-08-09.