May 14, 2010
Jack Covert Selects: Jack Covert Selects - Wellbeing
Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements by Tom Rath and Jim Harter, Gallup Press, 240 pages, $25.95, Hardcover, May 2010, ISBN 9781595620408
Gallup Press is the gold standard in research-based books for business people; Strengths Finder 2.0, released in 2007, still holds a constant spot on many bestseller lists. In this new book, Tom Rath and Jim Harter take on the subject of wellbeing and the implications it has for your organization. While much has been said about work/life balance, about finding happiness through work, the authors differentiate their point of view by stating:
Contrary to what many people believe, wellbeing isn’t just about being happy. Nor is it only about being wealthy or successful. And it’s certainly not limited to physical health and wellness. In fact, focusing on any of these elements in isolation could drive us to feelings of frustration and even failure.Gallup conducted a global study of 150 countries, asking questions about quality of life, and found five essential elements of wellbeing: Career, Social, Financial, Physical, and Community. The authors then break down each of those five elements using Gallup’s copious research and the data collected. Career Wellbeing, in particular, is often overlooked and considered beyond our control.
So many lives—and in some cases, entire cultures—are built around the premise that work is something we are not supposed to enjoy. This fundamentally flawed perception is woven into societies and economic models around the world.So, it is refreshing to get real-world advice on how to improve it. Rath and Harter recommend using your strengths, identifying allies, and spending more social time with preferred coworkers as ways to boost Career Wellbeing.
Nearly a third of the book is a technical report that offers a transparent look at Gallup’s metrics, definitions, research and references, and the data-supported information Rath and Harter base their advice on really does a great job of making you look at wellbeing as a multi-faceted endeavor. And, like StrengthsFinder 2.0, Wellbeing is itself a multi-faceted endeavor, including a web-based component—Wellbeing Finder—that will assist you in determining your current state of wellbeing and let you track it over time.