Eat Sleep Work Repeat: A book review by Bob Morris

Eat Sleep Work Repeat: 30 Hacks for Bringing Joy to Your Job
Bruce Daisley
HarperOne/An imprint of HarperCollins (February 2020)

How to stimulate creativity, energy, and success throughout your workplace culture

Teresa Amabile and Steve Jobs are among those who believe that people should love what they do when earning a living. Up to a point, I agree but remain convinced that people must do a great of what they dislike (if not hate) in order to be able to do what they love.

How about hitting golf balls on the practice range until both hands are bleeding? Then hitting another 100? Swimming 50 laps every morning (including weekends), beginning at 5 AM?  Or practicing Bach’s Goldberg Variations until you can play it flawlessly?

The results of decades of research by Anders Ericsson and his associates at Florida State University leave no doubt that — with rare exception —  peak performance requires, on average, 10,000 hours of “deep practice.” That is, highly-disciplined, repetitive practice under strict, expert supervision.

Bruce Daisley observes, “I have discovered that there is no shortage of science, research, and investigation regarding what makes work more fulfilling. It’s just that none of the evidence ever seems to reach people doing every day jobs. In this book, I’ve therefore distilled the wisdom of experts into thirty simple [i.e. easily doable] changes that people can try out for themselves or suggest at a team meeting.”

As for meetings, “We waste our freshest hours sitting still in meetings, resisting the temptation to look at our phones, and then we have idiot bosses judging us for not clocking in another four or five weary hours per day to keep on top of our actual work.”

Daisey focuses on 30 “hacks for bring joy” to his readers’ jobs. “Part 1, we look at how we can recharge our own energy.How can we get back to full battery? What are the simple hacks that make work seem more manageable? How can we move from negative affect to positive affect?…In Part 2, I draw heavily on groundbreaking scientific research to offer  suggestions on how to bring trust and connection to your team…Part 3 outlines the nirvana for teams: a work culture that has a special buzz to it…successful teams don’t just have a hum yo them; they have a measurable buzz.”

These are among the passages of greatest interest and value to me, also listed to suggest the scope of Daisley’s coverage:

o Love Where You Work (Pages 1-5)
o Artificial Intelligence (10-14)
o Shifts in Attention (25-26, 41-42, and 50-51)
o System 1 and System 2 Ways of Thinking (39-40)
o Gathering, digesting, and processing materials (43-45)

o Recharge 4: Eliminate Hurry Sickness (47-51)
o Aids to creative thinking (41-42, 185-189, 196-199, 239-241, 245-248, and 277-278
o Teresa Amabile (67-68 and 121-122)
o Recharge 12: Focus on One Thing at a Time (101-104)
o Daniel Pink (120-121, 123-124, and 245-246)

o Synch 5: Laughter (161-169)
o Daniel Kahneman (176-178)
o Synch 8: Know When to Leave People Alone (185-189)
o Positive affect (194-199, 208-209, and 211-213)
o Buzz 1: Frame Work as a Problem You’re Solving (219-224)

o Buzz 3: Keep Teams Lean (229-234)
o Buzz 7: Champion Diversity (257-260)
o Buzz 8: Replace Presenting with Reading (261-266)
o Collective intelligence in meetings (262-265)
o Buzz 10: Relax (273-278)

These are among Bruce Daisley’s concluding thoughts: “Everyone wants to do a job they are proud of. We all know the sense of delight that comes from laughing with colleagues. Through my podcast, with this book, with the discussions I love having with people on Twitter and on LinkedIn, I have sought to explore the secrets of improving our jobs…The sadness is that so much of this evidence tends to be hidden away in specialist publications. and research papers. What I have set out to do here is to share it.”

Some people love everything they do and where they do it. Others love where they work because they feel that they and their work are appreciated. People love achieving peak performance but not all of them love what must be done to be able to succeed. I guess the so-called “bottom line” is that people tend to love what they do best and enjoy most. I am among those people and feel very blessed.

For many (if not most) workers, there is some pleasure but little (if any) joy in their lives. For them, this book is “must reading.”

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