Love + Work: A book review by Bob Morris

Love + Work: How to Find What You Love, Love What You Do, and Do It for the Rest of Your Life
Marcus Buckingham
Harvard Business Review Press (April 2022)

How to create “a more powerful, more authentic, and more loving way of living”

To varying degree, each of the ten books that Marcus Buckingham has authored or co-authored thus far offers a uniquely valuable reality check, posing or at least implying questions such as these that only its readers can answer:

1. “What do you REALLY want in terms of quality of personal life?”
2. “Of all that you do to earn a living, what do you enjoy most? Least? Why?”
3. “Which of your defining characteristics has proven valuable in your career thus far?”
4. “How many REALLY CLOSE friends do you have at work? Elsewhere? What (if anything) do these relationships share in common?”
5. “What would you most like to be able to say about your life in twelve months that you can’t say now, today?”

What would your answers be? Write them down and then set them aside and read this brief excerpt from Buckingham’s latest book in which he suggests why he is committed to helping people identify and then leverage their strengths: “This has been my focus for the last thirty years. The first seventeen of them at Gallup, and now as the cohead of the ADP Research Institute, where my team does research around the world on all aspects of human striving…What do we truly know about what the best leaders have in common? What are the strengths of the most effective teachers? What attitude do all the most successful entrepreneurs cultivate in themselves/ the answers to each of these questions are knowable so long as we can measure strengths, talents, and attitude. Which we can. If we’re careful.” HUGE “if.” (Page 8)

Time Out: If you did not write down your answers to the questions I listed earlier, please do so now.

Resume: Here is another key point: Self-assessments will help you pin down what is most important to you. For example, they will indicate what you think you love to do in order to earn a living. Helpful to know. However, as Buckingham suggests, it is also helpful to know which specific skills are essential to becoming a peak performer doing what you think you love to do at work or at play.

Your objective, therefore, should be to develop a 360º understanding of (a) your aspirations and (b) what achieving them requires. I know of no one else who is better qualified than Marcus Buckingham is to help you gain that understanding. Using it effectively is entirely up to you.

One final point, from Thomas Edison: “Vision without execution is hallucination.” If your vision is to become one of the finest pianists in the world, committing thousands of hours to what Anders Ericsson characterizes as “deliberated practice” will not guarantee success but lacking that commitment guarantees failure.

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