Friday, August 8, 2014

Book Review: Thrive

I greatly admire Ariana Huffington; I have always loved the content and structure of the Huffington Post. She was a pioneer of the modern blogging movement, and when I first started this blog I read the Huffington Post Complete Guide to Blogging. It was extremely practical, well-written, and helpful for me when I was just starting out and trying to find my voice.

Sometimes, I secretly hope that the people at HuffPo will notice my little blog and ask me to write for them. Of course then I'd have to come up with something really good! Anyway, my admiration for Huffington further broadened when I heard about her new book Thrive. I finally got a chance to read it (long waiting list at the library!), and here are my thoughts...

Thrive is essentially an argument for redefining success in America. Going deeper, it is a plea to focus on stress management and self-care over the typical metrics of success (sound familiar?). Huffington surely possesses the ethos to talk about success, given her prolific authorship (she has written something like 14 books) and her publication empire's often imitated online news model.

The full title of the book is Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder. That's a mouthful I know, but it gives a good idea of the things Huffington discusses. She first points out that the main two metrics of success in America are money and power. The book opens with a shocking and intimate vignette about how she became aware of the need to write on this subject. It closes with a directive to move "onward, upward, and inward." Love that!

Interweaving personal experiences with classic persuasive evidentiary writing, she argues for a third metric of success. Her "third metric" is a blend of well-being, wisdom, and wonder, and if this was an easily measurable and quantifiable metric, the book would be much shorter. Thus, she forms the body of her book by dividing it into sections to discuss these three w's. She shares deeply personal experiences with vulnerability and courage, an admirable thing in my opinion for someone of her popularity and stature.

My one criticism of this book is that it is heavy on argument and evidence but light on practical ways to apply her points. (That's where your reading of PracticeBalance can come in handy; hopefully I can help fill that void!) Of course, I read the book from the standpoint of being already convinced. She does provide appendices of her favorite apps for structuring social media time, meditation tools, and websites that match volunteers to service projects. I'm very happy that the book is so successful; it's coming from a place of widespread appeal, so her message will trickle through the channels from executives to perfectionist soccer moms.

Have you read this book? What did you think? How do you define success?

2 comments:

  1. I have not read that book - do read Huffington Post. I didn't know she wrote that many books wow. My definition of success - family, having an exciting job but also carry weight of your responsibility, enjoying your free time, respectful relationships. Finding balance.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for your comment! I also count having "down time" and a job that engages/challenges you in my definition of success. I'm kind of a loner and always try to work on the relationship end but agree it's part of the equation as well!

    ReplyDelete