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on 6 January 2010
This is a superb book, probably the best and most effective self help/ change your life book that I have ever read and I have read a lot of them. I will tell you why but before I go into detail, this might be useful: "On Form" is the UK version (what a dull title) and is virtually identical apart from the cover. If you go to Amazon US you will find over 100 reviews on the American version of this book - The power of full engagement.

What is it about?
Manage energy not time. Time is strictly limited to 24 hours per day for everyone. Energy however can be managed so that you have a huge reserve of it. If you have this reserve you are far more likely to be both happy and effective in all the endeavours of you life. If you have no personal energy, you will not succeed no matter how much time you have.

How to build a reserve of energy?
You have 4 sources of energy available to you: Physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. Each of these can be attended to specifically to build your own personal reservoir so that you have plenty to draw on when the going gets tough.

People are not linear:
What most people and work situations fail to recognise is that people are not linear. Machines are linear. You can ask them to perform a task at the same rate all day long with no break, possibly even for months at a time with no break. People however, definitely need recovery and renewal. The authors of this book worked with athletes and discovered that only those athlete who took recovery seriously and mastered it excelled. Those others who trained hard but did not understand or master recovery were the also rans, no matter how talented and dedicated they were.

This book describes exactly how you can build renewal and recovery into your achievements and life (they call it making waves). They describe successful and inspiring ways to do this and give many examples of people they have trained who used these techniques successfully and inspiringly.

The power of rituals: This is where this book differs from any other that I have ever read and where it is probably the most powerful book for change available. Most people simply do not change, even when they realise the wisdom of change and after having been inspired by a great book for instance. Change is very hard for people. People instinctively do what they did yesterday. It is easy and less stressful to do what you know how to do, even if you know it does not work for you and will have long term consequences. It is also easy to kid yourself that lack of exercise or drinking too much for instance, are just short term in your life and you will change when you get more time or a new job or what ever. This book shows you how to be real about what is in you life but far more importantly, it shows you how to make real change happen.

Making change happen:
First identify something that is very important to you that you want to change. Then create a very specific ritual around getting that thing into your life. At first the ritual is hard work because it is new and you need to give it special attention to get it going. After 30 to 60 days, this ritual will "install" in your life and habits and will become as familiar and as important as brushing your teeth. Instead of struggling, you would miss it if it were not there. This is an amazing concept and highly successful. Once a ritual is successfully installed, you can trust it and rely on it and it wont take energy from you day. You can then go on to add more rituals if you wish to.

New year's resolutions: Many people attempt to change habits in the New Year but they often attempt them in a way that does not work well with their psychology. There are certain requirements to make a ritual powerful and easy to install. (Read the book!)

I work as a life coach and I spend my life asking the question: "What does it take for people to really change or transform their lives". So much attempted change is unsuccessful which is deeply sad. I believe this book will make all the difference to a great number of people.

This book also addresses the issue of how to manage your whole life with integrity despite being part of an increasingly busy world. How to make time for your family and for the most important areas of your life, whatever they may be.

Do read this book and then work with it - it is one of the very best.

I have also found Tony Schwartz's book "What really matters" a wonderful read. Tony experiences great financial success after writing the best seller about Donald Trump. Despite this great achievement, he is still not satisfied, so he then engages in 4 year mission to meet with teachers, educators and great thinkers all over America, seeking to find the answer to what creates a really great life.

Jim Loehr has written quite a number of books on the subject of great effectiveness. His work and ideas are really good but his writing style is (in my opinion) dreadful. Hard to read and often negatively expressed. Tony however writes like a dream or even a great journalist (not surprising since that was his trade) in a beautiful, flowing and inspiring way.

Enjoy the book.
Thank you for reading this.
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on 21 July 2003
After having read a plethora of self-help books I would compare this book to the high standard, easily written and concise diagnostic profile as The 7 habits of highly effective people. It was for me an add on to the information written by Stephen Covey however, digs further into the habits of your life in the way you manage your energy and what is adding or taking away your energy levels.
Highly recommended.
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Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz offer a lot of solid, common sense advice. The authors recommend going to bed and getting up at a consistent time - not exactly Ben Franklin's "early to bed, early to rise," but close. They recommend regular exercise. They say it's good to work and to rest, and each has its place. They say to examine yourself and try to see yourself as others see you. In other words, they recommend many time-honored techniques of physical, mental and spiritual growth,combined with prioritizing how you use your energy and how you recharge your batteries. This attitude makes the book unique. The principles may be ancient, but we find the vehicle distinctly contemporary, a combo of New Age jargon and workout-style performance charting, with (at last) a key to time management that makes sense and captures all areas of one's life. Some readers will find that thrilling, others will groan.
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I recently re-read this book and was curious to know to what extent (if any) it has lost any of its relevance during the years since it was first published, in 2003. My conclusion? If anything, it is even more relevant now than it was before. However, that said, I still presume to suggest to those who are thinking about reading that they ignore the title and focus on the methodology that Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz introduce and then explain. Of course, full engagement has power. However, I cannot think of even one company among those annually ranked by Fortune to be the most highly admired, the best to work for, etc. that has full engagement. In fact, the results of recent research by the Gallup Organization and Towers Perrin clearly indicate that, on average, about 25-30% of employees are actively and productively engaged, about 35-40% are passively engaged (doing as little as necessary to stay employed), and about the same percentage are actively disengaged, with many of them hostile and having a toxic effect within their workplace.

Obviously, the challenge for business leaders in all organizations (whatever their size and nature my be) is to increase the percentage of those workers who are actively and productively engaged. What do Loehr and Schwartz suggest? All of their insights and recommendations are based on a vast amount of real-world experience with all manner of organizations. What they offer in this volume is the Full Engagement Training System®, a comprehensive and cohesive program that enables us to manage energy efficiently. The methodology is based on four separate but interdependent principles:

1. Full engagement requires drawing on separate but related sources of energy: physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. "All four dynamics are critical, none is sufficient by itself and each profoundly influences the others [for better or worse]. To perform at our best, we must skillfully manage each of these interconnected dimensions of energy."

2. Because energy capacity diminishes both with overuse and with underuse, we must balance energy expenditure with intermittent energy renewal. "We rarely consider how much energy we are spending because we take it for granted that the energy available to us is limitless. In fact, increased demand progressively depletes our energy reserves - especially in the absence of any effort to reverse the progressive loss of capacity that occurs with age."

3. To build capacity, we must push beyond our normal limits, training in the same systematic way that elite athletes do. "Stress is not the enemy in our lives. Paradoxically, it is the key to growth. In order to build strength in a muscle we must systematically stress it, expending energy beyond normal levels. Doing so literally causes microscopic tears in the muscle fibers. At the end of a training session, functional capacity is diminished. But give the muscle twenty-four to forty-eight hours to recover and it grows stronger and better able to handle the next stimulus."

4. Positive energy rituals - highly specific routines for managing energy - are the key to full engagement and sustained high performance. "Change is difficult. We are creatures of habit. Most of what we do is automatic and nonconscious. What we did yesterday is what we are likely to do today...A positive ritual is a behavior that becomes automatic over time - fueled by some deeply held value."

As indicated earlier, Loehr and Schwartz have devised what they call the Full Engagement Training System® and one of several key points they make is that both supervisors and those for whom they are directly responsible are active in this program, one that involves a shared journey of observation, revelation, and increased understanding. Another is that there are continuous role reversals for both "students" and "teachers" during frequent knowledge exchanges. Still another key point is that one of the most important drivers is the human need to find meaning, "among the most powerful and enduring themes in every culture since the origin of recorded history." And still another is that those who are purpose-driven must also constantly nurture and regularly renew their "most precious resource," energy, and expend it only in the service of what matters most.

Forget about having a workforce with full engagement concentrate on increasing the number of workers who are fully engaged. Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz can provide invaluable assistance to those who are now planning or who are only recently embarked on efforts to achieve that worthy objective.
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Much of the information in this book can be found in other books on time management and personal productivity. Readers will need to decide whether to revile the authors for repeating so much conventional wisdom or appreciate their efforts to gather it together in one place. Information about proper sleep and nutrition habits, for example, remains useful even when it is not new.

The unique value of this book goes beyond its organization of personal energy into physical, emotional, mental and physical energy. We have read most of these concepts before in the sales motivation literature. The book's practical value is in its advice about how to incorporate regular energy renewal routines into your life. Steven Covey (The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People) calls this "sharpening the saw." These authors expand on the concept with a full range of suggestions and examples.

The authors' studies of professional athletes have taught them two principles. One is that high performers work hard to stretch their limits and increase their capacity over the long term. This is not news. The second--and more interesting--lesson is that top athletes build replenishment into both their training and performance routines. In one example they describe a tennis player who uses breathing exercises to lower his heart rate between each set. They authors argue that this kind of renewal in the middle of the game is essential to high performance. And that it generalizes from athletes to the rest of us.

I'm sufficiently convinced of the value of renewal rituals that I have used the book's advice to design two of my own. I have discovered an unexploited hour of time in the mornings between when I drop off my son at a before-school activity and when I must leave for work. It is just enough time to fit in 30 minutes of swimming that will help me face the day. I've also resumed an old habit to walk two extra miles toward home after work before getting on my commuter train. I hope that this will not only give me some additional exercise, but provide a buffer between the stresses of work and returning home. Both seem to be helping after two weeks. We'll see about the long-term.

I advise borrowing this book--or audio book--from a library or a friend to see what good it has to offer. Frankly, I wouldn't buy it if I could borrow it.
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on 18 June 2010
This book is very relevant for everybody who is interested to learn more (and to do more) about personal engagement in the broadest sense. A number of key drivers are identified and discussed in a very practical, readable fashion : physical, emotional, mental and spiritual balance and wellbeing. The end of the book includes an easy to use action planning framework. This book does not leave you with new questions as some other self help books sometimes do, it actually leaves you with the ability to create a personal and realistic action plan and start working on improving engagement ... immediately. I recommend this book regularly.
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on 4 January 2012
This practical book addresses the question of how to increase performance to top-level. It researches four dimensions of energy: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual and offers plenty examples from the practice of the authors. Both from top sportsmen and business executives. The book is well-written and highly stimulating. The content itself is pretty straightforward but ultimately triggers thoughts on a deeper level. Key lessons include: 1. Balance energy expenditure with intermittent energy renewal 2. To build capacity we must push beyond our normal limits followed by adequate recovery 3. Positive energy rituals are the key to full engagement 4. The importance of nutricion, sleep, water, physical activity and breaks during work. I loved the example of the annoying breaks between points at a tennis game, and was amazed at their role in bringing players like Lendl and Courier to the top. Definitely a book that I'll reread within the next few years.
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on 10 January 2010
I bought this as an audio book, which has been great as I have been able to listen to it many times, whilst travelling to really let the material sink in. The concepts are clear and well illustrated with examples of people who have participated in the full training course. For anybody who has read and identified with Stephen Covey, this is a very natural step and there is a lot of cross over in approach and context. When I first read The 7 Habits several years ago it certainly had a profound effect on me and I have very much integrated the lessons into my life since then. This is the first book for a long time which has inspired me in a similar way.I highly recommend it to anybody looking for a fresh approach to personal development and quality of life.
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on 15 October 2015
This is an amazing book. It is a proposal for renewing your energy, in fact for finding what matters most. Helps you rethink your values, your attitude, your behaviour along all the areas of your life, through a set of very very interesting examples. It's very clear and helpful. It doesn't have any recipe to follow, but makes you think about your entire life. Definitely, a must have!
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on 31 May 2011
This book's been around for a while but I'd not heard of it until recently. The basic message is: manage energy and not time. This was a very useful idea for me but I didn't think it was necessary to finish the book as the same idea is repeated again and again, with examples.
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