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Is Work Killing You? Paperback – Feb 2 2013
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...solid advice for anyone who wants to transform their current workplace, or is looking for new employment. (Deborah Bowers Winnipeg Free Press 2013-02-09)
Posen makes a sound, compelling case for active stress reduction at work (Publishers Weekly 2013-02-18)
As I was reading Is Work Killing You?, there was one question that kept popping into mind: why isn't this book taught in school? You'll ask yourself that, too, because Posen makes many good points for employees and business owners alike...Posen offers pages and pages of ideas meant to make the business world better, do-able from dual sides of the paycheck. (Terri Schlichenmeyer The Augusta Chronicle 2013-05-23)
You'll ask yourself that, too, as you devour this common-sense, how-to, rant-slash-advice book because Posen makes many good points for employees and business owners alike. In making those arguments, he underscores his research by sharing dozens of anecdotes from his patients and others, and some of them are jaw-droppingly uncomfortable to read. Posen doesn't leave us hanging on those squirmy details for long, though; he offers pages and pages of ideas meant to make the business world better, doable from dual sides of the paycheck. This is one of those books that could potentially benefit anyone who works for a living, and I'm excited to finally see this topic tackled. (Inside Business 2013-07-05)
About the Author
David Posen, M.D., is a physician, popular speaker, and the bestselling author of The Little Book of Stress Relief, which sold more than 50,000 copies and has been translated into five languages. His previous books also include Staying Afloat When the Water Gets Rough and the classic, Always Change a Losing Game. His writing has appeared in Canadian Living, Reader's Digest, Men's Health, USA Weekend, and his TV and radio appearances have aired nation-wide. He lives in Oakville, Ontario.
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Dr. Posen mentions that in his other books he talks about work related stress from the point-of-view of the individual as the needed source of change; conversely, in this book, Posen speaks of the need for corporate restructuring, either through manageable and small-scale changes or even through radical and large-scale implementations of his ideas.
Perhaps the most radical and yet eye-opening of his perspectives is his view that there have been layoffs of corporate staff members that resulted less from necessity and more from sheer corporate greed--most notably through CEO inflated wages.
To illustrate, Dr. Posen writes that "in December 2011, the Conference Board of Canada reported that the pay of board directors of publicly traded companies in Canada jumped 400 percent in the past decade while the value of the companies they were overseeing rose only 33 percent, based on the Toronto Stock Market Index" (p. 281). Essentially, while companies lay off staff-- creating extra burdens, increased stress, and greater workloads for remaining members-- CEO's are earning 400 times the value they earned in the prior decade. Sadly, even when corporations are losing money, CEO's are receiving hefty bonuses for failing performances.
Interestingly, the outcome of this downsizing of staff, according to Dr. Posen, is that staff members are being both stretched beyond their natural stress threshold and deprived of the leisure, sleep and work balance that is required for optimal living.
Another interesting perspective that Dr. Posen introduces is how the work week used to involve 12 hour workdays, and when societal demands reduced the work week by 2 additional hours, the outcome was increased productivity, less absenteeism, and improved performance.
However, the book deals with substantially more material than covered in this review.
For instance, Posen breaks down the book into three central areas contributing to workplace stress: velocity, volume, and abuse. He gives perspective on subtopics such as the downfall of multitasking, the value of timeouts, the problems of meetings, dealing with bad bosses, dealing with office politics, and much more, including one of his most poignant discussions, "Must the Rich be Filthy Rich."
In his conclusion, he provides over 30 pages on how to prevent many of the factors that contribute to workplace stress.
Dr. Posen's book is a compelling, gripping read that took me two days to finish, in spite of the book being over 350 pages long.
It's an insightful advocacy piece that is very timely, considering how social media is propagating awareness of societal inequities, where some of the wealthy are abusing positions of power and many employees are overtaxed due to exorbitant workloads and unhealthy work environments.
[If you liked the political message of this book, then you absolutely must consider reading "The Price of Inequality: How today's divided society endangers our future" by a Nobel Prize winner in Economics, Joseph E. Stiglitz. Upon reading Stiglitz's book, your view on the current political/economic situation will be completely influenced/altered toward a more progressive outlook that considers foremost the overall benefit of society as a whole.]
In particular, I appreciated how the author does not sugarcoat the reality and also assigns part of the responsibility - cor the cause as well as for leading the change - on the individual workers.
I am purchasing several copies and sending them to my friends and colleagues.
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