Book Club – Thrive By Arianna Huffington

Book: Thrive, The Third Metric To Redefining Success And Creating A Life Of Well-Being, Wisdom, And Wonder

Publishing Year: 2014

About the Author: From the Thrive Global bio: Arianna Huffington is the founder and CEO of Thrive Global, the founder of The Huffington Post, and the author of 15 books, including Thrive and The Sleep Revolution. In 2016, she launched Thrive Global, a leading behavior change tech company with the mission of changing the way we work and live by ending the collective delusion that burnout is the price we must pay for success. Arianna has been named to Time Magazine’s list of the world’s 100 most influential people and the Forbes Most Powerful Women list. Originally from Greece, she moved to England when she was 16 and graduated from Cambridge University with an M.A. in economics. At 21, she became president of the famed debating society, the Cambridge Union. She serves on numerous boards, including Onex and The B Team. Her last two books, Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder and The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night At A Time, both became instant international bestsellers.

Growth Is A Journey book review consists of a series of questions and answers, intended to represent 1-2 key nuggets of insights from the book, as well as personal takeaways with an invitation for readers to discover the book in its entirety.

Key message of the Book: Thrive is a well-documented book debunking the myths that power and money are key to a successful life. Arianna is introducing a third metric for a fulfilling life, which is the ability to create and sustain a life of well-being, wisdom, wonder and giving. Such third metric is like a third leg to a stool, without each the stool would collapse, just like Arianna experienced in April of 2007, when she found herself lying on the floor of her home office in a pool of blood, as result of exhaustion and lack of sleep.

What to know before reading: The book is not one of these “new age” memorandum, full of big (empty) words and proclaiming new-found wisdom and peace. It is a very down-to-earth and pragmatic book that takes the reader through a journey of documented facts and data, stories and science-based truths on the benefits of well-being, and of cultivating wisdom, wonder and giving. Arianna borrows research and stories from a range of sources, from her mom and family, to scientists, businessmen, psychologists, artists, and sportsmen.

Biggest personal learning from the book: Key personal learning from the book is that the third metric is not something to remember doing and looking for – from time to time; it is truly a way of life, a gift that keeps on giving to ourselves and these around us, including family, friends and our communities. Indeed, “what we’re beginning to recognize now is that success is not always about doing more, but also about doing better – and we do better when we’re connected to our inner wisdom, strength, and intuition.” Furthermore, such creation of wonder, wisdom, giving and well-being is not something that is magically arising in our lives; it is the result of practices, disciplines and routines that we need to make room for – from a genuine desire to find the true essence of ourselves, which in turn, leads to a life of thriving: “In our daily lives, moving from struggle to grace requires practice and commitment. But it’s in our hands. I’ve come to believe that living in a state of gratitude is the gateway to grace. Gratitude has always been for me one of the most powerful emotions. Grace and gratitude have the same Latin root, gratus. Whenever we find ourselves in a stop-the-world-I-want-to-get-off mindset, we can remember that there is another way and open ourselves to grace. And it often starts with taking a moment to be grateful for this day, for being alive, for anything.

One specific learning from the book: A point made in the book is about time affluence and the importance of cultivating it. Arianna talks about how her mom always made a point that “rushing through life was a sure way to miss the gifts that come only when you give 100 percent of yourself to a task, a conversation, a dinner, a relationship, a moment.” Time affluence is thus more about the ability to be “in the moment” than having more time for a particular activity or in general. This is a pragmatic view that I particularly relate to. Because it is impossible to escape being subject to deadlines or finding ourselves not rushing through to get to a next appointment in some hectic days. However, Arianna highlights via Carl Honore’s work, the author of In Praise of Slowness, that “Speed can be fun, productive and powerful, and we would be poorer without it. What the world needs, and what the slow movement offers, is a middle path, a recipe for marrying la dolce vita with the dynamism of the information age. The secret is balance: instead of doing everything faster, do everything at the right speed. Sometimes fast. Sometimes slow. Sometimes in between.” The secret is balance… between speeding up and slowing down, …in taking on the stress of a challenge, as much as giving ourselves a mental and physical break.

How is this book different from other leadership books: The book is a compelling invitation to living a life of well-being, wisdom and wonder. It’s compelling not because of the author’s name, fame and editorial empire. It is compelling thanks to the myriad of life stories, facts, and science-based research that are woven to make this book a course in the third metric, that regardless of our social-economic statuses, is a sure way to ground ourselves and experience fulfillment and well-being.

Additional resources: The Third Metric with Google.

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