Leading the Life You Want: Skills for Integrating Work and Life


A Wall Street Journal Bestseller

“For nearly thirty years, my life’s work has been to help people like you find ways to bring the often warring aspects of life into greater harmony.” — Stew Friedman, from Leading the Life You Want

You’re busy trying to lead a “full” life. But does it really feel full—or are you stretched too thin? Enter Stew Friedman, Wharton professor, adviser to leaders across the globe, and passionate advocate of replacing ...

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Leading the Life You Want: Skills for Integrating Work and Life

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A Wall Street Journal Bestseller

“For nearly thirty years, my life’s work has been to help people like you find ways to bring the often warring aspects of life into greater harmony.” — Stew Friedman, from Leading the Life You Want

You’re busy trying to lead a “full” life. But does it really feel full—or are you stretched too thin? Enter Stew Friedman, Wharton professor, adviser to leaders across the globe, and passionate advocate of replacing the misguided metaphor of “work/life balance” with something more realistic and sustainable. If you’re seeking “balance” you’ll never achieve it, argues Friedman. The idea that “work” competes with “life” ignores the more nuanced reality of our humanity—the interaction of four domains: work, home, community, and the private self. The goal is to create harmony among them instead of thinking only in terms of trade-offs. It can be done.

Building on his national bestseller, Total Leadership, and on decades of research, teaching, and practice as both consultant and senior executive, Friedman identifies the critical skills for integrating work and the rest of life. He illustrates them through compelling original stories of these remarkable people:

• former Bain & Company CEO and Bridgespan co-founder Tom Tierney
• Facebook COO and bestselling author Sheryl Sandberg
• nonprofit leader and US Navy SEAL Eric Greitens
• US First Lady Michelle Obama
• soccer champion-turned-broadcaster Julie Foudy
• renowned artist Bruce Springsteen

Each of these admirable (though surely imperfect) people exemplifies a set of skills—for being real, being whole, and being innovative—that produce a sense of purpose, coherence, and optimism.

Based on interviews and research, their stories paint a vivid picture of how six very different leaders use these skills to act with authenticity, integrity, and creativity—and they prove that significant public success is accomplished not at the expense of the rest of life, but as the result of meaningful engagement in all its parts. With dozens of practical exercises for strengthening these skills, curated from the latest research in organizational psychology and related fields, this book will inspire you, inform you, and instruct you on how to take realistic steps now toward leading the life you truly want.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Citing research that suggests professional success results from living a full, meaningful, and balanced life, Friedman (Total Leadership), founder of the Wharton Leadership Program and the Wharton Work/Life Integration Project, identifies six individuals from diverse fields who have found commendable ways to incorporate life’s “four domains” of work/school, home/family, community/society, and body/mind/spirit. The first section of the book features magazine-style profiles of First Lady Michelle Obama, rocker Bruce Springsteen, activist-athlete Julie Foudy, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, humanitarian and former Navy SEAL Eric Greitens, and CEO-turned-philanthropist Tom Tierney, along with suggestions for readers on ways to apply the guiding principles exemplified by these role models. The second section consists of 36 exercises designed to help readers achieve a similar balance through authenticity, integrity, and creativity. With a personable writing style that also has an air of formality, Friedman’s accessible book is a significant entry in the work/life-balance category. That said, readers will need to harbor a strong desire for change to implement some of these suggestions: find a quiet spot to draw your goals on artist’s paper with colored markers? (Oct.)
From the Publisher

Included in Forbes “Eight Noteworthy Books of 2014” list.

“One of the Best Leadership Books of the Year” — Inc.

“Friedman sets out tests and suggestions for developing skills for integrating work and the rest of life…the message…is worth exploring." — Financial Times

“In 2008, I chose Stewart Friedman’s Total Leadership as the top book in the Personal Development category of our annual business book awards… Friedman [now] builds on his previous work by presenting the stories of six well-known personalities who exemplify the well-integrated life… Then, in the second half of the book, which acts as a workbook complete with exercises, uses their successes and struggles, as points of reference as he teaches us how to develop the necessary skills.” — Jack Covert, 800 CEO READ

“Friedman’s accessible book is a significant entry in the work/life balance category.” — Publishers Weekly

“Recommended Reading for Creative Leaders" — FORBES.com

“In his new book Leading the Life You Want: Skills for Integrating Work and Life, [Friedman] explores the idea that truly winning people over “starts with knowing what you care about, and then being able to express that in ways other people can relate to…’” — Laura Vanderkam, Fast Company

“Friedman gives you tools to help you craft your own approach… a great starting point to learn about leading the life you want.” — Stephanie Denning, FORBES

“In Leading the Life You Want, Stewart Friedman masterfully weaves together six life narratives to show exactly how any of us can live a more richly integrated, meaningful and satisfying life with others.” — Kare Anderson, The Huffington Post

“In his newest book, Leading the Life You Want, Friedman explores the skills you need to be a leader, how to develop them, and how to devote your life to your work without losing everything that's important to you.” — Will Yakowicz, Inc.

“It seems that everyone has an opinion on work/life balance these days, but Stewart D. Friedman’s Leading the Life You Want isn’t necessarily one of them. Well, it is, but it’s also a lot more.” — Consulting Magazine

“In Leading the Life You Want, [Friedman] profiles top leaders—from Sheryl Sandberg to Michelle Obama, and Bruce Springsteen to former Bain & Co. CEO Tom Tierney—and tells their stories, explaining how their choices enable them to thrive in multiple realms of their lives.” — Dorie Clark, Forbes

“Wharton professor Friedman, building on his excellent study, Total Leadership, uses examples ranging from Sheryl Sandberg to Bruce Springsteen to move from familiar calls to balance competing work and life commitments toward taking steps, instead, to integrate our passions and values across the domains of work, home, community, and the private self." — David Slocum, Berlin School of Creative Leadership

Leading the Life You Want is an action-oriented book...Whether or not you are a Springsteen fan…the way it’s written makes it a good resource that you can turn to time and again for inspiration when you find yourself stuck. Whatever your profession may be, keep a copy of Leading the Life You Want on your office desk or your bedside table." — Legends of Springsteen (legendsofspringsteen.com)

“Stewart Friedman… says the whole work-life balance goal is faulty anyway. He cites Sandberg and Springsteen as great examples of people who have integrated their careers and lives in a way that complements both.” — Teresa Novellino, Upstart Business Journal

“… leadership work-life integration is a universal question. It is a universal challenge. Perhaps it is a universal opportunity. That is not just in the realm of business or just in the realm of a certain kind of a person, and I think these stories really bring that to life.” — Jeffrey Klein, Executive Director of the Wharton Leadership Program

“We can integrate our work and our lives. Friedman offers strategies to achieve what he calls “four-way wins” in four domains… A self-assessment identifies which areas need attention and the book offers practices for each.” — HR Professional

ADVANCE PRAISE for Leading the Life You Want:

Melinda Gates, Co-chair, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation—
Leading the Life You Want illustrates through compelling biographies the skills you need to…lead a life that truly blends meaning and happiness.”

Tom Gardner, CEO, The Motley Fool—
“A much needed surge of inspiration.”

Billie Jean King, sports icon and social justice pioneer—
“Stew Friedman shows how to harness your passions to pursue four-way wins—in your work, home, community, and most importantly, for yourself.”

Neil Blumenthal, Co-founder and Co-CEO, Warby Parker—
“Stew Friedman makes the idea of finding harmony between work and life not only possible, but practicable. A brainy yet conversational guide that offers inspired, effective solutions.”

Herminia Ibarra, Professor, INSEAD; author, Act Like a Leader, Think Like a Leader
“Absolutely wonderful. Read it, and you will be inspired to live and work like never before.”

David Allen, author of the international bestseller, Getting Things Done
“This is a great manifesto for getting it done. Bravo!”

Anne-Marie Slaughter, President and CEO, New America Foundation—
“Stew Friedman stands out as one of the few male voices in the field. He understands better than anyone else how leadership, life, and business can fit together.”

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781422189412
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press
  • Publication date: 10/7/2014
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 144,921
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 5.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Since 1984 Stew Friedman has been teaching at Wharton, where he is the Practice Professor of Management. In 1991 he founded both the Wharton Leadership Program—initiating the required MBA and Undergraduate leadership courses—and the Wharton Work/Life Integration Project. Stew served in the mental health field before earning his PhD in organizational psychology from the University of Michigan. In 2001 he concluded a two-year assignment (while on leave from Wharton) at Ford, as the senior executive for leadership development. Stew is the author of Baby Bust: New Choices for Men and Women in Work and Family (Wharton Digital, 2008) and Total Leadership: Be a Better Leader, Have a Richer Life (Harvard Business Review Press, 2014). The Total Leadership program is used worldwide, including by the 57,000+ students in Stew’s recent Coursera MOOC. He advises many organizations, gives high-energy keynotes, and is an award-winning teacher. The New York Times cited the “rock star adoration” he inspires in students. He was chosen by Working Mother as one of America’s twenty-five most influential men to have made things better for working parents, and by Thinkers50 as one of the “world’s top fifty business thinkers.” The Families and Work Institute honored him with a Work Life Legacy Award. Follow him on Twitter @StewFriedman and tune in to his show, Work and Life, on Sirius XM 111, Business Radio Powered by the Wharton School, Tuesdays at 7:00 p.m. (EST).
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