This was the first of three One Minute Manager books I've read. They are easy reads, all with the same "parable" format -- that is, they are told in story form, with narrative and dialogue. Important points are written in large form on a single page, like this:
It's not the Stress in Your Life
But How You Deal with It That Counts
(That's just an example -- I sent the book back already)
The idea in this book is that the One Minute Manager has become so successful that his work/life balance has become disrupted. (The new version of the book is called The One Minute Manager Balances Work and Life). He has gained 50 pounds and isn't getting enough exercise, and isn't spending enough time with his family.
He is in danger of burnout. Burnout results when stress produces strain. Stress in life isn't the problem -- there can be good stress. That's why in the stress checklists, good things like a new baby or personal success count as stresses too. If you don't have enough stress, you are in danger of "rustout". The OMM defines "strain" as the negative effects of stressors.
There are four moderators to stress according to the book:
- Autonomy : Control over your life, choices.
- Connectedness : Your support system and family/community ties, feeling of being a valued member
- Perspective: Your understanding of the "big picture" in your life; direction, purpose, passion.
- Tone: How you feel about your physical appearance, your energy level and general personal habits.
To help you decide if you have a healthy lifestyle or not, there is a "Professor's Dozen" checklist that looks a bit like this Executive Health one (without all the details about doctors' visits).
Oh, here's one of those one page messages in the book:
More than ever before,
Health is the Outcome
of the Way You Choose to Live Your Life
(you get the picture)
Once the One Minute Manager realizes that his personal life has taken a backseat to his work life, he resolves to get fit. This is how he does it:
- He makes goals -- to lose that 50 pounds -- and to exercise for 45 minutes, 5 times a week.
- He also sets median goals -- wayposts along the way, like the 20 pound goal.
- He decides upon a way to measure his progress -- exercise and weight loss charts.
- He gets his family/support system involved.
- CHANGE is difficult and feels awkward at first.
- It's easy to return to default mode when the goals are met (so you have to plan a maintenance system for the future)
- It's smart to make yourself aware of how you will perceive the disadvantages of the changes, and also focus on the advantages. For example, exercising might take time and planning and an initial output of energy. ... those would be the disadvantages. But it will improve energy in the longterm, and burn calories -- and might be fun -- those would be the advantages.
- Knowledge (finding out the facts -- this is usually the easiest part -- you just read a book or article or find out that X eating habit is unhealthy)
- Attitude (how you feel about the knowledge -- many people know smoking is bad for them but don't want to quit because the disadvantages are felt more strongly than the advantages).
- Behavior (what you do as a result of how you feel)
In light of these facts, it is important to:
- Acknowledge the difficulties,
- Visualize the advantages
- Make a personal commitment,
- Rally your support system,
- Set goals, and then of course,
- Carry them out. Also,
- Celebrate/Affirm your progress along the way.
The book only took about an hour or so for me to read. The reading level is simple and the narrative/dialogue style makes it easy to remember the key points. In fact, to me it evoked another book I've been reading, called Memorize the Faith (see my sidebar) which uses the medieval "locus" system to consolidate facts in your mind. The parable form the OMM books use has somewhat the same function; you follow the storyline and take in the ideas at the same time as the main character does, and share his sense of discovery. I would not call the story scintillating, but it is cheerful and smoothly written and serves the purpose for which it is written.
You can see from my notes that the ideas are based on common sense and conventional wisdom -- nothing complex or esoteric or marginal.
Other books he referenced: