Reading Time: 4 minutes

Book Review: Joy at Work: Organizing Your Professional LifeMy book review this month is on Joy at Work: Organizing Your Professional Life, by Marie Kondo and Scott Sonenshein. I read Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, several years ago, and rejected it as a subject for a newsletter. But when I ran across this book, I wondered if it might have value for my readers. Her work focuses extensively on incorporating more gratitude into one’s attitude. Even when discarding something from one’s life, she talks about how to discard it with gratitude. Several takeaways include:

  • The focus in this book is again, on tidying up – and the authors include guidance for how to tidy desks, physical spaces, digital spaces, meetings, contacts, and social networks, etc. But their purpose is not that of decluttering but rather, to help you find a more joyful life. It’s very much about moving our focus from the negative to the positive.
  • Instead of choosing what to get rid of, focus on what you want to keep, and why. Is it truly needed? Does it make your work life easier? Does it bring you joy?
  • Focus on creating smaller networks of only those contacts who are important to you. It’s probably not your primary goal to have the largest Twitter or Instagram following.
  • Effective meetings are an important part of most businesses. But avoid the ones that are ineffective. Or turn them into effective meetings by asking for an agenda and purpose ahead of time. Or, asking open-ended questions during the meeting. If you are in charge, you can ask someone to play the role of devil’s advocate. And when you close the meeting, review what you’ve accomplished. Ask for people’s support, particularly on controversial decisions that you discussed.
  • Brainstorming has its disadvantages. In addition to promoting groupthink, which can be disastrous, it can shut people down when their ideas are dismissed without consideration. Consider switching to “brainwriting” – by allowing time for people to think up ideas on their own – and write them down on a piece of paper, anonymously. Sort them into categories of related ideas and then, discuss them all.

I’d love to hear from you if you have any ideas or questions. Thanks for reading!