Reading Time: 2 minutes

My book review is on The Book of JOY – Lasting Happiness in a Changing World. The book is a collaborate effort, coordinated by Douglas Abrams, and documents an extended conversation between His Holiness The Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Some takeaways, that might be interesting for project teams, include:

  • Our ability to bring joy to a project depends on “the attitudes, the perspectives, and the reactions we bring” to the project and the people associated with the project. (p. 14)
  • Humor goes a long way. These two men teased each other throughout the five days, and consider it a “sign of intimacy and friendship.” Their jokes were never attempts to put the other down, but rather a constant reinforcement of their friendship. (p. 19)  According to Archbishop Tutu, the teasing is a “statement of trust in the relationship.” (p. 220)
  • According to the Dalai Lama, “If you really feel a sense of concern for the well-being of others, then trust will come. That’s the basis of friendship.” So, to build trust on your teams, help people create a stronger sense of compassion for each other. (p. 74)
  • We all have mirror neurons – which fire when we observe others doing something notable. Adams describes the sensation as a “tingling in my forehead and then a sharpening of focus as various parts of my brain started to quiet and calm….” (p. 179) These neurons help us understand other people’s intentions. The challenge may be that, because of these mirror neurons, and depending on the kind of behavior that we are “mirroring,” we can act without thinking. Meditation can help lengthen the time between the stimulus and our response. Surround yourself with people that you want to imitate.
  • Smile – “Research has shown that the simple act of smiling for as little as twenty seconds can trigger positive emotions, jump-starting joy and happiness. Smiling stimulates the release of neuropeptides that work toward fighting off stress and unleashes a feel-good cocktail of the neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins.” (p. 248)