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Work-Life Balance: Best Books on Balance
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Work-Life Balance: Best Books on Balance - Executive Leadership Articles

Work-Life Balance: Best Books on Balance

Executive Leadership Articles

Work-Life Balance: Best Books on Balance

There’s an easy joke to be made about a person who finds time to read more than ten books about work-life balance. Surely, anyone with time to read all those books already has balance figured out and therefore doesn’t need the books anymore, right? Maybe, but in our ongoing mission to learn what we can about this seemingly never ending topic, to understand multiple perspectives and share meaningful perspectives from all over, we’d probably still accumulate this mini library on the topic just to know what people are saying.

Perhaps it’s selective reading; maybe it’s luck. We haven’t read anything terrible on the subject, and some of this material is actually quite well done. If you’re looking for a bigger bite of work-life balance advice, as opposed these once-monthly appetizers, we’ve selected for your our five favorite books on this subject, all except one published within the last five years. You could really begin with any of them, but in the interest of critical thinking, we’ve put them in order from our favorite to our fifth-favorite. Here’s hoping you’ll find inspiration, motivation, time, and of course balance somewhere in these pages!

Remote: Office Not Required by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier
The company behind the collaborative communication applications Basecamp and Campfire look at work-life balance from the company’s perspective, specifically in creating remote working conditions allowing employees the flexibility they need. Traditional office cultures may have some difficulty shifting their thinking on some things, but Fried and Heinemeier make an excellent case for putting in the effort and infrastructure to allow as much remote working as possible for the team members who want it. An excellent, thoughtful read.

The Balance Myth: Rethinking Work-Life Success by Teresa A. Taylor
The former COO of Qwest, a working mom, shares insights about how (and why) she manages her time, dismissing the concept of work-life balance as a zero-sum game. “I couldn’t take the mother out of the career woman or vice versa,” she writes, “and you shouldn’t have to either.” Some may cringe at some of what she considers necessary (sneaking back to the office after the kids are put to bed, for example) for succeeding at life all around, but addressing the problems in areas of life that matter is her focus, and it’s both a compelling argument and an inspiring story.

Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder by Arianna Huffington
Arianna Huffington’s post-media career is centered around her cause for science-based solutions to the problems of stress and burnout. This book is a manifesto of sorts, a kind of call to action for any of us whose pursuits of wealth and success have left us feeling something less than fulfilled. Parts of this book come from privileged perspectives, but the heart of her arguments about redefining success and living more meaningful lives are pretty convincing. How are we thinking about our progress through work, school, and family? Where did these metrics come from, and what’s wrong with them? Huffington thinks work-life balance all begins with rethinking what we measure.

Off Balance: Getting Beyond the Work-Life Balance Myth to Personal and Professional Satisfaction by Matthew Kelly
The underlying philosophy of Matthew Kelly’s Off Balance is similar to Huffington’s “rethink success” and Taylor’s “forget balance; seek satisfaction,” but Kelly is determined to break apart the mechanisms of our lives so we can put them back together in a better way, with measurable outcomes and regular evaluation. It’s a bit clinical for our tastes, but those who prefer a more structured how-to approach are likely to find a good basis for defining and achieving satisfaction. The self-helpiest of the self-help books we examined for this article, its you-can-do-it tone is a strength or drawback, depending on your preferences!

#Unplug: How to Work Hard and Still Have a Life edited by Chuck Salter
This collection of columns appearing in Fast Company begins with Baratunde Thurston’s sorta famous “The World’s Most Connected Man Goes Off the Grid,” and ends with Miles Korhman’s “The Last Unplugged Generation.” It was in this collection we first considered the concept of a digital detox, a topic covered extensively here and worth a revisit. It didn’t occur to us then, but this book would make a great book group selection or an assigned team reading choice. Everyone is more plugged in now than they were when the collection was first assembled. It seems more relevant today.


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Work-Life Balance: Best Books on Balance - Executive Leadership Articles

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