"We work most of our lives. Some people have odd jobs throughout life, others work at long steady careers. No matter if you're a dishwasher at a restaurant or a lawyer, Awake at Work opens you up to the idea that there are lessons to be learned, from the people you have run-ins with to the tasks you complete throughout the day. I suggest this book to anyone who thinks they're missing their calling. With a new view point, you could very well be exactly where you want!"
– Lisa M.
"Awake at Work was a godsend for me. I read a section of it EVERY morning before I go to work. I've worn out two copies and just ordered more. If your job gets under skin in any way, shape or form, do yourself a large favor and get this. And by the way, you can swap the word "work" with "life" and the wisdom becomes even broader. GREAT BOOK."
– K.L. Hanson
"I am so glad Awake at Work finally came out on Kindle. I've bought this book in paperback, but as a pick me up, it is great to have it with me to read a chapter here, another chapter there. The opening chapter immediately lets you know what type of book to expect, and then the rest of the book gently guides the reader through different situations, different ideas, and comforting thoughts. This is one of my favorite books, and I can't wait to read it again."
- Joe Reeves
"I love this book, have re-read it several times, and have sent dozens of people copies--virtually all of whom loved the book. It merits being mandatory reading for anyone with a job in a company with more than one person--whether you just got there and it looks great, can't stand it and are on the verge of leaving, or are someplace in-between.
How many of us work in companies where the environment isn't as healthy as we want it to be? Yet at the same time, we're often unconscious about these toxicities--maybe even distance ourselves from them or the jobs that create them. We often attribute the job of bettering the work experience to "them"...or maybe even change the environment for our own groups or for the company at large...but in effect treat the people we want to benefit (and ourselves!) as relatively passive participants.
Awake at Work sheds a whole new perspective on the workplace experience. NOT just enabling people to see their own role in how they experience work. But giving very specific lenses (35, in fact) on how to change the way work feels FOR US for the better, without the environment having to change one iota. Brilliant! And a very easy, almost poetic read, too. How many books give you a whole new and very positive way to think about and experience a place you spend a lot of your time...can be used in a practical way (e.g., chapter a day)...and are just a good read in the bargain? I found Michael Carroll's Mindful Leadership great, too--but Awake at Work is entirely unique in my experience of management literature. The obvious benefit being "Awake" provides: you'll find work a much more pleasant, productive place--if only because you'll be better engaged with what you're doing, no matter how engaged you already are, or how yucky work seems. In addition to that, because you'll be better engaged, you'll probably find some ways to actually improve what's going on around you. And, while most readers will suddenly like their jobs more, others may realized it's time to move on--but will be much more productive in doing so, since a lot of energy lost in complaining and distancing yourself in the job you don't like is more positively directed while you're in it, and finding a new one.
Get this. Read it. Re-read it. Pass it on!"
– Mark Hurwich
"Reading The Mindful Leader and attending Michael's weekend retreat earlier this year turned around my attitude at the office, prepared me well for several looming crises at work, and nearly saved my life. His book Mindful Leadership is essential for anyone trying to lead successfully in today's world of information overload, anti-rationalism, and blind decision-making. It is equally helpful for a business leader, public servant, diplomat or aid worker, NGO or community organizer. Rather than give advice on what to do when, he teaches us that mindful leadership means being open and synchronized--which allows us to tap into our own natural goodness and wisdom that is already in our environment and telling us how to lead.
In many respects, Michael's teachings struck familiar chords for me, since I have been meditating and leading mindfully for years. I already knew that dropping our own addiction to rehearsing our emotions as mental dramas and being open to a situation can yield unexpected wisdom, and I also knew that being open to the world can leave us feeling unprepared and deeply exposed (p. 187). It was reassuring to read examples that show awareness and patience to be among the skills of a mindful leader, and to learn to trust in the basic wisdom of our environment and self.
No doubt you (as a leader) are already strong in some areas too, and this book will help you to see how to improve in those areas that may be underdeveloped. Some of his ideas were uncomfortable for me at first--for instance, the idea that it's a waste of energy to fight arrogance and hypocrisy as if they were a static enemy, and that mindful leaders instead paddle with the fluid momentum of organizations by using a synchronized sense of timing, awareness, and realism (p. 174). Once I read that chapter, I realized that Michael presented a more mature approach, and testing it out I found that his teachings were right on the mark. I immediately stopped flailing my arms as a tired boxer, and started working with the world as it is rather than as I thought it should be; this was a change that has helped save my sanity and make me more effective in the midst of serious crises.
Michael's writing style successfully combines unparalleled business experience with the thousand-year-old wisdom of Tibetan Buddhism, without being too strong (or weak) on either. This book reads very much like Chögyam Trungpa's Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior--very down to earth and practical, yet based on deep wisdom from one of humankind's oldest spiritual paths.
If only I could encourage my colleagues to read this book and internalize its teachings, U.S. foreign policy and government leaders would be more effective. Michael and a few other colleagues have already been applying mindful leadership to the field of law with wonderful results, and there is room for application to other fields. Perhaps if I write a longer review for our diplomatic service publications... "
- Robert Birkenes