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Leading the Life You Want

Skills for Integrating Work and Life

Stewart D. Friedman

A Wall Street Journal Bestseller

“For nearly thirty years, my life’s work has been to help people like you find ways to bring the often warring aspects of life into greater harmony.” — Stew Friedman, from Leading the Life You Want

You’re busy trying to lead a “full” life. But does it really feel full—or are you stretched too thin? Enter Stew Friedman, Wharton professor, adviser to leaders across the globe, and passionate advocate of replacing the misguided metaphor of “work/life balance” with something more realistic and sustainable. If you’re seeking “balance” you’ll never achieve it, argues Friedman. The idea that “work” competes with “life” ignores the more nuanced reality of our humanity—the interaction of four domains: work, home, community, and the private self. The goal is to create harmony among them instead of thinking only in terms of trade-offs. It can be done.

Building on his national bestseller, Total Leadership, and on decades of research, teaching, and practice as both consultant and senior executive, Friedman identifies the critical skills for integrating work and the rest of life. He illustrates them through compelling original stories of these remarkable people:

  • former Bain & Company CEO and Bridgespan co-founder Tom Tierney
  • Facebook COO and bestselling author Sheryl Sandberg
  • nonprofit leader and US Navy SEAL Eric Greitens
  • US First Lady Michelle Obama
  • soccer champion-turned-broadcaster Julie Foudy
  • renowned artist Bruce Springsteen

Each of these admirable (though surely imperfect) people exemplifies a set of skills—for being real, being whole, and being innovative—that produce a sense of purpose, coherence, and optimism.

Based on interviews and research, their stories paint a vivid picture of how six very different leaders use these skills to act with authenticity, integrity, and creativity—and they prove that significant public success is accomplished not at the expense of the rest of life, but as the result of meaningful engagement in all its parts. With dozens of practical exercises for strengthening these skills, curated from the latest research in organizational psychology and related fields, this book will inspire you, inform you, and instruct you on how to take realistic steps now toward leading the life you truly want.

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About the Author

Stewart D. Friedman

Stewart D. Friedman is the Practice Professor Emeritus of Management at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. In 1991, he founded both the Wharton Leadership Program and the Wharton Work/Life Integration Project. While...

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