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Book Review: Thrive

Don’t you just love it when you read a book that confirms everything you believe in! Arianna Huffington’s Thrive, was one of those books for me. It begins with her story of burnout, waking up in a pool of her own blood after collapsing with exhaustion from overwork. A story that I can well relate to.

Thrive is a well written, well researched book, not surprising coming from one of the most renowned journalists in the world! It is a book that I have been urging everyone I meet to read, even before I had finished it. Maybe if they won’t believe me, they will believe Arianna! In the book she discusses how our society has come to define success in terms of  money and power and of the need to measure success with the third metric, with four pillars of wellbeing, wisdom, wonder and giving.

The book goes on to introduce strategies for improving these four pillars, like meditation (which I have  been teaching for a while, thanks for the boost Arianna!), improving sleep, coincidences, pets and volunteering. My only slight criticism of this most excellent book, is that at times it felt that it ignored the practical difficulties with these strategies, for example we all know we should be getting more sleep, but when anxiety wakes us at 5 am, that knowledge doesn’t help us get back to sleep. At times I was left thinking “yes, but how do I do that?”, but I do know, there are other books for that!

I was pretty stressed when I was reading Thrive, all self imposed stress, I confess. In one of the chapters I was moved by her description of how her daughter’s drug overdose, made her stop and take stock of her life, think about what really mattered. Sure enough, 2 days later, call it chance, call it the Universe sending me a message, call it fate: my 13 year old broke his ankle and needed surgery. Suddenly I too was forced to refocus, to prioritize, to slow down. Yes Universe, Thrive told me to listen, now I am listening! What’s it going to take for you?

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Dr Leonaura Rhodes