I’m writing my next book called “Leading With Happiness” and I would LOVE your feedback

As always, I do all my writing in a café.

I am now 6 chapters and 25,000 words into writing my next book titled “Leading with Happiness” and I would love to get feedback on what I’ve written.

Here are the 6 chapters I’ve finished so far:

1 – Introduction
2 – Why happiness
3 – The science of happiness
5 – What is happy leadership not
6 – Why don’t all leaders do it
7 – Get happy yourself

You’ll notice I’ve skipped chapter 4 (What is happy leadership) for now.

I would be really, really grateful if you would pick a chapter (or more than one), read it and tell me what you think in a comment on this post. No matter which chapter you pick, it may make sense to read the introduction – it’s pretty short and it explains what the whole book is about.

In your feedback, please do not focus on:

  • Typos, spelling and punctuation
  • Design and layout
  • Cross references and footnotes
  • Figures and illustrations – they come later

But please do give me your thoughts on the content, including:

  • Anything that you like or which rings a bell for you
  • Anything that isn’t perfectly clear to you
  • Any factual mistakes or misunderstandings
  • Any additional stories or example you know of that I could add

Please share your feedback in a comment on this post!

If you’re curious, the remaining chapters are:

  • 8 – Make your employees happy
  • 9 – Make your customers happy
  • 10 – Make the world happy
  • 11 – What happy leaders don’t do
  • 12 – Leading with happiness in tough times
  • 13 – The challenges of leading with happiness
  • 14 – Get Started

19 thoughts on “I’m writing my next book called “Leading With Happiness” and I would LOVE your feedback”

  1. Still reading and loving it. So far I’ve read chapters 1-3. You got me thinking a lot about how to stay positive as a leader and keep leading with happiness even though you’re being lead by the “shareholder value” kind of leader? Maybe you cover it later on?

    From my experience and it links to what you’re writing happiness stems from: it’s social and contagious. The opposite is unfortunately also contagious. It demands so much of us to lead with kindness and happiness when it’s not your leader’s or leader’s leader’s style.

    I don’t know if there’s a place for it in chapter 3, but maybe dwell a little bit more about the psychopathic and sociopathic “behavior” of leaders that you mention briefly. And again if you cover it later, just disregard this comment :-)

    I really enjoy the way you mix theory, quotes, examples and you’re style is yours.
    More comments will follow.

    Kind and happy regards

    Ulrika

  2. I especially liked the saber tooth tiger story in Chapter 3 and this quote: “The brain is like Velcro for negative experiences but Teflon for positive experiences.” I am the opposite! I hold on & remember the positive experiences and the negative ones, I learn from, but they don’t stay with me.

    Keep up the writing and great work you are doing with explaining the importance of happiness!

  3. Hi Alexander,

    Congrats on your new book that’s in the making :)

    I went through the intro and some of the chapters above, and my main piece of advice for you is that as a reader what I would love to find in your book is a collection of stories, reflections and realizations that you encounter/come up with as you go about the work that you do. I met you in Beirut at a talk you gave about happiness earlier this year and you were by far one of my favourite, you left an impact on the audience not only because of the facts, statistics and science you shared, but also and more importantly through your energy and wit. That’s what I feel is still lacking in the book so far. As a reader, I don’t want to be reading facts that I can find elsewhere; while this might be interesting, I would love to read about Alex’s experiences and case studies from your work for example. Share with the readers content that’s particular to you given all the experiences you’ve had so far in the space.

    That’s my two cents, I hope it’s helpful.

    All the Best always!

    Thouraya

  4. Hey Alex, great book, great idea. I’ll give my feedback in parts …
    I feel hugely passionately that this area, our businesses DO need to change and I personally believe 100% in your messaging. However, we need to create a story that also resonates with the non-enlightened CEOs. So in the Introduction, I would argue that the line “a CEO who focused on anything besides enhancing shareholder value was failing his duties and should be fired or sued” is actually true. However, a leader who ONLY thinks in terms of costs/ revenues is thinking too short term. In fact, by considering people’s happiness, he binds people to the organisation and gets creative, motivated people who care about the work they produce. That is short, medium and long term good for the company and ‘Shareholder Value’ or profits. Maybe a mention of this earlier in the intro and blurb may get the unenlightened engaged and buying it :-)

  5. Me again!
    I wanted to pose a question: who is the main target audience for this book?
    I ask because the introduction seems very aimed at the CEO/ business leader, and then the next 2 chapters are more about oneself’s happiness/ making oneself happy.
    I realise the two are linked but I feel there is a disconnect here. A consistency in the target messaging (which I believe is leaders) will make the book more hard-hitting and relevant.
    Happy to discuss further if you want to catch up.

  6. Kre Alexander

    Som det ofte er med intentioner, s ville jeg gerne have kigget grundigere p din tekst samt givet bedre og mere anvendelig input. Tiden forsvandt fra mig her i min sommerferie. Men lidt er forhbentligt bedre end intet :)

    Frst og fremmest vil jeg sige, at jeg syntes det var virkeligt spndende. Velskrevet (intelligent men lservenligt og med humor).

    Jeg kan isr godt lide ideen om dualiteten (nvnt allerede i introduktionen); “leading with happiness as a goal” kontra “leading with happiness as a tool”. Mske det kunne vre interessant at dvle lidt mere ved denne tanke? Vi mennesker har en tendens til at fokusere p slutmlet. P resultater. I forskellige afgrene (eksempelvis videnskab, filosofi, ledelse) opstr der p forskellige tidspunkter modbevgelser mod denne tendens. S fokuseres p midlet/ruten/processen/praksis. S opstr middelvejen; nogle begynder at fokusere p mlet og processen nogenlunde lige fordelt. Sdan svinger pendulet frem og tilbage. I nrvrende situation er der ikke tale om en “enten/eller” (ift. ml kontra proces), men snarere et “bde/og”. Det er egentligt hip som hap, om man er fortaler for en ml-orienteret teoretisk tilgang, eller en proces-orienteret tilgang. Du fr begge dele i samme omgang. Dt er en smuk tanke (syntes jeg).

    Jeg savner dog lidt en uddybende begrebsafklaring. I “the science of happiness” skriver du, at “happiness” (jeg ved helt rligt ikke hvilket dansk ord er den mest dkkende oversttelse) er “flelser henover tid”. Jeg kan godt flge den definition. Men jeg har behov for at vide hvilke flelser. Det er lidt uklart for mig. Er der tale om en flelse af stoisk ro? Af begejstring? Af krlighed? Er det at bryde sammen p gulvet, flad af grin? En blanding af dem alle? Jeg kan huske at have lst (og kan desvrre ikke huske hvor), at forskellige verdenskulturer har forskellige forstelser af “happiness”. For nogle er det primrt en form for stoisk ro. En flelse af at vre et med universet, alt og intet p en gang. En form for ikke-materiel eksistens. For andre handler det nrmest om det modsatte: et adrenalin sus af begejstring. Nyforelskelsen. Faldskrmsspringet osv. Jeg er i tvivl om, hvad “happiness” er for dig?

    Ville nske at jeg havde mere at byde p. Ville ogs nske at det var mere velskrevet og anvendeligt. Men dette var hvad det blev til denne gang (her midt i min sommerferie) :)

  7. Reading the very interesting inputs by Thouraya about the wish for stories, reflections, realizations, and experiences, this thought struck me: What about including – in the book – some awesome photos of people, who are smiling / laughing / feeling well / having a great time. Following up on this, I was thinking that it need not all be photos of people who are in a group. What about also using photos of people who have great alone time. In this regard, check out the book “Quiet” by Susan Cain. https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1044045074

    In addition, please do also include – in the book – links to videos that touch our hearts and make us smile / laugh.

  8. Hi Alexander

    I love your writing! Especially because you are writing about making both employees AND customers happy.

    Focusing purely on our employees will make us smug. If we focus purely on our customers, our employees will start to leave. To secure lasting results, we need a more holistic approach to leadership.

    I would love lots of case stories of companies like SouthWest Airlines you already mention in your book and especially HOW they are working with their employees and customers.

    Here is another quote from Richard Branson you might like to use The way you treat your employees is the way they will treat your customers.

    Cheers !

    Christian

  9. Hey Alexander, it’s so good to see you writing another book. And it sounds like a ripper!

    I just read 2 chapters – the science of happiness, and get happy yourself.

    Love both of them. You have a great style of being very factual but also quite conversational.

    In terms of feedback, what resonates with me is the hard facts on happiness, as well as the quotes from studies and anecdotes from real people.

  10. Thank you for providing valuable content in advance of your book being published. Like you, I am also addicted to Coursera but also positive psychology and workplace happiness. I read everything you published. I can’t wait to attend your session in New in Feb 2018! Here are some of my comments: Overall, it was engaging and I wanted to keep reading. I did like the real examples of real people.

    I just finished an online course with Happiness at Work (Thrive from 9 to 5) and read Unlocking Happiness at Work. I think what struck me from these two resources is that happiness is a choice, we need meaningful work and a chance to be in FLOW. Moss also writes about Conscience Capitalism which is a fascinating look at “happy” companies which is what you did as well. Do you think we it is an easier “sell” if there are more examples of companies (or leaders) that are serious about workplace happiness?

    There were a few sections where I didn’t understand the point or example. 1. Epicurus’ quote on death 2. Positive Psychology – should Martin Seligman be mentioned somewhere in this chapter? He really is the father of PP. Barbara Frederickson is mentioned on the next page however Seligman perhaps deserves a mention 3. “Research also shows that the more attention a person gets, the more that more that person infects other with their mood”. It was the part about attention that was unclear. 4. “One slightly scary experiment shows how much we value justice…centre of the brain of the male participants but not the female”. I was confused because there was no reference to gender. Maybe more info is needed here. 5. Practice gratitude. “While there is no research to support this…” – I didn’t know what this was referring to.

    What I loved: 1. the section of WD-40. Great Maniac Pledge and very interesting. 2. loved the comment about the German IT company where people are asked to stay home until they cheer up :) 3. The information related to work and the history behind it. Fascinating stuff! The Greek word ponos says it all! 4. leaders being happier than their employees. That is fascinating as well!

    Again, thank you for your openess in sharing your work, insights and expertise.

  11. Hi Alexander,

    This is what is called happy reading! What I love about what you do for a long time now is that you link work and happiness. For too many people happiness can only occur outside work and that is just sad. Especially since people do their best work when happy!

    So, having read the introduction and chapters 1 and 5, my general comment is “keep it up!”.

    I’m especially glad that you make a clear distinction with positive thinking in chapter 5 and that happiness is not the same as there being no dark days or anything. I think that is something that needs to be said much more.

    What I still hope to read in other chapters or in future writing is how to make it practical. Either by giving people suggestions as to what they could do to become more sustainably happy or by examples of leaders who take happiness serious and make it part of their day to day practice.

    Because the real magic happens when you feel that you can do something about it, that you dare to actually take charge.

    Thanks for your continuous inspiration and for writing and sharing this book!

  12. Help you make this book help my happiness level!

    Chapter 2:
    – Need show more example from different cultures. Here one example: 孔子 or Confucius (about 200 year before Epicure) also know about work and happiness: “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” from https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/c/confucius.html

    – Country happiness not like companies, no competition, no easy way quit country or start competing country because monopoly power. Current global citizenship system treat people like birds with owners/cages. Cage owners can deport ‘foreign’ birds back to their cages, birds need ‘permission’ work and live in other cages, can’t easily divorce owner. Want happiness? terminate citizenship system and treat all birds equal and let them choose where they work and live, force cage owners compete for birds.

    Chapter 7:
    – Give people ideas for try sleep better, even person different but give ideas for people try.
    – Another great example of overwork is Steve Jobs’s Macintosh team, have shirt “90 hours a week and loving it” but some people think that cause delays, probably finish 1 year earlier if Macintosh team work 40 hours. Story here:
    https://www.folklore.org/StoryView.py?story=90_Hours_A_Week_And_Loving_It.txt
    – Steve’s other company Pixar with CEO Ed Catmull talk about giving power to all employees freedom talk about any thing with every person in company, not need permission try new ideas.

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