Book Review: The Power of Full Engagement

Managing Energy, Not time, is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal, by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz

As an executive business coach I am constantly looking for ways to help my clients bring their “A” game to business settings to be the most effective leaders they can be.  One of those areas where we all may need help is around the damage we do to ourselves as a result of working in this 24/7 economy.  We work a lot of hours. We attend community events, our children’s events, family events and just maybe leave enough time for ourselves.  As a result there is great opportunity to burn us out unless we take time to rest, recover and restore ourselves.

I recommend the book The Power of Full Engagement – Managing Energy, Not Time, Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz as a way for you to create habits around rest and to preserve your energy while you give so much of yourself.

I like this book for 3 reasons:

  1. The authors take an integrative approach and explain that “energy” includes 3 additional types of energy beside physical energy- spiritual, mental and emotional.  And they make the point that it is the relationship between these elements of energy that must be understood if we are to build capacity in each
  2. The book is well organized and researched.  The logic of the book is easy to follow and includes plenty of references of scientific study to support the concepts.   For example, the authors maintain that research supports the body’s need for rest every 90 to 120 minutes; rest is part of the basic, genetic pulse of life and therefore governs the quality of how we engage with the world.
  3. It is also a reference book that you can come back to on a regular basis.  It provides you with concepts and then details how you can apply them to your life through the authors’  “Corporate Athlete Training System.”

Integrative Approach

The key philosophy in the book is that all of the components of energy are “muscles” that have the ability to be increased in capacity.   Even though physical energy is the raw material for other forms of energy, spiritual energy is the form of energy that gives energy real power.  Spiritual energy represents your internal motivator.  It is defined by what you consider to be the purpose of your life and the courage to live by your basic values.

The authors’ approach connects the dots and identifies the kinds of habits that support each energy type and how each ultimately relates to the concept of full engagement.  Each energy component is reviewed so that the reader can see that “full engagement and sustained performance in the storm” is a function of being physically energized, emotionally connected, mentally focused and spiritually aligned.

Well Organized and Researched

The book is easy to follow.  Chapter 1 of the book starts with what I would refer to as an executive summary; or a brief informative overview of the book and is a great read for the impatient among us.  Although the executive summary is useful and informative, the first chapter is compelling and it gives the interested reader reasons to continue to read on.

The book is based on the authors’ experience with a demanding group of people and professional athletes.   These people “aren’t satisfied with inspirational messages or clever theories about performance.  They seek measurable, enduring results.  They care about batting averages, free-three percentages, tournament victories and year-end rankings.  Anything else is just talk. We learned to be accountable to the numbers.”

Resource Rich Reference Guide

The authors have provided the reader with the “Complete Corporate Athlete Training System.”  The training system is explained by using the case of Roger B, a client, and it takes you through his planning process (using provided forms).  At the same time the book is supported with their website – – the Human Performance Institute.

We commit so much of ourselves to our lives that we often overlook the engine that makes it all possible.  Our genetics suggest that our bodies function best when we oscillate between expending energy and rest.  This book makes that point very clearly and urges all of us to train our spiritual, mental and emotional muscles just like we train our physical body.  Being physically energized, emotionally connected, mentally focused and spiritually aligned are the key to us bringing our “A” game to every aspect of our lives.