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Industry Literature: Thrive by Arianna Huffington

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For anyone who reads the Huffington Post, we are all familiar with how personal wellness has been one of Arianna’s most passionate causes over these recent years. In a prominent column on the Huffington Post called “Sleep + Wellness”, Arianna and numerous guest writers have posted on wellness subjects ranging from the impact of sleep to work-life balance to spirituality and meditation. In her book Thrive, Arianna follows these themes and goes in depth to explore what she calls the “four pillars of the Third Metric”.

Arianna Huffington’s thesis for the Third Metric is that the business world of today, along with people’s definitions of success, rests on an unsustainable valuation of only two metrics: money and power. The “third metric”, as Arianna suggests, is personal wellness. Wellness is furthermore defined as comprising the four pillars of 1) well being (by which she mostly means various forms of physical well being), 2) wisdom, 3) wonder, and 4) giving. This third metric is according to Arianna what is necessary for a sustainable and fulfilling life of success.

Thrive is written in four parts that each details one of the pillars of the Third Metric. Each part gives anecdotes on how Arianna has applied these principles into her own life, as well as candid reflections on mistakes she has learned from. Though the narrative on many occasions speak directly to women, I found that the book can be useful for anyone as a modern philosophy teaching on how to approach a career-driven life in the 21st century.

The chapter on well being speaks on many of the scientific measurements to today’s new age treatments of wellness. Arianna discusses the science behind getting enough sleep, behind various forms of meditation, behind the factors that cause stress and happiness, and how to control each of these factors. The second chapter on wisdom is much less physiological and more philosophical. Arianna tells stories from her own family as well as research from leading psychologists, and teaches various ways to live mindfully in today’s world of constant information overload. The chapter on wonder expands on these philosophical teachings further, encouraging people to be more open to experiencing life and seeing beauty in the world around them. Finally, the chapter on giving teaches how to live with a mindset of abundance, and how feeling an abundance of time is equally important as feeling an abundance of money.

There’s a part of me that is wary thinking I may not the intended reader demographic of this book’s advice. After all, the career advice that works for an already wildly successful woman in her 60s might not necessarily work for a man in his 20s just starting out. But then again, I remember that Arianna spoke about her Third Metric career advice to the Smith College of Class of 2013 Graduation. It is clear that she doesn’t intend her audience to only be people like herself. Young aspiring professionals might also find the Third Metric principles useful in achieving success in these early parts of our careers. A mindful approach to life is universally useful.

See you at the next exploration!

Harry

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