With an appealing title, best seller status, and glowing reviews from all sorts of respectable sources, I expected great things from Leading the Life You Want: Skills for Integrating Work and Life.
However, to put it simply: if you have ever read anything on leadership, business, and work/life balance, you won’t learn anything new from this book. At all.
At several points I had to double check to make sure I hadn’t read the book before, because it sounded so familiar. Even the examples Friedman uses – especially Tom Tierney and Sheryl Sandberg–are so well known that you’ve probably already gotten their stories multiple times.
But a lot of books in this genre are derivative and cover basically the same information. What’s different about this one? After thinking about it, I decided that what bugged me most was the detached style. The writing is not compelling and nearly every example or point is made by referencing a second hand account. It’s a quote from Sandberg’s book, or an anecdote taken from a magazine article, or something the person said in a television interview–not first hand research or narrative. Maybe this was the author’s attempt at scholarly attribution, but even very academic authors find ways to cite sources without bogging down every paragraph.
As you may have guessed, I only finished Leading the Life You Want because it was an upstairs book, and I never remember to keep a backup up there.
Although I’m panning this volume and don’t recommend it, I will say that if you’ve never read anything else on the topic the information is not incorrect. I just didn’t get anything new from it, nor a fresh perspective on what I already know.
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