Thrive by Arianna Huffington

I should have written this review a month ago, but I was too
busy weeping.  I picked this book up
expecting informative and hopefully an entertaining read about how to be
successful in America.  I was sure that
Arianna Huffington, the co-founder and editor-in-chief of the legendary
Huffington Post, the third leading news source in the world, had a secret or
two to share about the business of blogging.  
I didn’t realize that this book will shatter my idea of what it means
“to have it all.”
I’m the kind of person who wakes up every morning with the
attitude of “life is short, we live once,” so everything I ever wanted to do, I
need to do TODAY!  Have children, learn
Latin, write, take painting lessons, homeschool my kids, do one hundred sit
ups, open an online store, cook gourmet meals, lick the house clean, maintain a
blog, practice yoga, read every book in the world, organize mom’s
club, book club and neighborhood club …. 
I don’t just want to do these things, I manage to fit most of the things
I want to do in my day.   My friends are
always asking, how I find time for it all. 
Easy.  I just don’t sleep.  Sleep in my house?  Ha-ha. 
When we have guests coming over to stay with us they don’t even bring
pajamas.   They know if it’s not one of
the kids wailing through the night, then the German Sheppard will be barking
his tail off at a mosquito on a front porch, and if it’s not a dog, then
Daisy-Whiskers will be informing all the neighborhood tom-cats that she is
still available.  And if kids, cats and
dogs will be quiet, then the house alarm would go off for no reason and between
the policemen stopping by to check on us and the dog barking “hello’s”, nobody
needs pajamas.  Save pajamas for boring
houses. 
As more things were piling up on my plate over the years,
the amount of sleep in my life was decreasing. 
I was patting myself on the back for my ability to disregard exhaustion
and to plow on with my To Do list in hand. 
7 hours?  6?  5?  5
is a good number.  Often I would go to bed
at midnight, get up three times for one reason or another, and be up for the
day by 6am.  If I suddenly crashed at 9,
I would wake up at 2am and finish up my To do list.  Strange to say, none of it seemed odd to me
in any way until I read Thrive.  And then
I wept. The idea that I can “have it all” collapsed in shambles.  Research clearly and unequivocally
demonstrated that people need sleep or they die.  And if they don’t die, they grow wrinkles the
size of Grand Canyon.  I don’t know what
is worse.   

Arianna Huffington, one of the world’s 100 Most Influential People, seemed to have it all – success, kids, money, Huffington Post.  She thought so too until she collapsed from lack of sleep and exhaustion breaking her cheekbone and cutting her eye on the way down.  “Was this what success looked like,” she wondered.  The result of her musings is this book.  In Thrive she outlines her new definition of success, the one that encompasses such
aspects of life as taking care of oneself and taking time to be silent.  The book is divided into four sections and
I’ll briefly outline each to show you what you’ve been doing wrong.  Maybe you will weep too.  
Part I Well – Being
You know why people around you are grumpy?  Too much internet and social media, and not
enough sleep, exercise and relaxation.  That and perhaps their mother didn’t include
them in her will.  But I bet that’s
because they were grumpy to begin with. 
Don’t want to be one of those grumpy people that are not
included in a will by their own mothers? 
Easy. Make room for mediation, yoga, naps, deep breathing, turn off your
phone and computer, take walks, and get a dog.   Don’t know how to start?  The book will help you with easy beginner
steps to ease you into the new better you.
Part II Wisdom
Wisdom is what we hear when the chatter in our brain quiets
down.  “All of humanity’s problems stem
from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone,
” said Blaise Pascal.
Notice a
pattern?  Yes, turn off the computer
(wait, finish reading my post) and then go and meditate.  Afraid to miss something important?  Repeat after this man: 
It also helps to feel grateful for things that go right, let
go of grudges, trust your intuition, make time for nurturing things, let go of
incomplete projects (that’s my favorite tip!) and take yourself lightly. Sounds
overwhelming?  It doesn’t have to
be.  The book will guide you into transformation
and there are inspirational book recommendations to help you on your
journey.  I liked The power of Habit by
Charles Duhigg, and Deep Survival: who lives, who dies, and why by Laurence
Gonzales.  Man’s Search for Meaning by
Viktor Frankl was very inspirational as well, but kind of depressing too. 
“The more we fill our lives with time-saving devices and the
time-saving strategies, the more rushed we feel.”  (James Gleick)
I thought it was kind of interesting that when people in a
poll were asked what was important to them, more people picked “having free
time” than “having children.” 
Part III Wonder
Lessons from this section: Never loose a sense of wonder,
welcome silence, appreciate coincidences, give death a thought, and be fully
present in all you do.
Part IV Giving
From making small gestures of kindness to making personal
connections with strangers passing through our lives (like the checkout clerks
and coffee shop baristas), it will make your happier, healthier, more
fulfilled.  Science proves: love makes the
brain bigger. 
Lessons Learned:
1.  Sleep is important.  It is still hard to get sleep in my house,
but it’s amazing how much more sleep I am getting now that I made sleep a
priority.  It helps to turn off all
computers, laptops, tablets, and phones by 8 o’clock.  This way I’m not tempted to check e-mails or
my blog comments one last time and get sucked in for five hours.  I cannot say getting more sleep made me feel
more alive.  I still wake up in the
morning, with “I can’t believe it’s morning already.  Can’t I sleep for ten more hours…”  But my sleep deficit is so large it might
take years to feel normal again.  
2.  Drop incomplete projects.  I didn’t realize it before reading Thrive but
incomplete projects ARE energy suckers. 
Even when I don’t attend to a project, it steals some of my attention as in “I can’t do it now!  I should really get on with this project!  I should be able to find time to do it.” Once
I made peace with letting go of some of the more ambitious projects like learning
Latin and sewing baby hats for orphans in Siberia, I felt so much better.  (I hope orphans in Siberia will forgive me).
3.  Scientists found that the most
effective way to work is like a sprinter
You work as hard as you can with single-minded focus for 90 minutes, and
then you take a break.  I’m happy to say
that this is the method I discovered by myself and it has been working like
magic for me for years now.  It works in intellectual
pursuits, as well as in a kitchen.  Just
try it.  Tell yourself you have 90
minutes to clean the house and start the clock. 
Work as hard and as fast as you can, and after 90 minutes stop.  Now give yourself 15 minutes to have a cup of
tea.  Are you impressed that you
accomplished twice as much as you usually accomplish in the same amount of time? 
4.  Books.  Throughout Thrive there were multiple
references to books that I read in the past or already bought but couldn’t get
around to.  Some of the read books
Sources of power, Shallows, Be here now, and Blink.  All great books.  The most notable book that was languishing on
my shelves for years until Thrive inspired me to read it The autobiography of Yogi.  Turns out Steve Jobs asked that this book be
given out to all attendees at his memorial. 
   
5.  Favorite quote from the book.  “There is a reason why sleep deprivation is classified as a
form of torture” Arianna Huffington
Do I recommend this book? 
Oh yes.  Whether you are a blogger
or not, you will learn something new and inspirational.  
Looking for more information about the book?  Try here.  Curious to learn more about the author? Click here.  You can buy this book on Amazon.  
Disclaimer
I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.  I was not required to write a positive review.  The opinions expressed are my own.

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