Good Bedtime Reads: December 2021

Thrive: Ariana Huffington

This year has been unlike any other! For those of us working in healthcare the stress from the job as well as keeping ourselves and our families safe has led to unprecedented levels of burnout. It also led many of us to re-examine our lives to define what is meaningful and what is not. This book by Ariana Huffington offers insights that could help us on this journey.

By all measures, Arianna Huffington was a success. She was co-founder, president and editor-in-chief of Huffington Post, an influential global information source. However, the journey to the top had taken a toll on her physical and mental health. It was only when she collapsed from exhaustion and lack of sleep one day that she realized that she needed to do some introspection and redefine what success meant for her and how to measure it. 

This book is a result of that introspection and soul searching. Like Arianna, many of us in healthcare have put careers and projects ahead of our personal wellbeing, and we suffer consequences because of those choices. For those looking for a solution, the book makes a compelling argument for individuals to discover meaning both in their personal and professional lives. In addition to traditional metrics of success—money and power—the author proposes adding a third metric: wellbeing, wisdom, wonder and giving. If our definition of success included this third metric, we would soon realize that many wealthy and powerful individuals are not as successful.

The book not only serves as a how-to guide on incorporating these principles in our lives, but also presents data supporting them. It begins with the premise that all human beings have within them a centered place of wisdom, harmony and strength. We all veer away from that place in pursuit of what we believe is important to be happy. The book explores how we can get back quickly to that centered place. As she writes so eloquently “…while the world provides plenty of insistent, flashing, high-volume signals directing us to make more money and climb higher up the ladder, there are almost no worldly signals reminding us to stay connected to the essence of who we are, to take care of ourselves along the way, to reach out to others, to pause to wonder, and to connect to that place from which everything is possible”. This book shows us a path to not just survive but to thrive.

As we move forward and find ways to thrive in the midst of a pandemic, this book offers insights on how to prioritize self-care and find meaning in both our work and our lives.

Viji Kurup MD
Professor, Vice Chair for Medical Education
Yale University

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