Book review: The Only Way to Win

Emma De Vita reviews the new book by Jim Loehr

The Only Way to Win
The Only Way to Win

The Olympics will soon be upon us, and a slew of books about sports performance are arriving to help ordinary managers flex their leadership muscles.

This one is by Jim Loehr, a performance psychologist who has worked with the likes of the tennis player Monica Seles, and who has now turned his attention to motivating executives. His book, out now in the US and published in the UK in September, is based on the premise that the blind pursuit of external achievement often results in emptiness, addiction and - ironically - poor performance. It's not about what you achieve, he argues; it's about who you become as a consequence of the chase.

Loehr argues that true success at work can be achieved only "from growth in character traits such as integrity, honesty and gratefulness". It all boils down to having purpose to your life. "Without purpose, everything is a struggle and we naturally expend the least energy possible," writes Loehr.

You need to find what he calls your "ultimate mission". If that includes doing your best for a charity you truly believe in, then you're halfway to achieving it. So aim for the gold medal - you've nothing to lose.

Emma De Vita is books editor of Management Today

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