This week I finished reading ‘Thrive: The Third Metric of Success’ by Arianna Huffington. I’d been interested in reading it for a while as I’m a bit intrigued by the recent explosion of books about well being by all sorts of high profile people. I’ve got to say I was surprised by this book. I had been aware of the criticism about the book that labelled it as coming from an overly privilaged view point and so being essentially difficult for anyone from less socio-economically successful environments to put into practice. I think some of that criticism is still legitimate, but I was expecting something that would advocate pricey massages and other expensive relaxation strategies. That is not what I got.
First, the book is well researched and draws on learning from science and philosophy. This made it an enjoyable and interesting read. Second, Huffington advocates a new conceptualisation of success that involves building small amounts of time into your life for a focus on your own wellbeing, and wisdom, and for taking time out to gaze in wonder at the everyday beauty of the world we live in. She doesn’t advocate expensive treatments or miracle diets or anything like that. Instead she talks about strategies such as meditation, walking, sleeping well, connecting with friends and family, and giving time in voluntary service. All of these strategies don’t cost any money. What they do cost is time. It can be very difficult for the average working person to find parcels of time in the day to day run of things to do all of these things that we all know we should be doing, and this is not something that the book was particularly helpful with. Still, I enjoyed reading the book and learned a few new things too.