Author:Tom Rath

ISBN: 978-1-939714-03-9

Tom Rath, author of Are You Fully Charged?, has penned bestsellers How Full Is Your Bucket?, StrengthsFinder 2.0, Strengths Based Leadership, Wellbeing, and Eat Move Sleep. (2015, publicity insert) Sales for his books are in excess of 6 Million copies. Rath has appeared on the Wall Street Journal’s Bestseller list. This author is a researcher in the role that human behavior plays in business, health, and physical wellbeing. To learn more about Tom Rath please log on to or you may follow him on Twitter @TomCRath.

In the Prologue (2015) Rath states “When you are fully charged, you get more done. You have better interactions. Your mind is sharp, and your body is stronger.” What does Rath mean by fully charged? Well, Rath believes we need to dissect well being from life satisfaction in order to come to a full charge. Why? “…daily well being and…evaluation of life satisfaction is important because it leads to very different conclusions about the best investment of time and resources.” (p.15) A full charge is dependent on three things. Motivation, interaction(s), and energy. (paraphrase, p.17) Rath defines them as follows: motivation-“doing something that benefits another person.” Interactions-“creating far more positive than negative moments.” And finally energy-“making choices that improve your mental and physical health.”

In chapter one Rath states (2015, p.23) “The pursuit of meaning – not happiness – is what makes life worthwhile.” Furthermore, “People who spend life seeking happiness are unlikely to find it.” (p.24) To which Rath adds, “Happiness without meaning characterizes a relatively shallow self-absorbed or even selfish life.” (p.25) “Participating in meaningful activities elevates your thinking above yourself and your own monetary needs.” (p.26)

Chapter two delves into motivation and what can lead to more powerful outcomes. A distinction between rewards or extrinsic motivation and intrinsic is made by Rath whereby he suggests that “…intrinsic motivation often requires conscious effort.” (2015, p.30) How do we achieve meaning and a conscious effort? Rath states that “Meaning does not happen to you – you create it.” (p.32) Therefore, we each need ascertain what we can create that translates into meaning/motivation. Leaders and managers should realize that “A healthy relationship between an employee and an organization starts with a shared mission, meaning, or purpose.” (p.40) Too often organizations fail to show their employees who what they do fits into the bigger picture. Employees need to understand an organizations mission and vision in order to develop purpose and pride in accomplishment. “…employees who derive meaning and understand the importance of their work are more than three times as likely to stay with an organization.”

Meaning is found in Chapter five. Rath states that “You create meaning when your strengths and interests meet the needs of the world.” (2015, 48) How do you realize your strengths and look for what the world needs? Rath says to “Start with a focus on others’ needs to ensure that the things you are passionate about have a practical application.” And Rath cautions not to lose ones self in this process. Losing ones self comes from the inability to be more of who you already are. (paraphrase, 2015, p.51) “…aim to be more of who you already are.”

Interactions range from your co-workers to social relationships or church organizations and more. An exercise that Rath proposes is to “Think back on some of the most memorable vacations, trips, events, and experiences you have had throughout your life. …how much joy you derive from recalling those times you spent with people you care about.” (2015, p.109) Advice from Rath is, “When you’re planning an event, think about how it will increase the wellbeing of other people.” (p.113) Rath says to not fly by yourself because “The best moments in life rarely happen while you are sitting around alone.” (p.117)

I want confess that I was not all that revved up by the title, but once I delved into the meat and potatoes of this book I really enjoyed it and learned a lot in the process. I think you will too!