Life's Great Question

Discover How You Contribute To The World
by Tom Rath | 160 pages

I’m a big fan of Tom Rath and his work. And... I’m not alone. His 10 books have sold over 10 million copies. Dan Pink (author of Drive and When) calls him “One of the most successful nonfiction writers of his generation.” We featured two of his earlier books: Eat Move Sleep and Are You Fully Charged? Plus: His children’s book called The Rechargeables remains one of my all-time favorites. “Life’s Great Question” that beckons all of us (“What can I contribute?”) is beautifully framed by the Martin Luther King, Jr. quote that kicks off the book: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?” This book is a field manual to help us go about answering that question so we can, as per the subtitle of the book: “Discover How You Contribute to the World.” Big Ideas we explore include creating a sense of urgency in life, Purpose 2.0, connecting what we do to those we serve, undivided attention (our new secret weapon), and creating the energy to be our best.


“Knowing who you are—and who you are not—is essential. But it is only the starting point. All the talent, motivation, and hard work in the world will not be valued or remembered if it does not help another human being. … Real growth is the product of following your contributions more than your passions. Simply asking, ‘What can I contribute?’ leads to a better path and result than starting with yourself. This applies far beyond the realm of careers.

A growing body of evidence suggests that the single greatest driver of both achievement and wellbeing is understanding how your daily efforts enhance the lives of others. Scientists have determined that we human beings are innately other-directed, which they refer to as being ‘prosocial.’ According to top researchers who reviewed hundreds of studies on the subject, the defining features of a meaningful life are ‘connecting and contributing to something beyond the self.’

Knowing that we’re making meaningful contributions to others’ lives leads not only to improved work outcomes but also to enhanced health and wellbeing. Even small acts of generosity trigger changes in our brains that make us happier. With each prosocial act at work, energy is created that measurably benefits ‘the giver, the receiver, and the whole organization.’

Think about that. Work can actually improve your health and wellbeing every day. Work can also be about doing something each day that improves your relationship with your family and friends. I believe that we all inherently know this—which makes the gap between what we’re currently contributing and what we have the ability to contribute all the more frustrating.”

~ Tom Rath from Life’s Great Question

I’m a big fan of Tom Rath and his work.

And… I’m not alone. His 10 books have sold over 10 million copies. Dan Pink (author of Drive and When) calls him One of the most successful nonfiction writers of his generation.

We featured two of his earlier books: Eat Move Sleep and Are You Fully Charged? Plus: His children’s book called The Rechargeables remains one of my all-time favorites.

So… When I saw that this book was coming out, I was eagerly looking forward to reading it. Like his others, it’s fantastic—super-quick reading and equally inspiring.

“Life’s Great Question” that beckons all of us (“What can I contribute?”) is beautifully framed by the Martin Luther King, Jr. quote that kicks off the book: Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?

This book, of course, is a field manual to help us go about answering that question so we can, as per the subtitle of the book: “Discover How You Contribute to the World.”

(btw: Note the present-tense of that statement. It’s not “Discover How You CAN Contribute to the World.” It’s implicitly pointing to how you ALREADY ARE contributing. Helping us appreciate all the ways we’re ALREADY contributing is a big part of the book.)

The book also comes with a code for a web site to help you walk through the wisdom and get more clarity on how you can make your contribution at an even deeper level. Get a copy of the book here and check out the site at contribify.com.

Of course, it’s packed with Big Ideas. I’m excited to share a few of my favorites we can apply to our lives TODAY, so let’s jump straight in!

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About the author

Authors

Tom Rath

Researcher, advisor, and author of 6 NYT/WSJ bestsellers.