What’s Your Favorite Work-Life Balance Book?


This week is Thanksgiving here in the U.S.

The normal way to think about Thanksgiving is that it’s a family holiday. People don’t go on vacation; they mostly focus on getting together with their families.

But, Thanksgiving is also a time to think about work. You’ve been working really hard for 11 months. If you have kids, they’ve been in school since the summer without a break. Everyone is feeling tired.

Thanksgiving is often the first time in the year when we get a long holiday. We leave for Thanksgiving and come back for only 3 weeks before and the Christmas and the New Year.

So, it’s a good time to think about family, but also about work and how we balance the two.


We try really hard at OSTraining to help our staff keep a healthy work-life balance. We avoid weekend wherever possible and always aim to stick to a 40 hour week with time off for our team whenever they need it.

But, keeping a healthy balance requires constant attention. It’s so, so easy to work too hard.

This Thanksgiving week, I asked our team to recommend 3 books with advice on keeping a healthy work-life balance.

How Will You Measure Your Life? by Clayton Christensen

measure-your-lifeSteve’s thoughts on this book …

Clay Christensen is famous for writing the The Innovator’s Dilemma which shows how small companies can defeat large companies.

The key idea behind How Will You Measure Your Life? is that you can think of your life like a business.

Where you invest your time and effort decides what you get out of life. If you invest in your family, it’ll reward you for years to come. If you invest everything in your work, your family life will go bankrupt.

I’ve been dipping into this book for years now and can always find small nuggets of wisdom.

Highly recommended!

20,000 Days and Counting by Robert Smith

media_1385564023758.pngRod’s thoughts on this book …

Every once in a while, everyone needs to stop and think about their life – where you’re going, what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.

The problem of course, is that most of us don’t. Many people don’t intentionalize their lives – they just live day to day – floating from small choice to small choice – not really taking into consideration how they add up to become the direction our lives are taking.

In his book, “20,000 Days and Counting” (Amazon), Robert D. Smith asks “Are you spending life merely reacting to events as they happen, or are you moving forward each day with a clear objective? When you form a clear plan for your life, every day becomes part of something bigger: the process. Its up to you, however, to determine who you are in the process of becoming.”

I can’t recommend this book enough!

Enchantment by Guy Kawasaki

media_1385565272738.pngRod’s thoughts on this book …

Enchantment, as defined by bestselling business guru Guy Kawasaki, is not about manipulating people. It transforms situations and relationships. It con­verts hostility into civility and civility into affinity. It changes skeptics and cynics into believers and the undecided into the loyal.

For those of us who deal with people (as in all of us), this book is a good reminder that our relationships can go beyond the perfucntory and become vehicles for fulfillment and growth. It doesn’t take much to be “enchanting”, but it is something you have to intentionalize.

One section of the book that really impacted me was on “How to Achieve Trustworthiness”. Kawasaki doesn’t tell his readers to be fake. Indeed, he takes us on a journey of becoming trustworthy by doing the right things and being the right person.

“Do something great” is a theme repeated throughout the book. Its not as hard as you think and the rewards are … enchanting!

Over to you …

rod-and-guyHave you read any books that have been really helpful to you in keeping a work-life balance?

Has any book really inspired you to juggle your responsibilities more effectively?

Please drop your recommendation in the comments below …


  • Steve Burge

    Steve is the founder of OSTraining. Originally from the UK, he now lives in Sarasota in the USA. Steve's work straddles the line between teaching and web development.

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Kristoffer Sandven
Kristoffer Sandven
10 years ago

Great overview!

My recommendations:
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Rework: [url=http://amzn.to/1iTtIQB]http://amzn.to/1iTtIQB[/url]
Remote – Office Not Required: [url=http://amzn.to/1a4LQPR]http://amzn.to/1a4LQPR[/url]
and not to forget:
4-hour Work Week: [url=http://amzn.to/17UusQY]http://amzn.to/17UusQY[/url]
4HWW was instrumental in me getting my coffee capsules webshop business up and running.
Happy reading!

10 years ago

Thanks Kristoffer. I haven’t read Remote yet, but it might it does look helpful – nearly all of us work remotely now.

10 years ago

Thanks for bringing this up. I literally just returned from a coaching session with someone dealing with life balance concerns.
Covey, Allen, Life Balance & GQueues:
These are old but have worked for me for 20 years & I share the concepts with others from time to time:
Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – can be used to build a great framework for making decisions on allocating time. It is based on your guiding principles in life. So, it forces some reflection as you implement.
However, after using it for about 10 years I realized that the flood of daily to do’s wasn’t really handled well by the macro framework. About that time along came:
David Allen’s Getting Things Done – I blended the 2 to help me handle the day to day with the principle centered Covey approach. There’s a flow chart in the GTD book about 35 pages in that was an AHA! moment for me (see attached).
I highly recommend either one & loved how melding the 2 worked for me.
Additionally, if you are a PC or Apple technology user (but not Android), at [url=http://llamagraphics.com]llamagraphics.com[/url] you can find Life Balance a great piece of life management software. It uses a fuzzy logic algorithm to percolate tasks up your to do list based on your inputs of relative importance, effort involved and approaching deadline. It was available on the now bygone Palm platform so I don’t use it any longer but truly miss it.
I have replaced it with GQueues which integrates with a Google account. It has apps for Android and Apple mobile devices.
Thankful that has all worked for me over the years

10 years ago
Reply to  Jim

What a useful, useful post, thanks Jim! You’ve clearly thought about this a lot.
[url=https://www.gqueues.com]https://www.gqueues.com[/url] does look interesting – we’re almost entirely on Google for our email and docs here and that could be very useful.

10 years ago
Reply to  steve

Hi, Steve,

Thanks. Had to think about it or lose control. Wish I implemented as well as I teach ;-{)
GQueues has some features particularly useful for organizations:

You can Assign tasks to other users & their comments & task completion show up in your app.

You can also Share Queues at 2 levels: View only or Collaborate in real time.

You can even Publish a live Queue to the web. Among other things that might be useful for letting subscribers see the progess on a new feature.
The developer adds features regularly.
Gee, I need to see if he has an affiliate program.
Hope you get some RnR this long weekend. I’m actually heading that way Saturday. I’ll wave as I drive through on 985. Going to Cashiers to help a friend on her Christmas tree farm.

10 years ago
Reply to  Jim

Thanks Jim. Hope you had a great Thanksgiving.
We do need a tree, but they’d need to be pretty good for us to go to Cashiers 🙂

10 years ago
Reply to  steve

They are beautiful, but we’re picking up 3 trucks & hauling the trees back to Tampa. We’re bringing back 450 trees & 150 wreaths from her farm. They’re so nice they’ll be gone by next Sunday. Tell Ed ;-{)

Just got on 85.

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