This week we chat with New York Times reporter and author David Gelles. The paperback version of his excellent book, Mindful Work was just released. We had a chance to catch up David and discuss some of the themes in Mindful Work.
For anyone interested in the intersection of mindfulness and the workplace, this is a must read.
This carefully researched, heartfully written, and delightfully readable book tells one of the most interesting true stories of our time: the fascinating and sometimes messy coming together of the wisdom world and the corporate world. — Chade-Meng Tan, Jolly Good Fellow of Google, author of Search Inside Yourself
How Meditation Is Changing Business
How is meditation changing the world of business? This is the central question that drives David Gelles’ Mindful Work.
In the West, meditation has evolved from an esoteric contemplative art—practiced by a few to attain an elusive spiritual jewel called enlightenment—into a form of pragmatic training for spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing.
As part of the most recent iteration of that development, much of the business world has started to embrace mindfulness.
These days, it’s not unusual to find meditation rooms in fortune 100 companies. A decade ago that would have seemed outrageous.
In our post modern climate, it’s generally recognized that you need to treat employees like real human beings who have human needs. As a result, meditation, exercise, education, and yoga are routine in the work place, yielding better work and a better life.
And in the UK, companies are even more bullish on meditation largely because spiraling health care costs driven by chronic stress are a huge expense. Studies show that meditation and mindfulness training can help.
Exploring Mindful Work
In Mindful Work, David Gelles takes us on a tour. In fact, he take us on several tours through multiple stories.
First, we learn about David’s own multi-decade journey with meditation. It started with a single book on Buddhism that ultimately led him to India to study with the same meditation master who taught one of the first American vipassana teachers, Joseph Goldstein.
Eventually he took up journalism and became a business report for the Financial Times and then The New York Times before his interests in meditation and business converged and culminated in Mindful Work.
Then the book traverses the fascinating and at times surprising history of meditation in the West.
David then helps us understand the factors and forces that have contributed to the recent explosion of meditation into mainstream. That includes an in-depth look at how meditation and mindfulness have become a popular focus of scientific study and research.
All of that is fascinating indeed, but it’s just context for the main event. Set against this rich backdrop, Mindful Work chronicles the individuals and organizations who are ushering mindfulness into the world of business.
Brimming with insights and backed up with solid research, Mindful Work takes us to the front lines of a revolution that is transforming the business world. —Arianna Huffington
In this episode, David Gelles and I talk about:
- The three main reasons why meditation has really exploded into the mainstream.
- Why David wrote this book and for whom
- One company you’ll never guess that started this trend in business
- The outstanding companies using meditation to positive effect in their organization
- The history of meditation in the West
- Some of the major American figures who were influence by and helped introduce meditation to the West
- How Thoreau’s Walden is a treatise on mindfulness
- The impact of the Dalai Lama’s Mind and Life Institute on nurturing interest in meditation within the scientific community