Book Review Short Take: The Burnout Challenge

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There are, conservatively, 300 gazillion books published every year. No one has the time to list them, let alone read them or review them. That’s a problem because there’s a lot of value in many books you may not hear about because of the clutter. 

“Short Takes” is my humble effort to cut through the clutter and highlight business books that might be perfect for your next read. Here’s why I think The Burnout Challenge: Managing People’s Relationships with Their Jobs might be a good choice for you.

Full disclosure. Several years ago, Michael Leiter invited me to participate in a program about burnout in helping professions. My expertise was in how supervisors could head off, identify, and deal with burnout in police officers. The program was fascinating, and Michael was an excellent host.

In my preparation for that program, I read Christina Maslach and Michael Leiter’s work on burnout. At the time, their 1997 book, The Truth About Burnout: How Organizations Cause Personal Stress and What to Do About It had broken new ground by pointing out that organizations we’re often a major cause of burnout.

That book gave us insight and a scientific understanding of burnout as a social phenomenon. Since then, many books have appeared that drew on the insights the authors gave us. The subtitle of their new book clearly states what the book is about: managing people’s relationships with their jobs.

If you’ve been reading and learning about burnout, The Burnout Challenge will increase your understanding and expand your toolbox. If you’re just getting interested in burnout, The book will give you insights and ideas you can apply in your life and work.

Here are some recent reviews of The Burnout Challenge.

From Marcel Schwantes: A New Book Reveals What Is Actually Causing Workplace Burnout (and How to Prevent It)

“More effort has been made to help people cope with burnout, rather than on preventing burnout from happening in the first place.”

From Kevin Delany: ‘The Burnout Challenge’ by Christina Maslach and Michael P. Leiter: Why burnout occurs and how to remedy it

“Some 43% of US knowledge workers report they’re burned out, according to an August survey by Future Forum. That was a 16% increase from just three months earlier. A lot of organizations’ understanding of this crisis and their responses to it are lacking. So it’s especially welcome that two psychologists behind pioneering work on burnout and the 1997 book The Truth About Burnout—Christina Maslach and Michael P. Leiter—are back with a timely sequel in The Burnout Challenge.”

From Bob Morris: The Burnout Challenge: A book review

“Think in terms of the principle of compounding: both civility and incivility are sui generis, as are empathy and indifference, positive and negative, constructive and destructive, etc. Maslach and Leitner thoroughly explain the WHAT and WHY of healthy and unhealthy workplace cultures. Of even greater value is their knowledge, wisdom, and experience that guide and inform their explanation of HOW to avoid or diminish (if not eliminate) burnout at all levels and in all areas of the given enterprise.”

Here are two books that will help you spot, deal with, and prevent burnout on your team.

Beyond Burnout: How to Spot It, Stop It and Stamp It Out by Suzi McAlpine

Connection Culture: The Competitive Advantage of Shared Identity, Empathy, and Understanding at Work by Michael Stallard

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