Summary of How We Work

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How We Work book summary

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Based on her popular course at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, corporate leadership consultant and professor Leah Weiss offers a clear, thoughtful guide that helps you understand how mindfulness can assist you in finding purpose, reflecting on failure and bettering your work life. Mindfulness lets you recognize when your attention strays and allows you to guide it back with intention. It helps you develop soft skills such as compassion and teamwork. Mindfulness training enables employees and leaders to support one another, challenge the status quo, embrace “radical transparency” and grant the “whole self” space at work.

About the Author

Researcher, professor, consultant and author Leah Weiss, PhD, teaches compassionate leadership at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. She is the principal teacher and founding faculty for Stanford’s Compassion Cultivation Program, conceived by the Dalai Lama.


The “toxic workplace” refers to toxic expectations.

In the 1980s, toxic workplaces referred to office buildings with poor air quality due to bad ventilation and harmful substances in the environment. Changes to make buildings more “green” improved employees’ overall well-being at work, but these changes didn’t address another toxic element: stress.

Many Americans work too much because they think that busyness grants status. However, that status comes at a cost – as high rates of addiction, obesity, divorce, depression, anxiety, loneliness and burnout attest.

A toxic workplace favors those who push others aside to get ahead, because productivity and profit matter more than employee satisfaction.

In 2008, during the financial crisis, the Harvard Business School created a Hippocratic Oath for Managers. The oath, however, didn’t explain how managers can become better leaders. Ethics classes provide guidance, but courses in soft skills that require critical thinking are even more useful as they teach you how to collaborate and exhibit strong emotional intelligence. Mindfulness helps develop these skills; it can improve...

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