Book Review by Taylor Berrett
We’ve all heard about it, we’ve all tried to obtain it, and chances are we’ve all fallen short or missed the mark at some point or another. It’s the mythical concept known as ‘work-life balance,’ and it’s been the subject of many a book, lecture, and self-help program over the decades. So is there really anything new or valuable to be said about the quest for better balance between our career and the rest of our life?
Author and consultant David J. McNeff certainly thinks so, and he sets out to create a whole new paradigm for fitting work into the other segments of our life with his new book, The Work Life Balance Myth: Rethinking Your Optimal Balance for Success.
Billed as “an empowering guide that will show you how to shed the myth of the ‘work-life balance,” McNeff’s book is an effective look at how slotting the aspects of our life into these two neat categories misses the point, and could be hurting our ability to find the balance we so desperately seek.
The Seven Slices
McNeff’s book is built around the Seven Slices— seven segments of our life that must all be put into harmony in order to find true balance. They are as follows:
- Family Slice
- Professional Slice
- Personal Slice
- Physical Slice
- Intellectual Slice
- Emotional Slice
- Spiritual Slice
By serving each of these slices, they will in turn serve us. This may seem simple, but it’s at the heart of the method David McNeff has used to transform the lives and careers of his clients for years. But it’s not just his track record that’s impressive— the book powerfully takes on the myth of work-life balance with actionable tools and valuable insights.
A Simple Truth at the Root
As the book’s foundation, McNeff lays out two important facts that everyone must accept in order to bring balance into the seven slices of their life.
1. Stress happens. You can’t avoid it.
2. Your existence is composed of far more than ‘work’ and ‘life.’
By teaching readers to be more mindful of all aspects of their lives, McNeff helps us all avoid burnout by finding inner harmony— even when stress impacts one or more of those slices. He offers clear insights on what goes into each slice, signs that we may not be attending to each one in a healthy way, and hands-on methods for accessing a slice that we’ve been neglecting.
Overall, The Work-Life Balance Myth won’t suddenly bring your life into perfect harmony. But it will provide you with a new way of framing your life, accepting stress when it comes, and improving your ability to navigate the challenges that arise in your life without losing sight of what’s truly important.
Taylor Berrett is a Contributing Writer at Soundview. He is also a freelance writer, editor, and host of the podcast Alone in a Room. His other book reviews can be found here.