How Full Is Your Bucket? Positive Strategies for Work and Life

By Tom Rath and  Donald O. Clifton, Ph.D.

This book starts with a brief history of a North Korean POW camp which held 1000 U.S. prisoners.  The prisoners had adequate food and shelter. They were not physically tortured. And yet, this camp had the highest POW death rate in U.S. military history.

The weapon of choice was subtle psychological warfare, which eroded trust among fellow prisoners and broke their sense of hope. In essence, the cause of death was extreme negativity.

The book includes other examples of the damage caused by negative environments. For example, negative emotions reduce life expectancy by a greater number of years than smoking.

With that introduction to the perils of negativity, the book makes the case that positive emotions have the opposite effect, including better physical and mental health and better workplace morale. The authors coin the term positivity—the opposite of negativity.

Not exactly a shocking revelation, but a good reminder in a world where negativity abounds.

Rath, Tom, and Donald O. Clifton. How Full Is Your Bucket?: Positive Strategies for Work and Life. New York: Gallup Press, 2004. Buy from

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