HR Management & Compliance

Shine: Using Brain Science to Get the Best from Your People

Employment law attorney Michael Maslanka reviews Shine: Using Brain Science to Get the Best from Your People by Edward M. Hallowell and finds it offers good advice on finding a dream that matches your talents.

In Shine: Using Brain Science to Get the Best from Your People, Edward M. Hallowell offers some counterintuitive advice: “Taken by itself, ‘follow your dream’ could be the most dangerous advice ever given.” Why? Because Hallowell argues that we often get no mentorship on which dreams to pick, just “sentimental advice to pursue a dream and the Calvinist command to work hard.” The result is predictable: bitter and unhappy workers because of a mismatch between talent and job.

Hallowell argues for a better way ― namely, to pick the right dream, one that suits the person so much that he will want to work hard and “if it doesn’t come true, [he] will feel glad and proud that [he] pursued it anyway.” His overarching advice is that the pursuit of the dream becomes “the great reward, the love of your working life.”

It’s a good book, and I highly recommend it. Hallowell’s thoughts remind me of the great poem “Ithaca,” by Constantine P. Cavafy: “When you set out on your journey to Ithaca/pray that the road is long/full of adventure, full of knowledge . . ./Always keep Ithaca in your mind/To arrive there is your ultimate goal/But do not hurry the journey at all/It is better to let it last for many years/and to anchor at the island when you are old/rich with all you have gained on the way.” That’s good advice from both the author and the poet.

employment law attorney Michael Maslanka

Michael Maslanka is a partner in the Dallas, Texas, office of Constangy, Brooks & Smith, LLP. He has 30 years of experience in litigation and trial of employment law cases. He is the editor of Texas Employment Law Letter, and he also authors the “Work Matters” blog for Texas Lawyer.

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