Recommended Books

Listed in alphabetical  order.

The Blue Zones by Dan Buettner. The Blue Zones is a New York Times Bestseller and provides “lessons for living longer from the peopleBlueZonesBook who’ve lived the longest.” The research is conducted among four groups of people who have a significantly higher percentage of inhabitants living to be centenarians, (100 years of age or older). The four Blue Zone communities are found in the Barbagia region of Sardinia in Italy, Okinawa in Japan,Loma Linda, California in the United States, and on the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica. The “principles of health” found in the book are intended for personal application, but have implications for any wellness initiative, including corporate wellness. Buettner provides research for the “why” of many wellness goals.  His studies provide principles of a healthy lifestyle that lead to longevity—a lifestyle that includes activity, proper nutrition, purpose and meaning, spirituality and the ability to deal with stress. Whether you are looking for added impetus to improve personal health or you are looking for supportive research to bolster your employee wellness programming, I recommend The Blue Zones.

CompanySolved (1)The Company That Solved Healthcare by John Torinus. Following a presentation I gave on Employee Wellness, one of the participants came to me and recommended I read John Torinus Jr.’s The Company That Solved Health Care. What a great recommendation. Torinus served 20 years as CEO of Serigraph. With compelling detail, he shares how he involved their employees in their own health, enabling them to be effective consumers. It’s healthcare consumerism in overdrive. Five years into the reform, Serigraph spends one-third less than the national average to insure its workers. The Serigraph story of health and wellness is inspiring and provides practical examples of a company that has put a robust plan into action. I didn’t see a lot of theory in the book, but the sharing of experiences, including both failures and successes. I am confident that CEOs, CFOs, HR professionals and business leaders of any size organization can gain practical insight in controlling health care costs, increasing employee engagement and implementing wellness via “The Company That Solved Health Care.” (For more information on the book see my blog post.)

Daniel planThe Daniel Plan: 40 Days to a Healthier Life by Rick Warren, Daniel Amen and Mark Hyman. The Daniel Plan is broken into five key Essentials: Faith, Food, Fitness, Focus and Friends. While these are not unique to wellness and health, you rarely see all five so well packaged together. The Daniel Plan demonstrates the role of each in maintaining health—and more importantly, shows a correlation between them. Written from a distinctively Christian perspective, “Faith” in the The Daniel Plan is not merely holding a sincere religious belief, but a commitment to God through Jesus Christ. The basis of Faith in the The Daniel Plan is much more precise than believing in a higher power; it is rooted in the Christian’s Bible. One of the significant elements found in the book is that relegating Faith to spiritual devotion, segmented from the routine everyday life, is not the message of the authors. Rather, the life of faith intersects with all aspects of life and is revealed in each of the five Essentials for a healthier life. It is one of the best books I have read on health—particularly from a Christian perspective. For more of my thoughts on The Daniel Plan see my blog post: The Daniel Plan: A Faith Approach to Well-being.

Thrive: Finding Happiness the Blue Zones Way by Dan Buettner. Following the methodology of his first book, Blue Zones, Buettner travels to four areas of world where there is apparent higher levels of happiness. These are Denmark, Singapore, Monterrey Mexico, and San Louis Obispo California. While it is a book about happiness, the value I find is in understanding the principles of well-being which are interwoven in the research and stories. And, while Thrive will focus on many aspects of our lives outside of work, employers will discover why caring about the happiness of employees matters.


Zero Trends: Health As a Serious Economic Strategy by D. W. Edington Wellness is one of the buzz words in HR and corporate America today; Eddington takes wellness to a new level. In fact, he provides descriptions of 4 levels of wellness initiatives.  The major theme is that improved health status will not only reduce healthcare cost for companies but also increase performance and productivity in the workplace. He contends, rightly, employers must create environments that encourage their employees to stay well and not simply provide care for them when they are sick. Anyone who is seriously looking to find long-term solutions to managing healthcare cost in their organization and increasing employee productivity should read this book.

wellbeingWellbeing: The Five Essential Elements by Tom Rath and Jim Harter. This book is the best resource I have found on the topic of well-being. One of the great benefits of Wellbeing is how the authors provide very practical advice on increasing personal well-being and also provide Gallup’s research for those who want to understand the data behind the practical application. Five essential areas of well-being are discussed: Career, Social, Financial, Physical and Community, (I would have liked to have seen Spiritual well-being included). A bonus to the book is the opportunity to use Gallup’s online Wellbeing Finder.


See Jack’s Favorite Books for Business.


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