Sunday, March 29, 2015

Essentialism, Mindfulness, and More!

As someone who was raised in and continues to practice in a Buddhist tradition, I have been intrigued by how many Buddhist philosophies have become so popularized in management literature in recent years. I believe that this has been driven by the information overloaded, 24/7 environment in which we now live. Rather than just focusing on one resource, here are a few that I have found interesting related to this:
  • Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown - I devoured this book! McKeown writes about “doing less” in terms of focusing on what is most important rather than attempting to “do it all.” By being more mindful about our efforts, we can really make more meaningful progress. I need to re-read this! To me, McKeown writes about a practice that is never perfected, but definitely worth striving for.
  • Search Inside Yourself: The Unexpected Path to Achieving Success, Happiness (and World Peace) by Chade-Meng Tan - With all of the success that Google has had as a company, I think it is interesting to see how they have adopted and endorse programs such as “Search Inside Yourself,” which focuses on developing mindfulness. I think that these practices are ones that we can use to support ourselves as professionals, but also to share with other teachers and students as they wade through the complex, and often overwhelming, information world.
  • The Zen Teacher by Dan Tricarico - This is the blog of a co-worker of mine who is an English teacher. While he is not Buddhist, he is inspired by the ideas and applies many Zen principles to his teaching. Although this is not library-focused, I have been engaging in some great conversations with Dan about trying to get to the essentials of instruction and serving our shared populations.
In terms of applicability to information center management, I am reminded of the Discussion #2 board posting shared by Julie Hulvey, who wrote about information overdosing. Information professionals need to consider how to not only help patrons access and use information in manageable doses, but also ensure that employees feel that they are getting appropriate doses in the workplace. Several other students in our course wrote about workplace stress in Discussion #2, and I think that discussions about mindfulness can help people cope with stress in order to be more effective and fulfilled in their work and personal lives.


McKeown, G. (2014). Essentialism: The disciplined pursuit of less. New York: Crown Business.

Tan, C. (2012). Search inside yourself: The unexpected path to achieving success, happiness (and world peace). New York: HarperOne.

Tricarico, D. (2015). The Zen Teacher. Retrieved from

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