Leading the Life You Want: Skills for Integrating Work and Life

Leading The Life You Want


“For nearly thirty years, my life’s work has been to help people like you find ways to bring the often warring aspects of life into greater harmony.”

– Stew Friedman, from Leading the Life You Want

You’re busy trying to lead a “full” life. But does it really feel full—or are you stretched too thin?

Enter Stew Friedman, Wharton professor, adviser to leaders across the globe, and passionate advocate of replacing the misguided metaphor of “work/life balance” with something more realistic, sustainable, and enriching. According to Friedman, the idea that “work” competes with “life” ignores the more nuanced reality of our humanity—the intersection and interaction of four central domains: work, home, community, and the private self. The goal is to integrate these areas harmoniously instead of thinking only in terms of trade-offs. It can be done.




Building on his national bestseller, Total Leadership, and on decades of research, teaching, and practice as both consultant and senior executive, Friedman identifies the critical skills for creating harmony between work and the rest of life. He illustrates them through the compelling stories of six remarkable people:

  • Tom Tierney: former CEO of Bain & Company and Bridgespan Group Co-founder
  • Sheryl Sandberg: businesswoman and author
  • Eric Greitens: nonprofit leader and US Navy SEAL
  • Michelle Obama: US First Lady
  • Julie Foudy: soccer champion-turned-broadcaster
  • Bruce Springsteen: renowned artist

Each of these admirable (though surely imperfect) people exemplifies a specific set of skills—for being real, being whole, and being innovative—that reduce conflict and produce a sense of purpose, coherence, and optimism.


TL skills list 092814


Based on in-depth interviews and research, their stories paint a vivid picture of the ways these very different leaders use specific skills to act with authenticity, integrity, and creativity—and they prove that significant professional or public success is accomplished not at the expense of the rest of life, but as the result of meaningful attachments to all its parts.

With dozens of engaging exercises for practicing these skills, curated from research in organizational psychology and related fields, this book will inspire you, inform you, and instruct you on how to take realistic steps now toward leading the life you truly want.


Take the Total Leadership Skills Assessment



18 questions that could change your life.  Click on the image to the left and learn how good you are at being real, being whole, and being innovative. Discover which of these six great leaders has strengths most like yours.