Book review: The Energy Bus

Book cover for The Energy Bus by Jon Gordon

Business books are generally very dry. Most times it feels like you’re reading an academic textbook or business journal article. Now, I’m not saying that there’s anything fundamentally wrong with that style. You can learn a lot from a good business book. I just find that it’s more enjoyable and easier to read a business book that teaches its concepts through an engaging, interactive story.

The first business book I read that was written in this style was The Goal by Eliyahu Goldratt. He used a fast-paced fictional story to show how his Theory of Constraints principles were applied to make a factory more efficient. I thoroughly enjoyed it and highly recommend reading it if you haven’t already. Since then, I’ve read a number of other business stories, including my latest read, The Energy Bus by Jon Gordon.

In The Energy Bus, Gordon explains, as described on the book cover, his 10 rules to fuel your life, work, and team with positive energy. Instead of doing so in a dry, textbook manner, he uses a fun, engaging story to get his points across. While there are 10 rules, which I’ll get to in a minute, Gordon’s overall thesis is that positive people, positive communication, positive interactions, and positive work produces positive results. In other words, leading with positive energy results in better outcomes than using negative energy.

The story is centered around a man named George who can’t seem to catch a break. His work performance is suffering, the team he leads is not performing, and his personal life is suffering as well. He hits a new low when his car breaks down, and he is forced to ride the bus to work. At least it appears that way until he ends up meeting an energetic bus driver named Joy. Each day that George rides her bus, she introduces him to another one of the 10 rules that helps George turn his life around. Implementing the rules changes his overall attitude toward life, improves his work performance, helps him patch up his home life, and makes him better able and equipped to roll with the punches life throws at him.

Here are the 10 rules of The Energy Bus:

  1. You’re the driver of your bus.
  2. Desire, vision, and focus move your bus in the right direction.
  3. Fuel you ride with positive energy.
  4. Invite people on your bus and share your vision for the road ahead.
  5. Don’t waste your energy on those who don’t get on your bus.
  6. Post a sign that says NO ENERGY VAMPIRES ALLOWED on your bus.
  7. Enthusiasm attracts more passengers and energizes them during the ride.
  8. Love your passengers.
  9. Drive with purpose.
  10. Have fun and enjoy the ride.

Gordon details the meaning of each rule in the book and how to effectively apply them. The above list is meant to give you a summary of his theories.

While the book is a fictional account, I can’t disagree with Gordon’s 10 rules. In my own professional and personal life, I’ve seen dramatic differences in using positive energy rather than negative energy. It has had a positive effect in my relationships with others as well as my outlook on life. Having a positive attitude has generally made life more fun and enjoyable. It’s pretty amazing how such a simple change can have such a dramatic effect.

I like how Gordon gives us 10 rules that we can use to keep us focused on being positive on a daily basis. The difference between radiating positive or negative energy is a choice. It’s a simple one that we make every day, every hour, even moment to moment. The more aware we are of our choices, and the more we choose the positive path, the better our chances for successful outcomes. I’m not going to suggest that positive energy is the cure to all that ails us in life, but it certainly makes it a lot more bearable when things go off the rails.

I liked The Energy Bus. Gordon does a good job illustrating how having a positive attitude can lead to more positive results in one’s life. The writing style makes it an easy read. Not only is The Energy Bus a story that you’ll enjoy, it also a book that you can learn a lot from as well. I’ve added it to my Fun Reads category.

If you want to get a deeper overview of the book and the 10 rules, here’s a video overview of the book you may enjoy.