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Book Review: The Energy Bus by Jon Gordon

Updated on August 1, 2009

Introduction the the Energy Bus

As a member of the corporate world, I have many times been given the task of reading motivational "Go get 'em" books and, therefore, when my boss gave me the task of reading The Energy Bus I approached it reluctantly, procrastinating until just before our team discussion.

However, once I got started I couldn't put it down until the end. In fact, throughout the experience I was so pumped I excitedly shared all the details with my husband.

Using the principles in this book, I decided to take action and not sit passively while life passed me by. I have set goals (visions) to increase the flow of positive energy in my personal life and at work. I am more proactive and this results in less anxiety and frustrations. I no longer allow myself to dwell on little stresses that don't fit into the bigger picture I have created for myself.

Like my attitude before reading this book, I viewed things negatively rather than being optimistic about the possibilities each experience offers.

Needless to say, I needed this book and didn't even realize it!

Gordon's council is geared towards challenges we face in business life, yet, it also translates nicely into changing your personal attitude towards life; fueling it with positive energy. It reminds us to learn from difficult experiences so we can grow and have a positive outlook.

The Story

Gordon hits home by creating a fictional fable of a disgruntled, closed off downer, George and the ride that will change his life forever, fueling it with positive energy.

At the beginning of the tale, George believes the world is out to get him as he experiences a series of events that make him sink lower and lower into negativity and self pity.

Starting the day with a flat tire, George immediately lashes out at life and his family. His continuous bad attitude is causing a rift in his relationship with his wife and children, which only serves to make his situation worse.

Forced to take the bus in order to make an important meeting with his team, George reluctantly boards bus #11, where he meets the wonderfully bright bus driver accurately names Joy.

Joy considers herself an "Energy Ambassador" and her mission is to give an energy boost to people like George who are "overstressed, overtired, and overworked." She is blunt and insightful and believes everything happens for a reason.

However, George's first encounter with Joy does not sit well with him and he stubbornly rejects her advise with more negativity.

"Ironic how the people who need help the most were often the most closed off from receiving it." - The Energy Bus, chapter 1.

As the day progresses things only get worse for George and he finds himself without a car for the next two weeks, his wife and boss both give him the same ultimatum "change or it's over."

Desperate to hold the threads of his life together, he begins to open up, accepting the help from Joy and her "10 rules for the ride of your life."

Taking responsibility, George applies these rules to his life, successfully changing his team, his family and himself.

10 Rules for the Ride of Your Life

#1 "Your the Driver of Your Bus." - This is the most important rule: Take responsibility for your life. Take control. Don't subject yourself to whimsy of others.

"You don't have to sit passively by like so many souls who let life create them. You can take the wheel and choose to create your life, one thought, one belief, one action, one choice at a time. It's your bus and your the driver and you choose where you are going and the kind of ride it's going to be." - The Energy Bus, chapter 7.

#2 "Desire, Vision, and Focus Move Your Bus in the Right Direction" - Create your vision for your life by determining where you desire your bus to go. Then turn you vision into reality by focusing your thoughts on that vision.

#3 "Fuel Your Ride with Positive Energy" - A formula for life; Having a positive energy with allow you to experience a more positive life.

#4 "Invite People on Your Bus and Share Your Vision for the Road Ahead."- The more people who join your bus the more positive energy you will have to fuel it. Share your vision and ask the people in your life to get on board.

#5 "Don't Waste Your Energy on Those Who Don't Get on Your Bus." - Not everyone is going to want to get on your bus and you shouldn't worry or try to force them on. This will only drain your your energy.

"Don't take it personal. Maybe they are meant to get on another bus. Maybe if they got on your bus they would ruin your ride." The Energy Bus, chapter 17.

#6 "Post a Sign That Says No Energy Vampires Allowed on Your Bus." - Don't include negative people on your bus. Be strong enough to kick them off. Your team only has room for people united with your vision.

#7 "Enthusiasm Attracts More Passengers and Energizes Them During the Ride." - Enthusiasm and positive thinking is contagious. Show enthusiasm for life and give your full heart to it. Become a "Chief Energy Officer," someone who shares positive energy and "communicates from the heart."

#8 "Love your Passengers" - Genuinely love and care for the people in your life this will inspire hard work and loyalty; it will keep them on your bus.

#9 "Drive with Purpose" - Focus on the bigger purpose and vision for life not on the the things/jobs that can get old after awhile. Giving purpose to our lives will keep life fresh and inspire us.

"When you fuel up with purpose you find the excitement in the mundane, the passion in the everyday, and the extraordinary in the ordinary. Purpose is what life is all about. Every one's out there trying to find their purpose when all you have to do is find the bigger purpose in the here and now and your purpose will find you." - The Energy Bus, chapter 29.

#10 "Have Fun and Enjoy the Ride" - Live your life and enjoy every moment. Don't stress about little things and don't dwell on regrets.

As referenced in the book, a study asked "a bunch of ninety-five-year olds" what they would change if they got to live life all over again the three most common answers were:

"(1) They would reflect more. Enjoy more moments. More sunrises and sunsets. More moments of joy. (2) They would take more risks and chances. Life is too short not to go for it. (3) They would have left a legacy. Something that would live on after they die"

"The best legacy you could leave is not some building that is names after you or a piece of jewelry but rather a world that has been impacted and touched by your presence, your joy, and your positive actions." - The Energy Bus, chapter 31.

Gordon's principal key to success is positive attitude and though, this is not a new concept, he provides thoughtful and entertaining insight on how this can be achieved with this 10 step plan. 

The Energy Bus is a life builder.  It provides principles for overcoming life's obstacles and teaches leadership and team building in a format that flows and is easy to read.  This book is well worth the money and John Wiley & Sons, Inc provides large quantities for companies and groups. 

I definitely recommend this for your business and as a personal read.



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      7 years ago

      First, it was a good read. The concept, in general is dead on. But this all has to translate to more that feeling good about going to work. I was hoping that the story would end with everyone getting a big bonus, but alas, NOTHING. They all worked overtime and came together for the benefit of the company. The reward for "playing along" was keeping their job(s)...period. This concept MUST end in MAKING MORE MONEY. Without that, why? The purpose of business is making money. If that is not your purpose for being in business, get out...You can have fun AND make money

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      9 years ago

      I love this book! Great read for anyone.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Thank you very much for this. I found it very insightful.


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