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1-Page Summary of The Energy Bus
Jon Gordon’s The Energy Bus: 10 Rules to Fuel Your Life, Work, and Team with Positive Energy is a self-help book that has sold well. It tells the story of an individual who overcomes personal and work issues using positive energy.
This book is about how to create a positive team environment and the importance of having an optimistic outlook. It’s also a story about how one person was able to turn his life around after finding happiness in the most unlikely places.
The first six chapters introduce George, a hard-working family man who has fallen on hard times. His team at work is adrift and he might get fired as a result of that. Bad luck seems to haunt him and his wife threatens to leave him because of it.
When George’s car breaks down, he has to take the bus to work. He meets Joy, a driver who is very energetic and enthusiastic about life. She offers him 10 rules for living a more positive life. Initially, he is annoyed by her energy but eventually accepts her offer and learns the rules from her.
In the later chapters, Joy gives George some advice. She’s assisted by several passengers with expertise in specific areas. Joy explains that everyone has a bus and their own life is like it. The outcomes of your life derive from you, not luck or fate or other people. The first step to driving successfully is having desire, vision, and focus on where you want to go.
The third rule is to be positive and fuel your ride with positivity. The usual approach to problems is to blame others for them, which leads people down a negative path that doesn’t produce good results. Instead, being positive creates enthusiasm, joy, and success.
In Chapters 12 through 20, George learns how to make his life better. He must invite people on the bus with him in order for them to support him and help achieve his goals. When he invites the members of his work team to join him, three refuse and two accept just so they can badger him and watch him fail.
George learns that he must confront the doubters on his team. The book instructs him to get rid of energy vampires, and post a sign telling them not to come back onto his bus. George confronts those who don’t believe in him, fires one employee and loses another but gets the rest of them on board with his vision. In doing so, he realizes how much they’ve resented him for being negative about everything all these years, and how it hurt their morale.
George’s attitude improves and the team starts to gel. In chapters 21-30, they work overtime for three days to finish their project. They learn rules 7 and 8 (enthusiasm attracts more passengers and energizes them during the ride; love your passengers) along with a five step system for cultivating caring in teams. Rule 9 focuses George on goals bigger than just this presentation by driving with purpose.
The team presents their idea to the board, who are impressed. George is happy that his family is back together again and has a positive attitude about life. He also learns Rule 10: Have Fun and Enjoy the Ride.
After George achieves his goal of driving the Energy Bus, he decides to keep riding it so that he can share his wisdom with other people. One chapter is about how to apply those principles in your life (11 steps). The author has written 20 books and consulted for several companies including Campbell Soup, Southwest Airlines, Bayer Pharmaceuticals, San Francisco 49ers and Los Angeles Dodgers. Overall this book focuses on teamwork but its principles can be applied to any problem or challenge. There’s also a foreword by Ken Blanchard as well as links to resources and an index at the end of the book.