Life, Incorporated by Halley BockLife, Incorporated

“If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.” – Lao Tzu

My book recommendation is a little different than what you normally see here but I think everyone can gain some valuable insight from what author Halley Bock has to say in her recently published book, Life, Incorporated.

Halley (pronounced like my own name, rhymes with Sally) had been a high-level executive for the majority of her career. She led an emerging media company that went through an IPO, then led a leadership development and training company for a number of years before she was let go…by her mother. The emotional trauma and steps she took to grow from this painful time in her life are what drove the content of this book. She shares her personal story and the lessons she learned to cultivate a life she loves. As the author and founder of Life, Incorporated, I’m sure, besides her children, is the body of work she is most proud of.

Life, Incorporated: A Practical Guide to Wholehearted Living shares some of Halley’s own experiences and guides readers on how to live a more purposeful life. The essence of the book is to help readers navigate from living from the outside in to the inside out. She explains that a life rooted in superficial or external things–a dream home, fancy car, kids attending the “right” school, an impressive resume, etc.–is a life that cannot possibly supply the proper “nutrients” for a soul because it’s not anchored to anything purposeful. Bock then shares what she means by an incorporated life. It’s one that is deeply connected to purpose and self. It’s not about keeping up with society and what society deems as important but what comes from within ourselves.

As Bock progresses through the book, she crafts a visual of the content like cultivating a strong, healthy tree. In part one, she explains our foundation is like the soil. Our inner life, physical well-being, and environment are what makes up our “soil.” From there she progresses into Inspiration (our root system), Expression (our branches), and finally Impact (our leaves).
In the book, she also gives some pretty eye-opening statistics.

  • The United States has 5 percent of the world’s population and consumes 75% of the world’s prescription drugs.
  • 18.8 million American adults, almost 10% of the U.S. population age 18 and older, have a depressive disorder
  • The growth of mobile devices is blowing past the human population by a factor of five.
  • 30% of adults and 17% of youth in America are grossly overweight.
  • One in five Americans is “almost constantly” online, with 36% of 18-29 year olds are always connected.
  • U.S. consumers are over $3.5 trillion in outstanding debt

I found myself nodding my head, cringing, and highlighting lots and lots of text as I read through each section of how to cultivate my own healthy tree. There are many things she offered that I can use and incorporate into my life which are simple yet deeply connecting. One of the bonuses of reading the electronic version of the book is that I created flashcards from the highlighted text which will make it easy for me to go back and revisit the parts that resonated with me. I had no idea this was something I could do until I did a little exploring and it’s a perfect tool for a book like this.

After she explores each part of this cultivation process starting with the soil, the author gives a series of exercises to help the reader become more aware of each component in their own lives. Again, because I had an electronic version of the book, I had to go to the website to print out the exercises. I highly recommend checking out the site after reading the book to continue the growing process. It offers an online platform beyond the book to share a variety of resources from articles to videos to upcoming webinars and retreats.

I believe every person can benefit from living a more purposeful and fully connected life and this book is a great way to understand some practical ways to make that happen. If we did just a fraction of what she teaches in the book, we could make a dent in those awful statistics listed above.

If you enjoyed The Happiness Project by Gretchin Rubin or Thrive by Arianna Huffington, I think you’ll really enjoy Life, Incorporated.


Hallie Sawyer is a freelance writer/blogger with a passion for history, photography, travel, and books, of course. She lives in the Kansas City area with her husband and three kids, as well as her goofy Wheaten Terrier. You can find her at her website: and on Twitter @Hallie_Sawyer.


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