Bookish Witch

The Heart Revolution® by Karen Tobiasen

Book blurb:

The Heart Revolution: Your profound and practical guide to personal and business transformation. What if change wasn’t something we just “managed to survive”? What if change and transformation is where we thrive and come fully alive?

Change and disruption constantly affects our lives and businesses. Another Industrial Revolution and technology’s advancement is making traditional jobs and industry models obsolete. Regulation, climate change, social justice movements and a global pandemic shows transformation isn’t just inevitable, but necessary for solving our challenges. 

The Heart Revolution is your profound and practical guide to doing just that; helping you walk beyond your comfort zone, tear down your internal blockers and follow the Ten Steps of Transformation®. And as you transform, you transform your business – empowering you to stay resourceful, relevant and resilient – wherever you are in your organization, your life and the world.

Fear of change is human, but unhelpful. It drives transformations to fade or fail, making companies live shorter, and many of us exhausted and disengaged from work. 

But there is another way; for why, how and what we transform.  

It starts with you and me. With every one of us building and sustaining our capacity to transform. By finding deeper meaning to shift exhaustion to excitement. By shifting mindsets to systematically replace fear with love. Because as provoking as it sounds, love is a life and business hack. Not romantic love – but a mindset of love that moves us from a limiting ‘me-focus’, to an expanding ‘we-focus’. A mindset that builds our capacity to solve complex problems and manifest impact for ourselves, businesses and society. 

The Heart Revolution isn’t theory; it’s tried, tested and proven practice. It unfolds the Ten Steps of Transformation® – built on neuroscience, psychology, system- and social thinking, and change management – and shares inspiring insights, compelling case studies and practical exercises. It tells real-life stories of transformation at every level – from associate on the shop floor to CEO on the top floor – collected through over 20+ years on the frontline of human and business transformation. 

It’s a book that includes and speaks to all of us – at every stage and age of career and life. 

Karen Tobiasen’s passion for helping people enrich their lives began when she was a nurse treating terminally ill patients. She saw first-hand how differently people met death, depending on how they’d lived. She took that inspiration into her decades in senior leadership roles working with people and multinational organizations undergoing transformation. 

The Heart Revolution is Karen Tobiasen’s powerful invitation to you to disrupt your life – to enrich it, expand your capacity and thrive in transformation. For all of us to not just survive, but come fully alive – as people, organizations and societies.

Genre: Nonfiction/Self-Help/Motivation

Pages: 290

Format: Kindle eBook/Paperback


  • Kindle eBook: 99 INR/$12.11
  • Paperback (available only in the US): $29.99

My Ratings: 4.2/5

Change is the only constant in our personal and professional lives. This book helps us navigate through planned and unplanned changes in our lives which can help us grow as individuals and as businesses. For anyone looking to bring about a positive development in business and in life, this is a must-read.

The positive impact of choosing love over fear.

What I liked about the book:
–> That it focuses on both professional and personal development, as well as individual and team development.
–> That it tackles a small general concept in a very insightful and lucid manner which is explained very keenly.
–>Happy to see that there is attention being put on this as it is needed in the corporate world where it might be too brutal, fear-based, command and control, toxic masculinity.
–> That it explains the concepts practically with many fictional and real examples. It also strongly elucidates how the heart works and how one should train their mindsets.
–> The author rightfully points out that our thoughts are what make or break us. She has also provided descriptions of how our thoughts work and how they can be slowly and surely modified. This ultimately becomes helpful with chores of mind leading to better productivity.
–>The book lists everyday examples from our routine life which makes it easy to relate and allows the reader to inspect their actions at a personal level.
–> It highlights the subject of transformation that people are ignorant of. Most of the time we tend to stack these transformations as impossible tasks but the book teaches us how to turn them into possible ones.
–> It teaches us to accept and adapt to changes, renovate our thoughts, take on constructive praises, welcome failures and grapple with our problems to reach the goals of life.

What I did not like about the book:
–> At many points it felt more show than tell and I felt myself going, “Get to the point”
–> A few concepts seemed repetitive and beating around the bush. (but this might be more of a ‘me’ thing because I don’t read that many self-help and nonfiction books)

Quotable quotes:

—> Change is inevitable. It is the only constant aspect and therefore our capacity to learn and change is our biggest asset as human beings. The speed of this process is of the essence. Technology sets the pace for how fast we have to adapt. Often, setting it exponentially, a concept we cannot fully grasp as human beings. The world has never been more volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous, and we need to learn to see this as an opportunity.
—> We are all perfect CEOs of our own lives and are invited to lead it accordingly.
—> We all need to build the capacity to transform – so transformation does not scare us, but rather enriches us profoundly.
—> When we as humans and business thrive, so will society.
—> We are more than the sum of our parts.
—> We rarely – if ever – achieve anything great alone!
—> The upset with my new boss helped me shift from being a coconut: hard on the outside with an empty core – to an avocado: soft on the outside, yet with a strong core. A movement through a mindset of fear to a mindset of love.
—> We can only change ourselves.
—> Creating safety as a leader is a foundation for peak performance.
—> From a mindset of fear, I generate waste. From a mindset of love … I generate value.
—> I have seen old people dying with regrets and young people dying with grace. It made an everlasting impact on me. It is less the length of your life that matters, but rather how you live it.
—> Death gives the ultimate perspective to life. Not for us to fear, but to understand what good fortune it is to be alive. Seeing death as a perspective to life has formed how I view and interact with the world. We are all privileged to have been given time on this beautiful planet. Life is short. Life is precious. How can we each live life to its fullest?
—> A mindset of fear is one of limitation, protection, scarcity, separation and exclusiveness. It leads also to waste. We want to survive. A mindset of love is one of enough, openness, abundance, integration and inclusion. It creates value.
—> Fear contracts, love expands. Fear diminishes, love enriches. Fear exhausts, love excites.
—> Love is much more than romantic love. Love is a force for good – in all lives, including business lives. It is our heartfelt commitment to be at our best and to do what is best for the totality. It is our commitment to ourselves, our organization, our community, our planet. Love is way beyond feelings. It is a way of being, a way of doing. It is a choice. It is constant practice. It is the reason why we are here. The essence of who we are. In fact, love is all we want.
—> Human transformation enables business transformation and that enables social transformation.
—> How do I do well by doing good?
You do it in big and small ways. When you bring a loving mindset.
—> Doing well and doing good are not contradicting but reinforcing forces.
—> The world is becoming increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous. This requires new organizations, skills and mindsets. If you and I don’t transform, others will be more relevant than us tomorrow.
—> We’re living longer and longer, but these days we’re more exhausted than excited
—> To turn today’s challenges into tomorrow’s opportunities, we need to humanize businesses. When we as humans transform, our businesses will transform.
—> Transformation is an ongoing journey, where you never arrive, but rather constantly evolve, developing your agility,
—> Don’t be shy to focus on you. This is the only place a real transformation can start. Here, you will always be the driver, never the passenger. There is never a dull moment on the journey, even though you are often invited to slow down to speed up. Transformation is like tennis: You never get really good at it unless you practice.
—> Fear can be many different things, including fear of failure, fear of public speaking, fear of losing, fear of the unknown, fear of success and also fear of love. Fear can show up as frustration, anger, shame, blame, exclusiveness, self-protection, self-centeredness, helplessness, manipulation and more.
—> When you choose a mindset of fear, you immediately impact your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual capacity.
—> The fear of failing can make us raise our bar, creating a strong output – at least in the short term, but often exhausting us in the longer run.
—> When we choose short-term before long-term gains, when we choose to stay quiet and safe, it increases the risk of mistakes and – most importantly – of repeating them.
—> When we don’t speak about our mistakes, we will not learn from them.
—> A grateful heart is a healthier heart!
—> Our attitude matters as much as our IQ when it comes to learning and achieving.
—> As you give, you will receive. Love is a non-depleting resource – the more you use it, the more there is. Love is always around; the question is whether you have the courage to live it?
—> My definition of transformation is: ‘A radical change that sets a new direction, doing things differently – creating another level of output. It is a change in appearance, character and perspective. All transformations require change, but not all change is transformational. Transformation means there is no way back. It is a continuous and never-ending journey.’
—> Have you read books before that gave you insight but then you never took it further?
—> Feeling stuck reveals a great potential.
—> When we let go of being afraid of not knowing and approach challenges with more curiosity and openness, we will see the opportunities that exist.
—> When you relentlessly eliminate waste and create value every step of the way, you make things better in every moment of every day through constant innovation and experimentation.
—> We all have the power to have a significant impact.
—> Your first change might be to choose to smile at strangers in an elevator and not stare at your phone.
—> Who are we to point fingers at people stepping into the arena, daring and caring greatly to change something for the better, when we are comfortably observing them from our cozy chair within our comfort zone? From our comfort zone, with these judging comments – we might discourage others from living their life to the fullest, making an impact.
—> Many change leaders did not start by being rich and famous. They took their first brave step being passionate about the topic that was meaningful to them – and one step led to another.
—> Almost anything we think about other people, we can find and relate to in ourselves.
—> Instead of saying: ‘If only … they had as much energy as I have!’ We should say say: ‘Only if I balance my energy, will other people have the space to offer their energy and ideas.’
—> All big changes start small. To change our work and world, we only have to start with one step at a time. One small step – always towards better.
—> Shifting from ‘If only …’ to ‘Only if I …’ allows you to achieve
—> Stress and anxiety exist in the gap between who we are and who we would like to be.
—> The lack of transparency and honesty hinders you from building trustworthy connections to your surroundings and those around you.
—> Many of us waste our time and energy thinking about what we could or should do or what we could or should have done or not done, rather than accepting who we are and focusing on what we want to do.
—> Much energy and thereby waste is tied into ‘should, ought, must’. It feels like a long road that never ends.
—> You cannot pull the grass to grow. It grows when you water and nurture it.
—> You need to slow down before you speed up.
—> Acceptance is not giving in to your life situation and becoming a passive tourist in your life and in the world; rather, it is for you to become aware and to face your reality and then move into action and change.
—> As you practice looking curiously at what is going on inside you, it is rewarding to understand that whereas your thoughts impact you, you are not your thoughts. They serve as important input as to what is going on for you right now. They come and go, like clouds passing in the sky. And the sky (you) stays, even when it is cloudy. Thoughts and feelings are part of you but are not you. Isn’t that a relief? You become more and more aware of yourself, of the world around you and how you relate to it.
—> Feelings give you key input as to what is going on for you right now and what is important for you. Connecting with your feelings is therefore a good way of connecting with yourself. The more you observe and engage with your thoughts and feelings, the more you build your self-awareness and the more emotionally intelligent you become.
—> Presence and focus in all parts of life allow you to connect to yourself and other people, a critical foundation for accepting who you are.
—> Fear often prevents us from tackling our real pain points. When we lose our armor and see and say it as it is – both as human beings and as businesses – we help shape the transformation, so it fits our current reality and our unique situation. We avoid following a generic transformation template that might be money wasted, even though it makes us feel safe for a while.
—> The more you slow down in each of the steps, the more you will speed up your transformation.
—> When you experience positive emotions, including joy, excitement, pride, inspiration and hope, it gives you energy.
—> Finding meaning in life is not always straightforward, but identifying what you really enjoy doing will get you there a little faster.
—> What I give, I receive.
—> You might ask ‘What is it really that drives value or waste in my life?’ The simple answer is: Your mindset.
—> I create my own reality; I change my mind, I change my life.
—> Gratitude has the power to heal, energize and transform lives. It requires courage, combined with self-compassion to change our automatic patterns.
—> My choices are mine to live!
—> Learning every day requires you to hold a mindset of love rather than a mindset of fear, welcoming failure as one of many inspirations for learning.
—> From a loving and learning mindset you start seeing failures as gifts.
—> Mistakes might trigger you, requiring you to slow down, exploring your triggers by asking: ‘What does my reaction to the mistake tell me about myself?’
—> It is not the mistake that is interesting, but rather what you discover about yourself studying your reactions, including how you are judging, defending, camouflaging, avoiding or labeling.
—> Asking for Feedback is core to learning.
—> For you to manifest impact, for you to realize your dreams and your meaning, you need constant inspiration and discipline. Willpower is not enough to make the change happen; rather, the reward you achieve will help you make your change last.
—> We tend to believe that doing more is better than doing less, despite the proven impact of focus yielding much higher outcomes and contributions.
—> Your life is essentially the sum of your habits. How in shape or out of shape you are is a result of your habits; how happy or unhappy you are is a result of your habits; how successful or unsuccessful you think you are is a result of your habits
—>Your brain is lazy, but it is also flexible, provided you work proactively and intensively with it.
—> When you realize something is healthy to you, make it a habit! When you involve other people your success rate increases.
—> Excuses give you permission not to change your behavior in order to manifest what you know is good for you and/or your company.
—> What I attend, I attract.
—> Slowing down at first prevents you from wasting any time, energy or any other resources chasing things less relevant and critical.
—> To create real transformation, you have to look closely at how you operate, including your blind spots, biases and assumptions.
—> When listening to people genuinely, we are likely to become more productive as we, via our listening, help other people to become psychologically safe and less defensive. Good listeners generate more trust and creativity in others. Being listened to makes us more relaxed, more self-aware and more willing to reflect in a non-self-defending manner. Listening enables us to collaborate and connect. Through our listening we can help people change
—> You can turn challenges into opportunities by having a different perspective on your business.
—> For any problem, we hold the keys to the solution.
—> Qualities of courage include bravery, willingness to confront agony and tolerate pain, accepting uncertainty, the preparedness to do the right things, perseverance and patience. Without an appropriate balance between fear and confidence when facing a threat, you do not have the courage to overcome it.
—> —–>Not everything of importance can be measured and calculated or found in an Excel sheet.
—> It works when you work it.
—> Work has the potential to become your life enricher and a great place where you can realize your meaning. It is an invitation to all of us to find a role where we can live our passion – what we love doing – with the condition that it contributes to others.
—> The responsibility you have as an individual can both be challenging and incredibly liberating. You are the master of your own experience. Your awareness of your context, conditions and situation allows you to take conscious choices, moment by moment. The mindset shift that holds the greatest potential for you, and for all of us, irrespective of which organization we work for and where we are in life, is the mindset shift from fear to love.
—> Many words, including hope, try, believe, maybe, might, perhaps, probably, possibly, somewhat, kind of, sort of and really, are all fear-activated modifiers, distorting the truth.

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