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By John Grant

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From beanbags to mindfulness; how wellbeing is making business more human friendly

Publication date: Winter 2018
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About the book

We are in the midst of what some have called “a wellbeing revolution”: natural and functional foods, alternative therapies, meditation and more. Partly in response to the pressures of modern life  – one recent global survey of wellbeing found that only 1/6 of people alive today are thriving.

Naturally some enlightened businesses - stretched to the limit with stress and competing for the best talent - took wellbeing on board. But what started as a few HR reforms at companies like Google has started to change our view of what a business is, and what it is for.

Wellbeing is 80% social. That’s why this book calls it wellbeeing. Just like bees, we are a social species. We need much more than good food and exercise to thrive. We need fellowship and belonging, a stimulating environment, contact with nature, happy communities, a sense of purpose.

That’s where business comes in. Business used to labour under the mistaken idea that companies are like mechanisms, and it is all about financial results. But in the last few decades an alternative worldview moved in from innovative fringes (like Body Shop and Google). One that sees business fundamentally as a living human system. Its purpose being to produce wellbeing; including financial prosperity but also community, health, human progress.

This book explores how that ‘better’ idea took hold first in ‘free range’ workplaces; with their natural, human-centred architecture and processes, flexible working, mindfulness classes. It looks at the evidence that these changes aren’t just nice, they produce better work. And it explores how ‘better’ as an ethos has seeped from workplace culture into the strategy, products, transparency, community and purpose of leading companies like Unilever.

To reflect a new business culture, this had to be a new kind of business book. It had to be less wordy, but worthy and rational. Full of humanity, insight, provocation, fascinating facts and intriguing images. That’s why John Grant came to Unbound who he has known and loved since the early days – with the ambition of creating a book to capture and be faithful to this amazing trend.

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