The one-sentence summary

You can achieve more by stopping knee-jerk responses, going with the flow, not having all the answers, screwing up occasionally, and slowing down to think properly.


  • This is a short book with around 80 inspirational work ideas.
  • It has two subtitles: How to survive and thrive at work and Upping your ‘Elvis factor’. This refers to the U2 singer Bono who asks “Who’s Elvis around here? whenever he goes into an organisation and wants to know who’s the person who makes things happen.
  • The structure is a sequence of motivating thoughts – there are no chapters.

His main themes are:

  • Shine more brightly than the rest and choose to stand out.
  • Stop knee-jerk responses and generate more abundant thinking, go with the flow, be human, screw up, don’t have all the answers, and slow down to think properly.
  • Know your North Star (your personal orientation), be true to yourself, and live it, don’t just think it.
  • Be a brand, have killer numbers, do what you love and are great at.
  • Be nice, be in the picture, be a grown-up.
  • If you really want to shine in business, choose to communicate in other, more advantageous ways than e-mail.


  • Good feedback is as important as bad. For every piece of developmental feedback (things the person could do better), you should give five pieces of reinforcing feedback (things they are doing really well).
  • ‘Feedback with funk’ does it properly in a five stage process:
  • Overall, there is only one message: make the most of yourself and be a bright source of energy.
  1. Check-in: you need to be in the right place and in the right frame of mind
  2. Data: you have to stick to the facts and be able to agree on events
  3. Interpretation: neither party’s interpretation can be ‘wrong’
  4. Reaction: each person shares how they feel
  5. Land it: the appraisee can then arrive where they want


  • It is inventively packaged, but as with all motivational books, the ideas are easier said than done so you have to be up for change.
  • The author runs his own company called Upping Your Elvis, so there is an element of company brochure to it.