page title icon Book Summary Review: The Energy Bus

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At some point in life, you may have felt discouraged, unmotivated, and that things are falling apart. In this short fable, The Energy Bus, Jon Gordon, a leadership and teamwork expert, explains how to redirect your focus when such feelings occur. The book takes the reader through an inspiring and enlightening journey revealing 10 secrets to approaching life with a positive outlook. Through the engaging and instructive story, he shares powerful insights and offers a roadmap toward overcoming adversities and bringing out the best in oneself. Practicing the ten rules can assist you in building successful work teams and improving relationships. Like George, the book’s main character, you can also learn to enjoy life’s ride.   

In the first six chapters, Gordon introduces a hard-working family man (George) who is faced with challenging times at work. George’s team at work is adrift, and he risks getting fired. In addition, he has lost his cheerfulness, and his wife threatens to leave. After his car breaks down, George has to ride the bus to work for approximately two weeks, where he meets an energetic and enthusiastic driver (Joy). Joy’s energy bus is full of cheerful passengers. At first, her ebullience is annoying for George. However, her persistent cheerfulness and warmth slowly win George over. Joy later chooses to share the 10 rules for living a positive life which George cautiously accepts. From chapters 7 through 11, Joy and passengers of different expertise offer George a few rules for success. In the first rule, You’re the Driver, Joy explains to George that an individual’s life is similar to that of a bus. She lets George know that the outcome of his life depends on him and not on other people, fate, or luck. 

The second rule that Joy shared with George is that Desire, vision, and focus move your bus in the right direction. When it comes to desire, it makes you hungry to see success. Focus, on the other hand, helps you to block the distractions that might hinder you from fully concentrating on attaining the one thing you desire. Lastly, vision lets you see yourself as having already attained the goal. It involves dreaming with a full expectation of attaining the dream. According to Joy, success is all about focus. Without focus buildings don’t get built, paintings don’t get painted, and energy gets scattered

The third rule is being positive and fueling the ride with positivity. Usually, people tend to blame others when bad things happen. Such an approach leads to a negative path that never produces good results. The Energy Bus recommends readers to embrace positivity that creates success, enthusiasm, and joy. In chapters 12 to 20, the reader learns how to improve their life. Joy also introduced rule 4, Invite people on your bus and share your vision for the road ahead. In this case, Joy encourages George to request support and assistance in attaining his goals. On inviting his work team, some honored it. However, three members refused. Unfortunately, the two team members who agreed to the invitation just went to watch him fail. George eventually confronts the doubters among his team. As a leader, you need to eliminate energy vampires that hinder success. In George’s case, he confronts his doubters, fires another, and loses others. However, he gets the rest of the team members on board, shares his vision, and they agree to support him.

The 5th rule that Joy shared with George is, Don’t waste your energy on those who don’t get on your bus. The book argues that some people will be willing to enter your bus while others will not. As an enthusiastic person willing to go far, you should never focus your energy on those unwilling to join the bus. Rule 6 argued, Post a sign that says no energy vampires allowed on your bus. When George realized he had doubters within his team, he confronted them, fired one, and one quit. He later got the rest to buy in, as mentioned earlier. During this process, George realized how much his behaviors had affected his team. He resolved to clean up the damage he had done, especially touching on workers’ morale. With the changes, George’s attitude improved, and his team started gelling with his newfound positivity. 

From chapters 21-30, George’s team works overtime for three days, and they successfully finish their projects. From this experience, he learned rule 7, Enthusiasm attracts more passengers and energizes them during the ride. From this rule, George learned that people love individuals who fill them with enthusiasm and energy. As a leader, lead with positive and contagious leadership. Energy tends to be contagious, and when an individual is energized about something, he imparts it to others. As a leader, being excited about your vision and taking action attracts others to you. 

Rule 8 states, Love your passengers. Per The Energy Bus, love can be termed the world’s greatest leadership and team-building principle. Loving and investing in your passengers is a crucial element of demonstrating care. People will likely want to stay on your bus when they realize they are loved. Drive with purpose is the 9th rule proposed by Joy. According to Gordon, the purpose is a definitive fuel for one’s journey through life. Purpose, in this case, is not only a roadmap, but also a personal and precious route, that takes you where you want to be. This rule is a great indicator that if you are driven by purpose, you will find extraordinary in the ordinary. 

Chapters 31 through 34 explore the team’s successful presentation and excitement concerning their future together. In these chapters, George has already embraced a positive attitude and later revives his relationship with his wife and children. He also learns the 10th rule–Have fun and enjoy the ride. From this rule, you learn that life’s goal is to live young, get to and enjoy the destination while maintaining a smile. Life only has one ride, and you should purpose to enjoy it. Enjoying life’s ride involves knowing your purpose, meeting fantastic passengers, sharing positive energy, offering people the gift of a smile, and radiating love. 

Energy Bus Action Plan

Step 1.  Creating the vision:  Can be created by the leader or as a team. As a team, develop a vision of what you want to attain. Leaders can also share their vision with subordinates and request their input and support.

Step 2.  Fueling the vision with purpose:  When creating the vision, link it with a greater purpose.

Step 3.  Writing down your vision/purpose statement:  Link your vision and purpose into a powerful vision statement, then note it down for more focused action.

Step 4.  Focusing on your vision:  Create a vision/purpose statement and give it to your team. Encourage the members to view it every day for focused action.

Step 5.  Zoom focus:  Identify your team’s goals to attain your vision. Note the goals down and identify the necessary action steps.

Step 6.  Getting on the bus:  Identify the individuals that need to be on your bus.

Step 7.  Fuel the ride with positive energy and enthusiasm:  Motivate your employees daily to embrace positive energy. Such ensures that negativity does not breed. Integrate practices and procedures that nurture a culture of positive energy. 

Step 8.  Post a sign that says, “No energy vampires allowed”:  Work towards identifying negative team members affecting your bus ride’s success. Point out the negative employees and inspire them to change. If they refuse to change, let them off the bus.

Step 9.  Navigate adversity and potholes:  Along the ride, expect challenges and adversity. Even though great teams are tested, they never allow flat tires to halt them from getting to their destination.

Step 10.  Love your passengers:  People work hard when they feel loved

Step 11.  Have fun and enjoy the ride:  It does not matter how challenging and painful a bus ride is; every trip should be fun. Always remember that you have a one-lifetime ride. Enjoy and give it your all 


  1. A lifetime goal should be to live young, enjoy, and get to your final destination smiling because this means that you loved the ride.
  2. Negative people = energy vampires.
  3. If you ignore life’s responsibility and fail to control your bus, you will never take it where you wish to go.
  4. Desire, vision, and focus are key elements toward turning the bus in the right direction; however, positive energy is key to taking you to your destination.
  5. The more energy you waste on individuals who refuse getting into your bus, the less energy you have left to serve those already on the bus.
  6. Positive energy resembles muscles–the more you use them, the stronger they become.
  7. The more your team senses your love, the more they will be willing to stay on your bus forever
  8. Five ways to care for and love your passengers involve spending time with them, listening to and recognizing them, and serving and mining the best out of them.

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