what if you could have . . .

Meaningful Work and Happiness in the Age of Smart Technology & Radical Change

Success in the Smart Technology Age will require all organizations, businesses, and workers to be Highly Adaptive Learners—learning, unlearning and relearning at the speed of technological change. This book will help you become a Highly Adaptive Learner, thereby reducing your chances of being automated out of a job.

© 2023 by Edward D. Hess
ISBN 979-8-9874423-0-2 paperback; ISBN 979-8-9874423-1-9 ebook

Who should read this book?

The Smart Technology Age will be an age of constant change that will require you to continually adapt and continuously learn new skills to have good jobs. That's not all. The other big technology challenge for all of us is preventing technology from hacking our emotions—influencing how we feel, how we behave, and how we define ourselves.

I wrote this book for every person 18 years old or older who wants to:

  • Have meaningful work and live a happy life
  • Be successful and respected as a unique human being
  • Not be left behind or overwhelmed by the pace of continual technological, economic, and social change in an era of radical change, social divisiveness, and climate change
  • Not be automated out of a job by artificial intelligence or smart robots within the coming decades

Factory Workers

You will live in the most disruptive domestic time since the Great Depression. What got you here won’t get you there in this new era of constant change and upheaval.                                                      

Service Workers

Technology is going to become more “human” because it will be able to do many tasks that we humans are now paid to do.


All of us will need to continually update our skills and/or learn new skills. Thinking, learning, and emotional skills will be very important.

Every Human Being

Regardless of your occupation, you will need to become an Adaptive Learner in order to have work.

living in the smart technology age

Why is This Important?

  1. The Smart Technology Age will be an age of constant change that will require you to continually adapt and continuously update and learn new skills to have good jobs.
  2. Technology will automate blue- and white-collar jobs. In many cases, technology is going to take over doing the work that many of us do now.
  3. Having the same job working for the same employer for five years or more will be history for most people. The best scientists predict that the average person will have five completely different jobs in the coming decades.
  4. The best research from Oxford University predicts that between 25-47% of the U.S. workforce will be automated by the end of this decade. Millions of jobs will be automated.
learn to be an adaptive learner

This is a How-To Book

This is a learn-by-doing book. It is a create-your-new-story book. You must learn how to be an “Adaptive Learner.” An Adaptive Learner excels at learning—unlearning and relearning.

  • To be a good Adaptive Learner, you need to bring your Best Self to your world everyday. Becoming your Best Self requires you to Take Ownership of You.
  • Take Ownership of You means that you must take ownership of your Ego, Mind, Body, Emotions, Words, and Behaviors so you can learn how to be a good critical and innovative thinker, a good reflective listener, and a good collaborator. That will enable you to become a good Adaptive Learner which will help you stay relevant work wise as technology advances.
  • Own Your Work Journey gives you the Tools and Practices that will help you do that. In essence, you need to bring your Best Self to the world each day and this book teaches you how to become your Best Self. You biggest competition going forward will be you not others.

Tools and Practices

Over 25 tools and practices teach you how to become your “Best Self.” You can return to these time and time again on your journey.


Short, digestible chapters and workshops that help you make meaning of the content.

Become an Adaptive Learner

Order today

What will you learn?

Through readings and workshops you will learn how to become your Best Self—that will enable you to become an Adaptive Learner in order to adapt to the pace of continuous technological change.

elements of your Best Self

Quiet Your Ego
Quiet Your Mind
Quiet Your Body

Manage Your Negative Emotions and Generate Positive Emotions

Own Your Words and Behaviors

Be a Reflective Listener

Manage How You Think

Build Trusting Relationships with Others

outcomes Build Upon Each Other

Take Ownership of You

Be Your Best Self

Own Your Work Journey

Become an Adaptive Learner

Meaningful Work and Happiness

So what’s in the book?

Ch.1: The Who—The Why—The How

Ch.2: What’s the Big Challenge

Ch.3: Quiet Your Ego

Ch.4: Quiet Your Ego Practices

Ch.4: Become a New Smart Person

Ch.6: Quiet Your Mind and Your Body

Ch.7: Manage Your Emotions

Ch.8: Own Your Words and Behavior

Ch.9: Reflective Listening

Ch.10: Manage How You Think

Ch.11:  The Power of Otherness

Ch.12:  Make It Happen!

What Did the Book Reviewers Say?

This will quickly become the most important book for every employee looking to stay valuable in an increasingly automated world! Own Your Work Journey is a powerful guide to honing critical soft skills and learning to stay ahead.

Dr. Marshall Goldsmith
Thinkers50 #1 Executive Coach and New York Times bestselling author of The Earned LifeTriggers, and What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

Ed Hess has earned the right to be called a master teacher, leader, and coach.  His past books have built a foundation of wisdom, practical advice, and empirically grounded prescriptions for leadership success and life-skills development.  Ed’s latest book, Own Your Work Journey, is an accumulation of his wisdom over the last several decades.  If I were going to trust someone to provide useful guidance and proven advice for guiding one’s career and personal life in this era of ubiquitous technology, ambiguity, uncertainty, and rapid change, I would select Ed.  Don’t pass this one by.

Kim Cameron
William Russell Kelly Professor Emeritus of Management & Organizations, Ross School of Business, and Professor Emeritus of Higher Education, School of Education, University of Michigan

Today’s world is one where change is the norm and complexity is constantly accumulating. It can be overwhelming at any level.  Ed Hess shares a proven array of tools and practices that can help you thrive at work and live that “best life” we all seek.

George W. Casey, Jr.
General, U.S. Army (retired)

This book will be your best friend. It challenges you to be courageous and “Take Ownership of You” so that you can bean Adaptive Life-long Learner able to navigate the continuous waves of change driven by smart technology. Ed Hess gives you the tools and practices that will help you thrive on your Journey to Best Self. As a social scientist and a person who regularly uses what Ed recommends in my own life, I know this stuff works. This short book is powerful. Buy it! Use it! 

Jim Detert
John L. Colley Professor at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, and author of Choosing Courage

A compelling case for the power of emotional intelligence. “To learn, unlearn, and relearn at the speed of change,” you must be willing to slow down; learn to challenge what you believe you already know; and be willing to engage yourself and others with reflective listening, humility, and compassion. This workbook provides a roadmap to becoming a vital contributor to the work force in this Age of Smart Technology and teaches you to bring your “Best Self” to every human interaction.  

Kimberley C. Bassett, Ph.D.
CEO Strategic Leadership Ventures; Former Board Chair of Leadership Greater, Washington

In this amazing guide to survival in the era of exponentially advancing technologies, Ed Hess outlines the basics of human re-invention: how we need to transform ourselves and cope with change. I can’t believe how much he has packed into so few pages! This book will help you live happier and healthier lives.

Vivek Wadhwa
Renowned Academic, Entrepreneur, author, and Futurist; Recipient of 2018 Silicon Valley Forum's Visionary Award; Distinguished Fellow at Harvard Law School's Labor and Worklife Program

More Reviews

We are living in a time of extraordinary change which will disrupt our life and disorient us at an overwhelming pace. Career patterns and current ways of working no longer will work. Presciently, Ed Hess gives us a clear, concise, and practical approach to meaningfully navigate The Smart Technology Age. Whether keeping your job or taking a new job or managing or leading a workforce in the private or public sector, Own Your Work Journey is more than a starting point for what’s ahead; it will be the essential and frequent touchstone for personal and professional balance, achievement, and fulfillment in a world awash in change.  

Admiral Gary Roughead
U.S. Navy (Retired), former Chief of Naval Operations

This wonderful book blends the main lessons of ancient wisdom with state-of-the-art scientific results on how we can become our best selves. It offers a practical roadmap so that we can use our humanity in our favor—not against us—in the smart technological age. It is an essential manual to be read and reread many times by everyone. Give yourself the best gift and own your own journey by following the path Ed himself walked and that he now magnificently provides us with in this book!

Dr. Alexandre Di Miceli daSilveira
Professor of Leadership and Business Ethics, founder of Virtuous Company and author of The Virtuous Barrel

Own Your Work Journey is a masterpiece “How-to” and “Why-to” book! Ed Hess explains the human skills that will be hard for technology to automate and then shares with you best practices to develop those skills. He gives you the tools that will help you take ownership of your ego, mind, body, emotions, behaviors, listening and thinking so you can learn—unlearn and relearn—at the speed of change. That is how you can have meaningful work in the Smart Technology Age. I highly recommend this book. It will change your life for the better!

Mahan Tavakoli
CEO Strategic Leadership Ventures; Former Board Chair of Leadership Greater, Washington

This is an amazing book! Its purpose is to help you have meaningful work, and happiness in the Age of Smart Technology. Your success and happiness will depend in large part on how you manage yourself and the choices you make. Don't let technology or other people control your emotions or your thoughts or your behaviors. Own your work life and your non-work life. Ed Hess gives you proven tools to do that.

Dr. Susan E. Sweeney
Former President, GGB BearingTechnology; Former CHRO & SVP EnPro Industries; Adjunct Professor, College of Business, Wilmington University

Ed Hess has masterfully summarized what we need to adopt and then apply in our work, our education, and our life. Amazingly, in a world of rapidly evolving smart technology, the skills most valuable are the ones most innately human. Own Your Work Journey not only helps you discover the power-assets in your humanity, but it also charts a behavioral course for you to achieve—self-actualization—“Becoming Your Best Self”. That will help you—as technology advances—to have meaningful work. That is not only possible—it’s what’ll save us all.

Byron Sanders

Own Your Work Journey is a powerful roadmap for adults and teens who want to have meaningful work in a world that is rapidly eliminating traditional jobs through technology and automation. I spent most of my career leading industrial companies with large numbers of hourly workers. I know what it takes for workers to become highly adaptive learners. This book gives you the tools and practices to be a highly adaptive learner in the SmartTechnology Age. My advice to you is: START TODAY!

Steve Macadam
Retired Vice Chairman, CEO and President of EnPro Industries, Inc.

In this very timely and practical book, Ed Hess lays out an actionable roadmap for how we can bring our best selves to the challenges and opportunities we face in our professional and personal lives. He provides valuable tips, tools, and insights to accompany us on this journey. Ed’s energy and passion for unlocking human potential leaps out of every page and exercise. What I love most about this book is that you feel like Ed is personally coaching and inspiring you throughout.

Craig Dowden, Ph.D.
Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author of A Time to Lead: Mastering Your Self...So You Can Master Your World; Executive Coach and Keynote Speaker

A life-changing book written by an old soul. Old souls are wise beyond their years, humble, and curious. They see the big picture, feel connected to everything, and recognize their fellow old souls. I feel like an old soul when I read Ed’s books.  I invite you to enjoy this book and gain wisdom beyond your years.

Aidan McCullen
Author of Undisruptable and Host of “The Innovation Show”
Meet the author

Ed Hess

Edward D. Hess is Professor Emeritus of Business Administration, Batten Fellow and Batten Executive-in-Residence Emeritus at the Darden Graduate School of Business, University of Virginia. Professor Hess spent twenty years in the business world as a Senior Executive and has spent the last 18 years in academia. He is the author of 14 other books and well over 160 practitioner articles and over 60 Darden cases, etc. dealing with innovation and learning cultures, systems, and processes. He has been the guest on many Podcasts globally. The common theme of his work is high individual and organizational performance. He has consulted regularly for 20 years with corporations and governmental agencies. He also does executive coaching in the areas of Organizational Transformation and Human Development.

Read more about Ed

Buy the book


ISBN 979-8-9874423-0-2

Available on

Order today


ISBN 979-8-9874423-1-9

PDF, EPUB, Kindle

Order today