Margin – A Book Review

Welcome back! Today I am reviewing the book Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives, by Richard Swenson, MD.

This book has sold over 225 million copies and was written in 2004. I have given a lot of copies of this book away because it fits so well into a lot of the different things that I talk about, especially the 6 F’s. The book is divided into three parts. Part one: Pain. Part two: Margin. Part three: Health. There’s a great description in the beginning of the book. It states:

Symptom = Pain

Diagnosis = Overload

Prescription = Margin

Prognosis = Health


I want to highlight page 13 in the book because it does a very good job of describing what the book is about and what marginless living and margin liver really mean. Dr. Swenson writes.

“Marginless is being 30 minutes late to the doctor’s office because you were 20 minutes late getting out of the bank, because you were 10 minutes late dropping the kids off, and you were a block away from the gas station when you ran out of gas, and you forgot your wallet. Margin, on the other hand, is having breath left at the top of the staircase, money left at the end of the month,  and sanity left at the end of adolescence. Marginless is the crying baby and the phone ringing at the same time. Margin is grandma taking the baby for the afternoon. Marginless is being asked to carry a load five pounds heavier than you can lift. Margin is a friend to carry half the burden. Marginless is not having time to finish the book on stress. Margin is having the time to read it twice. Marginless is fatigue. Margin is energy. Marginless is red ink. Margin is black ink. Marginless is hurry. Margin is calm. Marginless is anxiety. Margin is security. Marginless is culture. Margin is counter-cultural. Marginless is the disease of the new millennium. Margin is its cure.”

So that gives you a little glimpse of what margin and marginless are about. I believe it’s a great introduction to the book. The author goes on to state that we all have limits. We have physical limits. We have emotional limits. We have mental limits. We have financial limits. Overload happens when we hit those limits. It’s that point when we say enough is enough. With margin, humans are open and expressive, when they’re not. We are not open, and we’re not expressive. The rules of life totally change when we have margin. Swenson defines margin as the space between our load and our limits. There are four areas that he states we need energy in. Those are emotional energy, physical energy, time energy, and financial energy. Swenson states that margin in emotional energy and is paramount. Emotional energy for us is the most important. He goes on to list 14 ways to get emotional energy, 24 ways to get physical energy, 16 ways to get more time available, and 16 ways to strategize finances. I work personally with a lot of people who have these types of issues. They hit their overload. They get to the point where they say something has to give. I have coaching programs to help deal with these issues. To learn more about those programs you can email me at . Remember, Be Great!


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