But what many people don’t know about Rath is that in addition to being one of the most influential voices today in human behavior, he also suffers from a rare genetic disorder called Von Hippel-Lindau that leads to what he describes as “rampant cancerous growth throughout the body.”
When he received the diagnosis as a teenager, Rath was told that he could stay ahead of his condition with annual medical scans so that tumors could be caught early and dealt with before they could spread. To further tackle his condition, Rath voraciously began collecting information on what he could do to stay healthier based on the best, most reliable evidence.
Rath is well suited for such research after working for 13 years for the Gallup Organization, leading the work on employee engagement, strengths and well-being. Now serving as a senior scientist and advisor to Gallup, Rath has written another book based on his own health practices, the science behind it and how others can benefit from it.
“Eat Move Sleep,” is a book that promotes a way to make small choices that can lead to big changes in your health and well-being.
“I started working on this book because I was tired of seeing so many people I care about suffer from poor health,” Rath says. “There is an extraordinary amount of high quality research about how we can prevent everything from heart disease to cancer. But somehow this research is not translating into what simple things people can do differently on a daily basis to improve their overall health and longevity.”
Rath says that many of the poor health choices made by savvy career professionals are rooted in a “good-natured and dedicated work ethic,” that has them grabbing a packaged snack to eat on the go or skipping a workout when pressed for time – or forgoing sleep to complete a project.
But all those small things can cause big problems, he says.
“If you look at any of these little decision points in a day, investing in healthy food, a brief walk, or an extra 30 minutes of sleep can make or break a day,” he says. “The challenge for all of us is to think about how making better decisions in the moment can actually increase our productivity, energy, and well-being throughout the day.”
For example, some of the tips in the book include:
If you need more help in figuring out your health status and improving it, Rath also offers a free assessment on eatmovesleep.org. You can use it to build a personalized plan based on the content of the book.
Rath says he hopes that the book and the assessment will lead “ to a few small behavioral changes that contribute to better days. It is these small choices that accumulate over time and eventually help people to live longer and healthier lives.”