The Energy Bus Summary (Jon Gordon)

Want to fuel your life, work and team with positive energy?

The Energy Bus summary, based on a book by Jon Gordon, is touted to help you do just that.

Written by a leadership and teamwork expert, the book (apparently) contains the information needed to excel in personal and professional domains.

We’ve all experienced slumps, both professionally and personally – this book takes us on an energy bus, an allegorical journey, with 10 rules to provide the supposed boost we need.

By helping us reduce negative feelings, it says, we can adopt a positive outlook to help us thrive.

Here are the rules:

1. You’re the driver of the bus.
2. Desire, vision and focus move your bus in the right direction.
3. Fuel your ride with positive energy.
4. Invite people on your bus and share your vision for the road ahead.
5. Don’t waste your energy on those who don’t get on your bus.
6. Post a sign that says ‘No Energy Vampires Allowed.’
7. Enthusiasm attracts more passengers and energises them during the ride.
8. Love your passengers.
9. Drive with purpose.
10. Have fun and enjoy the ride.

Lack of control

Most people imagine that positivity involves superficial smiles and shallow feelings.

In contrast, it’s a deep seated enthusiasm and optimisim for life, breeding:

  • Passion
  • Love
  • Trust

The book starts with George, our fictional protagonist, who, on the outside, has it all – a good job and loving family.

On the inside however, he feels completely out of control, lacking meaning and purpose, like a passenger in his own life.

After car troubles, George is forced to take the bus to work, where he meets Joy, the radiant bus driver, who knows she needs to intervene for George’s wellbeing and take him for an educational ride on the energy bus.

Become the driver of your own bus

Many of us experience unhappiness because we feel that life is outside of our control.

George knew exactly what Joy meant when she said this, trapped between the expectations of his wife and boss, not to mention incidents like his car breaking down unexpectedly.

According to Joy, the first rule to change your life for the better is decide who you want to be and how.

Vision and focus

In order to fully take back control, we must first be clear on the direction we’re driving our bus.

Getting clear on where we want to go in life is essential.

Joy advised George to write down three sets of goals:

  • Personal – George wanted to be happy
  • Family – For his wife to be happy and for him to be a positive influence on his children
  • Professional – To have a successful product launch with his team

The law of attraction

Having set his goals, he now needed to achieve them.

Joy told George that his thoughts were magnetic and that like attracts like.

The things we most frequently think about manifest in our lives.

Like Olympic athletes, we can train our powers of visualisation to focus on what we want, not what we don’t.

George resolved to spend 10 minutes every day focusing on his goals.

Events + perception/positive energy = outcome

We can’t always choose what happens to us in life, but we can choose how we perceive those events.

Our perception is completely within our control [like the Stoic reframing technique]

By choosing positive thoughts over negative ones, we increase the likelihood of favourable results.

Positive energy

Maintaining positive energy levels is essential fuel for our journey towards success.

So how do we keep the tank topped up?

By changing our perspective and using gratitude to reframe our our struggles.

Rather than focusing on the stresses in his life, George instead realised that he was healthy, with a loving family and a good job.

This provided an endorphin release, allowing him to return to work with a renewed sense of purpose.


Happiness and success are never achieved in isolation.

They rely on people around us contributing to the mission and vision.

The more people you can get on your energy bus, the more people can fuel the ride to reach the goal.

George understood that he must personally deliver the ticket to each potential passenger and so organised meetings with each team member to outline his plans for a successful product launch.

Don’t try to convince negative normans

George was understandably concerned that some employees wouldn’t commit to the vision, and he was right.

José, one of his best employees, wasn’t on board.

Rather than try to convince him, Joy counselled against wasting energy trying to convert those who aren’t ready to get on the positivity bus.

Being surrounded by negativity will only fill you with doubt and slow you down.

Remove the negativity

This play into the next rule.

If negative people do accidentally get on your bus, try to remove them as soon possible.

Otherwise they act as energy vampires.

Sit down and speak to them where possible, but if they’re unwilling or unable to change their attitude, let them go in service of the the greater good.

If there are instances where this is impossible, such as with your boss, try to compensate for their lack with your gain, by boosting your own positive energy.

Emotions are contagious

Being around positive people rubs off on us.

Emotions can easily be transmitted and sensed by those in our immediate environment.

Therefore, it’s essential to motivate those on your bus with enthusiasm, which can be viral.

If you’re excited by your vision and mission, then others will be too, attracted even more people to get on the bus.

Your role? To become the CEO of your bus, or Chief Energy Officer.

Love your passengers

We naturally work harder when our efforts are recognised.

Showing appreciation to those on your bus will motivate them even more. How?

  • Invest time in others e.g. regularly scheduled meetings with employees
  • Listen to them and demonstrate empathy
  • Recognise their individual contribution

This was the issue with José – he felt under-appreciated, despite his hard work.

Therefore, commit to the development and growth of everyone on your bus.

Have a higher purpose

It’s easier to improve your performance when you’re working on a mission greater than yourself.

George did this by convincing his team that instead of merely selling lightbulbs, they were in fact selling light.

Light which would enable children around the world to learn to read.

Once the team shared this common vision, they were committed to working harder with more energy and enthusiasm.

Have fun!

Success is infinitely more achievable when you enjoy the journey rather than stressing about the destination.

Therefore, ensure that everyone is having fun on the bus.

Final review

Parable-style book, which build on many fundamental truths, albeit in a rehashed, over-simplified fashion.

Would possibly make for a good children’s book, but not for anyone looking for substantive insights.

Analogies are cheesy and the folksy, facile tone won’t be enough to convince many readers or convey their underlying message.

Like this? Then browse more book summaries.