The Unbearable Lightness of Being

Just finished “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” by Milan Kundera. As a start, see this.

I drew a few observations from the book about our work. Surprise!

  1. In our work, we too feel everything is unbelievably ‘light’ and transient. At least some of us do, some of the time, and, with all of the change, a sense of meaninglessness can creep in. In the scheme of life, it is perhaps a minor observation, but Scrum does many things to make the meaning of our work more clear. One is that we see better the people we are helping.
  2. The lightness also reflects how many things are in constant change, which is what we need to adapt to in business. Some of these changes are ‘bad’ or at least unwelcome, and some are good (for example, new learning), but adapt to both, it seems to me, we must do to minimize the damage and to maximize the advantage.
  3. Toward the end of the book, Kundera talks about how Tereza loves the dog completely and without reservation and also lets him be completely free. She does not require the dog to love her (although it does), nor to love her exclusively. She allows the dog to be a dog, just as it is.

In business, it seems that it is often hard for people to admit and accept that each and every person is free. We (as managers) must always ask them, for example, “Do you want to do this work?” Just because we pay them, they do not suddenly become our slaves.

To me, Scrum is quite clear how important this notion of freedom is and does many things to work in harmony with that notion, rather than against it.


Not everything is about ‘work.’ I also recommend the book for many reasons that are outside the boundaries of work. Please enjoy. May your heart (and perhaps other parts of your being) be touched by it.

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