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Read This Before Our Next Meeting

3.61 of 5 stars 3.61  ·  rating details  ·  1,221 ratings  ·  129 reviews
How many times have you dreaded going to a meeting either because you viewed it as a waste of time or because you weren’t prepared. Dread no longer: Read This Before Our Next Meeting not only explains what’s wrong with “the meeting,” and meeting culture, but suggests how to make meetings more effective, efficient, and worthy of attending. It assesses when it’s necessary to ...more
Kindle Edition, 82 pages
Published (first published July 20th 2011)
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Debbe H
I was really excited to read this book because I too am a victim of constant meetings, many that are a complete waste of time. I was very disappointed with the content and the repetitiveness of this book. I ended up skimming the last third of the book because it was just restating earlier sections. Now I feel that the author has wasted my time just as he says meetings do. Wasn't his book supposed to help us recover wasted time? I found that his approach will work for about a third of the meeting ...more
I think this book is written from a position of enormous privilege. The key thing he wants us to take away is that you should only have meetings when you have already made a decision and the meeting exists to give people a tiny chance to change your mind, but mostly to figure out how the group will implement your genius, already made decision.

I am not a manager, but I am pretty sure that if I did that, I would get called a bitch. And if I "got buy in from individuals one on one" before my decisi
Good, quick read about getting things done and not letting meetings stand in your way.

Some takeaways:

* Great decisions always involve risk and risk scares people; it's natural for great ideas to get attacked or, worse, ignored. I can think of no single great innovation that has ever happened without the presence of opposition.

* Meetings are toxic because they break workdays into a series of work moments. Achieving flow, the state in which we do our best work, can take long periods of focus. I
Interesting idea. The writing is brisk, focused on the idea and delivers its message well. I'd like to really commend the author on this. I hope that more ebooks take advantage of the medium to deliver nonfiction in its best form (namely as short as possible to get the message across). This is what earns the book stars. However, I'm not sure that the author has really thought through all the purposes of meetings. One important purpose that the author does not address is the need for administrato ...more
Aug 18, 2011 Doug rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Not sure I would
I was rather disappointed with this book. As a professed meeting hater, I had hoped for more subtle practical advice on either getting more from meetings or on how to "tactfully" address the bad meeting offenders.

What actually comes across from the author, while possibly offering a worthwhile strategy, is more like a revolutionary demand reminiscent of the socialist manifestos of the mid-20th century. The decree that his is the only way and that any who oppose him are antiquated, idiotic and sho
Some sensible realisations and some smart, though not easy advice to make meetings productive again and not suck the real work out of work. Al's recommendations are really about changing culture one little action at a time. Not easy to do, but worth a shot I'd say.

Taking the hour to read this book made me realise that, even in my small organisation, we regularly underprepare, invite too many people and are too quick to suck people into a meeting potentially disrupting the rest of a productive da
Solid info, but a bit repetitive. A little limited in its scope and lacking in concrete detail.

I downloaded it for free on my Kindle. I don't think I would pay for this to be honest.

Meetings do need to be fixed. I'm not sure that this book is enough of a guide for the powers that be.

Thomas Jr.
This is my second time through this book. Meetings are the most expensive thing most companies do and it would pay for them to make those meetings more effective. I have never worked in a big company with a meeting culture, I can only imagine how needed this book would be in those environments.
Sal Coraccio
Bonus points for being brief, though a good third of the book is repetition.

Essentially a treatise on eliminating the workplace meeting as we know it and replacing it with a declaration of a preplanned decision, with ample support from institutionalized brainstorming.

While I love the sentiments and much of it is certainly worth a mountaintop shout out, I fear that some of it is simply an exercise in semantics.

A worthy use of your time of for nothing other that the reminder that a meeting without
I found this to be a very compact work that does an excellent job of articulating a philosophy for team meetings. It is obviously written for the corporate context so certain values are heavily influence by the goals of productivity and pragmatic solutions, however, it is a very useful blueprint for how teams can maximize their work sessions together. There are strong arguments for what are acceptable and unacceptable grounds for team meetings. Included are several practical suggestions on prepa ...more
Cathy Allen
A fellow in an Option C Leaders book group (please visit if you don't know what that is!) listened to this book on audiotape recently and came to the same conclusion I had come to. The theme is fabulous. If we want better meetings at our workplace, we must be ruthless about bad ones and unapologetic in refusing to participate. We disagree with some of Pittampali's specifics, but that's OK. Probably the author himself would be open to our views... just don't invite him to ...more
Kurt Gielen
Ever since I started reading this book I have been recommending it to colleagues. i couldn't even wait to finish it before giving it the so needed WOM (word of mouth).

I don't know about you, maybe you remember the good old days, but I as a 35 year old have never known anything else than unproductive meetings that served more as watercooler gangs then productivity tools. And ever since reading this book I declined several meetings because they didn't meet the requirements laid out in this book an
Greg Cohoon
This was a quick read, and written from an interesting perspective. The author is trying to get the point across that meetings are generally a waste of time and effort. Instead, he advocates a "modern meeting" where the purpose of the meeting is to make decisions and act on them. The modern meeting is focused, only includes people who have a stake in the decision, and requires participants to be prepared. The thing that made the perspective of this book interesting to me is that it reads as if i ...more
Lars-Christian Elvenes
This is short book, or manifesto, as the author calls it, that is quite to the point, and it is basically a how-to-guide for what Al Pittampalli calls the Modern Meeting.

I give it 3 out 5 stars, as it is not bad, but not revolutionary either. Most of the ideas in the book are ones that I've heard or read about before.

- Have a clear agenda
- Only invite people that really need to participate in the meeting
- Set a start and end time for the meeting

I also felt that there was a little bit of repeti
Garland Vance
Pittampalli prescribes a new way of doing meetings because of the amount of time and money that organizations waste in pointless meetings. His method involves more individual decision making before a meeting as well as memo writing which means that the point of the meeting is to bring conflict to a decision that has already been made. He does, however, say that some meetings are meant to brainstorm, and, in those cases, one should not come to a decision before the meeting begins.

Overall, I found
Kevin Eikenberry
If you ever get frustrated by meetings, feel like the meetings you go to are too long, too chaotic, and not a valuable, productive use of your time, this book is for you.

This book makes a short point; it proceeds with a clear sense of purpose; it ends when it has reached its purpose. In other words, it is what a meeting ought to be!

- See more at:
Maria Miaoulis
I've always felt that meetings were a waste of time since they never accomplish anything except take up precious time during an already packed workday. Attendees just stare into space instead of contributing to the conversation and when work is assigned, they have no idea what to do, which begs the need for another pointless meeting. Hopefully more people will catch on and begin changing the meeting structure to actually get things done instead of avoid responsibility.
It was...ok.

I like the concept- meetings can be a giant waste of time, especially when people aren't prepared. I question some of his recommendations then; sending emails (or memos, as he insisted in calling them) in place of briefing in meeting themselves requires very strong written communication skills, which organizations may or may not have. It doesn't cut down on the amount of noise, either. It just shifts it from in-person to email. So I guess we'll soon need modern memos to go with our
Neal Dench
Very short book about getting the best use out of meetings in the office. I must admit, this book was better than i expected it to be, and after starting it with tongue very firmly in cheek I found myself being drawn in by its advice. Written from a very idealistic point of view, it advises, essentially, that you only ever have a meeting in order to ratify a decision, and shifts the focus from meetings to memos. I'm not entirely sure that this isn't just shifting the burden of responsibility wit ...more
A short business-focused book about how meetings are bad and how to avoid them. The basic message is don't have meetings, but if you must, don't use them to make decisions or give presentations. That's pretty much it.

I can't imagine many (if any) businesses taking this on board, but it contains a couple of interesting theories.
Insightful read

I think it is an interesting thing to ponder. The impact of a non-essential meeting on even the most low of employees in an organization can be daunting and uninspiring. Key ingredients like reading memos and researching information on your own as the book suggests give you a hand up in the toughest industries in the modern world. We all have a duty to represent our employer in the best light, and they in turn will respond correctly to the demands and inquisitions laid before them
"Read This" is a manifesto for what the author calls the Modern Meeting. While I have a hard time believing that most organizations can adopt this methodology, I think it is the kind of call to action that inspires the average overloaded meeting attendee to be better. Meeting only for a reason, not using meetings as an excuse to avoid writing a comprehensive memo, staying ruthlessly on point and capturing action items ... if only10% of meetings used Pittampalli's suggestions, the savings in time ...more
A decent call to arms for people who want to shake up their organizations and their meeting structure.

The author doesn't name the company he works for (a valid concern) and only uses a couple examples of other companies, so a lot of the content feels vague and unfocused. Much of the path to a better meeting structure (a "Modern Meeting") relies on changes in attitude, not concrete steps. And the author admits several times this would be an easy practice to backslide on.

But there's still a lot of
I wanted to have something to take to my workplace for suggestions.

Instead I got a description of why meetings suck. (I already knew this.)

Thankfully I borrowed this book for free. I'd be rather displeased if I paid for a 'book' only 80 pages long.
David Schmidgall
Given the short length it's a short read that helps to assess where meetings are useful and where they have become a costly waste. If you are looking for a nuts and bolts of how to have effective meetings this book will be a disappointment.
Jeff Raymond
This is a flawed book if only that it really only applies to either small groups/companies or top-level people where meetings can actually do something if done right. As someone who has to try very hard to find any good, productive meetings he's been involved with on a whole, as opposed to being things that could be figured out in an email chain or even independently, I was hoping for this to be something different. So while it's unfair of me to rate a short book based on it not being what I wan ...more
This book described exactly what the problem with the meeting culture is within my organization, nothing but informational meetings. The trick will be to help my boss see it as a problem, and to want to change.
Roland Martinez
The solution to your meeting problems

This book distills everything I've hated about meetings. The modern meeting is the solution I've been looking for. This is a book I will refer to often.
Oct 29, 2012 Chris rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2012
Big takeaway/reminders:

Inspirational images: what if our meeting rooms were as focused as a surgical theater or restaurant kitchen? Yikes!

1. Be more confident when presenting an idea. Even if lousy, it will give others a great opportunity to offer improvements. But stating the proposal at the top of the meeting gives immediate focus and direction to the conversation. And so, it moves things along.

2. Prep your people in advance for the conflict they need to resolve or the action plan they need
Jessie Qi
Provides a very narrow view of meeting. The idea is interesting but its application could be tricky.

The book reads like a hastily written blog post. Extremely repetitive and lacks thoughtfulness.
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“We're now addicted to meetings that insulate us from the work we ought to be doing.” 0 likes
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