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Read This Before Our Next Meeting

3.65  ·  Rating Details ·  1,523 Ratings  ·  143 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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Community Reviews

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Debbe H
Aug 30, 2011 Debbe H rated it it was ok
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
Sep 01, 2014 heidi rated it did not like it
Shelves: ebook, reviewed
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
Sep 30, 2013 Josh rated it liked it
Shelves: ebook-own
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
Feb 11, 2012 Jeff rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012-book-list
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
Aug 18, 2011 Doug rated it it was ok
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
Oct 22, 2011 Jono rated it really liked it
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
Aug 08, 2011 Tara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Oct 28, 2013 Thomas Jr. rated it really liked it
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.
Kurt Gielen
Oct 26, 2011 Kurt Gielen rated it it was amazing
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
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
Greg Cohoon
Aug 11, 2011 Greg Cohoon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, career
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
Apr 14, 2016 Kayla rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, arc
A quick read and reference guide to eliminating unnecessary meetings and making your current meetings more productive. There are some great lines and points, and my book is already filled with highlights, but the whole second half was just summarizing the first half. Since this book is all about saving time and money, just read the first half.

Also, this only covered meetings that are held to make decisions. Maybe it's because I'm still in an assistant role and I don't make decisions, but I feel
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
Feb 19, 2012 Garland Vance rated it it was ok
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
Nov 26, 2014 Taracuda rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library
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
Dec 09, 2011 Neal Dench rated it really liked it
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
Dec 29, 2015 Goran rated it it was amazing
The best book I've read so far on holding decision making meetings. Without much fuss and "book filler words and stories", Al gives concise explanation and step by step rules of modern meetings.
A meeting should be held either for conflict or coordination. Everything else is waste or mismanagement of time. Or worse - procrastination that leads to loss of money and time.

The Seven Principles of Modern Meetings

1. The Modern Meeting supports a decision that has already been made.
2. The Modern Meetin
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
Jan 29, 2014 Lisa rated it really liked it
"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
Oct 29, 2012 Chris rated it liked it
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
Aug 08, 2011 John rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dick Hall
Mar 09, 2012 Dick Hall rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2012
I sympathize with the author's position, but I don't think I have wasted enough time in pointless meetings to be up in arms about it. I agree with many of the basic principles, but the author's reminders that the very future of my company depends on adoption of his meeting system turned me off.

Exemplary quote: "I beg you to share the ideas in this manifesto with everyone in your organization who has eyes to read it. Share it as if the organization depends on it. Because it does."

That said, I'm
Sal Coraccio
Dec 16, 2014 Sal Coraccio rated it liked it
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
Zach Brown
Aug 31, 2011 Zach Brown rated it liked it
Always love the Domino Project manifestos, but this one left me wanting. I am all in with his Modern Meeting concept of getting rid of informational meetings and the like. What I was hoping for was more practical ways to get out of meetings and how to get others on board as well. I feel like the 4 Hour Work Week was much better at that.

That being said, it took all of 2 hours to read and had great concepts on what an effective company could look like with these types of meetings. Still worth it,
Sep 06, 2011 J.R. rated it liked it
Shelves: kindle-books
I didn't agree with this 100% of the time. I do think that some discussions that involve more than two people are valuable and not just brainstorming. I do have meetings all the time, but most (!) of them are valuable in the current group I'm in.

I have been in groups that suffer from exactly what this book is talking about. I'm not entirely convinced the "modern" meeting is a cure all though.

I've asked a couple of people I know to also read it and give me opinions about how much of this should
Diane Runyan
May 10, 2016 Diane Runyan rated it it was amazing
Getting stuff done

I figured this book was another one on how to write agendas, how to make decisions as a team. I was wrong. Basic premise of the book is to look at an issue that has come up, figure out the end result you'd like, and make a decision. Once you make a decision, own it. Send a memo out to other people to keep them informed on what you are doing. Have a meeting to deal with any conflict your decision may generate. This book has a good list of guidelines for a brainstorming meeting.
Sep 27, 2013 Peter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a quick listen with good narration. The author's manifesto will sound incredibly appealing to those who've suffered death by meeting, although I believe most will experience difficulty in adopting his ideas in business organizations that are overly meeting-oriented - you know, the ones where you've had meetings to plan the next meeting...

Having said that, I think you can definitely improve the quality of meetings that you do have by following a lot of the author's advice, especially his
Anyone, in any organization, anywhere should read this book.

It takes about 30 - 45 minutes to read the whole thing, and it will change your perspective on meetings and the waste of everyone's time that they often are.

In fact, this book will push you to stop holding meetings and start making decisions and getting things done. It will lead to change and innovation - essential for any organization that doesn't want to stagnate and die.

Now, it's time for me to start doing it, and encouraging others
Jul 02, 2012 Robert rated it liked it
Tersely written. Perfect for those individuals who find themselves invited to meeting after meeting. I'm unsure if I could say this is an earth-shaking book, as I feel that meeting culture is something that either evolves organically or from the top-down. In other words, this book is a good view into how someone with (some) clout should re-envision his/her meeting cycle. However, those individuals with little clout would need a reasonable amount of cross-organizational support in order for this ...more
Nov 04, 2011 Alan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reserving the right to upgrade my rating if I find this book radically changes my's a simple manifesto of what meetings *should* look like in the modern workplace, versus what they *do* look like. He's got some interesting ideas that could definitely carry change with them, but there definitely appears to be room for those changes to become more cosmetic and less functional. I appreciate Pittampalli's philosophy, though, and would be curious to see what it looks like when implemen ...more
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“We're now addicted to meetings that insulate us from the work we ought to be doing.” 0 likes
“What if I end up making a decision that not everyone agrees with? Congratulations are in order. You're a leader.” 0 likes
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