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Unsubscribe: How to Kill Email Anxiety, Avoid Distractions, and Get Real Work Done

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  564 ratings  ·  74 reviews
The average person checks email 77 times a day, sends and receives more than 122 email messages a day, and spends 28 percent or more of their workweek managing a constant influx of email. Even when we’re away from work, checking email is the most popular activity we engage in on our mobile devices, outranking even browsing the web or social networks.

Email is an incredibly
Paperback, 240 pages
Published October 4th 2016 by PublicAffairs
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Average rating 3.70  · 
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 ·  564 ratings  ·  74 reviews

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Dec 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I tend to cringe when I open up my inbox. Will I have 5 or 50 emails to scan through? Will they bring good news or crushing disappointment? Yet I continue to check my email 10, 20, 30 times a day, despite the nausea it brings, just hoping for a "reward."

Makes you feel like a lab rat, when you think about it.

I honestly picked up Unsubscribe with lukewarm expectations. Another self-help book that I expected to give good tips, but ones I would never actually follow through, like New Years resoluti
Nick Armstrong
Apr 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: business
Have heard many of these tips before, but good as a reminder.
Lenny Husen
Feb 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-books
This was SO good that as soon as I finished each of the first two discs, I started it over again. The third disc is resources and templates which didn't make for as much interesting listening.

I used to think I was good at email--at least, I once LOVED the medium, knew how to use it, and responded to EVERY ONE of my emails sent to me by an actual person. I tried so hard to be kind, enthusiastic, grateful or at the very least, fair.
However, I have had some of the worst experiences in my life invo
Mar 10, 2018 rated it really liked it

I had two reflexive reactions to this book: one on its ideas, but first, if you'll permit me, a brief reflection on its form.

This book is written like Jason Fried's book: an internet book by an internet person for the internet age. What do I mean? Aside from a few preparatory and connective passages, its sections, chapters, and checklists could be a Medium series or some blog posts. The shareable images and font stylings are already there!

I read a book, but it felt more like surfing a
Melissa Hartfiel
Sep 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
It took me a while to get through this book but not because it wasn't good! Exactly the opposite! I kept stopping to implement some of the strategies (most of the strategies actually) and it has had a profound effect on my productivity. That has made me happy. There are multiple strategies and loads of examples for handling the influx of email we all receive on a daily basis for work (and many can be ported over to social media and instant messaging as well). The book itself is very useful and e ...more
Alex Linschoten
Nov 08, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Eminently practical. If you're looking for some solutions to the problem of email -- and it is a problem -- then this book delivers a good deal of value. If you've been following others' writings on the email problem, there might not be so much for you in this book since a lot of it is unoriginal, but as a one-stop shop, this is an excellent place to start for most. ...more
Jan 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Practical advice on managing expectations and finding clarity in how you spend your time. Roughly equal mention of academic studies, "productivity gurus," and general creatives alike, which set a welcome tone for me as a business-minded designer. Like most self-help books, it tells you what you want to know when you need to hear it. ...more
Oct 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
A lot of this is common sense and things that make you say "oh of course" but reading it hopefully will encourage me to make some positive changes. ...more
Jun 21, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
While I appreciated a few tips from the book, I felt that the format was unnecessary. The entirety of this book would have sufficed as a blog post or series without losing anything. I found myself skimming 80% of this, mainly because the book seems to have been written for an audience with a certain lack of familiarity with the internet and email in general.

Two valuable things I took away from this:

• Emoticons (not emojis) and exclamation marks are valuable and often necessary elements in email
Julianna Welker
Jun 06, 2018 rated it did not like it
Unsubscribe appears to be useful, but as you begin reading it, seems to be written by an old woman who is upset with the existence of technology. Most of her tips for managing clutter seem to be to move the discussion offline, which doesn't work for a vast number of people suffering from inbox clutter, such as the small business owners taking orders in large numbers. The opening of the book only furthers the notion of anger with technology, making the claim that utility is the last thing one thi ...more
Mar 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
While this book is framed around email, the lessons here apply to all asynchronous communication. I was already clued into the concept of “deep work” by the time I found this book, but I found this book very practical - there’s an appendix with a large selection of scripts for email replies - and, dare I say, relaxing.

I found this book by Googling “email anxiety”, and from that perspective, it didn’t disappoint. The first part of the book explains the psychology of email addiction, and gave me
Hots Hartley
Oct 13, 2019 rated it did not like it
Not really relevant: I already know the time parasite that is email, and this book didn't really introduce any novel concepts for combating it or substituting new forms of communication to help me get my work done. The central problem with the book is its constant referral to the creative as a single-person, selfish endeavor. It isn't as simple as unsubscribing or unplugging from your work, when you need your teammates to help you create. For team creation -- like building a game, or creating a ...more
Jun 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those books that make you say, "I wish I had read this sooner." I was pleased to see that it affirmed some of my beliefs already (such as it isn't humanly possible to read every single e-mail that I receive). I thought the greatest value were the sample e-mails and correspondence in this book. Another great feature, is the book is a fast read. So, you don't have to spend excessive time reading this book to be starting to apply it's advice and techniques right away. This is the kin ...more
Jul 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Enjoyed this and found some very useful points. One of the author's other books had been recommended by a work colleague, but this was the one I could find.
ThIs book includes simple explanations, useful tips and actions steps, focused around about taking control of our technology (email, online calendars, etc.), and arranging time for ourselves for what the author calls "meaningful work", whether it is working towards your mission, project goals, or developing your skills.
An easy read, concise
Terry Constable
Feb 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
A good, short book on how to handle email (and all electronic communications) better and to think more about electronic communication as a medium that we tend to take for granted. Much of her advice was more relevant to the entrepreneur or small business person, but I still got a lot out of the book and enjoyed her easy to read style. The last portion of the book is some thoughts on how to do common responses and I found that very useful even in a corporate environment.
Sep 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: self-help
Some good tips but not enough to justify the amount of paper this book consumed :-)

I did like (and am attempting) the idea of confining email viewing and responding to scheduled points I think the day and nothing else. And then telling people that's how I work.

The inbox when ready chrome plugin is pretty baller if you're a Gmail user.
Larkin Tackett
Sep 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book has already changed my email behavior by encouraging me to block two windows during the day, not to check first thing in the AM or as frequently, and to treat email like snail mail. The author writes, "... all meaningful work, all creative acts, emerge from our ability to focus the ultimate technology, the human mind, on realizing a single goal." I'm already more focused. ...more
Oct 02, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: technology
Despite coming in at around 200 pages, this book takes only about a hour to read. Lots of common sense advice, but I can't imagine this will be world changing for anyone. That said, with the small time commitment required to read the book I was still able to find a few things I can do to improve my productivity. ...more
Dec 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Some incredibly good food for thought

I’ve struggled with email for a long time and I loved Unsubscribe because it took an ideal (spend less time email and more time creating) and made it feel like something i can actually accomplish because of its practical approach to solving that problem.
Jun 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Effective emails are short, scannable and actionable, and Glei follows her own active in his book, which is packed with practical strategies for maintaining focus and managing email. It also includes lots of sample emails showing how to handle various situations.
Oct 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
While it wasn't necessarily groundbreaking—I'd read most of what Glei wrote before, albeit via random blog posts and newsletters, etc—it was concise, witty, funny, engaging, and compelling. It's only been 2 days since I finished it but I have begun to break my email obsession and it is liberating. ...more
Jan 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Surely at this point many or most of us have heard of these tips before- but it’s certainly a good reminder for all of us. It’s important that WE control our “vices” rather than allowing our vices to control us.
Lori Koppelman
Dec 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
I learned that I am a "reactor" type of person who nibbles at emails all day long and now strive to be a "batcher," someone who does it in chunks of scheduled time each day. I've never had email overload like I do now and can't wait to try this technique in 2019. ...more
Gail Haigh
Mar 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Enjoyed this - particularly the psychology behind our reaction and guilt to email overload! Some interesting advice - and some that’s just common sense but good to be reminded of - now to make the actual mindset change and implement some of the recommendations...
Good structure for thinking about something that is often a thoughtless exercise

Helpful and useful but not life-changing. Good framework for considering how to approach professional emails, useful tips for efficient and productive email habits.
Wasi Rizvi
This book acted like a jolt to my perception of daily life! i thought i wasn't ass much of a hopeless case when it comes to the addiction of social media, but this book showed me that... I only thought I had a six-pack in that department. ...more
Mashudu Monyai
Dec 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Great book. I bought the book mainly to learn how to craft a proper email, well I was not disappointed. Great email examples and cheats. 4.75/5
Jo Palmgren
Jan 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Full of practical tips and advice for managing your email - a good follow up to 'Deep Work.' However, I was expecting it to be a little longer based on what I paid for the Kindle edition. ...more
Thomas Knoll
May 15, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: blink
Meh. One or two interesting things I pulled out of here. I'm sure it's very useful to some people, but I already do most of the things described here. ...more
Jun 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good overview on how to improve your productivity, not just using email; but making email a central area of interest.
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Jocelyn K. Glei is a writer who's obsessed with how we can find more creativity and meaning in our daily work. Her latest book, Unsubscribe, is a modern guide to killing email anxiety, avoiding distraction, and getting real work done. Her previous works include Manage Your Day-to-Day, Maximize Your Potential, and Make Your Mark, which offer pragmatic, actionable advice for creatives on managing th ...more

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