Two audiences will greatly benefit from this book but for similar reasons: young people starting their careers and older employees switching careers. Two audiences will greatly benefit from this book but for similar reasons: young people starting their careers and older employees switching careers. I wouldn't recommend the book for career changers to explore how they have evolved and what careers they might pursue though there is some information that would be helpful; there are better books for that exploration. However, older employees may have used now outdated practices to find and apply for jobs. I think the value of the book is the advice on dealing with remote interviews and work situations, building a personal brand to stand out from other job seekers, and other virtual/technological tools for job seekers. A lot of the other work and resiliency advice is probably familiar to older workers but may provide a good framework for those entering the workforce. For those exploring what they want to do or changing careers, I'd still consider What Color Is Your Parachute the first step.
I haven't read her other books but this seems to be a theme of her recent books so I don't know how much is repetitive from those works. The Enhanced Material supplement is helpful for going through some of the exercises in the book....more
This is one of those books that takes a practice that many of us practice informally, and perhaps unintentionally, and provides the psychological backThis is one of those books that takes a practice that many of us practice informally, and perhaps unintentionally, and provides the psychological background of why it works and how to formalize its practice for greater use and more success. Many of us have faced a difficult challenge, conversation, competition, or confrontation thinking "what would ___ do in this situation?" and responding as if we were playing a role. This alter ego can help us perform at a different level on the field of play whether it is a sports competition, school or the workplace, or in interpersonal relationships.
Herman's approach leans heavily on sports analogies and examples but he does include many business examples. The companion resources are extremely helpful for formalizing and personalizing the development of alter egos for different fields of play. Some readers may be put off by excessive talk about superhero analogies (origin story, challenge, special abilities, etc.) but it does provide a great frame of thinking that seems to be embedded in our mental wiring, as Joseph Campbell and others have described it. The alter ego idea may not be novel, we may have already used the concept in constructive or escapist ways, but Herman's book helps draw clearer lines around a nebulous concept and provide questions, suggestions, and challenges to implement the practice formally....more
Watching Ron Howard in my childhood and his movies as an adult, I was interested in his story. The audiobook is excellent and the two sides of Ron andWatching Ron Howard in my childhood and his movies as an adult, I was interested in his story. The audiobook is excellent and the two sides of Ron and Clint Howard play off each other wonderfully. Starting his career in the incredibly successful Andy Griffith Show and then Happy Days it is easy to think that everything was easy for him but the book reveals how the great selfless sacrifice and leadership of his parents, a strong work ethic, enduring career identity crises, and pursuing and creating opportunities. Likewise, Clint's career and lifestyle challenges are characterized by risk-taking (sometimes dangerous and poor risks), a strong work ethic, and the confidence to be his own person not living jealously in the shadow of his older brother. Instead, the deep and sincere love and mutual respect between the brothers is an encouraging story. Their parents were talented and dedicated parents who didn't live through their children nor completely sacrificed themselves for their children (and didn't exploit them), but enjoyed a crazy Hollywood journey together that didn't crash and burn or become a cringy sideshow....more
The first few chapters and last chapters are the best part of the book. In these chapters, the author provides some of the philosophy and historical bThe first few chapters and last chapters are the best part of the book. In these chapters, the author provides some of the philosophy and historical background of the anarchists, utopians, and other sociological influences motivating creators to bring digital currency into existence. There are worldviews that have pushed the development of cryptocurrencies for decades and the author provides insight into the various perspectives that have led to Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other cryptocurrencies and failed predecessors.
The middle of the book is a slog and feels like reading combined research papers on Extropians and Friedrich Hayek. If you want a deep dive into the early cypherpunk movement, cryogenic utopians, and pioneers in the crypto-technologies, you'll enjoy this research. The insights in the first two chapters provide a great framework for the development of cryptocurrencies but after that, the book takes a deep dive that may more biography and intricate history than the average cryptocurrency investor may want to read....more
The book centers on a good principle: we need to often take several seconds before speaking or replying to an email, especially in tense situations, oThe book centers on a good principle: we need to often take several seconds before speaking or replying to an email, especially in tense situations, or before we embark on a course of action. It is a simple principle, not earth-shattering, but would probably be extremely helpful for those just beginning their careers or who feel that things are out of control with their relationships and life. Taking a short time of reflection will often save a lot of frustration or wasted effort. A lot of the material can be found in other productivity books or blog articles but the collection of principles in the context of taking time before acting is useful....more
We are flooded with dietary advice from magazine snippets, talk shows, multi-level marketing friends, health food/supplement vendors, and social mediaWe are flooded with dietary advice from magazine snippets, talk shows, multi-level marketing friends, health food/supplement vendors, and social media. If you were to track the information you received you would find that much of it is contradictory and relies heavily on conventional wisdom. Davis digs into the research that challenges the unregulated assertions of purveyors of supplements, superfoods, and other health "secrets". He explains how the simplified calories in and out are more complex than presented and that a lot of factors affect the success of exercise and some diet choices. Sadly, the supersized lies travel faster than the truth but reading this book will help you save money that could be wasted on questionable diet solutions and frustration when you feel that exercise is not producing the results you hoped for. Well written with plenty of citations if you want to do additional research. I was provided an early reviewer copy from the publisher....more
In my business roles, I am constantly weighing options for decision input and have read a lot on this subject. The author has written a concise but inIn my business roles, I am constantly weighing options for decision input and have read a lot on this subject. The author has written a concise but informative book on the various decision-making processes, techniques, and considerations for quantitative and qualitative decision situations. The questions following the chapters and the examples are helpful for reinforcing the material. The author also included essential material on biases and interpretive issues that can skew decision-making. Additionally, frank discussion of decision-making technique weaknesses and unsuitability for certain problems will be helpful for developing these skills. The author used a wide range of applications and illustrations and practical implementations such as negotiation strategies. I highly recommend the book for those who want one source to become familiar with a wide variety of decision-making techniques....more
I'm familiar with some of the book's philosophy having read Nick Saban's "How Good Do You Want To Be" and seeing it discussed in Coach Saban's interviI'm familiar with some of the book's philosophy having read Nick Saban's "How Good Do You Want To Be" and seeing it discussed in Coach Saban's interviews. Trevor Moawad has worked with Coach Saban and the Crimson Tide as well as other successful college and professional programs and players. The focus of the book is not to embrace positive thinking when rejecting negative thinking, but to embrace neutral thinking.
Neutral thinking is best described by Dr. Christine Porath in a Psychology Today review of the book: "The idea is simple: Stay in the moment; react to each moment as it unfolds. Focus on influencing your next action. Don’t get sucked into analyzing past failures or hijacked by future fears or thoughts. Ground yourself in the present, focused on the next behavior. One play at a time."
Moawad describes specific personal and professional examples of neutral thinking in action, how it can help in extremely challenging situations, and its use outside of sports. The book discusses how to be self-aware, handling the negativity that surrounds us and the negative voices within, and the increase in ineffectiveness when we voice that negativity. The goal is not to just see the positive things in the world, but to control what we mentally consume, think about what we are doing and how we are doing it, and how to bring the best out in others through our own insights.
This is not a "rah rah" self-help book but a life is difficult so here's how you can keep doing the work, performing well when you feel poor, and how to bounce back from the inevitable failures that may or may not have been a result of your decisions. I'm sure I'll listen to this audiobook many more times on my walks....more
I'll first say that if you have read this book and it provides some needed motivation, that is great and I am happy for you. It is a widely read book,I'll first say that if you have read this book and it provides some needed motivation, that is great and I am happy for you. It is a widely read book, I had often heard it recommended, and so it is not surprising that reviews differ greatly. I had mixed feelings after finishing it. I learned some things but some lessons were too simplistic and shallow. However, the audio portion of the audiobook would earn 5 stars since Jeremy Irons read the story and his voice acting ability would make listening to a terms and conditions agreement engaging.
For the young and those with little life experience, I think there are valuable lessons of perseverance in pursuit of a goal and enjoying and working with others on your life journey to reach your goals and help others reach theirs. I was amused at some criticism that it was "too Christian." Far from that, it is a stew of Jewish and Christian Bible characters and references, like Melchizedek, Urim and Thummim, Jesus, and crosses; Islamic references and characters, pantheism, and a heaping dose of "Law of Attraction" psychobabble.
I believe the mythos of the "Personal Legend" is a little suspect as there are many influences in our early lives that could be parlayed into successful ways to spend ones life. Some pursue interests out of trauma (the severely ill child whose choses to become a doctor; without the illness, what might they have chosen and would it have been "better"?). Some interests arise from curiosity but are no more legend than other choices. But the point well made is that people often sell out on pursuing work that would engage and inspire them, but the book fails to point out that even dream jobs have mundane and unpleasant tasks. One can have a dream life of which work is only secondary. Society can be too quick to dismiss as a sell-out someone who is very happy and content in their simple life.
The characters are shallow, even the alchemist, and conveniently exist for the support of Santiago without much apparent conflict. Even Fatima is willing to let Santiago go to find his dream with a chance that he might not return and be alone for some great time not knowing whether he is alive or dead. The Englishman provides a good lesson in not forsaking practical experience for book knowledge and making things too complex. His character, like the others, just seem too functional and more like shallow acquaintances. I liked them, I just did not connect with any of them.
This really comes to my root of why it was not such a favorite read: I like depth to characters and discovering the mysteries and lessons for myself. In this book the author spells out lessons like he was designing billboards or a personal life coaching seminar. In a world in which base level literacy is prevalent (many do not read even one book a year), the book's success is probably due to the author doing the hard work of spelling out the takeaway lessons to be learned, ex deus machina'ing the character out of situations to move his play piece down the board, and ending with a "go and do likewise." It's a modern parable, an allegory, and will certainly will provide some readers with what they need to hear, to give them a nudge, and their life will be better. But if you love literature with deep complex characters and transcendent lessons buried within the plot, you will be disappointed....more
The change from the Trump to Biden presidency was the perfect time to read this book. It was written before the 2020 election and, true to O'Rourke, hThe change from the Trump to Biden presidency was the perfect time to read this book. It was written before the 2020 election and, true to O'Rourke, he points out the ridiculousness in both candidates, parties, and the system. He is fair about what does work (little) and even finds a bright side to the partisan bickering. The discussion of Coastals vs. Heartlanders is spot on and his explanation of the Electoral College is spot on. The discussion of Patriotism vs. Nationalism should be included in civics books. The social media analysis is unapologetically "Ok Boomer" and his analysis of socialism reflects the wisdom of a journalist who has visited the socialist "ideals" in their prime and afterwards. O'Rourke's writing style is witty, insightful, and filled with so many literary and cultural references that provide an extra reward for the reader....more
As a business nerd, I was drawn into this tale of personal and professional drama whose actions had profound effects on the M&A market in the late 198As a business nerd, I was drawn into this tale of personal and professional drama whose actions had profound effects on the M&A market in the late 1980's. The inner workings and high-stakes games between major stockholders, executives, investment bankers, and lawyers receiving exorbitant amounts of money for wounding and destroying companies while professing to save them, reveals the ugliness of greed and fragility of oversized egos among the elites. When the reader thinks the story cannot get more confounding or convoluted, the next chapter will open a door into the deeper mire of the events. Thankfully, the writer does an excellent job of keeping the reader on the path and despite the interwoven tales of intrigue and host of characters, I never felt lost or confused.
The more business experience and knowledge you have, the more likely you are to appreciate the nuances and complexities of what happened in the businesses and courtroom. The author does a good job of explaining some of the arcane information and technical jargon of Wall Street and Madison Avenue without making the story too simplistic for non-business experts. I think this is a great strength of the book because, beyond the narrative, a business person can learn much about what to do, and not to do, as a fiduciary, member of the board of directors, or executive. It should make one wise to the behavior and words that might reflect duplicity in others.
Beyond the book itself, the author had an excellent essay in the back of the book on the ethical use of dramatic dialogue in narrative non-fiction. He discusses his views on the proper and improper use of constructed dialogue including manipulating a reader by constructing a dialog that reflects the writer's bias. He provides great insight into the process of careful and ethical construction of non-fiction dialog that would be helpful to writers and non-fiction readers alike....more
I was provided a review copy of The Quick and Clean Keto Diet Guide for Beginners by John Steward. I'm not on Keto though I have investigated it in thI was provided a review copy of The Quick and Clean Keto Diet Guide for Beginners by John Steward. I'm not on Keto though I have investigated it in the past and have many friends who are on it or have tried it. This is an inexpensive book but it provides a lot of good basics on the information I was looking for when reviewing the diet. It's a good concise layman's overview of the diet, dealing with keto adaptation, detailed food lists to include and avoid, and some good commonsense advice. As some are starting the year with a new diet, this is a good keto resource to consider. NOTE: I'm not a doctor so I can speak to any of the claims or benefits....more
I discovered this book when it was available on Amazon Prime Reading. I read it on my Kindle over the course of a year when I was on business trips. II discovered this book when it was available on Amazon Prime Reading. I read it on my Kindle over the course of a year when I was on business trips. It is a fascinating book that provides a historical perspective of the ebb and flow of nation and regional economies and how they can be quickly disrupted by changes in policy, technology, political powers, and market forces. Insights into ancient trade routes and cities that were often centers of commerce that are shadows of their former glory reminds the reader how quickly the world can change. I frequently used Google Maps as a companion, looking at maps and images of the locations in the book. Very interesting from a business and historical perspective....more
I just finished Mint Condition by Dave Jamieson last night. I collected baseball cards in the 80's looking for my favorite Dodger players (particularlI just finished Mint Condition by Dave Jamieson last night. I collected baseball cards in the 80's looking for my favorite Dodger players (particularly the elusive Steve Garvey card) and Star Wars cards later. I worked at a jewelry store/pawn shop that had a large card dealing section during the 90's market frenzy (Frank Thomas rookie card, anyone?) but left before the subsequent crash. Jamieson weaves an interesting story of the contrast of collectors with a love of the cardboard with the greed, market manipulation, fraud of many who produce, grade, and auction the cards (and some unlikely heroes within the card business). He doesn't leave the reader jaded at the end, reminding them that the love of collecting will last after the speculators have gone....more
This book is a good resource for people getting into copywriting or want to improve their persuasive writing ability. Following the principle that peoThis book is a good resource for people getting into copywriting or want to improve their persuasive writing ability. Following the principle that people purchase primarily from primal emotion then bring logic in to justify the decision, the author steps through principles then illustrates them with compelling examples. He also has provided good resources on his website to complement what’s in the book. The social media section is a touch dated but still valuable.
He does go on tangents like his affinity for writing instead of typing (repeatedly acknowledging his lack of typing skill) which was distracting. We all have preferences for how we work but can follow the same principles. But this was a small part. It was a valuable help for some marketing projects at work....more
This is who we are and here are our product facts. zzzz This book helps business people learn present themselves, their company, and products in a wayThis is who we are and here are our product facts. zzzz This book helps business people learn present themselves, their company, and products in a way that is memorable and applicable to a variety of audiences. Marketing professionals would certainly benefit, but executives and employees throughout the organization should know how to express how their company and products/services can positively affect customers. Presenting yourself to a potential employer or customer should use elements of setting the hook, painting a vision, and demonstrating value. The story can help the facts stick and bring the numbers to life.
The author presents a logical approach with exercises and examples to demonstrate the use of story in a wide variety of situations: communications within the company, marketing, sales, job application, networking, and more. The book also covers the important area of audience analysis in order to design an appropriate story for the situation....more
The book explores the challenges of developing a consistent voice, concise storytelling, and being fresh but familiar, within a limited space on a conThe book explores the challenges of developing a consistent voice, concise storytelling, and being fresh but familiar, within a limited space on a consistent schedule. These unique features of column writing are useful lessons for bloggers and content creators who must regularly develop similar work. The author shared personal experience, input from award-winning columnists, and sample work to convey important lessons. She broke down the topics into manageable sections that are sufficiently informative and practical without sounding like an academic textbook. ...more
As a non-hunter, I was surprised at how much Jeff drew me in with vivid descriptions of hunting trips and seamlessly related experiences to important As a non-hunter, I was surprised at how much Jeff drew me in with vivid descriptions of hunting trips and seamlessly related experiences to important spiritual truths. I have known Jeff and long respected the depth of his love for God, the passion in his preaching, his faithful living, and engaging storytelling ability. I bought this book as a gift to a Christian hunter who could use some encouragement and I trusted Jeff's ability to relate to him through this world they share. Jeff had me in the tree stand, walking on chilly quiet mornings, and seeing the majestic beauty of bobcats and whitetail deer. Most of my male friends are hunters and I don't object to hunting but devote my time to other interests. I appreciate their love of nature, the hunt, respect for the food they harvest with the gun, and enjoy hearing stories behind the trophies. Like Agrippa to Paul, Jeff "almost persuades me to be a hunter" and I have several friends ready to bring me into the brotherhood should I change my mind. The stories will resonate even more with experienced hunters as Jeff takes them into a world in which they love. The power in the book is in the spiritual applications from the stories. Jeff clearly and frankly discusses issues from worship, godly service, living through struggles, prayer, pornography, suffering loss, salvation, and the joys of heaven. He shares stories and lessons about a man's role as a husband, father, son, friend, Christian, and citizen. I know his son and can tell you that he reflects the faith of his earthly and heavenly father, and it is obvious Jeff is devoted to his wife and she loves him dearly. I've heard Jeff teach often and he draws from the depths of God's word but presents the truth in its beauty and simplicity. Like his hunting arrows, he has the focus to know how to pierce the heart with the truth. This book is perfect for strong Christian hunters as it may give words to meditative thoughts they experience in the woods. For hunters who may not be strong in their faith, like Jesus's parables it provides a bridge from something they know to important spiritual concepts. I think even non-Christians hunters would enjoy the book as it presents truth without flinching but respectfully and the the language of hunter to hunter might push through barriers to considering God. And, as I have found, even a non-hunter can enjoy the stories and learn important truths along the way....more
Ryan Holiday exposes the ease with which online news organizations and blogs can be easily manipulated, based on his experience using the system to prRyan Holiday exposes the ease with which online news organizations and blogs can be easily manipulated, based on his experience using the system to promote his projects, clients, and American Apparel. He provides great insight into the blurring of the lines between blogging and journalism and how the twin factors of add revenue based on screen views and the desire to break a story first create the perfect storm of rumors as news and sensationalist stories appealing to fear, anger, or scandal. When you finish the book you truly will see news and blogging in a different light and how a "follow the money" approach explains so much of what we see. His information on iterative journalism explains how organizations publish rumor but do an ineffective job of "getting the story right" but make profit on the incorrect story and the updates to correct it. Not content to just discuss methods and practices, he dissects real news events and promotional efforts to demonstrate how the monster feeds and operates. His insight into the major web hubs for news and individuals, from Huffington to Breitbart, will provide some much needed perspective on how we get our news and whether we really are informed.
He presents the material as exposing media manipulation techniques but one could follow the process and have a good chance at promotional success but at a cost. I was put off on some of his initial YouTube interviews as he seemed like a person confessing sins that he is proud of committing. His later books reveal one who has learned and matured from this dark place to a more settled view of the world and a better ethical approach to life. Finish this book and you'll never view blogs and online news the same again....more
As a fan of Disney Animation and Pixar Studio products, I was interested in going behind the curtain to see how the wizards did their magic. I was espAs a fan of Disney Animation and Pixar Studio products, I was interested in going behind the curtain to see how the wizards did their magic. I was especially interested to see how a creative organization manages the mundane business side of finance and teamwork. Ed Catmull accomplished this in providing a glimpse into building a creative business that works with limited budgets, highly individual and often idiosyncratic creative employees, and critical deadlines.
Non-creatives sometimes fail to see that creativity and art often require more hard work and skill development than natural talent. This book reveals the perspiration that accompanies inspiration and, sometimes, a little luck. Catmull describes the creative challenges and solutions to some of Pixar's beloved works and how, sometimes, the stories we see on the screen are far different from what was first imagined. I recommended the book to my daughter who is studying animation so she can see how Pixar approaches story development, professional reviews of works in progress, and the difficult task of changing something you have put a lot of time into (killing your darlings) in order to make great art.
The book also provides insight into teamwork strategies and building a business. Catmull provides a look at the operation and interrelation of diverse management personalities such as his more reserved style and the dynamic aggressive style of Steve Jobs. Though their personalities were different, they were able to synergize so that the best of both were infused into the corporate culture and both seemed to rub off a bit on the other. The other management characters within Pixar are discussed including their valuable contributions to the company's success. Not forgotten are the many Pixar employees whose dedication to creating a high quality product that Catmull praises throughout the book.
If you are a creative in any industry, you will gain a lot from the wisdom shared in this book. If you are trying to develop a team or a corporate culture, you will also find much to inspire and educate you in this book....more
Though I have read many productivity books in the past, I don't read many now due to the repeated advice, some of which seems like theory to the authoThough I have read many productivity books in the past, I don't read many now due to the repeated advice, some of which seems like theory to the author and not their actual practice. I usually skim the books to look for a different approach but gave special attention to this one because of the author.
I was already a fan of Duhigg after the insightful book The Power of Habit. He typically presents good support material, diverse views on the topic, and a tendency to plunge below the surface of "accepted knowledge." The book addresses productivity as it relates to motivation, teams, focus, goal setting, managing others, decision making, innovation, and absorbing data. He draws on research and anecdotal evidence from a broad spectrum of society, not just the business world as is the case with many productivity books. The author is a good storyteller and uses suspense very well to cycle between the narrative and the research. I found myself tense after reading the account of Qantas flight 32. The appendix is especially valuable because Duhigg describes the application of the productivity areas discussed in each chapter to his own challenges in writing the book.
Although Duhigg describes some techniques for enhancing the productivity areas described above, he mostly outlines the science and principles of improved performance, leaving the reader to determine how to apply them to their personal and professional life. I made several notes of techniques that I will integrate into my own productivity processes. Whether you use a Cove or GTD type approach, the discussion of goal setting and focus will enhance and mesh with the principles of those systems....more
Richard Simmons III has revealed the must understood and least discussed part of the culture of unrestrained sexuality and the hookup culture: the sexRichard Simmons III has revealed the must understood and least discussed part of the culture of unrestrained sexuality and the hookup culture: the sexual liberty so praised and promoted is purchased at the cost of dignity, health, and intimacy. Those who have indulged in the culture are fighting many more sexual diseases than before, feel used and guilty for using others, struggle to develop relationships, and are feeling lonelier than ever.
Though Simmons presents the message from a Christian worldview, he cites numerous scholars, former proponents of the open sexuality movement, and other non-Christian experts who admit the truth of God's moral regulations of sexuality despite their reluctance to follow Him. There are cautionary tales from college campuses and the therapists couch. Even those who encouraged the so-called sexual revolution have come to see that it did not grant freedom but became a prison. Feminists are seeing that the sexual revolution, far from freeing women, has made them more objectified and considered only for what they can do do please another, not for who they are.
Yet Simmons also presents the hope of escaping this culture, returning the dignity and peace of a virtuous life. He urges us to consider how God did not make sex dirty, as the critics claimed, but God made sex. It was a gift for man that, like other gifts, man has made an idol to his detriment. The Bible praises the sexual relationship in marriage as honorable and to be a pleasurable "knowing" of one's spouse in a special, secret, and sacred way. The Bible also reveals the destructive consequences of an individual and society of sexual relations outside of that context.
I HIGHLY recommend this book. I've worked with so many young people for decades and heard the stories echoed in this book and have seen the impact, decades later, of people who followed this lifestyle when younger, whether they were people of faith or not. Everything in life has consequences whether felt immediately or in the far future. Don't dismiss this important fact.
I woke up late one Saturday morning and read the whole thing before lunch so it will not be a long read but it is so packed with good information from secular and religious writers, therapists, psychologists, and people living in and recovering from this unfortunate social experiment. If you work with young people, or have children, read this book.
If you are a high school, college student, or past that age and are struggling with the emptiness, confusion, and loneliness that this life has brought PLEASE read this book. He will not preach at you; he will enlighten you gently and lovingly and show you the lies and ignorance that created this environment that is pressuring you and show you a great way of escape to find forgiveness, fulfillment, and true intimacy in a real relationship....more
The book is not about cutting your workday in half but optimizing what you do with your time. Ferriss is his own lab rat experimenting with life and hThe book is not about cutting your workday in half but optimizing what you do with your time. Ferriss is his own lab rat experimenting with life and health to optimize results with a "minimal effective dose" of effort. His first book challenges the conventional view of the workday and how society defines success. Some ideas may seem quaint now because so many bloggers and thought leaders in social media have been greatly influenced by his work. The book is a guide to hacking work and life to optimize personal output and learning capability.
His other works, The 4-Hour Body and The 4-Hour Chef continue the lifehacking philosophy of health and learning respectively (4HC is not a cookbook but a book about optimal learning while learning about food and cooking). The great value of 4HWW is the way "work" is broken apart and analyzed and, hopefully, reassembled into something better....more
The subtitle of this book is "The Classic Guide to Writing Non-Fiction." Do not ignore this book if you are not a professional writer. This book is abThe subtitle of this book is "The Classic Guide to Writing Non-Fiction." Do not ignore this book if you are not a professional writer. This book is about clearly communicating ideas whether in email, presentations, or conversation. The book has echoes of the classic guide The Elements of Style ("Be concise") but it is not a grammar book. Wise choice of words, tense, and proper use of grammar become the tools for explaining ideas. Revisit it often to improve your communication skills....more
At the turn of the millennium, David Allen released his landmark work Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity and changed how many ofAt the turn of the millennium, David Allen released his landmark work Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity and changed how many of us managed our time and work environment. Striving for the "mind like water", Allen, urges readers to use straightforward filing systems and trusted systems, like calendars and useful lists, freeing the mind to focus on the needs of the moment.
Allen has various techniques for effective work such as performing a "mind dump," unloading all the things that are on our mind, organizing them into meaningful lists of what we can do now and what can, or should be, delayed until some future date. He describes techniques for identifying projects that need multiple actions that do not seem like projects initially, The goal is to develop focus that allows one to decide what is the next action to perform and stay "in the moment" with that task knowing that the other work is not forgotten and has its place.
One unfounded criticism of Allen's work is that it doesn't solve the overwork problem but only organizes it. This is far from the truth. Completing the exercises for the horizons of focus honestly and thoughtfully should eliminate some demands one has placed on himself and define a vision for one's life that allows them to deal with some of the work that appears that would be more appropriate to delegate to others or simply ignore.
I listen to this audiobook frequently to perfect my execution of the model and deepen my understanding of the methods and philosophy behind the system. It was very influential in an article I wrote for high school and college students to help them develop focus and flow in school work.
I would recommend Making It All Work instead of the classic volume that introduced us to Allen, Getting Things Done. Making It All Work provides a mature analysis of the philosophy of his organizational approach and better focus on the horizon view of planning. Much of the criticism of his work arises from a misconception that Allen is not solving the task overload problem, only organizing it. Making It All Work is clearer, though GTD explained it as well, the framework includes determining what needs to be done, what can wait, and what should be ignored....more
Originally written in 1967 by the father of business management, this book will help any business person journey towards greater responsibility and suOriginally written in 1967 by the father of business management, this book will help any business person journey towards greater responsibility and success. Having defined what an "Effective Executive" is, Drucker emphasizes that effectiveness is a learned skill. By examining what one can contribute to the success of the enterprise, and thus one's personal success, he stresses the importance of managing one's time, priorities, and playing to your strengths. A key part of business success is effective decision-making and Drucker breaks down the decision-making process and how to make effective decisions. Much of Drucker's wisdom is identifying personal and business processes that are dysfunctional and fixing, changing, or abandoning them. The book is filled with key questions that a business person must ask themselves to shed light on the path to choose and what to avoid. It is the most concise book of organizational management and professional development I have read and the principles are timeless....more
Much of the valuable productivity literature I've read has been written by professionals with experience in personal or business organizational systemMuch of the valuable productivity literature I've read has been written by professionals with experience in personal or business organizational systems who teach lessons learned from consulting and coaching over many years. The Internet is bloated with blog posts outlining individual productivity systems or productivity tips that may be transferable, in whole or part, to the situation of the reader. Dr. Levitin, by contrast, has expertise in the inner working of the mind and approaches productivity and organized thinking from the grey matter out.
According to Dr. Levitin's site, he "...earned his B.A. in Cognitive Psychology and Cognitive Science at Stanford University, and went on to earn his Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Oregon, researching complex auditory patterns and pattern processing in expert and non-expert populations." Dr. Levitin has a gift for expressing complex scientific facts and theories in practical, but not simplistic, terms.
For productivity, Dr. Levitin blends neuroscience and the historical development of organizational systems to suggest ideas for improving data management, information filing and retrieval, and handling information. Like productivity expert David Allen, of the Getting Things Done (GTD) system, Dr. Levitin suggests developing external systems that efficiently handle information so we can use our minds for more productive work. Whereas Allen focuses on the "mind like water" result of efficient external systems, Dr. Levitin focuses on why the mind achieves this state from a medical perspective.
Dr. Levitin's section on the executive and daydream capacities of mental thought were extremely interesting and provide insight into some cognitive challenges we face because of the flow of information, technology, and the "multitasking" culture mentality. He also suggests ways to encourage either mode to engage for suitable tasks. His discussion of "flow state" and how to achieve it is very valuable.
Like "The Invisible Gorilla", the book also challenges what we think we know about how our mind and memory works and what science has revealed. He provides medical insight into the notion of multitasking and what really happens in our minds and the mental impact of task switching on our productivity and efficiency. He also gives us a mind tour of dreaming and learning that is both education and useful.
An important part of this work is the discussion of critical analysis skills and decision making structures to help when we are bombarded with information. It is important to analyze the information package (source, potential biases, authority, etc.) as well as the content of the information itself. His discussion of Wikipedia helps explain the challenge of handling data wisely. He also provides a framework for helping patients and caregivers use medical tests and information to make better healthcare decisions with the diagnoses and research available that speaks to their medical need.
The Organized Mind is a user guide for the mind....more
"Business comes down to how hard you work, how smart you work, in good times and bad. Do more. Get more. And be ruthless in your quest to make money.""Business comes down to how hard you work, how smart you work, in good times and bad. Do more. Get more. And be ruthless in your quest to make money." George Cloutier (p. ix)
Cloutier is consistent with the above statement throughout his book. It is a book that Gordon Gekko would love because the relentless theme is the priority of profit and the choices a business person must make to keep and maximize it.
His no-nonsense rules are spot on: monitor your numbers and manage your cash flow closely as it is the lifeblood of the business. Fight hard for every sale, weed out bad performers quickly, manage your collections and payables to your advantage, and reward profitability. He forces readers to face the reality of their actions on the success or stagnation of the business when they are tempted to blame the markets, economy, or others. Focusing on collections and managing the budget are practical knowledge but businesses will take their focus off of it to their detriment. Nothing new here but my experience has been that some businesses fail to execute proper management of these pitfalls.
His section for family business ("the best family business has one member" is worth considering for any family-based business. I have seen the negative effects he desribes on non-family employees in certain businesses I have been involved with in the past.
The author supports a compensation structure that is built partially, or in some cases completely, on performance goals. Sales, he says, should be 100% on performance as salary for sales positions often creates mediocrity. However, he also states that the boss has to be a tyrant and the rule for employees is "Don't think, obey." My experience has been that when you hire the right employees they can often save the owner from himself. Every owner has blind spots and weaknesses and good employees can provide strength and vision to compensate for his human frailty. His Profit Rule #9 "I Am Your Work God" and #14 "Teamwork is Overrated" were difficult sections for me to read as it seems unrealistic for the business environments I have worked in. I have been in dictatorial businesses as he described an not only were they unpleasant to work in, they weren't that successful. The lord of the castle model might be perfect for certain businesses where a strong top-down hierarchy is essential for productivity and profitability and the employee primarily contributes labor, but in knowledge-based industries I think this approach would lead to consistent employee dissatisfaction and turnover. The average professional would probably like to to invest in his business but would likely hate working for him.
I'm sure his Profit Rule #4 "Love Your Business More Than Your Family" will guarantee high profits. He states that you must make the choice between your business and maximizing profits or living in financial mediocrity because of outside decisions. Either way, he says, you must make peace with your decision. If you spend time in worship then do it but get back to the business. Remember your competitors are relaxing but you can use it to build up your business and maximize your profits. He does allow that you can spend time on other pursuits when your business flourishes though I doubt that someone who has sacrificed his family, true spiritual growth, and service to others will reach a point where he feels he can do so. If a person follows the author's advice, I hope he does not marry, and certainly does not have kids, so they will not feel the abandonment or neglect that would be the product of such a narrow focus.
I have chosen to be less successful than I could be (though I am considered quite successful in business) to have a close relationship with my wife and kids, serve others, and enjoy life as I live it. I have known too many who have died long before retirement who sacrificed today for a tomorrow that never came. While I can recommend much of this book I think the short-sighted thinking in this section will make a person miserable in the final review of life regardless of how popular, rich, and profitable he is.
Maybe you can't have it all, but it is better to have the things that really matter in life. The most profitable things in a person's life will not be found on a balance sheet. ...more