Jonatron's Reviews > Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity

Getting Things Done by David    Allen
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Aug 20, 2007

did not like it
bookshelves: own, self-help, scanned, never-finished
Recommended for: No one

I bought this book, and I read some of it. It sat on a shelf unfinished. I read some more. It sat in my car unfinished. I eventually made the decision to never finish it.

I think this is self-explanatory.

[Later...]

Now I'm reading 26 Reasons Not to Use GTD, and it does a good job of articulating the "ehhhh"ness that I felt while reading this.

[Even later...]

And if you think GTD's followers are a little cult-like (see, for instance, the comments on this review), check this out: When David Allen says in the acknowledgments "deepest thanks go to my spiritual coach, J-R", he's talking about a man named John-Roger "the Mystical Traveler", who believes he is a reincarnation of Jesus, St. Francis of Assisi, and Abraham Lincoln. Allen is a minister in his Movement of Spiritual Inner Awareness church. Yup.
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Reading Progress

April 1, 2007 – Started Reading
August 20, 2007 – Shelved
October 17, 2008 –
page 110
41.2% "I've heard the method is really good, but the book is rather boring and too corporate."
January 8, 2010 – Finished Reading
May 28, 2011 – Shelved as: own
June 8, 2015 – Shelved as: self-help
February 3, 2016 – Shelved as: never-finished
July 23, 2016 – Shelved as: unsorted
July 24, 2016 – Shelved as: scanned
July 9, 2017 – Shelved as: never-finished

Comments (showing 1-31 of 31) (31 new)

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message 1: by Tra (new)

Tra Thanks for your input. Was about to read this book until I read your comments:(


Arsjaad You have no clue on what you are talking about. GTD, does work for a great audience, and there are some valuable points to be made in the book, if a person gets conditioned in a certain way that can in the long term cause inhibitions to other important behaviors, habits, attitudes or styles of thinking. Then the person has to deal with this new challenging paradox, not blame the author of the book. It's a book of information, a wise person will have the inclinatation to find the the lesson, and not condemn or blame the author of the book, because of his lack of coping skills or emotional management.


Robbert The fact that the same comment was pasted by this same person about 5 times over the span of half an hour probably explains some of the ehhh... -ness I have about this comment.

GTD itself is a very good solution, and even a half-hearted implantation helps a lot in getting things organised. Where it falls down is in the initial start, not many people have the will to completely reorganise the way they do everything at once. The other is the choice of where you leave your notes. Like many people I'm not the type to go everywhere with a notebook under my arm. This may work great in a corporate setting, but less so in a private. This reason alone is why there is a huge market for (3rd party) GTD apps for phones, and programs to sync it with the computer, as many people are looking for the solution that fits their style.


Maddie A hammer is not great for turning a bolt and like any tool, this organization system can help if used to your advantage or just frustrate if you think it will solve all your problems.


Jonatron The idea of putting to do list items in a storage bucket and then intentionally forgetting about them has some value, but I didn't get anything else out of it.


Luca Conti "has some value"
That's already more than 1 star.
1 Star = I read the book and it has no value


Jonatron Luca wrote: ""has some value"
That's already more than 1 star.
1 Star = I read the book and it has no value"


No. 1 Star = "did not like it".


Luca Conti How can you completely dislike something that you recognize having some value?


Jonatron ... easily?


message 10: by Jake (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jake West You said, "And if you think GTD's followers are a little cult-like, check this out: When David Allen says in the acknowledgments "deepest thanks go to my spiritual coach, J-R", he's talking about a man named John-Roger "the Mystical Traveler", who believes he is a reincarnation of Jesus, St. Francis of Assisi, and Abraham Lincoln. Allen is a minister in his Movement of Spiritual Inner Awareness church. Yeah."

Why does what the author believes and/or doesn't believe in (a) have anything to do with a book about an entirely unrelated productivity system, and (b) have anything to do with his "followers being cult-like?"

Personally, I could care less if the author thinks himself Jesus, St. Francis, and Abraham Lincoln. The fact of the matter is that he's touting a superb productivity system which works for millions of people, and it has absolutely nothing to do with what he believes in and/or doesn't believe in. If he had infused the nonsense you mentioned into the book, then it would be an entirely different story.

I'd love to rebut the "26 Reasons Not to Use GTD," but it would take awhile, so I'll rebut a few of the more illogical "reasons."

Reason 1: Subjective. Personally (subjectively), I found the book quite easy to read.

Reason 2: If a 250 page book is an "investment," then I pity you. It took me all of three days to finish this book. Also, GTD isn't science; it was never meant to be followed to the "T." He mentions multiple times that it's necessary

Reason 3: A book about a productivity system "feels like a cult?" Yes, because when I think productivity, I think Jim Jones and Jonestown. (This is sarcasm...)

Reason 5: This person must not have actually read the book, because reason 5 is a virtual paraphrase of Allen's "processing" stage.

The author really goes off the rails past reason 5. You may feel especially silly after I tell you that the GTD was mentioned as an excellent productivity system by the esteemed Florida State research psychologist Roy Baumeister in his book entitled "Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength." (And, that IS science.)


message 11: by Luca (new) - rated it 4 stars

Luca Conti Well said Jake. I'll also read the 26 reasons later because it's always interesting to evaluate things through their critiques; but many of them seems to be written by someone who's biased towards not buying into the methodology no-matter-what.


Jonatron ...and if you don't know what I mean by "cult-like", just read these angry defensive comments on my review, just because their favorite productivity method didn't work for me.

Note to fanboys: The main point of my review is that the book is uninteresting and I couldn't get through it; the "productivity method" didn't even help me get through the book that describes the productivity method, so it's not going to be much use in the rest of my life, is it? The fact that the author is in a wacky cult is just an interesting aside.


Chris Nielsen So which religion does the author need to have to make his productivity system valid for you?


Jonatron Chris wrote: "So which religion does the author need to have to make his productivity system valid for you?"

Who cares? This productivity system doesn't work for me regardless of whatever nutty religion its author follows.


message 15: by Barry (new) - rated it 1 star

Barry I'm down with you Jonatron - this was a massive waste of time. It's totally archaic now too (in that you effectively need to customise the methodology to get it to work). Better things out there to help you with your workflow


Jonatron What better things would you recommend?


Arunc This thread is so on the money! It is almost impractical to implement and keep track of so many buckets/lists as the author suggests. Read it once and maybe you'll get something out of it.


message 18: by Sean (new) - added it

Sean I like the authors ministry


Nicholas Haha I knew there was something to it


message 20: by Elie (new) - added it

Elie Lebbos oh dear... I'm looking for reviewers who know what they're talking about and i guess i just found another one... to avoid like the plague.

That link you posted though... if you would only scroll down to the comments or better yet cook up the energy to read the book and try it, you would know that those 26 things are obviously written by someone who didn't read the book only read reviews because of the false claims. If you're lazy please don't blame it on the author and try to poison the well... how irresponsible.


message 21: by Elie (new) - added it

Elie Lebbos And I'm an atheist btw, and I am not a part of any social group that uses GTD as sacred text... I wasn't aware of any of that either. It's none of your business if the author doesn't mention it.


Mirzhan Irkegulov I stopped reading 26 Reasons Not to Use GTD after clause 3. Avoiding anything that might even look cultish is paradoxically-but-not-really the most conformist behavior. It's not because one seeks for truths and is skeptical of self-proclaimed gurus, it's because one is afraid of derision. (And nope, I'm not even a fan of GTD.)


Vannak What's the point of reviewing a book if you can't finish the darn book?


message 24: by Francisco (new)

Francisco González Jonatron, you sure use ad-hominem argumentation a lot. Comments like "If you think GTD's followers are a little cult-like..." are completely irrelevant for a book review.


Jonatron Andrei wrote: "> > Thinks he has the right to a review

This review has received far more Likes than any of my others.


message 26: by [deleted user] (new)

Jonatron wrote: "Andrei wrote: "> > Thinks he has the right to a review

This review has received far more Likes than any of my others."


I listed out all of the reasons to why your review is invalid. You literally didn't even read the book and are using ad hominem to justify your completely baseless opinion. Your review likely has the most likes you've ever gotten because this is an incredibly popular book and is fairly divisive. Whether or not you liked the book is irrelevant, you didn't even read it.

You should actually learn how to review and obtain even an ounce of logical thinking before actually writing reviews. I also find it humorous that you seem to go onto every negative review here to reaffirm yourself. You sound like a middle schooler from /r/atheism going on a review for the bible after reading two lines from it.


Jonatron Andrei wrote: "and are using ad hominem to justify your completely baseless opinion."

lol no.

Also thanks for proving my point.


message 28: by [deleted user] (last edited Jul 18, 2017 10:02PM) (new)

Jonatron wrote: "Andrei wrote: "and are using ad hominem to justify your completely baseless opinion."

lol no.

Also thanks for proving my point."


What point and how did I prove it? Do you explain anything you say? That's kind've important in reviews you know.


Jonatron There are a number of topics that cause me to sound like a middle schooler from /r/atheism, but this is not one of them. You're the one getting bent out of shape because someone didn't like a self-help book.

My review is "This book is supposed to help people get things done, but I couldn't get the book done." That's it. As I said above.


message 30: by Christian (new) - added it

Christian Dude, you can't review a book you haven't read. It's even worse that you piggyback off of somebody else's opinion who has read the book. This is why modern culture is so shallow and mindless. Because people like you are too lazy to research their own damn opinions.


message 31: by Mike (new) - added it

Mike This thread is superb. Thanks everyone.
Jonatron, you've made my last 5 minutes.


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