Monday, January 2, 2012

Making It All Work: Winning at the Game of Work and the Business of Life and the Power of Amall Why Little Things Make all the Difference

Making It All Work: Winning at the Game of Work and the Business of Life
by David Allen

Book Review by Richard L. Weaver II, Ph.D.

I did not read David Allen’s book, Getting Things Done (2001), and there are some people (who reviewed the book) who said it was the better book and even to save your time by not reading this one and reading his former one. I cannot personally support or deny this observation (or judgment). The Sacramento Book Review said this: “This book is actually harder to read, and is less clear than /Getting Things Done/. Promoted as a expansion that will help you focus on the higher level of organizing your life and goals, it really just serves as a rehashing. For those needing encouragement to continue using GTD techniques, maybe it'll work for them. But, for those looking for more, it fails, and those looking at trying the GTD techniques for the first time would be better served using the original book.” Victoria Bean included information in her review that compares the two books: “The book [Making It All Work] illuminates what Allen calls the basics of self-management: namely how to get and how to develop both control and perspective on your daily commitments in order to master them.

While much of the content is included in his previous book [Getting Things Done], there are some new tools that show you how to achieve alignment and balance by changing your perspective on your own commitments and mastering the art of motivating yourself. These tools include:

* How to get immediate control of "current reality"
* How to keep track of the total inventory of your commitments
* What decisions are critical to make, about what, and when
* Why most "personal management systems" don't work
* Why organizational issues are often personal process issues
* How to use procrastination to your advantage
* How to continually self-consult to get back "on your game"
* How to install simple tricks that create profound results ”

This is a well-written, even inspiring book that will help (offers specific suggestions) for maintaining control and perspective. In this book, Allen suggests flexibility and custom-tailoring to make his GTD system operative. I didn’t read his former book, but I found this book extremely interesting and educational. Perhaps it would be a better read if you read his earlier book first; however, this one is well done, to say the least, and because he (obviously) repeats information from the earlier book, it is not a prerequisite that one be read before the other.

The Power of Small: Why Little Things Make All the Difference
by Linda Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval

Book Review by Richard L. Weaver II, Ph.D.

Whether you have many examples from your own life of this title being true, whether you have read it in other books, or whether you think it is a small, commonsensical point that needs no further elucidation, this is a delightful book. The authors write in an engaging style; there are so many wonderful examples used to support their points; and I firmly believe, too, that their point needs to be reinforced and encouraged. I wrote one positive letter about a bank employee, and she was one of ten commended across the nation, won the competition, and will receive a plaque on her office wall marking her success. One letter! I wrote a letter to the Red Cross that changed their procedures to include hand sanitizer at the table where refreshments are served after donations. One letter! That is precisely what this book is all about.

Because of my personal interest in speech communication, I especially liked their discussion in Chapter 3, “Make Small Talk,” which begins with the wonderful quotation from Mark Twain, “I can live for two months on a good compliment.” The authors make the point that, “We are losing the human texture in even our simplest conversations. We are becoming more and more cut off from human interaction, from the chance encounters and casual acquaintances that have, until recently, made up a part of our lives and at times changed their course” (p. 27j). Their suggestions for increasing the importance and impact of small talk are excellent and should be adopted by everyone (pp. 34-30).

The book is not only full of examples, but the authors offer regular and consistent encouragement to readers to make small changes like saying “please” and “thank you,” to take advantage of the smallest opportunities (to take advantage of “and then some” situations!), and to become more alert to other people and to their surroundings as well.

Sure, you can write this book off as just a piece of fluff, but do you know what? If everyone in our society made the small changes these authors recommend and practiced them everyday, there would be so much less conflict, irritation, and anger— so much less displeasure, annoyance, and ill-temper. As small a point(s) as the authors make, this book makes a valuable and useful addition to our lives.

These books are available at (Click the link below)
Making It All Work: Winning at the Game of Work and the Business of Life
The Power of Small: Why Little Things Make All the Difference 

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Have you read the latest book review? Have you read the book? What do you think? Thank you for your comment.