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What's Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things Done

What's Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things Done [Kindle Edition]

Matthew Aaron Perman , John Piper
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

Do Work That Matters Productivity isn't just about getting more things done. It's about getting the right things done---the things that count, make a difference, and move the world forward. 

In our current era of massive overload, this is harder than ever before. So how do you get more of the right things done without confusing mere activity for actual productivity? 

When we take God's purposes into account, a revolutionary insight emerges. Surprisingly, we see that the way to be productive is to put others first---to make the welfare of other people our motive and criteria in determining what to do (what's best next). As both the Scriptures and the best business thinkers show, generosity is the key to unlocking our productivity. It is also the key to finding meaning and fulfillment in our work. 

What's Best Next offers a practical approach for improving your productivity in all areas of life. It will help you better understand: 
  • Why good works are not just rare and special things like going to Africa, but anything you do in faith even tying your shoes. 
  • How to create a mission statement for your life that actually works. 
  • How to delegate to people in a way that actually empowers them. 
  • How to overcome time killers like procrastination, interruptions, and multitasking by turning them around and making them work for you. 
  • How to process workflow efficiently and get your email inbox to zero every day. 
  • How your work and life can transform the world socially, economically, and spiritually, and connect to God's global purposes. 
By anchoring your understanding of productivity in God's purposes and plan, What's Best Next will give you a practical approach for increasing your effectiveness in everything you do.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 893 KB
  • Print Length: 327 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0310494222
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Up to 5 simultaneous devices, per publisher limits
  • Publisher: Zondervan (4 Mar 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006FP4PVY
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #67,172 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good but read it wisely 8 Jun 2014
If you are looking for some helpful material on applying a Get Things Done model in the Christian context then this book is absolutely for you. It is packed full of useful material on how to streamline your life. Perman passes the secular GTD wisdom through a biblical lens and largely ends up with some helpful conclusions. However - and this is my major concern with the book - my own experience is that there is a danger for Christians of idolising efficiency and excellence in a world which already does that. I would have liked to see more emphasis on the place of day-by-day dependence on God rather than on the dogged commitment to 'working the plan'. I say this as an ex-City lawyer in one of the Magic Circle firms in London. GTD methods are hugely useful and also hugely addictive. So definitely read this book - especially if you are not familiar with the variety of GTD practices which can streamline your life - but as you read it do so wisely and critically too.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Perman deals with the higher level of sorting your life and work out - personal strategy - by introducing Biblical concepts like living for God's glory and relying on him, alongside concepts like serving others and the importance of character. At the lower level of personal management, he stresses the place of time and of daily plans more than the amazing but lopsided David Allen (of Getting things done fame). It's helped me to relaunch an ordered life.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The book I've been waiting for 3 April 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Haven't finished yet, but the book has been a big help so far.
It has introduced me to a theology of good works that is liberating and very practical.
I'm just on the part where it helps you nail down your life's goal and how that will work itself out in the actual next steps you take.
Didn't think this kind of help was available, but it's just what I needed. Thanks God! - and Matt Perman!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 2 April 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book is a total answer to prayer for me because I have always wanted a book that took into account that I want to put GOD first in everything including my day to day work. For some reason I didn't see that my level of productivity and excellence were a part of my workplace ministry. I would recommend this book, in fact I already have.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.7 out of 5 stars  84 reviews
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Mind Like Tsunami"? Gospel-Driven Productivity (GDP) Inspires Hope and Extends Help for GTD, ZTD, and GRAW Practitioners 4 Mar 2014
By Daniel E. Burrow - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Disclosure: Matthew Perman generously provided an advance PDF copy of this book. I'm so very happy he did!

Perman candidly testifies that his hope of a achieving a "mind like water" was very rarely ever achieved through GTD practices. Instead, he found his state of mind of being one of "mind like a tsunami" (15). Mine, too.

"Getting Things Done" (GTD, Allen), "Zen to Done" (ZTD, Babauta), and "Getting Results the Agile Way" (GRAW, Meier) are brilliant and practical authors whose methodologies have helped me in becoming more efficient and productive. Yet, too many good things have been left undone, too many people have not been loved and served as I would want to be loved and served, and too many opportunities to do great things of eternal impact have been wasted. These facts have left me heartsick.

What have I been doing wrong in implementation? Was there a better tool than OmniFocus that I needed to find? Should I switch from Moleskine to Rhodia?

Was there no hope? I'm a full-time pastor of a small but thriving country church in rural Washington. My wife's chronic, debilitating and incurable disease is ever worsening. My own recently diagnosed Polycystic Kidney and Liver disease, according to the exceedingly caring and thorough docs at the VA, will continue to degrade my energy level. Could it ever be true that there was a system that would adapt to not only a "mind like tsunami" but a "life like tsunami"?

Brother Matthew has helped me to see that I've been first looking for a system that would enable productivity when I should have been first looking for a person--the Savior! Perman writes, "Productivity is specifically about doing 'the will of the Lord.' It’s about specifically orienting our lives and decisions around God’s will. We are to ultimately be Christ-centered, not just principle-centered....It makes productivity personal in the fullest sense, and makes our whole lives one of fellowship with God, rather than a following of principles. It gives us even more guidance than simply being principle-centered, for God is a living being" (56).

This is good news! Further good news, and hope, is offered when Matt writes, "I mentioned earlier that effectiveness must be learned. Here’s the good news: Drucker found that everyone who worked at becoming effective succeeded" (42).

In the pages of this book you will find foundational concepts and practical helps toward becoming a hope-filled knowledge worker who can expect to succeed as you continue working "at becoming effective" while living out a loving life of good works that brings you abiding joy and magnifies God's glory through Jesus.

Daniel Burrow,
Pastor for Preaching,
Open Heart Baptist Church,
Selah, WA
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Likely to become required seminary reading. 4 Mar 2014
By Josh Chalmers - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
I just finished: What’s Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things Done by Matt Perman. This is the book I Imagine John Piper would write on productivity; its Christian hedonism/Jonathon Edwards mixed with a good dose of the best secular authors on productivity. This shouldn’t surprise us since Perman worked for Desiring God for some time, and Piper writes the forward…

As the title implies, this book is not just a collection of productivity hacks; instead, it articulates a Christian theology of why we should prize efficiency, well also explaining why we sometimes shouldn’t. This may be the book’s most important contribution, given that much of what matters in the information age is intangible, and often feels incredibly unproductive (i.e., writing a book, networking).

Like most New Testament epistles, the book begins with theology, and only then moves toward practice. As a New Testament professor, my favorite part was the theology of productivity section. The rest feels familiar, covering skills like speed reading and task management (an expanded and updated version of Getting Things Done by David Allen mixed with First Things First by Covey). I don’t feel like I learned much from the skills section, but I loved the incredible selection of quotes from Christian history about productivity, especially from Jonathon Edwards, which will sparkle in future sets of class notes! Along with this, Perman has also included interviews with a variety of Christian and secular influencers on their own habits of productivity. The interviews range from Seth Godin to my favorite Christian blogger, Tim Challies. To be honest, I was hoping for more from these interviews, given the way they were hyped in the introduction. Nevertheless, they still provide a nice break from the nitty-gritty of task management.

On that note, the whole book is designed to be readable in whatever format you want. You can gobble it in one sitting, or read a chapter every other month. It is set up with text boxes at the end of each chapter which include the core material for the chapter, including a core quote and the core takeaway, as well as follow-up reading. Another strength is that the book allows for any level of application, insisting that it is better to act than fiddle with perfecting our tools. This explains the title of the book, that “What’s Best Next” is actually a question. The core thesis of the book is that no matter what moment we are in, true productivity means honoring God with our gifts by discerning what is most valuable for his kingdom in our immediate context.

My final assessment: I expect this will be required reading for vocational ministry at the seminary level, because it moves beyond efficiency to theology and provides a map charting how to be productive in the age of 24/7 intangible productivity.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Get this book. Read it. Be more effective in your pursuits. 4 Mar 2014
By John Botkin - Published on
My desire to read Matt Perman's "What's Best Next" came from my own need. Having tried many ways at time management, nothing has ever really clicked into place for me. I've heard popular bloggers talk about Perman's advice on effectiveness for years and was excited when I saw this book was coming out.

The book begins by busting up common myths about productivity. Many of the myths he listed were things I had previously believed. Thus, the introduction alone hooked me. Perman then goes on to say that his "aim in this book is to reshape the way you think about productivity and then present a practical approach to help you become more effective in your life with less stress and frustration, whatever you are doing" (20). This is what I need and you probably do too.

The rest of the book is broken up into seven parts. That sounds like a lot but they move fast. Perman is an engaging writer who doesn't waste word in bringing his message to his readers. Over those seven parts, Perman explains why it's had to get things done but why just getting things done isn't enough. He presents a better--more realistic and purposeful--approach to effectiveness and productivity. This involves figuring out what's most important and clarifying your roles. For Perman, the gospel of Jesus Christ becomes a key factor in this part of his productivity. Trusting God, knowing his calling, and glorifying Christ all bring focus to his life and planning. From here, Perman gives practical direction and resources for putting these principles into practice. Here he covers setting up routines, planning out weeks, eliminating wasted time, managing projects, and handling email.

All of this information comes together in ways that make sense and seem doable. There's work involved, but it's not something that seems unattainable, even for the average person. In fact, I think what impressed me the most about the book is that is defies the genre in some ways. As mentioned before, Perman is a Christian who has worked for Christian ministries but this book is not written just for Christians. Furthermore, many books written on time management or effectiveness in work focus on the executive type. They have a very corporate feel. Perman makes clear that this book is for anyone who wants to be more effective. It works for the executive but it also works for the housewife or pastor or skilled tradesman. It works for the Christian and the non-Christian. And, from what I can see in the book and in Perman's own life, it works well.

Get this book. Read it. Be more effective in your pursuits.

*Disclosure: I received this book from the publishers in exchange for a fair and honest review.
31 of 39 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, But Not For Everyone 13 Mar 2014
By Amazon Customer - Published on
"What's Best Next" is basically a Christian book about getting things done in a Christian way. The book has seven parts (24 chapters) that span around 350 pages. The book might be summarized like this: Glorify God in all that you do, love your neighbor, and do this deliberately/intentionally.

From a “big picture” view of the book, there is nothing overly innovating - this is basic Christian teaching. Perman adds detail by weaving in helpful insights from “common grace” authors like Steven Covey and Peter Drucker as well as lessons from Christian authors like John Piper, Rick Warren, William Wilberforce, and Jonathan Edwards.

Here’s a simplified outline: 1) How to be God-centered in our productivity, 2) How being saved by grace frees us for joyful service and love, 3) Defining our mission – creating a mission statement, 4) Creating a flexible schedule, 5) Freeing up time, 6) Doing what’s most important first, and 7) Living it out. There are also a few appendices that summarize the key thoughts and give more resources.

First, I’ll give my critiques (hence two stars deducted): 1) The book was too tedious, wordy, and detailed for me. I was overwhelmed with all the tips and insights and strategies and outlines. At the halfway point of the book, I thought, “I can’t do all this stuff! There’s just too much!” If the book would have been shorter and more to the point, I would have liked it a lot more. 2) The way Perman used the popular “gospel-driven” phrase was confusing (GDP – Gospel-Driven Productivity). He seems to be using the term “gospel” in a broad way. That’s fine, but it is a bit confusing because everyone says “gospel-driven” this or that (it’s becoming a buzz-word, unfortunately). I think a better term for his use would be “Scripture Based Productivity” (SBP; see p. 28). He does discuss the gospel, but he also (rightly) uses the law for his counsel on productivity.

3) I disagree with Perman when he says “the ultimate result of GDP is the transformation of the world socially, economically, and spiritually, to the glory of God.” 4) A few times Perman used Scripture references in a way with which I wasn’t comfortable. One example is where Perman says that “good works…are anything we do in faith,” including mundane activities of life like “tying our shoes” (p. 78). He says a good paraphrase of Matt. 5:16 is “Let your light so shine before others that they may see your clean parking lots and give glory to your Father in heaven (p. 79; quoting the Chick-Fil-A president). A little nuance on these things would have been helpful. Is it a good work when I pick up a pencil I dropped on the floor?

There are also many strengths of the book. I appreciated his emphasis on getting the most important thing done first. I appreciated his emphasis on loving our neighbors and serving them in everything we do. I resonated with his discussion of having direction, purpose, and passion in life – aiming one’s life at God’s glory and our neighbor’s good. It is true: we shouldn’t be lazy Christians who don’t think about what we’re doing in our lives and with our lives. His emphasis on routines and basic schedules was good. Perman also noted that we don’t have to be slaves to our schedules, but said flexibility should be built into our lives and schedules. Finally, he was right on when he said we should always treat people as people (not products!) when we interact with them in a “scheduled” way. There is a lot of wisdom in this book.

Is this book for all Christians? Probably not. If you’re a structured person who knows the basics of what it means to love and glorify God while serving others, you might not need this book. Some of Perman’s suggestions are common sense for people who know how to manage time (i.e. “plan your day”). I also hesitate to recommend it to average Christians who don’t have time an energy to read a huge and tedious book like this. I wouldn’t hand it out to a stressed-out mom who is at her wits’ end, since the book would be a big overload for her. It’s not a book for everyone.

So who should get this book? In a word, Christian readers and thinkers who have a tough time managing their schedules/lives. If you need help with scheduling and time management, and if you like detailed and longer reading material, you’ll like this book. If you’re a reader whose life is an unscheduled whirlwind, I recommend this book! "What’s Best Next" would be a great addition to a Christian college business class reading list.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GREATER THAN THE SUM OF ITS CHAPTERS 4 Mar 2014
By Jay Craddock - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
After reading What’s Best Next, I could not help but add a review of it here. Matt Perman's extraordinarily complete and concise way to order and execute how an individual can work his way through a haze of ambiguity, apathy, and disorder into a proficiency of meaningfulness and effectiveness has completely changed the way I live each day at work, at home, in my community, and in my Christian faith. This is not a book that simply builds upon Steven Covey (First Things First), David Allen (Getting Things Done), and similar time-management experts—though it certainly does. Nor is What's Best Next simply a book about how we can infuse the Gospel's call of competency and effectiveness in our lives—though it certainly does that, too. Rather, What's Best Next presents—by the use and application of Scripture—an approach to how we as believers can reach our maximum effectiveness as stewards of the time, talents, and potential that Christ has entrusted to us so that we can use them for His glory.

Make no mistake, this is no dry book. What's Best Next is replete with clear examples and personal anecdotes to give more meaningful application of its principles. I found it difficult to stop reading at times because its conversational prose and eye-pleasing format lead me to want to continue to the next chapter and continue from the "what" and the "why" to get to the "how." If you are serious about maximizing your time and efforts so you can be an effective steward what Christ has given, this book will be an asset to you.
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