Top critical review
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OK but there are better presenters of the same information
on 6 May 2013
Self Help books are a huge industry attracting lots of people who fancy themselves as life coaches, trainers, gurus or consultants. There is no doubt that there are skills required to be effective in the workplace or in our everyday lives, skills that most of us aren't taught at school. However there are only so many ways that the same information can be re-hashed or re-imagined in an attempt to be different, and in so doing diluting the message. Let's use to-do lists as an example.
"Are you tired of the same old time management tips and techniques that simply tell you to make goals and to-do lists?" asks the back cover of Get Productive! Well you shouldn't be, because to-do lists are effective because they are simple. The main reason using to-do lists fails is because it requires discipline on our part to make sure the list is regularly updated and re-prioritised.
Bak-Maier's re-hash of the subject is referred to as the "highly beloved" Diamonds, Gold and Lead. She asks us to class each of our tasks or ambitions as Diamonds, Rough Diamonds, Gold, False Gold & Lead. The aim is to reflect which of these we spend our time on and make sure we spend most of our time on the diamonds, because they are of the most value. That's fine but prioritising a list into A, B, C, D or Must Do, Should Do, Could Do, Might Do is far simpler in practice.
There are numerous other examples where familiar productivity tips are re-imagined and over-complicated. In this way they are superficially enlightening through exercise and analysis but are unlikely to have long term impact. I followed the authors advice and dipped into the book randomly but each time became irritated with the preachy tone. On the other hand, chapter 25 "Thirteen Proven Productivity Strategies You Need To Know" is better: short descriptions of techniques without the accompanying fluff.
In short, this book won't teach you anything new. If you're looking for your first productivity book there are much better ones on the market (e.g. Richard Wiseman's ":59 Seconds" or Brian Tracy's "Eat That Frog" or "Goals!").