I found this book really useful in learning how best to organize work, how to deal with the flow of information and how to deal with it in the quickest and best way. I don't think that there are many ideas which are that unusual but the systematic way he puts things together do really help: they really helped me, anyway. He also makes the extremely vaiuable point that your system has to capture everything - and you have to know that it is going to do this - to enable you to really relaxed: you will reach a state of knowing that everything is under control, you know that you aren't going to suddenly remember something important (because you know you'll have it under control anyway). I found that his tips on filing were also very useful as was his method for tackling an in-tray. I first read this book 7 years ago and I've used it ever since, with really good results.
I think that an already really-organized person wouldn't get very much from this book, nor will people who are looking for really cunning "tricks" to magically improve productivity in an unusual way. But for people who are looking for help or improvements - for example, people who have just got a management role after previously being employed as a tradesman of some kind - will find lots to help them set-up efficient, workable systems for dealing with and storing information.
The writing is clear and the author reasonably engaging. There is a reasonable amount of repetition, partly for emphasis and partly as a facet of the quite "chatty" style - this might bother some readers who might have preferred a more "distilled essence", although it didn't bother me.
I bought this book many years ago and still have not read it. Therefore I would say that it does not work. I am still too lazy and unproductive to even read a book that is essentially about being productive and not lazy.
Maybe the cover should be more enticing? Maybe there should be some pictures of boobs in it? Maybe every 10th page should advise a tea break? I don't know, I'll perhaps have another go at it next year.
I can't be all too negative though, I'm sure if I could be bothered to read it I would finally know how to get things done, but I just can't do it.
There are many positive reviews of this book but I'm struggling to understand why. I'd recommend any one thinking of purchasing this book to read the 3 star reviews as they seem to give the most realistic appraisal of the book.
I have to agree with others who think this book is out of date and at times it reads almost like a paradoy of management self-help books, especially when you encounter phrases such as "mission critical deliverables". Clearly from the reviews many people have found this book almost life changing. Without wishing to be unkind, how bad can your life and organisational skills be for this to be life changing?
I read a sample of this book on my Kindle before purchasing it, and was also considering a couple of other similar titles, but this was the one that really impressed me with its common-sense, practical approach. This is a method that I know will work in the real world - I started using aspects of it within a day or so of starting to read the book, and am now in the process of implementing it in full, while at the same time rereading those bits of the book which are most useful to me.
Other reviewers have said that this is a life-changing book, and that's not hyperbole, if - and only if - you read, internalise and then apply the principles it contain. This is not a particularly difficult process to go through, and it's tremendously satisfying to feel that you've made real progress towards being the paragon of organisation you've always dreamed of being. The day I finally had an empty inbox (after years of having an overflowing pile of jumbled-up trivia, important documents, paper for filing etc.) was a day of genuine celebration. And I've dealt with tasks in the last couple of weeks that had been on my to-do list for months - or years.
If you're ready to put in a reasonable amount of effort now in order to reap substantial rewards for as long as you keep up-to-date with your system, then don't hesitate - buy this book.
Declutter, file your stuff, list your to dos and deal with them in appropriate categories and at appropriate times .... did it really need 289 pages of endlessly tedious and self-important twaddle to say what is largely common sense?
First off I wish I hadn't bought it and then I wish I hadn't been stupid enough to keep on reading when, after the first few longwinded and confusing pages, I had already decided it was a waste of time. I had heard glowing reports about Dave Allen's "method" so felt there had to be some wisdom to be gleaned from the book. I was so wrong. Don't buy it, google for the summary and flowcharts instead. Or work it out for yourself.
I haven't finished this book. This is because each time I pick it up and read some, I have found myself sidetracked by something I had been procrastinating about. This is the opposite way around to how it usually happens with me and books. Furthermore, I do not feel stressed at the moment. This may not have anything at all to do with the book as I have a fairly laid-back life, enjoying retirement. For a working person, whose need for this kind of book would probably be less playful, I think it would offer some useful help.
Tried several times to write this review but other have explained it better than me. I bought this after I read 'how to Do Everything and be Happy' by Peter Jones. The two books together show you how to get all the jobs that you normally juggle, out of your brain and down on paper - or in my case on google calendar. Once there they can be forgotten about and your brain has time to think about all the fun things you thought you never had time to organise. I'm retired and shouldn't need these books but wished I'd found them earlier they have transformed my life. If you are unsure download a sample on Kindle and you won't look back.