This is a deceptive little book. Only a centimetre thick, printed in large type, and written in plain English that is easy to follow, you could be fooled into thinking that it's a lightweight. In fact, it's chock full of practical advice on how to be more fulfilled while being more productive, accompanied by clear explanations of why we commonly take on unfulfilling, pointless tasks and how we can change that. As well as its central topic of making high-quality effective decisions (to say YES or NO), the book contains many interesting and useful nuggets on subjects such as time management, business psychology and relationship management.
There are a few minor irritations. The Gopher character is useful at the start, but it is over-used, made to stand in for or illustrate many other concepts in later chapters. Some of the same essential ideas are repeated from one chapter to another, which would make sense if readers only dipped into one or two chapters of the book, but I think that the book is short and engaging enough for most people to read it cover to cover, as I did. The author introduces a number of fascinating and powerful psychological theories, but - perhaps understandably in a book of this scope - does not fully explain them (eg. Csikszentmihalyi's flow) or state why in his view they and not competing theories are relevant (eg. transactional analysis instead of, for instance, cognitive-behavioural theory).
However, these quibbles should not be allowed to detract from what is a credible, concise and deeply practical book. If you or someone you care about has difficulty making fulfilling and productive choices in work or in life, buy yourself (or them) the Yes/No book without delay.
Not having read this type of self-help book before, I was sceptical about how a generic approach can be applied to a personal situation/mind frame. However, I found the framework set out in early chapters quite compelling and it resonated with my current challenges around career decisions and a general need to create more time for things I value.
I read the book in a linear style (chapter by chapter) and it held a good mix of theory and practical application. I'm not a fan of the exercises requiring a blank sheet of paper and a quiet room: as a fidgety 'completer-finisher', this feels like it's loading up my to-do list...a source of stress in itself. Other 'quickie' tasks such as 'pausing to evaluate what I'm saying yes to', worked better for me as portable lessons that can be applied instantly with good results. It has also prompted me to begin to formulate what my objectives are - which will be supported by a clearer approach to saying yes/no. There are no answers here but knowing what needs fixing gives a sense of control.
Much of what the book covers appears straightforward and, therefore, resonated with how I have been approaching decisions. I found that the simplicity of generating self-awareness about yes/no behaviours was a strong benefit. For me, the references to psychology / cognitive theory weren't necessary.
As the book notes, a lot of these behaviours are strongly embedded and don't disappear overnight. The book is a good starting place for identifying situations in which the yes/no decision pops up. Once identified, it is much easier to consciously deal with the decision and the outcome. I think the value of a book like this (unlike a course I went on 9 months ago) is that you can dip back in to refresh your awareness and pick up a new technique to build on previous development.
Overall the book is well-written and I really liked little details like the large font size which gave a good sense of progress as well as lists and illustrations (although the 'onomatopoeic' gopher wore a bit thin towards the end!).
The Yes/No book explores the essentialist methodology of trying to do less and achieve more -- the idea that we can do anything we want to do, but not everything that we want to do.
It shares many ideas with the book "Essentialism" by Greg McKeown, but this book is much more practical in its application, offering up a framework of how to approach decision making, reduce anxiety and stress, and to achieve a greater sense of well-being, focus and achievement.
The book is full of written exercises for the reader to take to help the lessons shared take-hold and later chapters build on the knowledge already shared to help emphasise that the journey the reader is about to undertake is not one taken overnight. As somebody who considers himself very self-aware of Yes/No decision making, I still struggle to ensure my default answer is "Let me think about that" rather than "Yes", and this book helps build upon that habit.
The book also explores time management, productivity and both personal and business relationships. In short, it gives an excellent framework for decision making in all areas of your life.
If you are somebody who frequently finds yourself feeling overwhelmed, stressed, dissatisfied, un-appreciated or generally frustrated with everything you're trying to do on a day-to-day basis, reading this book may be a life changing experience for you.
Reading the blurb on the back of the book, I thought, "yes, sounds like me" - but who wouldn't want more time to spend doing the things we would rather be doing instead of those things we think we should be doing, or even those things we think other people think we should be doing?
As someone who set up their own business 5 years ago, I am at the point where in theory I should now be able to say 'No' to work - and this book has given me a useful insight from someone else who has been there too.
I can't find any faults with the logic presented here. Working through the book, I agreed all the way - indeed at times it did feel like it was stating the obvious, but perhaps that is because the author leads the reader through a series of clear arguments to reach that point - a point that wouldn't have been anywhere near so obvious if the reader hadn't journeyed there with the author leading the way.
Reading the book has given me a framework around which to coalesce some of my own thoughts on the issues contained in the book. Obviously no book will reflect a reader's situation exactly, but the tools and exercises developed by the author seemed relevant and useful to me.
A good, accessible read, then, with something for anyone who would like more time to do those things that they themselves want to be doing - which is probably all of us!
This was a book - like some of this ilk - that I've gone into with cautious skepticism. Will it alter years of hard-wired practice? Will it speak to me or be easily dismissed as "for someone else and I'm alright jack"?
I was therefore surprised at how much it did appeal to me and did challenge my views and have me nodding at the words I was reading on the page. Clever in that respect because it could easily have been one that sits on my bookshelf virtually un-thumbed but this book got me thinking. What I liked best was the psychology of NO - this is where I struggle. My logic is overtaken by emotionally driven responses. This chapter has already been put to work so if nothing else, I've got that underway and enjoying the shifting thoughts I am now having over NO.
I think that Mike Clayton has started something with me so I have to say hats off to the book for it's ease of consumption but it's thought provoking simplicity. Challenging therefore in a non-complex way - more challenging what I know is true of myself. Clear is the writing style. The gopher was quite refreshing as it broke up the words and I'm a visual person so I pictured those like using the OATS mnemonic.
I'd recommend this especially if you know you're busy doing things you don't think you should be. And that's a lot of us out there in work-land...
At the beginning of January may of us say yes to things that we really do not commit to and which therefore fall by the wayside! This book is all about focusing on the things that will help us achieve our goals and then doing them wholeheartedly. Although it is designed for overly busy people, and therefore focuses primarily on how to say NO, I found the sections on working out what to say "yes" to and sticking with them, have stayed in my mind more in the weeks since finishing the book.
The book is an easy read that, because of the depth of thinking behind it, works on many levels. I found myself having to consciously slow myself down to make sure that I genuinely took in all that was there and was able to process it and get the most from it. It is also, I am sure, a book that I will come back to and that will repay rereading. It contains practical advice about how to sort out priorities to focus on and then to follow them through, weeding out the unnecessary tasks, and makes the important distinction between unecessary and unpalatable activities.
The yes no book is an easy read, with no complicated business terminology. Examples are used throughout the book making it easy to relate the key points to your own situation, whether it's your business or personal life. The illustrations also help to make everything very clear. It raised questions that I hadn't even considered and made me think about, not just `yes' and `no' but a wider range of topics to help my personal development including time management. This is the sort of book I will read again and again to remind me of the theory and ensure I am always putting it into practice.
This book is a must for anyone who has a busy business and personal life. If, like me, you find it hard to say N.O then this is for you! It challenges you to break the YES habit and to think about why you would want to do something. It's fun without being condescending or flippant and, although deceptively short is full of practical advice. Along with the website the author provides all you need to compete the exercises and regain control of your life.
On the face of it a nice light read for a business flight. However beneath the cuddly artwork there is a hell of a lot packed into the book - lots of checklists and stuff to help you reflect, plan and act. The companion website provides attractive resources to save you scribbling on the text. The book goes off into all sorts of personal development areas and puts a fresh twist on some TA concepts. Good read, thought provoking and deceptively deep.
This is a thought-provoking book that you will find yourself coming back to again and again. For people who organise their lives using lists, there is useful advice on how to prioritise and determine which things can stay on and which should go. The book is supported by helpful practical resources to help you begin to refocus and become less busy yet more productive.It would be a great little book to buy for a busy friend!