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80/20, NLP, GTD and FLOW
on 18 April 2014
Although it's not a bad book, it did not live up to the expectations I got from reading amazon reviews. As far as I can see, the book starts out by replicating some of Richard Koch's insights on the 80/20 principles in the early chapters, then moves into the area of neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) in the middle chapters, and ends with several chapters replicating ideas from David Allen's Getting Things Done (GTD). In the middle of the book there is also a small discussion of the concept of FLOW. As none of these ideas are presented in a novel or insightful manner, perhaps the contribution of the book is primarily in showing that they can be fitted together. To me that was not much of a surprise, but perhaps the other reviewers knew next to nothing about 80/20, NLP, GTD and FLOW.
Another thing that surprised me about the book is the that an author who is also a fictional writer with contributions to films and television series to his credit and gives courses on creative writing can write something as sterile as this. While Richard Koch is an entrepreneur and investor who writes with great wit and charm on how to apply the 80/20 principles in all aspects of life, Jurgen Wolff is an artist who primarily writes about money, success and how think about oneself as a hero. As this was supposed to be written for right-brain people, I was expecting more examples in terms of painting, writing, filmmaking and such, but although Jurgen Wolff has a German name and has written a book primarily aimed at the UK market, he is an American. How anybody outside the USA would get inspired from reading something like this is beyond me. Perhaps Wolff could have written an interesting book on focus and creativity, like Robert Fritz's "Path of least resistance", but by framing it in terms of money, success and "the hero's journey" at least he would have needed to focus more on authenticity in such issues to gain credibility.
The best thing about the book, as I see it, are the cartoon illustrations made by Wolff himself. At least these drawings indicate that he is a creative person at heart, and not only a consultant trying to build a business from a half-hearted attempt to mix well-known ideas like 80/20, NLP, GTD and FLOW. In the case of 80/20 and NLP, there are some references to books that will explain the ideas in a better way. There were no references to David Allen and GTD, as far as I could see, but perhaps Wolff isn't aware of Allen or, alternatively, he sees no need for reference due to the popularity of GTD. In the case of FLOW, Wolff briefly mentions Csikszentmihalyi, but there are no references to any of his books or scientific papers.