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on 26 July 2014
Some good advice but a lot of the book is based on numbers that don't always add up.

For example, she rarely mentions the time spent commuting to work. Yet, for most people in large cities, it takes up at least 2 hours a day and this can hardly be thought of as "personal time" (yes, you can read a book but doing any kind of thinking is difficult + you won't be able to read 100% of the time, due to transfers, being packed like sardines on a train, unbearable heat on a train or platform, unbearable cold waiting for a bus outside etc).

In a similar manner, she rarely mentions the half hour or hour lunch break. In most companies, workers have few options and find themselves eating at their desk or queueing at a packed sandwich shop. Again, this isn't personal time.

Therefore, the reality for most people who work 8 hours a day in the office is that it takes up 11 hours of their time, leaving them with far less time for them to use freely than the author reckons someone working 40 hours a week has. She regularly dismisses those who claim we need more work/life balance and accuses them of misleading people, and while I completely agree that a lot of time spent at "work" is wasted and not really work, I feel that she misunderstands the situation for most office workers in large cities (the environment I know). Yes, they have free time, probably more than they think they have (her argument), but not quite as much time for them to shape that she says they have.

Another example of dubious maths is the example of Berkeley Tandem. The author says that the owner increased her working hours from 20 to 30 hours a week, meaning a 50% increase, and the business revenue jumped by 30%. This in the chapter about working up to the point of diminishing returns. Now, if the original revenue wasn't enough for the business owner to live on then it makes sense to work 50% more to boost it by 30%, but if it was a revenue she could live on, then it doesn't seem very efficient to me to work 50% more to earn only 30% more (seems like the point of diminishing returns has indeed been reached!).
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on 26 February 2017
Really didn't like it. Written for the American market for a couple with children who don't commute far if at all.
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on 18 February 2017
I initially read "What the Most Successful People Do on the Weekend" also by Laura Vanderkam, and that inspired me to move on to this book - 168 hours. I found both books (which essentially cover the same principles) completely inspiring and life changing. I had felt, for a long time, that I wasn't getting enough out of life. A couple of reads of these books and it is like someone flipped a switch - all of a sudden I find myself making time for outings, hobbies, etc, and the chores just get done whenever I can fit them in! Can't recommend highly enough.
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on 10 February 2016
I like the book because it is based on the practical experience of many interesting people. I like author's style as well.
It is not a typical time management book for managers which I hate because we can't manage the time. It is a practical way for everyone how to manage personal and professional activities to have your life in balance. It is nice to read this book and the rest is up to you.
Jarmila
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on 1 October 2015
Brilliant book! Make time to read it and you'll have more time!
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There is no shortage of books on the subject of time management. In fact, the last time I checked, Amazon offers 11,229 of them but not one of them explains how to increase the number of hours within a seven-day period: it is 168, no more and no less. What sets this book apart from the dozens of other books on time management that I have read is the fact that Laura Vanderkam rigorously follows what Albert Einstein recommends: "Make everything as simple as possible...but no simpler." For example, in the first chapter, she suggests, "Picture a completely empty weekly calendar with its 168 hourly slots." She then helps her reader to document his or her (the reader's) current allocation of time. She achieves that objective as well as each of her other primary objectives such as disabusing her reader of major misconceptions about how much time (on average) people spend on sleep, work, and leisure time components. While doing so, she cites real-world examples (i.e. real people in real time) that both illustrate and confirm basic strategies that produce more and more enjoyable as well as better, and achieved sooner, in less time. She also identifies the core competencies that her reader must develop and then leverage to achieve that same objective. She is at her best when explaining how to determine what the "right job" is, what it requires, and how to obtain it.

[She cites Teresa Amabile's admonition, "You should do what you love, and you should love what you do." If that doesn't suggest what a "right job" is, I don't know what does.]

Vanderkam also explains how to control investment of time so that "there should be almost nothing during your work hours - whatever you choose those to be - that is not advancing you toward your goals for the career and life you want"; how to determine what the "next level" of personal and professional development looks like and how to "seize control" of the schedule while completing a transition to that level; and what a "breakthrough" is and how to achieve it to expedite the transition process. Vanderkam believes, and I fully agree, that our lives proceed through a series of levels above or below, better or worse than where we were previously; the journey to each should be one of personal discovery; and that it is important to know what we value most but we must realize that priorities change at various points in our lives as circumstances, relationships, obligations, and aspirations change. Each life is, quite literally, a "work in progress."

At the outset of this review, I noted that Amazon now offers almost 12,000 books on time management. Several of them are outstanding. In my opinion, 168 Hours is less about time management than it is about self-management (especially self-discipline) as well as decision-making (especially setting priorities). Laura Vanderkam provides about as much information and counsel as anyone needs to alleviate a real or perceived time crunch, leverage core competencies, define and then locate or create the "right jib," control rather than be controlled by a calendar, achieve breakthroughs to greater understanding higher-impact performance, and in all life domains (career, family, personal, community, and society) be happier and more productive.

I congratulate her on a brilliant achievement. Bravo!
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on 31 August 2015
I approached this book with a sense of anticipation - how do I waste time and how can I regain time for me - as well as being an effective employee, mother, partner and friend?
My results - mixed I'd say. Like other reviewers, I've been a bit surprised about the elements of how our working week is shorter than we perceive it - this may be true for some, but throw in a commute at either end and occasional evening work and it soon adds up. Laura also seems to work on the basis that 8 hours sleep literally means just that - hit the pillow at 11 and fall straight asleep and jump out of bed at 7am. It takes me a while to wind down and in the morning I need a bit of time to adjust to the fact that here is another morning and off we go again. However, weak-willed as I clearly am I will think more about how long I spend pottering about/coming to in the morning and see if I can save time there.

The rest of the book seems to be about paying for cleaners, on-line shopping and laundry service. The other part that intrigued me is that Laura only spends 15 mins a night making home-cooked meals for the family. Again - another are where I am clearly slacking - it takes me at least 30 mins to get a proper meal on the table for three of us - often longer. On closer inspection - disappointingly home cooked meals are actually home assembled meals. Essentially a ready meal with a bit of fresh cooked broccoli. Accompanied by 'instant rice'. Really? Rice is pretty instant - 15 mins pack to bowl and you have time to do other things (like Amazon reviews for example) whilst its cooking.
So in short - sleep less, get a cleaner and buy ready meals. That's just saved you four hours in reading the book. You're welcome!
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on 3 June 2013
a very enjoyable read, some chapters/sections i found very useful and will refer to as i progress with my renewed outlook on how much time i actually have. the book really does make you think about what you do with your time and how much more you could be doing.
i would recommend it to anyone who thought they had no time in their week for family friends or fun, i am sure this will help change your mind.
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on 23 April 2015
Looking forward her new book later this year..
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on 5 June 2014
really like Vanderkam's style. I 've been following her groundhog weekend ideas for around 6 months and it has completely revolutionized my Saturday and Sunday.

Read it, it's great.
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