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on 11 August 2011
There's some great ideas in this book, mostly focused around either replacing meetings with one on one discussions, or on shortening the length of meetings that do need to happen, to improve the decision making process in organisations. The ideas themselves are really useful, and will definitely contribute to you having better meetings, and fewer of them.

However, I found very little in the book on how to implement that change, outside of "Just do it and tell people you're doing it", something that most people simply aren't able to do - they're not the people organising these wasteful meetings, and are not in a position to simply refuse to turn up. It would be a much improved book if it advised on how to get other people to follow the rules when you're not in a position to dictate to them.

The book is worth a read, and it's definitely worth absorbing the ideas behind the book, but you may well struggle to turn them into practical actions.
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on 27 August 2011
Having read this book I wonder to what extent its advice has been useful to me. I fully agree that there are too many meetings that are not useful, that we have to stick to time, that we all have to think carefully whether to call for a meeting and who to invite to avoid wasting precious time, that action plans should be produced and should embrace the brainstorm - but apart from that? Most of it is familiar knowledge, although application in practice requires still a lot of training for many. Holding meetings is indeed a culture, and sometimes we should stop and think rather than going with the flow. The book doesn't offer a lot of practical new ideas.

Besides, I am sure that there are many people around who would not be dealing well with information mainly transmitted via paper and paper agendas - there are different learning styles and several of us learn better when they hear information than when they receive it written. Refusing meetings that transmit information and send memos instead that are mandatory to read? It wouldn't work for all of us, and people would require a lot of training in transmitting short and efficiently on paper.

The text is a good reminder of some efficient business practices, but I'm definitely not going to spread the book to colleagues as the book asks. I was lucky to get this book for free. It is currently overpriced and it is certainly not value for money.
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on 17 April 2012
I have always wanted to get more out of meetings. At some point, meetings to me were a complete waste of time. I read all the materials I could find about meetings to help me make my meetings better. 'Read this before our next meeting' is the best resource I have ever read about making meetings work. The moment I saw the title of the little book, I knew I just had to buy it. I bought the 'audibles' version but I felt I needed to buy the paper copy so I can study it at my pace, make comments in the margins and underline lines I need to return to.

'Read this before our next meeting' is a little book that can be read quickly and returned to over and over again. It presents clear workable but revolutionary ideas that can make an organisation get the best out of it's meetings. It explains the difference between traditional and modern meetings and presents steps to get to the modern meeting. It makes a clear distinction between meetings and brainstorming sessions. I like the fact that meetings are not for information-sharing: the author advised on good use of emails and memos for information-sharing. The questions and answers section at the end of the book is helpful. What is more, one can subscribe to receive regular tips from the author!

The book is however most likely to be useful in the hands of managers or heads of organisations as it calls for a complete overhaul of the meeting systems in an organisation. I am in complete agreement with the ideas in the book but I am not able to influence how meetings are done in my organisation. Perhaps I should buy a copy for my bosses and see how they will take to the idea. All is not lost though, as I can implement the modern meeting whenever I have a chance to call for a meeting to support decisions that I need to make. Also, I can use the book to guide my meetings with members of my family and other forums where I can contribute to meetings.
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on 23 March 2014
I'm all for reducing the number of meetings in corporates and making them more effective and welcome books that share practical advice on how to deal with the situation. However, this book was a waste of my precious personal time; full of waffling obfuscation and reiteration of a problem we have long been aware of, with impractical and sometime downright dangerous advice.

When a book advocates stopping all meetings for communication it tells me that the author has little to know knowledge of the power of face to face communication through team meetings and networking to improve employee engagement. When an author advocates sending memos instead of having a meeting and says everyone has to read them, it shows how out of touch they are with the language of comms and how little they understand about the capacity people have for 'reading' more 'memos'.

If I were a cynic I would suggest that the parting words of the author to share the book with as many people as possible was more about driving up sales on amazon than truly effecting change in the way in which the corporate world manages meetings.

What saddens me more is that I came to this book through a senior executive at a large corporate from the Finance sector. Don't waste your money - there are better books out there with more useful advice than this one.
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on 4 August 2011
An old boss of mine used to say that "the best thing about meetings is that they are occasionally cancelled." In this short and easy to read book Al Pittampalli proposes a whole new approach to meetings which makes absolute sense. Al's suggested approach will, if you give it a try dramatically reduce the number of meetings you go to, and those you do will actually achieve something. This book is for everyone who "manages by meetings" and anyone who is tired of attending meetings which are seldom more than seat warming sessions. Brilliant!
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on 16 May 2012
I agreed with nearly everything in this book but when I thought about trying to implement these ideas in places where I've worked ("you mean you expect me to know what the meeting is about before I turn up?") I felt slightly deflated. Still, if I ever get to work somewhere where meetings are not just a chance for a sit-down whilst catching up on email via smartphone/blackberry then I might give it a go...............
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on 19 May 2014
This little book practices what it preaches. Treat it as a provocation and prepare to debate the ideas and, maybe, change your mind. If you do: co-ordinate to implement. Time is money and Al's ideas can save your organisation both.
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on 4 December 2013
As an attendee thought it would help me...it did girect my thoughts to awareness of point of meetings and encouraged me to avoid all the past errors...now shorter time spent at them.
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on 19 July 2013
Makes you think about each meeting you attend and call. Brought on the Kindle so I can not share but as a paperback would be a good work team hand me down.
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on 11 August 2011
I got this as a free download but it now seems somewhat expensive for what is a pretty short book.

It is quite well written and there are useful suggestions. However there is quite a lot of fluff in it especially at the start. Too many words rambling on about how terrible meeting are rather than offering practical suggestions.

Later on it does offer real suggestions and instructions and they are useful.
However a lot of this information is not original and is well known.
The Q& A session at the book was very useful though.

For a free download this would be highly rated but as they are charging for it I wouldn't really recommend this at all.
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