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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Book for Every Aspiring Leader
A consistent theme from leaders we work with is "too much to do, not enough time to do it." Bob Pozen has written a book that will benefit every leader. His chapter on prioritizing is like a strategic planning lesson applied to life. His chapters on reading more strategically, writing more effectively, and speaking more confidently are each worth the price of the book if...
Published on October 7, 2012 by Amazon Customer

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75 of 81 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars some good stuff, but mostly trivial and highly US-centric
The majority of this book would be somewhere between boring and simplistic to any experienced manager. Much of it is about the author's personal preferences for breakfast, aeroplane seating, wardrobe, etc, which he appears to think are worth knowing about and even following. He has indeed accomplished a lot in his career, but the book is advertised as advice, not...
Published on December 25, 2012 by Michael V


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75 of 81 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars some good stuff, but mostly trivial and highly US-centric, December 25, 2012
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This review is from: Extreme Productivity: Boost Your Results, Reduce Your Hours (Hardcover)
The majority of this book would be somewhere between boring and simplistic to any experienced manager. Much of it is about the author's personal preferences for breakfast, aeroplane seating, wardrobe, etc, which he appears to think are worth knowing about and even following. He has indeed accomplished a lot in his career, but the book is advertised as advice, not biography, and the details about his life quickly become tedious. Most of the content could be conveyed simply through the summary points at the end of each chapter -- readers could dramatically improve their own productivity by skipping the rest of the book. People interested in setting goals and finding ways to meet them would be much better off reading Clayton Christensen's book "How will you measure your life". Readers outside the US will find substantial portions of the author's advice irrelevant; readers who have evidence-based knowledge about topics such as jet lag will realise that some of the advice is just plain wrong.

That being said, the chapters on reading, writing, speaking, and holding meetings were good reminders about how important it is to do these things well and how often they are done badly. Unfortunately those chapters are unlikely to resonate with the young and inexperienced readers who might find the rest of the book useful and even interesting.

Pozen says many times in the book that one way to be more productive is to give only a "B+" effort to low-value tasks. He apparently applied that advice to writing this book, but I would rate it a "C-".
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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Hardly Extreme..., December 20, 2012
By 
David H (United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Extreme Productivity: Boost Your Results, Reduce Your Hours (Hardcover)
I consider myself a highly productive person, but I have always wondered about the secrets of those rare individuals who seem inhumanly prolific. The book jacket sets up this promise by describing the author as teaching a "full course load at Harvard Business School while serving as the full-time chairman of a global financial-services firm...written six books...hundreds of articles...raised a family...." Imagine my surprise when the one example the author gives for a typical calendar day includes almost none of these activities, but rather is typical white collar day that begins at 8:30 a.m., includes some ordinary-sounding meetings and some mid-morning exercise, and ends around 6 p.m. These examples don't suggest any "extreme" productivity or any apparent reduction in typical working hours as suggested in the title, unless you are comparing his hours to those of young investment bankers.

Some of the the author's more provocative suggestions (such as mid-day naps) would be very difficult to achieve in some environments, i.e. in a union-based work setting or in open office interior designs. I was hoping to see how the author would adapt his advice to these challenges, but I ultimately felt his key message was to find a different job or try to change the system.

Admittedly, there are some common sense tips and reminders that may be helpful for someone new to the working world, and certainly I have colleagues who could benefit from advice about topics like prioritization and meeting facilitation.

Ultimately, anyone who follows the author's recommendations should be reasonably productive, but it turns out there is no special sauce to "extreme" productivity.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Book for Every Aspiring Leader, October 7, 2012
This review is from: Extreme Productivity: Boost Your Results, Reduce Your Hours (Hardcover)
A consistent theme from leaders we work with is "too much to do, not enough time to do it." Bob Pozen has written a book that will benefit every leader. His chapter on prioritizing is like a strategic planning lesson applied to life. His chapters on reading more strategically, writing more effectively, and speaking more confidently are each worth the price of the book if taken to heart and practiced. His insights on habits are a great supplement to what you may have read in Charles Duhigg's book The Power of Habit. And his chapter on work/life balance is powerful, not only because of the wise advice, but also because Bob is an inspiring model of how to live a life of extreme productivity while maintaining strong family relationships.

I had the opportunity to interview Bob on our People and Projects Podcast ([...]) and found him to be one of the most kind, engaging, and generous guests ever. Bob Pozen is the real deal and this book encapsulates powerful lessons that have been tested in the real world. Every aspiring leader needs to read this book.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Very Helpful Book with Great Advice for Bosses, October 25, 2012
By 
Paul A. Salvette (Bangkok, Thailand) - See all my reviews
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With an increasingly interconnected world, we have more access to knowledge and each other than ever before. This has been tremendous in some ways, but it has also had some unintended consequences. It has become more difficult for working professionals to separate their work and home life, and this has caused some damage to the social fabric. Just because you can reach your employees at 10 p.m. on a Saturday does not mean you should be doing so. In Extreme Productivity, Pozen provides excellent practical guidance on how to save time getting tasks accomplished in the workplace during work hours so that professionals can have a healthy work/life balance.

The tips on saving time in meetings, emails, and travel are extremely beneficial for young professionals. The chapter on writing is great, because professional writing has become extremely sloppy with the advent of smartphones. Although, I think the great purpose of this book is the advice to managers on how not to waste your employees time and damage their morale. Pozen goes into extensive detail on the bad habits that certain types of bosses have, even if they are doing so subconsciously. Pozen's book is not bogged down in dull statistics or research. It is written by a man with a life's worth of experience who is seeking to impart some wisdom on younger managers.

I purchased this book because I was having trouble managing time as the director of a small business. The reason I didn't give the book a full 5-star review was because I thought there just wasn't enough for the small businessman, which I was hoping for. This is understandable, because I don't believe Mr. Pozen has operated a small business based on his bio. Pozen talks extensively about dealing with the bureaucracy found in large organizations, which is excellent but that isn't really a factor with small business. Dealing with client expectations and cash flow problems are the huge issues. Pozen advocates spending less time with certain clients, but lack of customer service with anyone can destroy a small business. He also talks about flying business class in order to get a good night's sleep during travel, but, again, this would not be practical for small businesses. Although the book is more designed for people working in the corporate world, it still has lots of practical tips and tricks no matter where you are working.

If you are a manager in any type of large organization, stop wasting your team's time and improve their morale by following Pozen's tips. Extreme Productivity is an enjoyable read that is very helpful to any manager's professional development.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Slightly disappointing, November 28, 2012
By 
W. Weber (Maastricht, The Netherlands) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Extreme Productivity: Boost Your Results, Reduce Your Hours (Hardcover)
He author tries to cram too much in this book: time management, self-motivation, presentation, etc. There are better books on these particular subjects (Dummies series). The personal experiences of the author are interesting a first, but get a bit tedious after a while.

The book can be summarised as follows:

When planning, write it down
Take afternoon naps
Bob Pozen is awesome
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars What a disappointment........., November 28, 2012
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This review is from: Extreme Productivity: Boost Your Results, Reduce Your Hours (Hardcover)
This book was way too basic. It's characterized as filled with new, progressive ideas and falls quite short of the mark.

Good for high school graduates at best.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Tips on Getting Things Done, October 7, 2012
This review is from: Extreme Productivity: Boost Your Results, Reduce Your Hours (Hardcover)
Author Pozen has been a top executive at two mutual fund giants, an attorney, a government official, law school professor, business school professor, and prolific author - often doing several of these at once. Yet, he never comes across as overwhelmed. Readers will learn six principles for becoming more productive at work.

Pozen tells us that many CEOs will say something like 'Here are the top five priorities for this firm,' and then propose that they carry out each one. He says that while that may be the right answer, it's the wrong question because it focuses on what an executive does best rather than what the organization most needs from him. The correct question is 'Which functions can only you as the CEO perform?' The same applies to mid-level executives.

Others assume that more hours equal more value added - especially in law firms that charge clients by the hour.

A third principle - think first, read or write second. When writing something longer than an e-mail, the key is to first figure out your argument. Outlines help, especially when limited to just four or five key points with a few sub-points under each.

Leaders should refrain from beginning meetings in a directive manner, instead presenting a rebuttable hypothesis designed to encourage debate. 'This is my tentative view of the path we should take, but I could be wrong. Disagree, alternatives?' Allow participants to set their own timetables, giving them an ownership interest in the follow-up.

E-mail and mobile phones can be great detractors by wasting lots of time - ignore a large chunk of your e-mails, and if important, respond immediately. Get a separate ring tone for your boss so that you can easily ignore all other after-hours calls if desired.

Set goals for next week and the next year, then consider which ones are most important.

And finally, keep things short and simple. Meeting presenters should circulate materials in advance to all participants with the explicit norm that everyone reads at least the summary before attending.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not really about productivity, November 21, 2012
By 
Eric Anest (Alexandria, VA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Extreme Productivity: Boost Your Results, Reduce Your Hours (Hardcover)
Helpful book, but mistitled. It's not all about productivity; some of it is about work/life balance, effective public speaking, and reading wisely.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Some useful advice, December 30, 2012
By 
Michael G. Kurilla (ROCKVILLE, MD, United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Extreme Productivity: Boost Your Results, Reduce Your Hours (Hardcover)
While there is less than the book claims to deliver, there are several useful nuggets of wisdom that are valuable, especially for younger individuals near the beginning of their careers. First the good stuff.

The 1st chapter is probably the best with a description of the differences among career aims / objectives / targets. By separating into distinct time horizons and the recognition that only a subset of shorter timelines contribute to longer term goals, Pozen succinctly demonstrates his style for prioritization. This is a more nuanced version of the older urgent vs. important distinction that sidetracks so many. The writing and speaking chapters also provide useful advice. The chapter on managing up has some valuable insights. His comments on meetings, especially running them are quite valuable.

The less helpful sections offer bland cliches: when traveling, preparation is important (and call home frequently); when managing your team, don't micromanage; when reading documents, find the highlights / recommendations / conclusions and then decide if you need to read the whole thing.

For the demanding (and volume consumer) of this genre, there is little that breaks new ground. The book is well organized and the writing style allows for a quick read. For an early entrant to the managerial realm this is a good starting point for things to consider. For the long timer and experienced manager, there is little that hasn't been said elsewhere. This is not a "how-to" book on organizing your workflow, rather, more a listing of considerations to keep in mind as issues arise.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential Guide, October 5, 2012
This review is from: Extreme Productivity: Boost Your Results, Reduce Your Hours (Hardcover)
Extreme Productivity is an essential guide for professionals looking to get more out of their workday, and key for recent graduates who want to get their career off to a great start. Strategies for prioritizing conflicting demands on your time, writing well, delivering effective presentations, and managing your boss are explained with tips that are easy to put into practice each day. These techniques are not taught in the classroom, but are critical to effective performance at work. The book shortcuts the painful process of learning through experience and error, and makes a great graduation gift to set new professionals on the right track.
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Extreme Productivity: Boost Your Results, Reduce Your Hours
Extreme Productivity: Boost Your Results, Reduce Your Hours by Robert C. Pozen (Hardcover - October 2, 2012)
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