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How to Get Organized Without Resorting to Arson: A Step-By-Step Guide to Clearing Your Desk Without Panic or the Use of Open Flame Paperback – January 1, 2003

4.6 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


(Franklin) sprinkles her advice with amusing asides, turning what could otherwise be a dull subject into an entertaining read. -- Barbara Sloane, The Montclarion, January 17, 2003

Franklin’s book is full of laughs and useful information for organizing office space. -- Jennifer Baldwin, ANG Newspapers, December 31, 2002

I loved your book! I am definitely a cross dominate! Good luck with it--it's a gem! -- Pat Stirnkorb, The Fairfield Echo, February 6, 2003The Fairfield Echo

About the Author

Liz Franklin started her first business at the age of 15. A capitalist even during the hippie era, she designed and sold her own jewelry. At the ripe old age of 19, she decided that being a business secretary was the key to a glorious future. After telling her bosses how they could run their businesses better, she was heartily invited to join the ranks of the self-unemployed. Never daunted, she turned her back on free government cash to forge a new career as a business writer.

As people watched her work and observed her breathtaking sense of organization, some of them begin asking her for help. Being the daughter of a rocket scientist and a Virgo, Liz is a natural organizer. You can often find her in better restaurants, carefully placing the silverware at exact right angles and alphabetizing all the floral arrangements.

In 1978 Liz founded The Franklin Organization (now Franklinizer), to root out and cure the underlying causes of disorganization. It worked: the problems did not occur again. (Liz has often observed that standard "time management" and organizing recommendations simply do not work—a dilemma she attributes to methods that address only the symptoms, and not the causes, of disorganization.)

The better she got at organizing, the more money her clients made. As she reassured them they were not crazy and that there was a motive behind what others saw as their madness, she realized they were also becoming incredibly relaxed and prosperous.

Today Liz works with individuals and businesses, reducing the workloads, streamlining their workflow, and increasing their income. One of her clients realized a 700% increase in 8 months. Another went from a personal income of $24,000 a year to $176,000 a year in one year. A third made an extra $200,000 on one business deal due to improved organization.

Liz wrote How to Get Organized Without Resorting to Arson to counter the traditional organizing books that insist on boring stuff like discipline, standardization and regulation—stuff we all know doesn’t work.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Clara Fyer Books (January 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0971949565
  • ISBN-13: 978-0971949560
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,181,166 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
For those of you who may not have known me in my "other life,"
I used to be quite disorganized . . . in fact, I once wanted to enter HOME OFFICE COMPUTING'S "Most Disorganized Office" contest,but couldn't find the application for three years because it was buried on my desk. (True story!)
TO ARSON by Liz Franklin, a self-described
Cultural Anthropologist, I just had to read it if just for the title . . . and I'm glad that I did . . . the book delivers on its promise.
Franklin uses humor to get her points across, yet she also
provides a lot of very concrete advice . . . in addition, she
doesn't tell you what you have to do, and she recognizes the
fact that everybody is different.
And any author who manages to incorporate one of my
favorite stories into her writing has definitely managed to
catch my attention . . . she writes:

Albert Einstein once went to dinner with a friend and a new
acquaintance. Over dinner, the new acquaintance asked
Einstein for his phone number. "Sure," said Al. He got up,
left the table, and walked back toward the phones.
"Where is he going?" asked the acquaintance.
"I don't know," said the friend, with a puzzled look on his face.
Einstein came back and handed the man a slip of paper with his
phone number on it. "My God, you're Einstein!" said the guy.
"Why do you have to look up your own phone number?"
Einstein said, "Why should I keep in my mind the little things
I can find anywhere?"
There were several other memorable passages; among them:
* Paper flow starts at hand level.
Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
It's been my Bible since I took a look at it in a bookstore...and couldn't put it down. Now I carry it around with me. Or it sits in clear site, so that if I slow down or space out, I can pick up where I left off and keep tweaking my life to work better.

It's more than just "how to straighten up your office" although it does that more compassionately and with more humor than any book or person I've seen.

Since the eighties I've used the services of members of National Organizations of Organizers, and read various books, listened to tapes, but this book is the one that finally WORKS for me, maybe because my nervous system isn't wired like most organizers, and Liz Franklin takes this into account.

Besides, have you ever met an organizer who's FUNNY?

I recommended this book to my boss, who, although has a lot of heart and is a great guy to work for, is even more disorganized than me. And I recommend it unequivocally to anyone.

What happens as you start to give yourself the space and time to do what works for YOU, not for an organizer, all sorts of other wonderful things unfold in your life. Try it. I was surprised.
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Format: Paperback
I've read quite a few books on organizing. After awhile, they all come out about the same in advice, each with their unique point of view and maybe a couple of "wow" moments. This book though, had something different to offer.

Liz Franklin addresses disorganization - not as an issue of laziness or bad habits but of not organizing ourselves how we work naturally. We each are different in personality, so why do we need to organize our spaces the same? We don't. This is something that I've personally learned over the years - but never saw it written in concrete terms before reading this. Though my desk was already organized (I'm a spatial), it helped me to show and help others how they could organize themselves to fit their personality.

There was also application in the back, with pictures of ways that helped different personality types. The book is packed full of helpful and thoughtful things yet it's easy to understand. It's also down to earth so that you can actually start carrying out what you've learned without the "inspiration high" many self-help books give.

Though I enjoyed this book, there was one drawback. I wish there had been more applications as to how to carry this out. I wish this book would have been longer!

All in all, this is one of the best books on organizing an office that I've come across yet. It's helped to define the real causes of disorganization and frees you to be who you are, and organized at the same time. I hope someday soon she'll come out with a book on how to organize a home!
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Format: Paperback
This is so refreshing! It's a totally different approach to finding your own personal organizing methods rather than using the traditional one-fits-all ways. I am already using Liz's hints as they apply to my personal style, and have noticed a definite reduction in the stress level, dealing with office matters. I can recommend this book to anyone who is ready to end the customary confusion of tracking their paperwork, their hobby, their lists, their calendar --- whatever. She's got it down cold.
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Format: Paperback
Wow, did I love this book! I've seen a lot of organizing books, but this one was full of ideas and suggestions I hadn't seen before. They were very, very easy to implement quickly and cheaply.

I particularly loved her suggestions on labelling files in way that's actually meaningful to you - labels and folders that make you WANT to do the work inside rather than avoid it. That was a huge change in my way of thinking. I'm also an out-of-sight-out-of-mind person, and I liked her suggestions on using simple clear/translucent containers (as opposed to all kinds of 'specialty' single-use containers that just add to my clutter).

A must-read, particularly for creative types.
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