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on January 23, 2007
I love this book!

I am going to be perfectly honest and admit that until a few months ago I had no idea what a "Life hack" was! Now I know that life hacks are productivity tricks used by programmers and others who are wise in the ways of computers to avoid information overload and organize their lives.

The main thrust of my own work is to help people overcome overload, avoid burnout and develop resilience. This is one of the most practical books that I have seen dealing with the electronic overload to which we can all fall victim. Computers and the Internet have presented us with some of the most extraordinary opportunities, but they can also open the floodgates to an overwhelming morass of information vying for our attention.

The problem for most of us is how to optimize and organize all this technology. That's exactly where this book comes in: it is crammed with useful and highly practical ways of taming the electronic gremlins that threaten to engulf most of us.

The book is composed of 88 tech tricks based on items written by Gina Trapani on the popular website Lifehacker dot com. Something that I particularly liked was that Gina provides hacks for Windows XP, Vista and Macintosh: we Macintosh users are so often left out in the cold!

If I didn't even know what a life hack was, I am obviously no expert, but as soon as the book arrived I sat down with it at the keyboard and in no time had done half a dozen things that have already been very helpful to me. Gina explains everything simply and her writing is a model of clarity.

A few of her hacks are clearly not designed for a novice, but most are easily accessible. There is also a companion website - [...] that has loads of updates, links and references.

My copy of the book is already festooned with notes and bookmarks. I am quite sure that I am going to be using it for a long time to come, and I am going to recommend it every time I have clients who tell me that their electronic lives are becoming unmanageable.

Gina hasn't just created a supremely valuable book; she has also performed an act of service for all of us.

Very highly recommended.
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HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICEon December 23, 2006
This is a book I've been looking forward to reading for awhile, and I wasn't disappointed... Lifehacker: 88 Tech Tricks to Turbocharge Your Day by Gina Trapani. You should see the number of post-it notes I already have in my copy...

Contents:

Free Up Mental RAM; Firewall Your Attention; Automate Repetitive Tasks; Streamline Common Tasks; Get Your Data To Go; Control Your Email; Organize Your Stuff; Kickstart Your Productivity; Master The Web; Tune Your Computer; Index

If you're a fan of David Allen's Getting Things Done, Merlin Mann's 43Folders, or any other personal productivity sites, you'll immediately take a liking to this book. Trapani has collected 88 different "hacks", or tricks and tools to help you be more productive in your life. The vast majority of them are free, either as concepts to be implemented or software you can download and install. There are ten different chapters in the book that focus on particular areas of your life, such as staying focused on the task at hand or organizing your life. Granted, a large number of them relate to your interaction with the computer (as we spend so much time in front of one). But don't be fooled into thinking that you won't get anything out of this book unless you're a hardcore geek. Definitely not the case... This also isn't a "system" where you have to adopt all 88 hacks to get any benefit from it. Each tip stands on its own, and you can pick and choose the ones that apply to your specific situation or style. And with productivity tips, even a single one, successfully implemented, can make a dramatic difference in your life.

It's recommended that you read this book in front of your computer. That's a really good idea, as you'll be hitting the web constantly to check out software and sites. If you decide not to read in proximity to your PC, then I recommend grabbing some scratch paper or post-it notes. You'll want to flag certain pages as you go for review when you *do* get back to your digital brain. I have a very large crop of yellow post-its sticking out the top and sides of my copy. I'll be spending some additional time with this book, to be sure...

This is definitely one of the most enjoyable books I've read of late, and I'd recommend it with no hesitation to anyone looking to streamline their life.
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VINE VOICEon April 18, 2007
All right, it might be a *bit* strong to say this book changed my life, but it is undeniably true that it -- and the website associated with it -- have led to some important modifications in the way I work. And that's very close to the same thing.

If you are content with the factory settings your computer was delivered with, it might not be evident to you why this book can have such an impact. But if you like playing around with your technology and adapting it to your own needs and preferences, then you might just get a lot out of it. Part of the reason I think I responded so strongly to this is that my personality aligns pretty closely with the "characteristics of a lifehacker" described in the Introduction: excelling at finding things on the web; "addicted to the 'Ah-HA!' moments in life; eager to go out of their way to avoid tedious or mundane work. Curiosity, efficiency, individuality, technology.

Many of the "hacks" here have to do with fundamental processes like managing email, automating the things you do over and over, or getting your stuff (paper and electronic) in order and making yourself more productive. Some of it is basic, like how to use RSS feeds, but other hacks require a moderate degree of programming ability. Readers who use a computer with any degree of regularity shouldn't be intimidated by this, however. As someone who for years has had to fill out a timesheet as part of my job, the few minutes it took to master Hack 63 ("Quick-Log Your Work Day") have already been repaid over and over again. Gina, where were you in 1996?

Over the last few months, I've read a number of the "Hacks" books from O'Reilly Media -- "Mind Hacks: Tips & Tricks for Using Your Brain (Hacks)," "Mind Performance Hacks: Tips & Tools for Overclocking Your Brain (Hacks)," "Firefox Hacks: Tips & Tools for Next-Generation Web Browsing (Hacks)," and the like. Those are all okay, but none of them were as easy to read, easy to master, or as immediately applicable as "Lifehacker" has been. Maybe not everyone fits the "lifehacker" profile, or would respond to this book with the enthusiasm I obviously have. But I bet most anyone who uses a computer for work or recreation (including buying books online?) would find at least one new way to put technology to work making them less harried, more productive, or just ... happier.
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I could see where this book would be an excellent read for a "hyper-techie". Although I consider myself well above par on computer technology, this book had no appeal to me because I'm not - at all - for making changes to the registry (although I know how) or for tampering "under the hood" of any other part of the operating system, never ever really a wise move in the end (when the computer house comes crumbling down). "Working under the hood" is what this book is about, NOT maximizing (or turbo charging) one's managerial or operational efficiency, which is what I thought the book was about. Make sure it's a fit before you buy it. I returned it.
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on May 30, 2008
I bought this book, because Amazon recommended it automatically with this great book: The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich

and I made a mistake. And this is NOT because the book is bad or poorly written or has no information inside. And this is why giving the stars here is hard thing. How to rate book if YOU can not use a single trick, because you just do not like them or do not need them?
Book is about (TECH!) tips, but I was buying the book, since3 I thought it will be more thinking and time management related.

Gina teaches you how to block entertainment website before 3 o'clock, before you had not done the job - no this or that website, Firefox will not allow you open it and so on so on. Every tip I read I answered - cool yes. Interesting - yes. Will I use it? No.

And so all the way in the book. What I want to say - if it is possible - TRY look inside the book before you buy - some people may find it useful, but if you are regular reader and search for time management books - i am afraid you will expect different book. This is most hard review I ever wrote here. I strongly suggest - get a sneak preview of some tips - you will LIKELY have a reactions like - interesting & cool.... by seems I will not use it.
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on May 31, 2007
The thing about common sense is that it is not common... That's why when you pick up this book (regardless of your professional experience or proficiency with computers) you will discover many things that, once explained, will generate that "ahah!" moment and start you thinking: "Why didn't I think of that?".

If you follow some of the hacks in the book you might just never again:

- Lose your keys

- Come out of a meeting without understanding who's doing what and with little recollection of what was actually discussed

- Lose your data

- Waste time during the most productive part of your day

- "Invent" the content of your timesheets because you just cannot remember what you did

Let's face it... even if you only pick up and effectively adopt 2-3 of the hacks in here, the book has more than paid for itself.

On top of all that, the narrative is easy-going and entertaining. Gina Trapani has done a fantastic job with this.

What are you waiting for??? Buy it now!!! (Trust me you will be thanking me, the other reviewers and Gina in no time)
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on January 30, 2007
I purchased Lifehacker after being an avid reader of the website for a couple of years. There had been some things showcased on the site, that I either couldn't find in the archives or was too busy (lazy) to research further. When author Gina Trapani released the book, I got it almost immediately. In it were the items that I had been looking for, as well as some new tips that I implemented, or intend to as soon as I can. There wasn't a lot of insider technical mumbo-jumbo. It's a well written, almost step-by-step account of how to make things a little easier for those who use computers, with out making it too difficult.
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on May 19, 2008
This book is definitely worth the time to pickup and read. As someone who has a million shortcuts in my life, I was hesitant picking this book up. But the first 25-40 hacks are gold. Solid Gold.

Most of the information in this book can be found in various locations. But the author brought everything together in one place.

My only criticsm of the book, was that it was written for the layman, for the most part. Descriptions on how to use flicker etc, were uncalled for. We'll figure it out. And many hacks were completed half way...and never really completed with any flourish. I'd like to see a part II, which takes those same hacks, and takes them to the next level. Ie - Email yourself a backup hack taken to times 10 wiht backup, and information inside the email.
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on May 25, 2008
I liked the approach that the author takes in offering 88 tips that she has found useful. You can really just pick up the book and open to any page and start reading about a tip. Oh, sure, they are organized into groups and some tips build on the previous tip or two; but you can snack on these whenever you want.

I leave this book on the table in my cube to let visitors thumb through it if they happen to be waiting for me.

If you're a "continuous improvement personality" like me; then you've probably already seen or adopted a bunch of these tips. But, there are so many tips/tricks that you are bound to find some that are new.
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on August 19, 2007
I can't believe the number of people in here who write negative comments about this book. I guess they don't realize that the book is free in pdf form, and has been for a long time. So, if you don't like it, you could have read the free version and not paid a dime.

For me, this is an excellent resource for a multitude of things. Granted, yes, we could go out and find that same information on the internet with various topics within the book. However, the author has taken her ideas and what she's gone through, and put them into an easy, single reference that would otherwise be quite a few hours searching the internet. I am buying the book because I think it's an excellent resource, and I will use it time and time again, so why not contribute to the author's hard work by allowing her to benefit for the effort she put forth so we wouldn't have to take all that time.

No single person knows everything, and even though I'm a tech, there are still things I learned in this book that I didn't know, or didn't know existed. This is a great reference book, and I am buying it to pay homage to the author, as well as for future reference. Outstanding work, Gina.
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