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The Myth of Multitasking: How "Doing It All" Gets Nothing Done Hardcover – August 18, 2008
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Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
"Are you a master of juggling e-mail, voice mail, cell-phone calls and the like? No, you're not, says this slim fable-cum-manifesto against multitasking. The author, a business coach, gently ridicules the idea that anyone can concentrate on two things at the same time." (Andrea Sachs, Senior Reporter, Time Magazine, November 2, 2008)
"This simple yet powerful book shows clearly why multitasking is, in fact, a lie that wastes time and costs money. Far from being efficient, multitasking actually damages productivity and relationships at work and at home." (businessskillbooks.blogspot.com, November 24, 2008)
"I applaud Crenshaw for taking on a popular buzzword and small-scale plague not only in business life, but also our day-to-day world. Multitasking is indeed a myth. I would be tempted to be more vigorous in my rhetoric and say that multitasking is a fraud and a thief." (businesscoach.us.com, November 24, 2008)
"Crenshaw's on a mission to reduce distractions, interruptions, and fire-fighting at work, and create environments that let employees see through tasks with their full attention before moving onto the next thing." (blumerlamotte.blogspot.com, October 13, 2008)
Top Customer Reviews
The book describes the story of Phil who is called in my Helen for some reason. He convinces her that multi-tasking is not efficient (as she seemed to believe) and teaches her different ways of organizing her work so that she does not need to "switchtask" and becomes more effective. Of course, she believes the consultant, changes all her habits and her company and a happy end.
The book is easy to read. It's also small, you can read it in about an hour!! There is not much more than the above story in the book and some quotes from different research (of which some are actually interesting). One thing that annoyed me is that the author decided to rename "multi-tasking" to "switchtasking". I kept wondering why he couldn't call it simple "task switching" which is the common term for this.
The book didn't bother me. I got a couple of useful research quotes out of it and one interesting game to "prove" multitasking is inefficient. The book is small and therefore it might be easy to read. Don't expect much though. 3 stars.
Today, I have to say that The Myth of Multitasking has totally changed my life.
Reading this book was a complete eye opener for me. I've learned how to examine my day, and see just where I'm losing precious time. I have to say that I was initially shocked at how ineffective I was. I was not only spinning my wheels at work, I was doing my family a huge disservice by not giving them the complete attention they deserve. Admittedly, a lifetime's worth of bad habits are hard to break, but this short fable literally gave me more time for my family, my work, and my life.
Highly recommended for anyone, but especially moms who work.
No it is not a generational thing as our brain does not evolve that quickly and, sorry ladies, there is no evidence, other than urban myth anecdotal evidence, that women can multitask and men cannot. To do two things at once is to do both things poorly.
Also, I highly advise this read for every manager and anyone like mean who is involved in process or performance improvement.
For example: You can drive and also have a conversation with a passenger, but the driving doesn't take any active thought most of the time, it's a background task. Then when you try to merge into rush hour traffic or the car in front of you hits the brakes, suddenly driving becomes the active task and you stop hearing the passenger. A moment later you have ask your passenger "I'm sorry, what was that?"
You can either background task something which takes very little thought, or you can "switchtask" very quickly between two things that demand attention. Unfortunately, the more you switch , you more you have to play catch up because it takes a moment to pick up where you left off.
The example the book gives is simple. On one line write the sentence: "Multitasking is worse than a lie" Then below it write out the numbers from 1-27.
Okay, now do it again, but switch back and forth writing one letter on the top line, then one number on the bottom line till you've written all 27 numbers and letters, switching back and forth between each one. You'll be surprised how much longer it takes to do it switching between the two rather than completing one then the other. You'll also likely make a few mistakes when doing the two back and forth rather than one after the other.
Anyway - you get the point.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Author's style is very condescending. Got all the information offered in the book in the first chapter. After that was story time.Published 1 month ago by jneith
This book is a monologue are a story about this gentleman's experience with one woman and her company so it's not for the lay person as I thought it was. Not very useful for me. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Elaine
Some people will find this idea arguable, but as someone who knew from the outset that multi-tasking is a myth, this was a quick and simple reminder of how to re-prioritize in... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Prof J.
I will never think about multitasking the same again! Worth reading if you still think multitasking is an effective strategy.... Read morePublished 18 months ago by Becky
I wish more business books were like this. The beauty of this book is that the author just nails it. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Jim Smith
By far one of my favorite and most memorable business books. It goes beyond saying "multi-tasking is bad" but gives concrete examples on how to overcome multitasking. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Rachel Barnum