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Overload! How Too Much Information is Hazardous to your Organization Hardcover – May 31, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

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"Rich with helpful, pragmatic advice, Overload! provides details, tips, and strategies that the world's leading organizations, including IBM, Intel, Morgan Stanley, and the U.S. Air Force have employed." (LeadershipNow.com-Review)

From the Inside Flap

Information has become the great leveler of society and business. In 2010, Information Overload cost the U.S. economy almost $1 trillion. What is Information Overload costing your organization? Written by Jonathan Spira, one of the technology industry's leading thinkers and pundits, Overload!: How Too Much Information Is Hazardous to Your Organization lays out the history and many manifestations of Information Overload in the workplace, as well as tips and strategies to limit the disruptive and costly consequences.

From endless e-mail, social media, and texting, to poor search tools and a dramatic increase in information generation, Information Overload is stretching the bandwidth of businesses and employees at unprecedented levels. Revealing how the very tools deployed to make knowledge workers more efficient have in turn bogged productivity down, Overload! explores the many ways today's tidal wave of information has bombarded and dulled our senses as well as hampered our ability to innovate and produce.

Spira examines the staggering statistics of time and money lost due to Information Overload, including:

  • There are 78.6 million knowledge workers in the United States alone.

  • Information Overload cost the U.S. economy almost $1 trillion in 2010.

  • A minimum of 28 billion hours is lost each year to Information Overload in the United States.

  • Reading and processing just 100 e-mail messages can occupy over half of a knowledge worker's day.

  • It takes five minutes to get back on track after a 30-second interruption.

  • For every 100 people who are unnecessarily copied on an e-mail, eight hours are lost.

  • 58 percent of government workers spend half the workday filing, deleting, or sorting information, at a cost of almost $31 billion dollars.

  • 66 percent of knowledge workers feel they don't have enough time to get all of their work done.

  • 94 percent of those surveyed at some point have felt overwhelmed by information to the point of incapacitation.

  • One major Fortune 500 company estimates that Information Overload impacts its bottom line to the tune of $1 billion per year.

  • Information Overload has caused people to lose their ability to manage thoughts and ideas, contemplate, and even reason and think.

  • The reality that many e-mail exchanges which go on for days and weeks at a time could be resolved with a five-minute phone call.

  • Why Information Overload has completely destroyed the work-life balance, resulting in workdays that never seem to end.

Rich with helpful, pragmatic advice, Overload! provides details, tips, and strategies that the world's leading organizations, including IBM, Intel, Morgan Stanley, and the U.S. Air Force have employed.

Don't let Information Overload strangle your organization's productivity. Fight back with the tips and strategies found in Overload!

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 260 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (May 31, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470879602
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470879603
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,046,934 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
Chip and Dan Heath are the co-authors of two brilliant books, Made to Stick and Switch. In the first, they explain (as its subtitle suggests) "why some ideas survive and others die." In his book, Overload!, Jonathan B. Spira addresses a much larger issue: Why too much information is "hazardous" to an organization's health and also to the health of many among its workforce. As he explains, "Information Overload is killing us. It is death by a thousand paper cuts in the form of e-mail messages, documents, and interruptions...While there is relatively little we can do about Information Overload, we don't have to grin and bear it. What does help reduce Information Overload and lessen its impact is 1.) raising awareness and 2.) presenting context and history as to why the problem is occurring."

He goes on to observe, "Raising awareness helps because most people are simply unaware of the root causes of Information Overload, such as poor search techniques, unnecessarily copying dozens if not hundreds of colleagues on an e-mail, or calling someone two minutes after sending an e-mail simply to tell the recipient of its presence. Providing context and history puts things into perspective." Spira organizes his material within two Parts: "How We got Here" and then ""Where We Are and What We Can Do."

My own rather extensive experience supports Spira's assertion that Information Overload is both the result of several serious problems that are its root causes, and, is itself the root cause of countless other serious problems. For example, in an organization in which senior management has determined that collaboration must be increased and improved, people will be under severe pressure be become much more involved in communication and cooperation between and among associates.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By James Miller on April 27, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
Obvious, intuitive, and right on - what the etailers don't want you to know. Not only is this a costly time waster, he shows it can be unhealthy as well.

Wasted time due to e-litter is another unintended consquence of the Information Superhighway. Just like drivers - maybe we should have to qualify for an elicense to show we know the rules of the road before we are allowed to use the service.Much of the time-wasting traffic is just bad manners, like bad drivers.

Not sure if the facts are valid, but even if i just close, the savings could be huge if only 10% accurate.

Add the cost of added IT support, data storage and transfer and it just gets worse.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Anonymous on May 23, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Jonathan Spira's engaging and thoroughly researched book, Overload: How Too Much Information Is Hazardous to Your Organization presents an urgent call to action to confront this ubiquitous problem. Employing case studies and storytelling linked to recent business catastrophes he brings clarity to the problems proliferated by overload as well as to their enormous hidden costs. He includes a discussion of preemptive steps that may be taken at all levels in the organization to reduce and mitigate the toxic effects of information overload. This should be required reading in MBA programs, for knowledge workers, their managers and executives. I highly recommend this book.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Harald Masst on November 27, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The core concept of the book; that we are about to drown in more - and not least -less important emails, is true and important. The advices to cope with the problem are mostly on the sensible side. The shortcomings of the book is primarily due to Spira's reluctance to cinstrain the length and detail of his analysis, examples and advices on what to do. Would be a far better book with less than half the length.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
For anyone interested in solving the Lost Productivity Dilemma - an average knowledge worker loses 28% of their day - you MUST read this book.

Why do so many people come in early or stay late to get the real work done? Jonathan will explain why - and more than that - he'll give you practical solutions to manage the situation.

Robyn Pearce, author & international productivity specialist (known as the Time Queen!) [...]
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