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Showing 1-10 of 108 reviews(5 star). Show all reviews
on January 4, 2009
My copy of Leo Babauta's new book, Power of Less, The: The Fine Art of Limiting Yourself to the Essential...in Business and in Life, arrived Friday evening, and by late Friday I'd read it cover to cover. Now, on Sunday, I'm starting it again. It may be about "less", but is contains more than my brain could take in with a single read.

Leo, the owner of the wildly popular ZenHabits blog, has written one of those classics that apply to both our business and personal lives. In brief, The Power of Less is a treatise on the small steps (see my blog post on the Kaizen way) we can take to simplify our lives and in the doing find far more joy and success than all of our manic behavior could produce.

The book begins with Leo's own story of being an debt, overweight, smoking, workaholic who rarely saw his family. His life was chaotic and he never had time for the things and people he loves. (Sound familiar?) Then, he made the choice to simplify his life in small continuous ways; first he quit smoking by focusing all of his energy on that one goal.

Then, he attacked other goals, one at a time, like becoming a runner, eating healthier, starting a successful blog, and getting out of debt.

One by one the goals were met (and exceeded). Leo has run two marathons, has doubled his income, became a vegetarian, decluttered his home, lost 45 pounds, and spends quality time with his family. Today, Leo's blog is one of the top 50 blogs in the world, with more than two million readers a month. If that doesn't make you want to adopt his principles, nothing will!

The Six Principles of Simple Productivity
The Power of Less is divided into two sections; the first walks readers through the six principles of simple productivity:

1. Set limitations
2. Choose the essential
3. Simplify
4. Focus
5. Create habits
6. Start small

Part II details practical tips for implementing the six principles in key areas including e-mail, health, time management, filing, Internet, and decluttering your work space.

Simple Doesn't Mean Easy
While the principles are simple, it doesn't necessarily mean they're easy to implement. Anyone who has started a new habit (like a diet) knows that for sure. However, with small continuous improvement, the principles are achievable.

For example, Leo has weaned himself off e-mail to checking only twice a day. I probably check e-mail 100 times a day - - and just as a nutritionist wouldn't ask us to cut out every unhealthy food in one day, they would encourage us to cut-back. For me, that would mean (first) KNOWING how many times a day I check e-mail, and then (second) cutting back a little, then a little more, and then a little more. Until I reach a point that e-mail doesn't rule my existence.

The Principle of Choosing the Essential
While all of the principles serve as stepping stones to a life of more, the one that hangs me up the most is the principle of choosing the essential. And it's a bugaboo that's been with me life-long. As Leo says, once you know the essentials you'll be in a position to eliminate the chaos of incoming information, commitments, and clutter.

Thankfully, the section on choosing the essential has a series of questions to help define what's essential - and this is the section I'm currently re-reading - because it's the most difficult for me. I know absolutely that once I have those essentials defined, the remaining principles will be far easier to integrate.

The reason this principle is so important to me is that in knowing the essentials, I'll know which projects or tasks have the highest priority - because they're the ones that will have the biggest impact on the essentials. For me, this is the key to having the life of what truly IS more.

Putting the Principles Into Action
As a life-long "clean desk" advocate, I was ahead of the game on the decluttering principle, but way behind on e-mail, Internet, commitments, and health.

Fortunately, simplifying these areas are a matter of making small continuous changes (the Kaizen way), instead of radical ones. For instance, one of the life issues discussed is making time for what we love. As a self-employed person, I get so caught in the flow of work that I forget what I really love.

However, once prompted by The Power of Less, I really thought about what I love - then I made a list, and one-by-one will begin implementing them in my life.(and being a true Kaizen-ista) will NOT try to take on all of them at once!) By the way, my list includes learning to kayak, to play the harmonica, and hiking.

A Perfect Time for a Perfect Book
As I wander the Internet, I hear over and over the desire for simplification. The entrepreneurs I know have all hit the wall at the same time - - they're on information overload, have massive (and unattainable) to-do lists, poor health, wretched time management, cluttered desks and minds, and no fun.

If ever there was a time for The Power of Less, it's now.
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on January 25, 2009
I have read dozens of time management books (and reviewed the best of those I have read here on Amazon).

Leo Babauta has written the best I have read on this subject. Most of the others focus on systems; his focus on habits is key to making a quantum leap in time management results.

My reviews are generally longer...in honor of the author's philosophy, I will demonstrate the Power of Less. This book is the best!
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on January 3, 2009
This little book is not about giving up everything, but rather it is about keeping only what really matters--in things, in commitments, and in life.

"Simplifying isn't meant to leave your life empty--it's meant to leave space in your life for what you really want to do..."

Here is an easy to read book perfectly timed for the New Year. It is not just another book on dealing with clutter, but more of a how-to book on dealing with the realities of life today. Whether you want to learn another language, keep your desk in order, loose weight, or whatever, the author sets you on your way to actually accomplishing your goals.

"...focus on doing less, but doing it more effectively and, in effect, accomplishing more while reducing stress."

Check out the chapter headings:

PART I: THE PRINCIPLES
1. Why Less is Powerful
2. The Art of Setting Limits
3. Choosing the Essential, and Simplifying
4. Simple Focus
5. Create New Habits, and the Power of Less Challenge
6. Start Small

PART II: IN PRACTICE
7. Simple Goals and Projects
8. Simple Tasks
9. Simple Time Management
10. Simple Email
11. Simple Internet
12. Simple Filing
13. Simple Commitments
14. Simple Daily Routine
15. Declutter Your Work Space
16. Slow Down
17. Simple Health and Fitness
18. On Motivation
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on December 30, 2008
Ours is a world of excess. Most people complicate their lives while accumulating more of just about everything. Leo Babauta explodes the "more" myth with The Power of Less.

He really does understand the concept of simplifying a life, as his blog, [...] has grown exponentially to be one of the leaders in the personal productivity field in the past two years.

A look at his blog shows that his writing style is easy to get into and enjoy. The Power of Less is the same. You'll be engrossed in no time.

And know this, Leo doesn't just write about his topic -- he lives it!

The Power of Less will be a game changer -- a life changer -- for all who dig in and follow the plan.
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on October 2, 2013
I have tried many organizing systems, but my focus has always been on finding ways to get more things done at once within an inhumanly unforgiving time frame. I'd always start out strong due to enthusiasm and novelty and always end up burning out at some point.

I never thought of the simple, yet totally logical, idea of getting more done by pursuing less goals at once. I combined this system with David Allen's Getting Things Done and it's been a very thorough, sustainable method. I use Getting Things Done to put all my aims out of my head and onto paper, but use Power of Less to make sure I only chase no more than three goals at a time. Everything else I put on my Someday/Maybe list.
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on April 4, 2014
Finally a self-improvement book that doesn't expect me to change overnight! I read this a few months ago and was waiting to submit a review until I knew I could stick with it. While there is a a lot of information in this book, the author suggests you just work in one thing at a time. Try it for a month and then add something else. I started with keeping the dining room table clutter free. Then when that got to be habit, I started in on the TV room. That may have been a bit too large of a chunk, but it's starting to work. Now I'm moving on to my work space - there are even open spots on my desk now. While I don't think I'll ever be quite as organized as Leo Babauta, I'm certainly on a better path after reading this book. I highly recommend!
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on December 30, 2008
What will consumers think in 2009? What will they feel? What will they buy (if anything)?

Leo Babauta tells you in "The Power of Less."

No, it's not a marketing book, but marketers BETTER read it. No, it's not economics or politics or investing, either. It's LIVING.

Babauta, author of the uber-popular productivity site [...] and the writer's blog [...], has turned his passion for and experience with SIMPLIFICATION, FOCUS, HEALTH, AND HAPPINESS into a book that promises to re-ignite life itself.

After 3 decades (yes, the 1970s were the "Me" decade that started it all), Western civilization has taken the fine of accumulation to pathological extremes. We have stuff atop stuff piled on crap and crammed into things that cost $200 more than our neighbor's things that everyone went ga-ga over at the annual subdivision "I spend more than you" party last spring.

Somewhere between opening day of the 2008 baseball season and Lehman Brothers' collapse in September, we all woke and said, "Do I really need all this stuff? And do I really WANT to try to collect MORE?"

Babauta takes you through the liberating, exhilarating, and RESTORATIVE process of freeing your house, your desk, you life, your calendar, and YOUR MIND from the stuff that gives no value or meaning despite costing a lot of money and creating stress every time you look at it.

And I'm not just talking about stuff you can throw away. Babauta will also help you trash that accumulation around your waist.

How does Babauta work this magic? Through development of QUALITY and HEALTHY HABITS that you develop one-at-a-time through LOW-IMPACT, HIGH-RESULT focus.

It Works! I've been following Leo's mantra since late November and the results are:

* Quit smoking 11/29
* Single list of all of my obligations since 11/19
* Wake at 5:00 a.m. (or earlier) every morning
* Write one quality blog post 5 days a week (I still write so-so posts whenever the mood strikes, though)
* My work area is free of crap and distractions, both at home and in my office!
* I am in a better mood

I have a long way to get to reach Leo's state of productivity, organization, and stresslessness. "The Power of Less" will be my guide, though, and I plan to adopt EVERY POSITIVE HABIT he recommends.

Buy this book today, and consider buying a 2nd loaner copy for the people you love.
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VINE VOICEon March 8, 2014
The Power of Less is an excellent and powerful guide to making better habits and cutting out the nonessential and damaging aspects of our lifestyles. It advocates routine-creation and refocusing commitments over dramatic change, which paradoxically leads to dramatic change must faster than a more aggressive approach. Simply creating and adhering to schedules for several weeks on end is sufficient to change your life completely, but Leo doesn't stop there. He offers advice on how to gradually add or remove elements to your life without creating that sense of sudden change that often leads to regression and adherence to bad habits.

I have read a lot of self-help books and generally disdain them for their overly prescriptive and hyperactive methods, but Leo's approach is so easy to apply that you will find yourself becoming a better person with only a few small updates in your daily life. I should also add that I only applied about 10% of what I read in here, and found it made profound differences for the better. I think my own experience shows that even a little bit of application goes a long way if the information you are applying is high value. From this I can say that Leo's book is a must read for anyone who wants to live a better life and, as a result, experience more positive results.
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on January 17, 2009
Leo Babauta says that simplicity boils down to two steps:
1. Identify the essential.
2. Eliminate the rest.

And in his recent book, The Power of Less, he takes these simple steps and invites those of us who "drink from a fire hose of information" to simultaneously discover simplicity and increase productivity. He recommends "setting limits to how much we consume and do...making the most of our time by focusing on the most important things, instead of everything."

In this practical book, Babuata describes six principles (Set limitations, Choose the essential, Simplify, Focus, Create habits, and Start small) and then describes ways to put them into practice in all aspects of life (goals, tasks, time, email, internet, work space, health, and more). He takes the best of the GTD phenomenon, debunks the myths of multi-tasking, and shows a simple way to to find simplicity in all aspects of life.

This is a book to read with a pen in hand as there are countless questions and quotes to note and remember. With a writing style that has proven true for thousands of blog readers (myself included), The Power of Less proves quite simply to be one of the best books on practical simplicity and productivity you will find.
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on October 29, 2010
I read lots of non-fiction and feel like lots of books are "filled in" around just one really great chapter. It's a shame there is not market for booklets because I would certainly value a short/sweet/poignant booklet any day.... in case, great concept. Just no need to read the whole thing. Once you get it (first chapter or two), you've got it. - Lucas
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