191 of 199 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How to have more with the Power of Less
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...
Published on January 4, 2009 by Nancy Hendrickson
61 of 68 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great ideas but inconsistent
First, let me say that the BIG ideas in this book - about single-tasking, focusing on completion, not taking on too many projects at once - are simple yet brilliant and very helpful. However, when Babauta gets down to specifics and his "system," things fall apart a bit. Ironically, this philosophy, based on simplicity, gets a bit convoluted, complicated, and at times...
Published on August 6, 2009 by Jessica C. Cohen
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191 of 199 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How to have more with the Power of Less,
This review is from: The Power of Less: The Fine Art of Limiting Yourself to the Essential...in Business and in Life (Hardcover)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
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.
120 of 126 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If you like the Zen Habits blog, you'll enjoy this book a lot - but get it as a book not an audio,
This review is from: The Power of Less: The Fine Art of Limiting Yourself to the Essential...in Business and in Life (Hardcover)
I love the Zen Habits blog and really connect with Leo's simple message of cutting the clutter and living a simpler life in order to do and achieve the things that are of real value, so I got a lot out of this book's simple reminders and encouragement.
I didn't like it in audio format, though, which I explain in my video review, so while the content deserves five stars, the robotic, slick narrator and the way the format of the book worked with being read aloud brought the star rating down.
One other minor quibble was that Leo mentioned "previous posts" and "later posts" in his book a lot. Some of the content was obviously written for a blog format and it wasn't edited vigorously enough to catch these mistakes.
Other than that, though, the content is exactly what I expected from reading Leo's blog and I enjoyed the book a lot. It's a good kick in the rear if you need help getting fired up to achieve your goals through simplicity.
258 of 280 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This book is great -- but zen habits is great AND free,
This review is from: The Power of Less: The Fine Art of Limiting Yourself to the Essential...in Business and in Life (Hardcover)First, let me say this: The content in this book is worth 5 stars. Leo is the absolute best at making anyone realize what is important in the world, and act on it. If you've had it with other self-empowerment books, the kind that use phrases like "thrive off of synergy" and "discover the true version of yourself" and "unlock the millionaire within you" and other absurdities that clog the self-improvement industry of books, then The Power of Less will be an absolute relief. The general mantra is easy to swallow and understand: focus your efforts on one thing and you will be more effective.
The book is simple and direct with little fluff. It's aimed at everyone, not just the big-time business managers and the yuppie type. As a student and writer, I find that 7 Habits and Getting Things Done and the like, while they're great, just don't feel like they're aimed at me. The Power of Less is, though. And it's undiluted greatness. There's no New Age-y stuff in here, nothing really abstract. Just solid, practical approaches to the problems that everyone faces.
Here's the one catch, though: at least 85-90% of the content in this book is fundamentally equivalent to what's been posted on his blog, Zen Habits (zenhabits dot net). Leo's techniques rely on simplicity so much that there are really only so many ways you can spin it.
There are a lot of reasons to buy this book: it goes a little bit deeper in its explanations, it is a great summary and introduction to everything on Leo's site, it supports Leo after all of the hard work he has put in to helping your average Joe like me make his life and his world a little bit better, and it introduces his ideas in a logical order.
But you can get explanations the same fundamental approaches and set of tips for free on Zen Habits, so if you're looking to pinch pennies while still taking serious steps forward in your life, you might instead just want to go through his site.
This review is not a knock on the book at all. It's just a reminder that there's a free digital alternative. That's a tip Leo himself would approve of.
61 of 68 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great ideas but inconsistent,
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Time Management Book Ever,
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!
32 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Leo Babauta Knows "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.
18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ...not about giving up everything...,
"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
30 of 37 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Quite Simply - Disappointed,
This review is from: The Power of Less: The Fine Art of Limiting Yourself to the Essential...in Business and in Life (Audio CD)If you are truly trying to limit yourself to the essential - skip this book.
As a public school teacher my life is divided into two very different patterns. During the school year my life is very much dedicated to the needs of others. During summer vacations I put all that aside and devote time to myself.
I picked up this audiobook with hopes to find tips to help me achieve greater effectiveness in both these aspects of my life. During the summer, when I set my own goals and priorities, I imagine my life fits the model that Babauta seems to be targeting. My life appears to be more similar to his as a self-employed writer. Unfortunately, his tips offer nothing new and should be evident to anyone with common sense. For example, he suggests that if you have to email a client who typically spends $100 on your business versus attending a meeting with a client who spends thousands of dollars you should...attend the meeting. Really? Does that really need to be said?
During the school year, I feel my life leads a pattern that the author obviously can't relate to. He doesn't appear to have experience working in an enviroment where others determine your prioritites. Babauta outlines an example of two reporters. One journalist writes several stories during the week. The second journalist picks one article, devotes days to extensive research, and writes an award winning article. Great. But how does this apply to the many of us with jobs that require us to juggle multi-tasks. Believe me I would love to say "I am devoting this week to planning award winning science lessons. Math, language arts, parent communication, meetings with administration, mentoring new teachers, student safety, classroom management, data analysis, and cupcake parties are not essential and can wait." An impossible goal...or at least I didn't find any worthwhile tips in this book to demostrate how it would be possible.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Power of an Amazing Book,
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.
38 of 49 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars a bit simplistic for some lives,
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The Power of Less: The Fine Art of Limiting Yourself to the Essential...in Business and in Life by Leo Babauta (Hardcover - January 1, 2009)