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134 of 154 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How to make the most of "the 168-hour mosaic of our lives", May 29, 2010
This review is from: 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think (Hardcover)
There is no shortage of books on the subject of time management. In fact, the last time I checked, Amazon offers 11,229 of them but not one of them explains how to increase the number of hours within a seven-day period: it is 168, no more and no less. What sets this book apart from the dozens of other books on time management that I have read is the fact that Laura Vanderkam rigorously follows what Albert Einstein recommends: "Make everything as simple as possible...but no simpler." For example, in the first chapter, she suggests, "Picture a completely empty weekly calendar with its 168 hourly slots." She then helps her reader to document his or her (the reader's) current allocation of time. She achieves that objective as well as each of her other primary objectives such as disabusing her reader of major misconceptions about how much time (on average) people spend on sleep, work, and leisure time components. While doing so, she cites real-world examples (i.e. real people in real time) that both illustrate and confirm basic strategies that produce more and more enjoyable as well as better, and achieved sooner, in less time. She also identifies the core competencies that her reader must develop and then leverage to achieve that same objective. She is at her best when explaining how to determine what the "right job" is, what it requires, and how to obtain it.

[She cites Teresa Amabile's admonition, "You should do what you love, and you should love what you do." If that doesn't suggest what a "right job" is, I don't know what does.]

Vanderkam also explains how to control investment of time so that "there should be almost nothing during your work hours - whatever you choose those to be - that is not advancing you toward your goals for the career and life you want"; how to determine what the "next level" of personal and professional development looks like and how to "seize control" of the schedule while completing a transition to that level; and what a "breakthrough" is and how to achieve it to expedite the transition process. Vanderkam believes, and I fully agree, that our lives proceed through a series of levels above or below, better or worse than where we were previously; the journey to each should be one of personal discovery; and that it is important to know what we value most but we must realize that priorities change at various points in our lives as circumstances, relationships, obligations, and aspirations change. Each life is, quite literally, a "work in progress."

At the outset of this review, I noted that Amazon now offers almost 12,000 books on time management. Several of them are outstanding. In my opinion, 168 Hours is less about time management than it is about self-management (especially self-discipline) as well as decision-making (especially setting priorities). Laura Vanderkam provides about as much information and counsel as anyone needs to alleviate a real or perceived time crunch, leverage core competencies, define and then locate or create the "right jib," control rather than be controlled by a calendar, achieve breakthroughs to greater understanding higher-impact performance, and in all life domains (career, family, personal, community, and society) be happier and more productive.

I congratulate her on a brilliant achievement. Bravo!
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 4, 2010 8:43:41 AM PDT
Very well written!

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 4, 2010 9:42:09 AM PDT
Thank you.

Posted on Oct 26, 2010 6:40:03 AM PDT
Excellent review--the best I've read.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 26, 2010 7:10:05 AM PDT
I very much appreciate your comment as well as K.M. Pierson's and hope that both of you find as much value in Vanderkam's book as I have.
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Robert Morris
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Location: Dallas, Texas

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