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Showing 1-10 of 1,084 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 2,200 reviews
David Allen builds upon his best selling original edition, adding some fun anecdotes, new research, and stories about how his clients have used his system. The author’s message is really the same--just some of the details have been updated to include the latest technology. In this edition, Mr. Allen also makes use of the many seminars he has given, updating his material based on their feedback. The author also adds new stories and suggestions for readings that were not in the original edition. Finally, he also includes the latest in research into the human brain. (See Chapter 15, “GTD and Cognitive Science.”)

The strongest part of this book is the explanation of why you feel stressed-out, always worrying about those unfinished tasks. This one chapter is itself well worth the price of admission. Here's the point: The brain subconsciously works away on those tasks, until you have decided to do something concrete: “Until those thoughts have been clarified and those decisions made, and the resulting data has been stored in a system that you absolutely know you will access and thing about when you need to, your brain can’t give up the job.” I found the author’s recognition of this brain activity a really great insight. Your brain just won’t let something go: “Your mind can’t let it go until and unless you park a reminder in a place it knows you will, without fail, look.”

His advice is simple, but persuasive: List all the tasks that are on your plate, create a folder for each one, and then list what specifically is the next step to do. That is, ask yourself, “What is the next action step?” Chapter 12, “The Power of the Next Action Decision” explains why this approach is so powerful. By doing this, your brain "knows" that the next step has been defined--it doesn't need to keep "spinning" away, pondering what to do. Mr. Allen notes that it is very frustrating, once you’ve embraced this approach, dealing with others who simply don’t get it: “It clarifies things so quickly that dealing with people and environments that don’t use it can seem nightmarish.”

My Kindle edition formatting was fine. As with the original edition, this book is very professional edited and designed. I don't think there are really any monstrous new scientific theories here, but the author provides some excellent, practical steps that you can take today.

All in all, a fun read, with some interesting new twists and research. If you’ve already read the original edition, and understand the author’s suggestions, you can probably skim through this edition quickly.

Advance copy provided for impartial review
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on February 19, 2014
Why did I choose this rating?

I gave this book 4 stars because of it's difficulty to read. I've read the other comments and they are correct in saying that the book is not an easy read. At first, I thought it was difficult because it really rehabilitates your thought process and your unreliable personal management system. That still may be true but I thought that there were some areas that could have been explained easier.

If you don't mind a book that isn't "easy cheesy" then this is the book for you. I wouldn't say that this book is difficult, it's just not easy. It's dry in some areas but it's well worth the purchase.

This book has changed my life. I've had it for about 5 days, read the entire thing, and can really feel the changes. My productivity has increased dramatically and it feels good knowing that I am very reliable and will have the kind of personality that people can rely on. The only frustrating thing is once you change your way of thinking like the book suggest, other people that still tries to manage information on their "failed systems" will piss you off. For example, I've been waiting for someone to call me back with a contractor's contact info. There is no way I've would've forgot to call someone but relying on this person and their flawed management system is frustrating. No worries though, it is in on my "next action-call's list" to remind him tomorrow.

I'd recommend this book for anyone that is serious about changing their life to being a more productive human being. It really does allow me to be stress free. When I'm living in the now, I can do just that. Since everything is in my system, it doesn't cloud my mind. My wife is even shocked about my change and will start reading it soon.

Summary of my review

If you got the coin, buy the book, read it, apply it, never forsake it, be productive and stress free
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on May 28, 2011
Despite reading many books on organization, time-management, etc., I had yet to find a methodology that really worked for a scatterbrain like myself. Franklin Covey's 7 Habits was overbearing, and required too much "stuff." The concept that I had to plan my day down to the minute was crazy, and have not met anyone who does this effectively. Other books, such as Time Management for Dummies, First Things First, and The Four Hour Workweek all required simultaneous habit changes in order to be effective. Being a scatterbrain, requiring more than one habit change at a time was simply asking way too much -- it was downright absurd. Furthermore, some of the suggestions made in these books were wishful thinking, as in the case of The Four Hour Workweek which advised hiring a secretary in India to do most of your work for you (HA! Do they do homework too?). Even more implausible, the author suggested starting an online business to automate revenue, which sounds good in theory; too bad his example was selling french style striped T-shirts.

I had given up on these self-help books years ago, and rightly so IMHO. Then things started happening which forced me analyze how I manage my to-do lists (or rather, did not manage them). School was getting harder, chores were neglected, phone calls were missed, and I was always exhausted. To boot, we're looking to move out of the country, sell our house and everything in it, planning a going away party, planning trips to see family, and I'm trying to study for the MCATs. So, I broke down and bought Getting Things Done by David Allen.

Finally I discovered a book which not only "get's it," but also understands how to, no pun intended, get things done! Instead of fighting my habits, this book is showing me how to benefit from them. GTD doesn't require anyone to change their entire life in order to become more organized like so many other books -- which claim anyone can be more organized by simply changing everything about themselves. GTD is not full of the same suggestions over and over, such as breaking bigger projects into smaller pieces (duh), or incentivizing (when you finish this task, you can have a whole gallon of ice cream!). Rather, GTD outlines a method which is completely compatible for those of us who really need a book on organization, time-management, and completing the items on an ever growing to-do list. GTD understands it's readership and offers valuable tips and tricks which, almost magically, make someone more organized. As the author puts it, "we trick ourselves everyday, like putting important documents next to the door the night before we need to take them with us." The strategies suggested in this book are so simple, even I can do them (which is saying a lot).

Suffice to say, GTD is the best book on organization I have ever read (and I've read a lot of these types of books!). It's easy to read, easy to implement, and does not make you feel bad about yourself. A great find, a great book, and a great addition to my library. Highly recommended!
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VINE VOICEon December 28, 2008
Finally, the one true organizational system that focuses on outcome (productivity) instead of process. It actually clears your mind.

Throughout the years, I have received formal and recurring employer sponsored training in both Daytimer and Franklin Covey organizational and time management system. These were primarily paper based approaches. While clearly capable and expansive (if not expensive) systems (when properly trained), they engage you in processes that can be overwhelming. Simply assembling the planner systems can be a chore that seems to never end (folders, sections, paper based contacts, project management tabs, task tabs, delegated tabs, A-Z filing system, calendar, goals tabs, priorities tabs, personal vs. business tabs, the list goes on). I often found myself more engaged in assembling and reassembling the system more than anything else. By my conservative calculations, I must have spent at least $3,000 on various paper based systems over the last 5 years; not including software integration attempts (all failed).

The GTD system breaks through the aforementioned paradigms and views everything in your life as "stuff" without regard to whether it is personal or business. Essentially you have one intake point for everything. From there, you decide where to place your "stuff" until it is actionable. I will not bother getting into all the details in this review as there are many websites dedicated to the GTD philosphy that can do a much better job.

Suffice it to say that the GTD system is analagous to an ever changing task list. I use toodledo.com to manage my task list using the folder system in David's book. Toodledo.com integrates with my Iphone so that I always have my task list with me everywhere I go. It is important to note that appointments and meetings are treated as tasks and placed in the Agenda folder.

The book is an easy read and there is an incredible amount of supplementary material on the web. Just Google GTD.
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on May 18, 2016
This book is a life-saver for any busy professional. It shows you how to use a complete system to easily empty your mind of loose ends and consolidate multiple to-do lists into one reliable system. Then it walks you through how to work through your to-do list in order to file items for future use.

The method used to walk you through setting up this process is thorough and very practical and easy to apply. Each chapter walks you through another step in the setup, and explains how to avoid pitfalls and tricky areas. The book also provides lots of best practices for managing your system on an ongoing basis.

Even if you gain a few small tips from this book, such as how to quickly sift through emails (the 2-minute rule) to a decision tree on actionable items (do it, defer it, delegate it) - anyone will benefit from the advice and best practices outlined.

In a way, I think this book is a great companion to the KonMari book "The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up" - it does for your mind what decluttering does for your home.
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on September 20, 2014
I'm in a book club at work with some co-workers. We picked this book to help each of us manage our hectic schedules. I believe most if not everyone in the club has picked up some extremely helpful tips. The book seems a little out of date because he mostly talks about managing lists and projects using paper in-boxes and physical file folders and cabinets. However, the concepts can easily be applied to any environment, including the digital world. I get flooded everyday with emails at work that need some sort of response. I have applied the concepts in the book to my email in-box and it has really helped me get on top of my email. The techniques in this book will really help the busy professional with a heavy workload. Applying just a few of the tips in this book will really help lower the stress associated with a busy schedule. I highly recommend this book.
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on May 7, 2014
First of all, I have to admit that as a chronically disorganized procrastinator, I didn’t really believe that this book could actually help me and this purchase was more or less a shot in the dark. That said, I ended up mentally exclaiming stuff like, “YES! THAT’S TOTALLY HOW I FEEL!” and “Wow! This guy really does get it!” as I read the first section of the book. The system proposed by Allen as detailed in the pages that followed basically included a lot of common sense things that I have already tried to keep up with doing (i.e., keeping track of your ‘to do’ items in writing, setting reminders for yourself, use Outlook calendar to store things that must be done at a specific time on a specific date), but I would describe it as “common sense in HD and on steroids.”
What I loved the most about this book is that Allen focuses not just on a plan to get rid of your “to do” list for that day (and in fact, tells you to stop using a daily to do list, period!), but actually provides a way to organize your entire life – including both professional and personal aspects. This is important for me because I can’t really segment my life into “personal” and “professional.” There is a lot of spillover both ways. This system helps with keeping “the big picture” in mind at all times, but not in an interfering, stress-causing kind of way. Up until reading this book and starting to adopt the system, my future goals never factored into my day-to-day life. It has been a constant rotation of too many things to do and not enough time to do them. I will say that just after taking the first steps of ‘setting up the space’ and clearing out the clutter in my office at home, I felt a tremendous sense of satisfaction and really felt motivated to continue adopting the system. Prior to taking the first step, I was well aware that my office clutter was probably contributing to the stress, but always felt “I don’t have the time to take care of it” and would put it off, thinking “There’s too much to do right now. Maybe later.” Well, to all of you who are thinking you just don’t have the time… I took this first step and the world did not end!
Now for the cons… As several other reviewers state, this book is laden with “corporate buzzword” speak. Towards the late middle and end of book, the “system” gets to be a little too efficient (for me, anyway), with sub-classifications for sub-classifications for sub-classifications (which maybe this will make sense to me later down the line… I’m just not completely organized yet). It’s still a great book, though - and adopting some of these practices has helped me to become more decisive, thereby decreasing my level of stress a little bit.
I am not anywhere near the “mind like water” state and have only just recently started to use the methods described in the book; however, the more I adopt these seemingly simple but oh-so-difficult-to-change-current-behavior-and-employ principles, the closer I feel myself move towards it. I would recommend this book to anyone who just wants to get organized and experience a little peace in life – professionals, housewives, students… anyone.
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on August 3, 2015
Four stars for this book by David Allen. It is difficult to give this book a score as it it should sell as a workshop or training program. Getting all the information from this book down and applied to real life might take weeks or months and you won't be getting much else done. Obviously this is said very much tongue in cheek.

I recently read a article on David Allen by Fast Company which put the book into context and it should be read in that context in order to get the most out of it. In this article he mentions the core of the idea behind the book. Getting Things Done (GTD) is a space management system rather than a time management system. He paraphrases one of my favourite quotes by Stephen Covey: “Time management’ is really a misnomer – the challenge is not to manage time, but to manage ourselves." This is the essence of GTD. Not managing time, but managing yourself to get the most done in the limited time we have.

Even if you do not manage to apply the whole GTD system, there are several immediate productivity boosters contained within these pages. Concepts like "next action" and the 2 minute rule can make you immediately more effective regardless of what job you do.

The GTD system contains 5 basic steps, 1.) capture, 2.) clarify, 3.) organize, 4.) reflect, and 5.) engage. The first is probably the most important and valuable as "keeping things in your head" leads to divided attention which leads to a host of other problems.

Lastly, having read GTD and then the Fast Company interview with David Allen the whole book and concept just clicked. I would recommend doing the same.
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on January 21, 2014
I've read plenty of books on "how to get organized" so I was eager to find out with Dave Allen could tell me that I didn't know. In fact, I put his plan to use in my annual effort to clean out and reorganize my home office. I read it once all the way through, marking the pages with advice I could use. Then I read it a second time, putting the advice into practice. Allen's book proved to be an excellent guide in that It told me not only how to sort and file paperwork (which I already knew) but also how to establish action items on unfinished projects and how to close open loops in my organizing. I especially liked the "next step" approach to major, time-consuming progress. As a result of reading this book, I know have a central file on my computer desktop with a master list of all my current, pending, and future projects. This is helpful because I no longer keep all this information in different places (including my head) and I am more confident that nothing falls through the cracks. This is a book I plan to use on an annual basis each time I clean out old paperwork and reorganize according to my changing career needs and interests.
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on August 16, 2012
I bought this book after hearing Mr. Allen on NPR. I liked what he was saying about getting my ways of dealing with all the things to be done organized into a big workflow. I intuitively grasped where he was leading me and wanted to get the full descriptions by reading the book. Unfortunately his written descriptions are pretty bad. The layout of the book is ok, but the structure of the writing is bad. If I had not heard the radio descriptions from him I am not sure I would have grasped why his method is the way it is. I may have grasped the method, but with just that I am just a trained monkey. I am engineer and I could have communicated the same info in about half to three quarters of the pages, so the book is a disappointment.
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