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Ready for Anything: 52 Productivity Principles for Work and Life Hardcover – CLV, September 15, 2003

4.0 out of 5 stars 82 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

No one makes the challenges of productivity more understandable and manageable. (Rob Johnston, President of Leader to Leader Institute) This fundamentally different look at productivity makes David's book not just a good read, but something [to] truly live by. (Keith Yamashita, author of "Unstuck: A Tool For Yourself, Your Team, and Your World") These powerful and practical pointers for living a more productive life are as subtle and rich as they are simple. (Arianna Huffington) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

David Allen is president of the David Allen Company and has more than two decades' experience as a management consultant and executive coach, having worked with organizations such as Merck, the Ford Foundation, and the U.S. Navy. He has been featured in Fortune, Fast Company, The Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, and many other publications.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Adult; 1 edition (September 15, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670032506
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670032501
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #448,943 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Bruce C. Houghton on September 15, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Let me start by admitting that while I'm a huge fan of David Allen and his wonderful productivity theories and practices, I found his first book "Getting Things Done" a rather tough read. A lot of great info was certainly there, but somehow the way it was written left my head spinning. Eventually I began to understand the systems and implement them, but I couldn't get over the nagging feeling that these theories and practices that were so basic and logical did not have to be so hard to grasp.
All of these shortcomings have been fixed in this great new book. Allen's theories, practices and strategies are delivered in 2-5 page bite sized pieces which much better suit his writing style. Each of the 52 short chapters can be devoured in a few minutes and can be understood and internalized individually or in well organized clusters as fits you best.
In a perfect world I'd suggest skimming Allen's first book so that you get an over view of his "systems"; then read this book for a bunch of "I get it!" moments; and then back to "Getting Things Done" for a more careful read. In fact, that's what I'm going to do.
But even if you never read Allen's first book; this new one is well worth the time because it will force you to look at work, time, and all of the stuff that clutters your mind and life in entirely new ways.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I can not recommend David Allen's earlier book, Getting Things Done, highly enough. I read it six months ago and continue to follow his system, using the Outlook plug-in sold on his web site. I had made a reminder when I finished that book to re-read it in six months. When the time came, I decided to pick up this book instead. It was a mistake.

Ready For Anything is a series of short inspirational essays on productivity. It has a strong self-help feel to it. If you've read GTD and aren't convinced that the system is worth implementing, maybe this book will sell it to you. For those who are already practicing the system, it doesn't offer a whole lot. Many essays are about the importance of having a system, or the importance of the weekly review, a key element of the system. Others are simply meanderings with no concrete purpose. There are quotes peppered in the margins throughout. While some are thought-provoking, they distracted me from the main text. I'd prefer to see them at the beginning or end of the essay.

If you haven't read Getting Things Done, absolutely read that first. If you need a little motivation to keep you on track, maybe Ready For Anything will help.
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Format: Hardcover
While this is an outstanding book, I highly recommend his first work, Getting Things Done. Since this doesn't have a consistent narrative but is instead broken up into numerous tiny essays, it will be harder to get the maximum benefit from his approach to personal productivity from this alone.
Readers who "got" Getting Things Done don't need my advice on this one...they've already bought it I'm sure.
David Allen is probably the smartest personal productivity coach in print. I would buy Getting Things Done for every employee in my organization, and I would have copies of this one lying around to remind people and elaborate on some of the finer points.
Oh and I would like to add one point. I believe there is one thing missing from Mr. Allen's algorithm. That is finishing. I think his plan is outstanding for getting unstuck: figure out the next action, and do it without hesitation. But I don't find any attention paid to how to decide how many actions are "enough" for a desired outcome of a project.
You can always find some next action, and founder in what software engineers like myself call "permanent beta" or "feature creep." Yet external constraints are best not relied on exclusively for these decisions. It's best to volunteer a ruthless focus on the essence of your project's deliverable, isn't it?
So I would like Mr. Allen to write his next book about finishing projects, if he is able to develop insights into that stage as strong as his insights into the process of the middle stages.
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Format: Hardcover
Author David Allen lists 52 basic principles for productivity, including: write everything down, do the jobs that nag you, focus on the matter at hand and so on. As he notes, the principles are both simple to understand and difficult to implement. The book is essentially a collection of gleanings from the author's previous writings, so it does not present a systematic or unified approach to time and productivity management. However, Allen's straightforward tips are handy, if sometimes duplicative. The number 52 suggests that you might find one helpful tip to use each week in a one-year program of self-improvement and productivity management. In that case, repetition is probably a good thing, since bad habits tend to spring up again like weeds and require the same remedies often. The author is relentlessly upbeat, optimistic and witty, like a motivational speaker. That might be hard to read in a big chunk, but it is easy to digest if you spend a little time every week reading a recommendation and implementing it. We recommend this book to anyone who urgently needs help with time management and productivity.
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