- Hardcover: 352 pages
- Publisher: Zondervan (March 4, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0310494222
- ISBN-13: 978-0310494225
- Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (200 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #175,876 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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What's Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things Done Hardcover – March 4, 2014
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--John Piper, founder and teacher, desiringGod.org; author, Don't Waste Your Life
"...a Christian companion to Getting Thing Done."
From the Author
"I have been learning from Matt Perman for nearly twenty years, and I am eager for leaders around the world to benefit from his work the way that I have. To my knowledge, there is no one writing today who has thought more deeply about the relationship between the gospel and productivity. You will find in these pages a unique and remarkable combination of theological insight, biblical instruction, and practical counsel that would change the world if put into practice. I could not recommend it more highly."
--Justin Taylor, Managing Editor, ESV Study Bible; blogger, "Between Two Worlds"; co-author, The Final Days of Jesus
"The question isn't 'What do I want to do for God?' but 'What does God want me to do?' For a believer, productivity is more than a set of skills. It requires a mindset and worldview. In this book, Matt Perman provides the framework for getting more done and making
a bigger difference in your work."
--Mark Sanborn, bestselling author, The Fred Factor and You Don't Need a Title to be a Leader
"Those of us in management, leadership, ministry, and other kinds of 'knowledge work' often feel overwhelmed with all of the tasks, responsibilities, and relationships that demand our time and attention. This book gives practical, specific guidelines for becoming better organized, more effective, and more productive. But what makes this book stand out is the way Matt Perman integrates all of this down-to-earth advice with the doctrine of vocation--how the Gospel of Christ bears fruit in love and service to God and our neighbors in every facet of life--a truth that animates every page.
--Gene Edward Veith, Professor of Literature and Provost of Patrick Henry College; author, God at Work: Your Christian Vocation in All of Life
"This book has been on Matt's heart and mind for a long time. It's the fruit of experience as well as insight drawn from Scripture and common sense--without doing injustice to either. There is a lot of wisdom here and I look forward to making use of it in daily life."
--Michael Horton, Professor of Systematic Theology and Apologetics, Westminster Seminary California; author, The Gospel-Driven Life
"Plain and simple: learning to effectively manage your time and tasks is one of the most practical and tangible ways you can love your neighbors, coworkers, family members, and the world at large. There is no one who has articulated this better than Matt Perman in this unique book. It has changed the way I think and work, and I commend it to anyone who strives to love their neighbor as themselves."
--Matt Heerema, Owner and Director, Mere Design Agency; Pastor, Stonebrook Community Church
"What's Best Next is both practical and inspiring as it addresses both the "why" and "how to" aspects of productivity. The result is an engaging, motivating, and exciting vision for your work and the things you do every day right along with helpful, clear, and practical instruction on how to become more effective with less stress. Want to be more productive for the glory of God? Read What's Best Next."
--Ed Stetzer, President, LifeWay Research; author, Lost and Found: The Younger Unchurched and the Churches that Reach Them; edstetzer.com
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Top Customer Reviews
As the title implies, this book is not just a collection of productivity hacks; instead, it articulates a Christian theology of why we should prize efficiency, well also explaining why we sometimes shouldn’t. This may be the book’s most important contribution, given that much of what matters in the information age is intangible, and often feels incredibly unproductive (i.e., writing a book, networking).
Like most New Testament epistles, the book begins with theology, and only then moves toward practice. As a New Testament professor, my favorite part was the theology of productivity section. The rest feels familiar, covering skills like speed reading and task management (an expanded and updated version of Getting Things Done by David Allen mixed with First Things First by Covey). I don’t feel like I learned much from the skills section, but I loved the incredible selection of quotes from Christian history about productivity, especially from Jonathon Edwards, which will sparkle in future sets of class notes! Along with this, Perman has also included interviews with a variety of Christian and secular influencers on their own habits of productivity. The interviews range from Seth Godin to my favorite Christian blogger, Tim Challies. To be honest, I was hoping for more from these interviews, given the way they were hyped in the introduction. Nevertheless, they still provide a nice break from the nitty-gritty of task management.
On that note, the whole book is designed to be readable in whatever format you want. You can gobble it in one sitting, or read a chapter every other month. It is set up with text boxes at the end of each chapter which include the core material for the chapter, including a core quote and the core takeaway, as well as follow-up reading. Another strength is that the book allows for any level of application, insisting that it is better to act than fiddle with perfecting our tools. This explains the title of the book, that “What’s Best Next” is actually a question. The core thesis of the book is that no matter what moment we are in, true productivity means honoring God with our gifts by discerning what is most valuable for his kingdom in our immediate context.
My final assessment: I expect this will be required reading for vocational ministry at the seminary level, because it moves beyond efficiency to theology and provides a map charting how to be productive in the age of 24/7 intangible productivity.
Perman does a great job of building upon popular productivity principles and presents them in a gospel-centered framework. Perhaps you have tried adopting principles, patterns and methods from other productivity books but have got burned out using them and found that they just don't translate well for you. This book is different! If you want to live a life of purpose this book will help you become a better steward of the time God has entrusted to you by helping you define what is productivity, what things are truly productive, and how they fit into your life.
MY TOP TAKEAWAYS:
Here are the top 12 Myths this book will help the reader overcome in regards to a gospel-centered view of productivity:
Myth #1: Productivity is about getting more done faster.
Truth: Productivity is about effectiveness first, not efficiency.
Myth #2: The way to be productive is to have the right techniques and tools.
Truth: Productivity comes first from character , not techniques. The only way to make the right decisions is first to be the right kind of person (Rom. 12: 1 – 2; 2 Peter 5: 1 – 8).
Myth #3: It is not essential to give consideration to what God has to say about productivity.
Truth: We cannot be truly productive unless all our activity stems from love for God and the acknowledgment that he is sovereign over all our plans.
Myth #4: It is not essential to make the gospel central in our view of productivity.
Truth: The only way to be productive is to realize that you don’t have to be productive.
Myth #5: The way to be productive is to tightly manage yourself (and others!).
Truth: Productivity comes from engagement, not tight control; when we are motivated, we don’t need to tightly control ourselves (or others).
Myth #6: The aim of time management should be our peace of mind.
Truth: Productivity is first about doing good for others to the glory of God.
Myth #7: The way to succeed is to put yourself first.
Truth: We become most productive by putting others first, not ourselves.
Myth #8: We will have peace of mind if we can get everything under control.
Truth: Basing our peace of mind on our ability to control everything will never work.
Myth #9: To-do lists are enough.
Truth: Time is like space, and we need to see lists as support material for our activity zones, not as sufficient in themselves to keep track of what we have to do.
Myth #10: Productivity is best defined by tangible outcomes.
Truth: The greatest evidence of productivity comes from intangibles, not tangibles.
More and more, productivity is about intangibles — relationships developed, connections made, and things learned. We need to incorporate intangibles into our definition of productivity or we will short-change ourselves by thinking that sitting at our desks for a certain number of hours equals a productive day. Truth: The greatest evidence of productivity comes from intangibles, not tangibles.
Myth #11: The time we spend working is a good measure of our productivity.
Truth: We need to measure productivity by results, not by time spent working.
Deadlines work well for execution tasks (the realm of personal management), but they do not work well for creative tasks and ambiguity (the realm of personal leadership).
Myth #12 : Having to work really hard or even suffer in our work means our priorities are screwed up or we are doing something wrong.
Truth: We will (sometimes) suffer from our work, and it is not sin.