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What's Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things Done Paperback – September 13, 2016
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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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Perman candidly testifies that his hope of a achieving a "mind like water" was very rarely ever achieved through GTD practices. Instead, he found his state of mind of being one of "mind like a tsunami" (15). Mine, too.
"Getting Things Done" (GTD, Allen), "Zen to Done" (ZTD, Babauta), and "Getting Results the Agile Way" (GRAW, Meier) are brilliant and practical authors whose methodologies have helped me in becoming more efficient and productive. Yet, too many good things have been left undone, too many people have not been loved and served as I would want to be loved and served, and too many opportunities to do great things of eternal impact have been wasted. These facts have left me heartsick.
What have I been doing wrong in implementation? Was there a better tool than OmniFocus that I needed to find? Should I switch from Moleskine to Rhodia?
Was there no hope? I'm a full-time pastor of a small but thriving country church in rural Washington. My wife's chronic, debilitating and incurable disease is ever worsening. My own recently diagnosed Polycystic Kidney and Liver disease, according to the exceedingly caring and thorough docs at the VA, will continue to degrade my energy level. Could it ever be true that there was a system that would adapt to not only a "mind like tsunami" but a "life like tsunami"?
Brother Matthew has helped me to see that I've been first looking for a system that would enable productivity when I should have been first looking for a person--the Savior! Perman writes, "Productivity is specifically about doing 'the will of the Lord.' It’s about specifically orienting our lives and decisions around God’s will. We are to ultimately be Christ-centered, not just principle-centered....It makes productivity personal in the fullest sense, and makes our whole lives one of fellowship with God, rather than a following of principles. It gives us even more guidance than simply being principle-centered, for God is a living being" (56).
This is good news! Further good news, and hope, is offered when Matt writes, "I mentioned earlier that effectiveness must be learned. Here’s the good news: Drucker found that everyone who worked at becoming effective succeeded" (42).
In the pages of this book you will find foundational concepts and practical helps toward becoming a hope-filled knowledge worker who can expect to succeed as you continue working "at becoming effective" while living out a loving life of good works that brings you abiding joy and magnifies God's glory through Jesus.
Pastor for Preaching,
Open Heart Baptist Church,
The book starts by building a strong case for a biblical view of productivity, and distinguishing it from the world's view of getting things done. It lays the groundwork for understanding why a good theology of productivity matters, how it will help us become better Christians, and what benefits it will provide (other than getting more things done).
After establishing a strong foundation of how the Bible defines productivity, he then moves into more practical application of those principles. Some sections I found especially helpful were: how and why to create a mission statement in light of the gospel's timeless truth, how to define your roles in light of the gospel's commands, how to set up your week with a view for serving others, and how to delegate for the benefit of others (not just for yourself).
This book will challenge your thinking! It's not a fast read, although it's well-written and engaging. But it requires a lot of thought and calls for some "homework" along the way -- for instance, the chapter on creating a mission statement or defining your roles requires time out to do just that. It's not a book worth rushing through. Thankfully, each chapter closes with a box (literally called "The Box") that includes the chapter's core point, core quote, and core Scripture passage; a task for immediate application; common questions and answers; and further resources about the chapter's content.
Additionally, the book ends with a "toolkit" that can be revisited time and again, whenever you need a refresher on some aspect of gospel-driven productivity. It includes things like a 500-word recap of the topic; an easy reference guide to key issues in productivity (pointing to various pages within the book itself); an annotated bibliography for further reading on key productivity-related topics; and a list of tools available for free online, including five bonus chapters and other helpful articles.
Highly recommend for any Christian who wants to get anything done... no matter what your role may be! It shares a strong biblical worldview, keeps Scripture as the highest authority, and strikes a fine balance between grace and law. It is a resource I will be returning to in the future whenever I need a refresher on "what's best next."
In the book, you will learn the basis upon which this book stands, the author's belief in why it should work, the method, implementation and finally implications.
At its core, the method revolves around understanding why you are here and understanding how to build all of your roles around it and weaving that through a flexible schedule to do the most good for others.
Most important about this book is the format. Matt did an amazing job in the layout. Most importantly, you can transit this book in many ways. First you can hit the appendix with an abridged version of the method. Another option is to read "the box" at the end of every chapter to understand the main points. For more detail, you can catch the intro and headings. Or you can blow through the whole book.
This book is useful for both Christians and not. It will open the eyes of both to a world of how to determine what's best next for them to do.
In the end, this book is one I have, and will continue to return to in order to refine my system and ground it was built upon. Take the time to taste, chew and swallow this book.