Friday, July 01, 2005

(*) Time Power by Brian Tracy

Why am I posting this 1 star book? Because following the author's suggestion at using my time wisely I read it in only 2 hours, and for your benefit I will distill its entire wisdom to a few short useful statements. Enjoy, but please don't take too long, OK?

In an experiment by USA Today in 2002, it asked people make resolutions for the upcoming year. 1/2 were asked to write these down. "Only 4% of people who made resolutions, but not written them down, had made any changes. But 46% of those who had written down their resolutions had followed through on them. This is a difference of 1100% in the rate of success explainable by the simple act of writing it down on paper." p28

"In a series of interviews with Sr executives, 50 out of 52 [96%] said that they would not promote a person with a messy desk or cluttered work environment, even if that person was producing good work. These executives said that they could not trust a position of responsibility to a person who could not get organized." p56

"There is a simple method of organizing your time and your schedule for up to 2 years in advance. 1st you get a box of 45 files with 14 hanging folders. 31 files are numbered for the days of the month. 12 for months of the year. The last 2 are for the next 2 years... Each day, you take out the file for that day and that becomes the starting point of your planning." p63

When trying to avoid conversation with an airplane seatmat say this "I'm a fund raiser for a religious cult." p69

A study of geniuses [or is it genii? I guess only a genius would know the plurual] found 3 common qualities:
"The 1st quality was that all geniuses seemed to take a systematic approach to problem solving... They would analyze something step by step, before jumping to a conclusion or taking action... The 2nd quality was a sense of wonder - the ability to look at situations in a fresh, almost childlike way. The 3rd quality is that they seem to have the ability to concentrate with greater depth and intensity than the average person. " p107 And the 4th quality according to me is to select your parents wisely so that you can ensure to inherit the genius genes that make all of the other above items possible. Now with this simple plan, go out there be a genius! Now where in the hell did I put my car keys?

Plan B is not named as such because everyone's first plan is called 'A'." [It's] known as the 'Bismarck Plan' or 'Plan B' for short after Otto Van Bismarck. No matter what happened he always seemed to have detailed backup plan as an alternative. " p127 I'll take historical trivia for $100.

"The very best time to shop for groceries is Tuesday afternoon. Why? Store shelves are restocked on Monday evening after the weekend. " p156

"In a survey of 104 CEOs who were asked what specific qualities [out of a list of 50 choices] would most mark a young person for rapid promotion... 84% of them agreed that 2 were most important... 1st was defined as the ability to separate relevant from the irrelevant. The 2nd was the ability to get the job done fast." The 3rd was to make sure that your uncle was a board member.

"One method you can use is called the rip and read method. Instead of reading a magazine, you go the table of contents, identify the articles of interest, and then you rip them out and place them in a folder for reading at a later time." p184 I've actually tried this with magazines and books, and I must tell you that it is absolutely fabulous, except that it really pisses off the librarians.

"I kept 6 honest serving men. They taught me all I knew. Their names? What, Why, When, Where, Who and How." (Rudyard Kipling) p200

"The single most important cause of postive feelings [at work] is knowing exactly what is expected... The number one complaint or demotivator is not knowing what's expected." p203

"Here's an excellent exercise for you. Make a list of all the answers to this question, 'Why am I on the payroll?'... Now take this list to your boss and ask him to prioritize [and add/delete items]. From that day forward whenever your boss asks you do something [not on the list], take out your list and ask him where this new item should go on the list." p215 Good luck trying this. And after you're done employing this gem, let me know how long the unemployment benefit line is.

Here's a better exercise we only wish could come true. It's called 'Keep your job'. "First, managers must write down the names of all the people who report directly to them. Next to those names they must write the most important jobs and in what order of priority that each of these people is expected to accomplish, and why they are on the payroll. Then each of these people will be asked 'What exactly have you been hired to do and in what order of priority?' If the answers are identical to their managers, then the managers will be allowed 'Keep their job'... In years of conducting this exercise, I have never found a manager who is willing to stake his job on this." Are we really surprised? Here's my variation called 'Keep your spouse'. First write down why you got married to your spouse, and why you think they married you. Now have your spouse do the same. If the lists are not identical, hire a lawyer.

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