Here is a list of ten books on productivity and creativity for which I wrote short summaries as well as provided my thoughts in order for you to decide at a glance if any of them can be useful for you 😉 .
1. The Creative Habit – Learn it and use it for life
One Sentence Summary of The Creative Habit: Creativity is learned, nourished and maintained; for inspiration to flow through us and spring forth from the mind, you must prepare, have rituals that invoke it, to know our creative DNA – what we are made for, use our memory and connect disparate things with each other, organize work documents so that we always know where to find them, know how to scratch the surface of things to extract the essential, use the accidents and incidents that that appear in our life, have an idea-base which serves as a backbone for our creation, use our talents wisely, recognize roadblocks and the moments that overtake us, know how to fail, and pace ourselves over the long term – to the very end.
Good book, in which the pleasant format judiciously adds value to the contents.
Packed with ideas, tricks and ways to develop and maintain creativity.
Full of practical exercises and practially inexhaustible.
Twyla Tharp tells us about numerous relevant personal experiences
A bit too much emphasis on purely artistic creativity.
Some passages are not believable showing a certain lack of scientific knowledge in the author.
Book is a bit too packed and crowded at times.
My Rating :
Have you read “The Creative Habit” ? How do you rate it?
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2. The Path of Least Resistance – Learn to Become the Creative Force in Your Own Life
One Sentence Summary of The Path of Least Resistance: Our freedom in life, like our freedom of movement in a building, is partly defined by its structure, thus to be able to create our life, and move towards our ideal, it is better to change its structure rather than change our behavior within the same framework, this book teaches us to do so by showing how we can create a structure in our life, which draws us inexorably, and almost effortlessly, along the path of least resistance- and pushes us to create what we really want for ourselves.
- Complete method, rich and profound
- Concrete use of a system to change our lives
- Many passages that stand out for their intelligence and the impact they cause
- A dense book which will only be completely understood after several readings
- Very dense
- Lots of jargon
- Lots of repetition
Have you read “The Path of Least Resistance” ? How do you rate it?
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3. Getting Things Done – The Art of Stress-Free Productivity
One-Sentence Summary of Getting Things Done: To be efficient, your mind must be crystal clear, like spring water; to get to that point you need to get rid of all the parasitic thoughts that permanently distract you, which you can accomplish by putting everything that you want to, or must do into an external automated system, thus relieving your brain of the need to think – which it does badly, without directed prioritization and without consciously choosing the right moment.
Complete and coherent method
Presented in a simple manner
Intelligent and how-to friendly
In spite of the levels of altitude defined by the author, this method will not make you more intelligent or more conscious of what you really want: you could become more efficient at something that you hate doing.
Have you read “Getting Things Done” ? How do you rate it?
Read more reviews on Amazon about “Getting Things Done”.
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4. The Unwritten Laws of Business
One Sentence Summary of The Unwritten Laws of Business: To succeed in your career, you must understand and apply many unwritten rules with respect to the work, the chain of command, colleagues, project management, the organizational structure, what managers expect from their subordinates, character, personality, and personal development; sometimes these laws seem obvious but even so, those presented in this book are regularly forgotten.
Have you read “The Unwritten Laws of Business” ? How do you rate it?
Read more reviews on Amazon about “The Unwritten Laws of Business”.
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5. The Effective Executive -The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done
One Sentence Summary of The Effective Executive: An executive – one who makes decisions that affect your business – must be effective, that is, he must do what it takes; this book teaches us to do that, by teaching us to learn how to watch our time and to organize it, to ask ourselves about what we contribute rather than what is owed to us, to nurture the energy in ourselves and in others by focusing on strengths rather than weaknesses, concentrating on priorities by trimming the past and having the courage – rather than the intelligence – to determine what they are, making effective decisions based on 5 basic principles, and to understand that every choice has alternatives.
- Concise and relevant
- Many practical applications proposed, mostly in the form of relevant questions to ask
- For any person exercising responsibility in the workplace – an executive in the broad sense
- A solid foundation on which to build efficiency
- Can be read as a summary of the fundamental principles of efficiency
- The examples may seem a bit out of date
- Water has passed under the bridge since then, and many books have appeared to deepen the concepts covered by the author
Have you read “The Effective Executive” ? How do you rate it?
Read more reviews on Amazon about “The Effective Executive”.
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6. Cut To The Chase
One Sentence Summary of Cut To The Chase: Our time is the most precious thing we have; to look after it, it is important to know how to get straight to the point by understanding a number of rules; this book presents 100 of them.
- Short and concise
- Lots of excellent rules, most of them good
- Lots of pictures, with a sense of humor and a penchant for poetry.
- Does not deal with the subject in depth
- Lots of sports imagery and notably football, which might put some readers off – or not
Have you read “Cut To The Chase” ? How do you rate it?
Read more reviews on Amazon about “Cut To The Chase”.
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7. Bit Literacy: Productivity in the Age of Information and E-mail Overload
One Sentence Summary of Bit Literacy: Many people are as unprepared for the onslaught of information in this new era as illiterates would be in a library, even the younger generation, as familiar as they are with computers, are not so with the massive amounts of information that come their way; this book teaches us to manage it via various diverse methods, tools, tips and software.
- Overall approach original and intelligent
- Contents relatively timeless (by comparison to the average information technology book)
- Numerous ideas and interesting methods, even for expert digital information users
- Revolutionary for everyone who is not an expert in digital information
- Anti-Microsoft and pro-Apple absolutely not in an objective way
- Doesn’t talk about certain technologies like file indexing and voice recognition
- Methods that make a digital information professional like myself raise his eyebrows; there are certain points on which I absolutely disagree with the author; I will write an article about this soon
My rating : (if you are not an experienced digital user)
(if you are a seasoned expert with your own methods)
Add half a star if you have a Mac and another half star if you are anti-Microsoft.
Have you read “Bit Literacy“? How do you rate it?
Read more reviews on Amazon about “Bit Literacy”
Buy on Amazon “Bit Literacy”:
8. The Simplicity Survival Handbook
One Sentence Summary of The Simplicity Survival Handbook: In life there is theory and practice, and there are things that “usually” work a certain way, that in actual practice work differently; discover how things really work in the professional world by exploring these 32 Ways To Do Less and Accomplish More and have a more productive and calmer life.
- Amazing format, with numerous humorous and helpful drawings
- Designed not to be read in its entirety: choose the parts that interest you the most
- Detailed and intelligent content
- How-tos in the form of bulleted lists that are easy to understand
- Substantiated with probes, surveys and scientific studies
- Above all designed for people who work in large corporations
Have you read “The Simplicity Survival Handbook“? How do you rate it?
Read more reviews on Amazon about “The Simplicity Survival Handbook”.
Buy on Amazon “The Simplicity Survival Handbook”:
9. Results Without Authority
One Sentence Summary of Results Without Authority: Today in large organizations, it is rare that the project lead has supervisory power over all the people on his project team. He must, however, maintain enthusiasm, motivation and results from people without being able to use the power of his position and powers of coercion; this book teaches us numerous techniques to do so.
- Good internal organization
- The author is experienced which comes through in every paragraph.
- Focused on large corporations
- Heavy format, dry and irritating
- Sometimes a bit too theoretical and conceptual
- Very focused on large corporations
- Not translated into French
My rating: (if you lead projects in a large corporation)
(if you lead projects in another sector)
Have you read “Results Without Authority“? How do you rate it?
Read more reviews on Amazon about “Results Without Authority”.
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10. Making Things Happen
One Sentence Summary of Making Things Happen: Project management is a complicated art which requires you to master a number of things such as planning, understanding what needs to be done, writing a good overall vision statement, understanding where ideas come from, understanding what to do with ideas, writing good specifications, understanding how to make good decisions, communication and interpersonal relationships, what to do when things go badly, understanding why leadership is built on trust, making things happen, managing the strategy in the middle and at the end of the project, or understanding questions of power and politics; this book describes in detail each of these components and gives us numerous methods and tricks for mastering them.
- Very thorough
- Sprinkled with humorous phrases which lighten it up
- The author has obviously mastered his subject down to the tips of his fingernails
- Geared towards the software industry, but contains advice and methods applicable to the management of any project in a large organization.
- Very, very heavy
- A little too geared towards the software industry
- A little too geared towards large organizations
My rating: (if you are called to lead projects in large organizations – add a star if your company is in the software industry)
(if you are called to lead projects in another field)
Have you read “Making Things Happen“? How do you rate it?
Read more reviews on Amazon about “Making Things Happen”.
Buy on Amazon “Making Things Happen”:
Conclusion, and My Best-Of
Well, I hope that this summary will help you to find what is helpful for you in this category of the Personal MBA 🙂 . Here are my three favorite books:
- The Path of Least Resistance : I think about the content of this book without stopping. Yet it’s one of the most difficult to read of the entire category, but it is a gold mine full of nuggets. Change the structure rather than solve problems, it’s so brilliant, genius, so universal …
- Getting Things Done – The Art of Stress-Free Productivity : I have applied only part of GTD but I already see many benefits in implementing this method: a clean desk, a clearer mind, tasks made more efficiently, and even better sleep. I can not imagine what I will win when I will have fully implemented it 😉 .
- The Simplicity Survival Handbook : This book is a model of practicality, because of its funny and practical format, and the fact that it is designed so that anyone must only choose, read and apply what is directly relevant to you. And its content is simply awesome.
If you must only retain three books, that would be those in my opinion 🙂 .
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