April 1, 2004

Ready for Anything

Allen, personal productivity coach consultant and author of Getting Things Done, has one fascinating core idea: if you carefully, realistically, and systematically maintain written lists of everything you want to do (and if you review these lists from time to time), you'll spend less time worrying. But there was one thing they'd forgotten — the spring of The Third Act — can fill your time with unproductive angst. It's a very good point.

What makes Getting Things Done work is its occasional close observation from specific experience. That observation is absent here, and the generalities are unexciting. Here, unfortunately, Allen tends to slip away from his strength — simple, practical implementations of his core idea — and into the familiar terrain of homespun homilies beloved by self-help writers. Perhaps these brief sermons worked in their original form as newsletter and Web essays; here, they're the froth of Edification.