Tuesday, June 15, 2004

First Things First (Book Review)

There are a few books that can transform your life. First Things First is one of those books. The book is co-authored by Stephen Covey, author of the highly successful The Seven Habits of Highly Effective people, among other books.

Who Should Read This Book

If you have ever felt overwhelmed about the tasks in your life, or felt stressed for time, or knew that you wanted to do something, but couldn't find the energy to do it, or were not sure about what things to do in your life, this book will help you. This book will point you in the direction that you probably wanted to find all your life but couldn't.

While you might find this book in the self-help or time management
sections of bookstores, this book isn't about time management or
self-help. It's about learning the philosophy of life and applying it to your own life.

What's In It

The authors have realised through their own experiences and through reading other books (wisdom literature, as they call it) that there are certain underlying principles that govern our lives. When we realise that our lives are governed by principles, our attitude (therefore) our life changes, since the underlying assumptions we made earlier have changed.

The most important thing that this book will teach you is how to focus on what's important and distinguish it from what's urgent. We are satisfied when we do the important things but often urgency clouds our thinking and we end up doing the urgent tasks thinking that they are important. What you'll start to see is how doing the most important things on your "to do" list will bring you the greatest satisfaction.

The book takes a holistic approach to life, that life is one indivisible whole. There are four aspects to our life--the physical (our physical needs, exercise, etc.), spritual (religion, philosophy, meditation), intellectual/mental (work, reading,etc), and social (friends, family, etc.). When we find a balance through synergy between these four areas, then we tend to be the most happy.

We also play different roles in our life (parent, son/daughter, spouse, co-worker, manager, volunteer, etc.) and this book talks about how you can achieve synergy in your roles.

These concepts (and others) are presented with anecdotes about clients or experiences of the authors and the book is well-organised and easy to read.

The Bottom Line

If you want to change the way you do things and the way you manage your life in order to become happier, this book is a must read. In fact, like writing books it's a must-do kind of a book.

You don't become a good writer by reading good writing books, you become a good writer by doing the writing. It's the same thing with First Things First. You'll become better organised, will learn to focus on the important things, and your life will be much better if you follow the concepts outlined in the book.

That's what we're looking for isn't it, a better life?


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