In this debut self-help guide, a former longtime Microsoft employee discusses how to make decisions and trade-offs that honor one’s priorities in life.
Although she worked for Microsoft for 16 years, Landau was no Microserf (à la Douglas Coupland’s 1995 novel). “I made the uber-competitive, corporate environment work for me, not just work for the company,” she declares at the start of this book, which offers up her seven steps to achieving better “life balance.” She intentionally uses this term because “Work is a part of our lives, not a distinct entity that should get first, or even equal, billing.” Landau organizes her system under the catchy handles of “Design the Life You Want,” “Diagnose Where You Are Today,” “Deal with Yourself,” “Determine the Roles of Others,” “Decide Smarter,” “Do What It Takes,” and “Defend Your Progress” and offers an array of exercises to showcase and support her action-ideas. For example, she suggests ranking one’s priorities in life (adventure, career, family, and so on), assessing how well one’s daily calendar reflects this ranking, and imagining, by writing a bio and/or obituary, one’s desired “future self.” She cautions readers about a “saboteur” inner voice and the “dangerous duo” of procrastination and perfectionism and provides many fill-in charts, including how to assign what “VIP privileges” to give others and “identify when you’re making a tradeoff (hint, always)” in any decision. Landau concludes by urging readers to practice “Life Balance Defense” and set regular review sessions regarding this always-challenging quest. “It’s time to get practical and tactical,” she notes at one point, and this philosophy infuses this slim book. Although readers may hunger for more details on how Landau took charge of her own career, she still offers a lot of cleareyed advice and nifty tips to navigate one’s existence, making a point to note that you can’t always have it all. Her “Family Fold Fest,” the weekly “party” during which her husband and kids fold their own clothes after she does the laundry, is just one example of her life-balance savvy (indeed, genius). Overall, a positive, proactive how-to debut.
Pragmatic, inspiring advice on time/life management.