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18 MINUTES by Peter Bregman

18 MINUTES

Find Your Focus, Master Distraction, and Get the Right Things Done

By Peter Bregman

Pub Date: Sept. 28th, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-446-58341-1
Publisher: Business Plus/Grand Central

Successful people can get even more out of life and work by mastering distraction and following a few supposedly simple rules. 

The 18 minutes in Harvard Business Review columnist and business consultant Bregman’s (Point B: A Short Guide to Leading a Big Change, 2007) plan, not revealed until well into the book, include one minute every working hour to contemplate how effectively the carefully plotted previous hour was used and what’s in store for the next. This ritualistic hourly refocusing exercise should be prompted by a pre-programmed phone, computer or watch alert. There will also be just enough time to ponder, “Who am I?” The author's method accounts for a daily eight minutes during work, sandwiched between five minutes in the morning to plan ahead and another five at night to candidly review how it went. Do it faithfully and success will follow or increase. Many chapters in this formulaic guide begin with anecdotes that lead to some larger point and are topped off with a chapter-ending homily. Emphasis is placed on shutting out distraction, as in refusing to cede precious seconds to people or things that don’t really matter in one’s yearly, daily, and minute-by-minute plan. Bregman's writing style is lucid if somewhat self-congratulatory. That prospective practitioners of the author’s program are intelligent, talented and ambitious is assumed. Only one lower-order person appears in the book, a night janitor with a sense of achievement for making an office look clean. The author, a Princeton graduate and self-made man, seems to find this hard to credit.

Irritating on many levels, but loosely based on an underlying truth that thought should precede action.