Updated on 08.16.07

The Simple Dollar’s Personal Productivity and Personal Development Book Review Series

Trent Hamm

Today, I initiated a weekly series of personal productivity / personal development book reviews here on The Simple Dollar. The reasons for doing this are many:

One, readers have requested it. In the past, there has been pretty strong positive demand that I review some personal productivity and personal development books and philosophies. This drumbeat has gotten louder and louder and louder over the last few weeks to the point that I was getting several emails a day asking for personal development and productivity book and philosophy recommendations.

Two, while it’s not strictly a personal finance topic, it overlaps heavily. Personal productivity and personal development can increase your earning potential and also improve your way of life.

Three, it lets me practice writing about personal finance and personal development. Again, in the recent past my readers suggested trying a “spin off” blog on this topic, but to be honest I’m not sure if I can write about such things with the same quality and passion as personal finance. This book review series gives me the opportunity to find out for myself – and if it goes well, it should also whet your appetite for a spinoff blog.

So, what can we expect? These reviews are going to heavily focus on extracting specific points (reiterated in my own words) that you can utilize in your own life, as well as giving a flavor of the additional material in the book. Most of the books in this series will be positive reviews because, unlike the personal finance books, personal productivity books almost always have some value that can be extracted and applied to your life.

Also, for the readers who are worried that this will take away from the regular postings here, they won’t. These will each be an “extra” posting on Sunday in addition to the usual two posts.

I have a pretty big queue of these books built up to review, but if you have any ones you’d like for me to read and review, please mention them in the comments. I will try to get to them in the future.

Also, I will be keeping a list of all of the reviews in this post for future reference:

The 4 Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss
Getting Things Done by David Allen
Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi and Tahl Raz
The Now Habit by Neil Fiore
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
Ready For Anything by David Allen
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
Brazen Careerist by Penelope Trunk
Time Management From The Inside Out by Julie Morgenstern
The 12 Bad Habits That Hold Good People Back by James Waldroop and Timothy Butler
Go Put Your Strengths To Work by Marcus Buckingham
Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath
First Things First by Stephen Covey
The Well-Educated Mind by Susan Wise-Bauer
How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie
Thinkertoys by Michael Michalko

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  1. Matt says:

    I like the idea – I think the overlap between the topics is just a bit too hard to overlook. Simply being more productive in your time translates directly to money – at least it can.

  2. Tony says:

    I’m always looking for a good book to read and productivity directly effects personal finance so I’m excited to read the reviews.

  3. Amy says:

    Re: working remotely, I tried this for several months at a previous job, and have to say I wouldn’t go back to it. It becomes very easy to go for days without ever leaving the house, or doing much beyond running a few local errands. And while coworkers can sometimes be irritating, you also don’t realize until they’re gone how much of a social outlet it is to have the sort of casual conversations that occur naturally when you work with people. Plus, it is a constant struggle to remind people of your value and presence when you aren’t in the office daily…I at least ended up spending many hours on the phone and IM essentially putting in the virtual equivalent of face time.

    I think the ideal arrangement for me would be to work in the office 2-3 days a week, and remotely the rest of the time.

  4. Marcus Murphy says:

    I’m sure all the classics should get a good review:

    Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
    How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
    7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey

    As well as some newcomers:

    The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson
    The Life You Were Born To Live by Dan Millman
    The Secret by Rhonda Byrnes

    Thanks for you great reviews!

  5. einzige says:

    I think Napoleon Hill’s book is trash, actually. He presages The Secret and suffers from many of the same problems that it does. He peppers his book with all sorts of supposedly illustrative examples meant to guide you and your choices, but most of the examples are stories of people being incredibly lucky, so they have almost no practical value at all. Is the book “inspirational”? Maybe, but so was Kiyosaki’s pile of crap. It doesn’t make it helpful at all.

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