Beeminder Forum

Beeminder book club?


Well, whatever it is, my impression was that it was extremely verbose, and all reasonable stuff in it (which does exist, I admit) could well fit onto an A4 sheet of paper. And a good part of the reasonable stuff is just common sense. While I wouldn’t call it “the worst book on organization and time management”, it’s probably well below the median.

I’d have to dig it up and look through it again - just out of curiosity and to see whether my opinion could change - but I definitely would not like to read it again. Half an hour is most I can afford to lose on that.


Well that explains it - for Americans it’s definitely not “common sense.” :wink:
(of course if it were that easy none of us would bee here!)

But now I’m curious what you think the best books are on time management and organization - I admittedly haven’t read that many.


I’m now reading through Covey’s “7 habits”. A very good book, I think.


And as more evidence that one book will never fit all, I read 7 Habits years ago and found it pretty much useless for me – a lot of it is about social engineering, and he doesn’t give nearly enough actionable steps for someone who is not naturally Good With People, other than “become Good With People”, which, believe me, I’d love to do if only I could figure out how :stuck_out_tongue:

I didn’t hate GTD, although found it too system-heavy for me to actually use for more than a year or so. The organizational book I found life-changing was Mark Forster’s Do It Tomorrow, which advocates daily closed will-do lists, as opposed to the open, endless, often demoralizing to-do lists of systems like GTD (it also has other features which are nice but haven’t been as HUGE for me). As someone who gets a huge kick out of crossing things off lists, being able to cross off my whole list everyday is incredibly motivating, and dovetails really well with beeminder. I’ve been using it (with various tweaks) for going on 4 years now, and it’s managed to make me more productive while also making me feel less anxious.


I had a lot to love about GTD, and it’s still the backbone of how I do work, but Do It Tomorrow got me turned onto The Amazing Marvin. Hiding the backlog is an amazing idea that makes me a literally happier person, every day.


Can you elaborate on how it works and the difference between Forster and Marvin? Sounds interesting!

“The Willpower Instinct”, Ch. 5
"The Willpower Instinct" Book Club, Intro and Ch. 1
"The Willpower Instinct" Book Club, Ch. 2
"The Willpower Instinct", Ch. 4
"The Willpower Instinct", Ch. 3

Hey guys,

I’m relatively new to organisational texts and am a recovering heavy akratic, so I’m keen to explore the rich world of tools and theories embedded in behavioural psychology and organisation!

I’ve just picked up Deep Work after hearing about the concept on multiple podcasts - so far it’s a well constructed tome on the necessity of deep, concentrated focus in the age of inattention.

Other than that, Triggers seems it might be an intriguing read, as I’ve been trying to establish a morning routine recently and it seems to be about habit change.


Alright folks, I closed the poll. Deep Work and The Willpower Instinct tied–so here’s my executive decision. Because the Deep Work paperback doesn’t come out until September, and because I haven’t read Deep Work yet, let’s do The Willpower Instinct first and Deep Work second, and then we’ll do another poll then.

Heads up, both books have been out for long enough that they tend to be available at libraries.

Anyone have any suggestions on reading pace? Most chapters in The Willpower Instinct have exercises you can try, and she suggests a week for most of them. I want this to be approachable to busy folks, without taking so long. Is a month too short? Too long?

I plan on posting questions to think about as you read by the end of this week, along with a tentative schedule, but really, as you read, take notes of things you find interesting, helpful, or that you don’t agree with. Is there something that you already do that superpowers your goals? Is there something you feel like you wish you knew years ago? There are a lot of references–if you love or hate something, maybe dig into the source and take some notes. If you’re read these (or if you haven’t I guess), and you have some discussion questions, post them too. I’ll collect them.

Any thoughts on using Discourse effectively to discuss a book? Would one thread per book be enough? How do other book clubs using Discourse do it?


This book is designed to be used as if you were taking my ten-week course. This book is designed to be used as if you were taking my ten-week course … Although you could [go faster], I encourage you to pace yourself when it comes to implementing the strategies. Students in my class take an entire week to observe how each idea plays out in their own lives. They try one new strategy for self-control each week, and report on what worked best.

My suggestion is let’s just take the author at their word.

A month (so twice as fast) is also fine by me.


For what’s worth, both books are available on Kindle.


One thread per book sounds like a good idea, and I look forward to getting started! :slight_smile:


Why? Explain please?


I’m guessing someone sold you some other book bound in the cover of “7 Habits”. IMO, what you write about is exactly what Covey warns not to do.


Well I had a similar reaction to your comments about GTD!


Just because Covey’s method for social engineering is to be genuinely interested in people, doesn’t make it not social engineering! It just makes it social engineering that’s completely inaccessible to anyone who isn’t genuinely interested in people.


What does any of that have to do with time management or organization?


All the examples I had seen up until this point (I’ve since found a way) talked about manually entering data or tracking based on time.

My experience with manually entering data is I ignore the goal until 23:55 and then put something in so I don’t derail. With tracking time you can just set the timer and do something else and then attribute the time to reading.

I’ve since set up a Zapier integration:

Read book on Kindle
Share reading progress with Goodreads (integration built into Kindle) - only (semi)manual action
Get Zapier to pull in the new Goodreads feed item from RSS
Scrape for % read and book name
Match up book name (if doesn’t exist create a new item) in Google spreadsheet
Add the new read percentage for the book in separate column
Formula in a separate cell sums that column
Run a regular check on that cell for a change in value
If any change push the new value to Beeminder Odometer goal

The rest…


I just finished Cognitive Productivity with macOS last night. Now I’m tempted to go back and read the first book! There were several concepts I found valuable, but the author’s own organizational systems require rigid behavior. For example, he invents short-codes for projects (like bkLTP) that he embeds in file and folder names and then memorizes them so that he can use them to find files quickly with Spotlight.

A lot of the recommendations in the book are freely available as YouTube videos, although without the accompanying cognitive science theory.


But AFAIU “7 habits” is not about “being good with people”. It is about “being good”, and then the “with people” follows much more naturally.


Just got my copy of “The Willpower Instinct” in the mail! When do we start?