Beeminder Forum

Beeminder book club?


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?


Yeah the other book is where the real meat is. I understand why he made the macOS book because the first book is dense, and I’ve really had to let all this stuff sink in over time. Worth a read if you’re serious about turning knowledge resources into long-term wisdom & action.


How about… now?!


Farsighted: How We Make the Decisions That Matter the Most just came out. It’s supposed to be an actionablr overview of improvements in decision making. The author wrote an essay in the NY Times recently, and he mentioned Schelling in it, which is enough to get it on my personal read list.


It’s on my personal read list, as well, because I apparently pre-ordered it months ago and forget until I got the receipt from Amazon this morning!


By the way, if you ever want to discuss your workflow from these books, I am totally down. I’m getting there but not finished, that’s for sure.


There hasn’t been any new activity in the threads for The Willpower Instinct for several weeks. I’m personally feeling like I got what I wanted out of that book and am ready to move on.

If others are interested in picking the book club back up, I propose we abandon The Willpower Instinct and pick it up with a new book. I think Deep Work was another popular choice, but I’ve also seen some endorsements of Atomic Habits around here. Any takers?


I would love to. I have read Deep Work, and Atomic Habits is on my list, so both work great for me!