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  • Ready For Anything |OR| Making it All Work

    I've been using GTD for a couple of years now and would like to read more of David Allen's material. I'm considering the two books Ready for Anything and Making it All Work. Eventually, I'll probably read both but I would like to just select one to begin with so I don't overload myself. After I've had time to form any new habits I need, I'll move on to the next one.

    So, to the people who have read both, which would you recommend to me? Maybe one follows on better from Getting Things Done or maybe one is suited to different professional lifestyles. Are there particular questions I should be asking myself?

    If my personal situation helps, I'm a PhD student who is close to finishing. I'm considering going down the academic route but am also excited about the possibility of going freelance and starting a software development business.

    As far as my GTD system goes, I feel I have a handle on most things. The weakest area for me is probably the overall life goals above 30000 ft.

    Any advice you can give me is gratefully received.

  • #2
    Ready For Anything is a collection of essays. I describe it as more of the "why" behind the methodology. I love this book because I find it so inspirational.

    Making It All Work is similar to Getting Things Done in terms of its practical approach and focused deeply on priorities and the Horizons of Focus model.

    Hope that helps!

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    • #3
      Aaah, now that does help! Those few sentences told me a lot more that all the Amazon reviews I read! It sounds like maybe I should just read them both just now.

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      • #4
        Kelly's description of the two books is right on. Because Ready for Anything is a collection of short essays on different GTD-related topics, I find it's best to dip into it rather than try to read it straight through (for me at least). You might start reading Making It All Work and reading an essay or two in Ready for Anything on the side when you feel like it.

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        • #5
          Ready for Anything.

          Originally posted by cfoley View Post
          I've been using GTD for a couple of years now and would like to read more of David Allen's material. I'm considering the two books Ready for Anything and Making it All Work. Eventually, I'll probably read both but I would like to just select one to begin with so I don't overload myself. After I've had time to form any new habits I need, I'll move on to the next one.
          You have read Getting Things Done and implemented the methodology. It works for you.

          In this situation the better choice is Ready for Anything. It contains thoughts beyond the core GTD methodology while Making it All Work drills down into the methodology.

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          • #6
            TesTeq, are you saying that I will probably have discovered most of what is in Making it all Work either in the GTD book or from implementing a successful GTD system for myself?

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            • #7
              The RFA book is something new.

              Originally posted by cfoley View Post
              TesTeq, are you saying that I will probably have discovered most of what is in Making it all Work either in the GTD book or from implementing a successful GTD system for myself?
              Yes, I think the MIAW book is David's second, extended attempt to explain the basics of GTD. It is useful but for a person who has understood and implemented it after reading the GTD book it may be nothing new but described differently. The RFA book is something new.

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              • #8
                For me, the biggest value in MIAW was the part about higher levels. Nobody is going to tell you what to do with your life, but DA really discusses a lot possibilities and models for each altitude with a depth a detail that perhaps was outside the range of the first book. I often review the corresponding chapter before starting any of my high altitude reviews, and it helps me a lot.

                (I also found a lot of great insights to really 'get' GTD along the rest of the book; I've read it 3 times so far!!! )

                As for RFA, It's a lighter book, with small, post-like chapters which discuss punctual issues about productivity. I like to pick it now and then and read an entry at random... it gets me inspired and back into my 'productive mindset'.

                Of course, there are as many reads possible as readers out there...

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                • #9
                  All interesting stuff. I do have a working system that I am happy with but the high level aspect is the weakest part. I'm great on the runway and up a level or two but by the time you get to the life goals, I'm a bit lost.

                  On the one hand, Making it all Work might give me a deeper insight to GTD as a whole and on the other, Ready for Anything might help me improve a weak spot I've identified.

                  It looks like whichever I choose to go with first will be a good choice. I'll sleep on it and order one in a spare 5 mins tomorrow (time, energy and priority allowing, of course). Thanks for the advice everyone. I'll be making an informed choice now.

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                  • #10
                    making it all work

                    Originally posted by cfoley View Post
                    All interesting stuff. I do have a working system that I am happy with but the high level aspect is the weakest part. I'm great on the runway and up a level or two but by the time you get to the life goals, I'm a bit lost.

                    On the one hand, Making it all Work might give me a deeper insight to GTD as a whole and on the other, Ready for Anything might help me improve a weak spot I've identified.

                    It looks like whichever I choose to go with first will be a good choice. I'll sleep on it and order one in a spare 5 mins tomorrow (time, energy and priority allowing, of course). Thanks for the advice everyone. I'll be making an informed choice now.
                    I found Making it All Work to be very helpful in helping me clarify those higher level horizons.

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                    • #11
                      Thought: Get RFA as an audiobook

                      I have MIAW in hardcover and RFA as an audiobook.

                      At my first job, my boss was a huge fan of GTD (that's how I got into it), and I had a real clunker of a computer that took about five minutes to boot, no exaggeration. So every morning, I would read a "chapter" of RFA while my computer booted. Endeared me to the boss, and I learned a lot. However, since then, I've found I like RFA on audio, because it's nice reinforcement. The small chunks make it easy to stop and start, and since it's less about implementation and more about the "whys," you start absorbing some of the reasoning behind the methods as you listen. You find yourself reciting some of the key analogies and principles to yourself after a while and they become ingrained ways of thinking. For instance: what is a mind like water? "If you throw a rock into a pond, the water doesn't overreact or under-react. It simply interacts, and goes back to calm." or, one I find myself asking all the time: "How fast can you get back to 'ready'?"

                      I do have GTD as an audiobook as well, but I find I tend to reach for RFA if I need something to listen to again.

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                      • #12
                        READY-FOR-ANYTHING-UNABRIDGED-AUDIO-CDs!

                        Originally posted by jesig View Post
                        I have MIAW in hardcover and RFA as an audiobook.
                        Yes, I forgot! RFA as an audiobook is a perfect choice. I've got one. But I must confess that I have the original RFA in hardcover and a Polish paperback translation too... Not a minimalistic attitude.

                        Currently Amazon has only an abridged version of the RFA book. I've bought mine (unabridged version) directly from DavidCo: READY FOR ANYTHING - UNABRIDGED AUDIO CDs.

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                        • #13
                          Thanks again for all your advice. After sleeping on it, I've decided to go for Making it all Work. I really don't get how the levels of work gels with the rest of GTD so I'm going to try and tackle that first.

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