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  • Difficult English

    On page 7 of Getting Things Done-The Art of Stree-Free Productivity, at the top, it reads, "Little seems clear for very long anymore, as far as what our work is and what or how much input may be relevant to doing it well."

    I have trouble to grasp the meaning of "Little seems clear for very long anymore,..." Does it mean it becomes unclear within a short time? Can someone be very kind enough to elucidate the actual meaning David wishes to convey?

    Thanks.

    Armstrong

  • #2
    My translation:

    In the good old days, you would have one job to do, and you'd do it. It seems that in the contemporary workplace our roles are changing daily, and it gets hard to predict what we'll need to be doing from moment to moment.

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    • #3
      Hi Grail,

      Thanks for your translation. It more or less reflects David's thought in page 6.
      Specifcally, I'm keen in discovering why David appends "anymore" to the end of "..for very long". It causes syntactical confusion in English.

      Nonetheless, your translation helps clean up the confusion. Probably, David's "anymore" was meant to compare with "the good old days," probably in 70's.

      Armstrong
      Hong Kong

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      • #4
        Originally posted by armsys View Post
        Nonetheless, your translation helps clean up the confusion. Probably, David's "anymore" was meant to compare with "the good old days," probably in 70's.
        Yes. Similar usage appears in a sentence like, "We never talk anymore," which can be interpreted as "Once upon a time, we used to talk. Now, we don't."

        Katherine

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        • #5
          Katherine,

          Thanks for your generosity to help.

          Armstrong
          Hong Kong

          Comment


          • #6
            Other routes to GD?

            David Allen's writing style can produce somewhat convoluted, difficult to read sentences. I have urged many of my friends, almost evangelically, to adopt GTD but some have given up with the book finding it too difficult to read. Apart from the CDs, can anyone recommend any other GTD material that would act as an easy starter?

            I feel as though I'm being unfair to DA here because I believe he should benefit financially from anyone's adoption of his intellectual property, but there should be an easier, less in-depth, alternative to having to read the whole book to get up and running.
            Last edited by Howard; 07-23-2007, 08:41 AM.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Howard View Post
              David Allen's writing style can produce somewhat convoluted, difficult to read sentences. I have urged many of my friends, almost evangelically, to adopt GTD but some have given up with the book finding it too difficult to read. Apart from the CDs, can anyone recommend any other GTD material that would act as an easy starter?

              I feel as though I'm being unfair to DA here because I believe he should benefit financially from anyone's adoption of his intellectual property, but there should be an easier, less in-depth, alternative to having to read the whole book to get up and running.
              Not exactly an answer to your question, but I found listening to DA talk on a few podcasts helped me read the book. After listening to him, you get a feel for how he talks, how he structures sentences and thoughts; then when you read the book and put his voice into it, the convoluted sentences suddenly make more sense.

              Give it a try... maybe it will help.

              Comment


              • #8
                I also found GTD hard to read in spots. The book reads as if it were dictated and never edited by a professional editor. It is a gem in the rough.

                The original sentence: "Little seems clear for very long anymore, as far as what our work is and what or how much input may be relevant to doing it well."

                My interpretation: "It used to be clear what our work is and which input is relevant to that work. Now those things are less clear and what clarity we have does not last long."

                I believe DA is referring back to to a time such as prior to the 1950s in the US when most people worked in factories or agriculture or other kinds of physical, tangible work. He refers to today's typical white collar job as knowledge work. In a factory, it is easy to know what to do because the assembly line is moving in front you you and you have a box of parts to install on it as it goes by. In knowlege work, there are an almost unlimited number of things you could choose to do this minute. And the information that you might use to accomplish some of these things is almost unlimited, causing yet another problem.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by jknecht View Post
                  Not exactly an answer to your question, but I found listening to DA talk on a few podcasts helped me read the book. After listening to him, you get a feel for how he talks, how he structures sentences and thoughts; then when you read the book and put his voice into it, the convoluted sentences suddenly make more sense.

                  Give it a try... maybe it will help.
                  Thanks for the response jknecht.

                  It's not really a problem for me personally and I'm happily into my second reading of the august tome. It's just that I'd like to be able to offer those friends and colleagues, who could clearly benefit from the GTD system but who don't particularly enjoy reading, an easier start.

                  Perhaps DA should follow up with a volume called "GTD for Beginners" (or dare I say "...for Dummies")?
                  Last edited by Howard; 07-23-2007, 01:25 PM.

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                  • #10
                    Barry,

                    Originally posted by Barry View Post
                    My interpretation: "It used to be clear what our work is and which input is relevant to that work. Now those things are less clear and what clarity we have does not last long."
                    I wish David could have written the same crystal clear sentence like yours to help his GTD followers.

                    Having listened innumerously my Audible audio book of the same title narrated by David himself, I agree with most members' feedback. Indeed, David's vocal presentation is less lingusitically "convoluted." Though based on the printed book, the audio version is't identical to the original text. At the end of the day, I still prefer the printed version.

                    IMHO, David's writing style isn't particularly challenging when compared with other authors such as David Lakhani,by Jerry Porras, Stewart Emery and Mark Thompson. I find David's English occansionally mysterious probably due to his general inclination to compress his ideas in fewest possible words.

                    Unexpectedly, I'm astounded by an Englishman's comment, "David Allen's writing style can produce somewhat convoluted, difficult to read sentences."

                    Armstrong
                    Last edited by armsys; 07-24-2007, 07:42 AM.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by armsys View Post
                      Unexpectedly, I'm astounded by an Englishman's comment, "David Allen's writing style can produce somewhat convoluted, difficult to read sentences."
                      ...and as I say, I don't personally have a problem with his style, but some do and it would be good to be able introduce them to his great system a little more easily.

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