Book Review: 18 Minutes

Find Your Focus, Master Distraction, and Get the Right Things Done.

By Peter Bregman.

Reviewed by Kevin Price, Publisher and Editor in Chief, US Daily Review.

Can 18 minutes really make a difference in your life?

One of the perks of being in the media is getting to see books before they are even released for sale.  I get several every month in my mail box and, usually, I often open the package, glance at it, and hand it off to someone else to review either on my show or at US Daily Review.  However, the older I get, the more I realize that the one thing that is truly limited is time and books about it, always catch my attention.  The rich expend huge amounts of money to try and buy time through convenience, but it is the one thing that is completely borrowed and finite.  I believe that reality is one of the reasons that Timothy Ferriss’ 4-Hour Work Week was such a huge success — the idea of being able to accomplish in four hours when others require ten times more than that is very attractive indeed.  I read Ferriss’ book by the way, and loved it.  But very few can deploy his methodology and still stay successful, in my humble opinion.

However, the reality of how difficult it is to accomplish more in less time has not prevented other authors from attempting to teach people how to make the most of it.  Enter the latest I have seen, 18 minutes by Peter Bregman (to be released on September 28, 2011). Peter Bregman is a strategic advisor to CEOs and their leadership teams, began his career teaching leadership on wilderness and mountaineering expeditions with Outward Bound and the National Outdoor Leadership School. He later moved into the consulting field with the Hay Group and Accenture. In 1998 he founded Bregman Partners, a global management consulting firm.

Bregman has advised CEO and senior leaders in many of the world’s premier organizations, including American Express, Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan Chase, FEI, GE Capital, Merck, Clear Channel, Nike, UNICEF, and many others.  He is the author of 18 Minutes: Find Your Focus, Master Distraction, and Get the Right Things Done and Point B: A Short Guide To Leading a Big Change. Peter is a regular contributor to Harvard Business Review, Fast Company, and Forbes, National Public Radio (NPR), Psychology Today, and CNN. His academic credentials include a B.A. from Princeton University and an M.B.A. from Columbia University.

We have all heard stories about the power of the Internet and Bregman says that just such a story drove him to write 18 Minutes.  According to the author, “18 MINUTES was born after a blog post I wrote for the Harvard Business Review became one of the most popular and most commented posts on the site. The post, titled “An 18 Minute Plan for Managing Your Day,” began with a humbling admission: ‘Yesterday started with the best of intentions. I walked into my office in the morning with a vague sense of what I wanted to accomplish. Then I sat down, turned on my computer, and checked my email. Two hours later, after fighting several fires, solving other people’s problems, and dealing with whatever happened to be thrown at me through my computer and phone, I could hardly remember what I had set out to accomplish when I first turned on my computer. I’d been ambushed. And I know better.'”

Among the book’s many objectives, one will find how to:

  • “Identify the four elements – your strengths, weaknesses, uniqueness, and passions – that form the foundation of your success and happiness…and time well spent.”
  • “Focus your year on only five things and decline everything that doesn’t fit.”
  • “Replace the typical “To-Do List” with a 6 box system that ensures each day moves you one day forward in your annual priorities.”
  • “Avoid unproductive distractions by creating some productive distractions of your own.”
  • “Get traction on what matters most while deftly deflecting the distractions that threaten to sabotage your efforts.”

To determine whether you need the methodologies in the book, I suggest the handy (and free) quiz from Bregman’s website.  If time matters to you (and distractions too), like it seems to for many onters in the busy world we live in, I believe one will find it profitable to invest some time with Bregman’s thoughtful book.

All opinions expressed on USDR are those of the author and not necessarily those of US Daily Review.

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