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The Age of Speed

samzenpus posted more than 5 years ago | from the hurry-up-and-hussle dept.

Book Reviews 114

enactd writes "I feel life is a constant juggle, for every task in hand you have another to react to or let drop. The Age of Speed helps you chart your tasks to keep the important goals in sight while recognizing and reacting to distractions. Being a geek on the cutting edge of technology gets one acquainted with speed quickly, but being able to handle it is another matter and streamlining is an ongoing effort. The goal of the book is to help you decide what is important in your life and extract as much pleasure from those things while minimizing the time spent on the mundane." Keep reading for the rest of Chris's review.The beginning of the book deals with shedding the guilt most people associate with getting things done quickly. We are lead to believe at an early age that shortcuts diminish the reward or the experience of a task. While there are some tasks where this holds true, overall it is a common myth one needs to overcome in the age of speed.

My favorite anecdote was a fresh look at the Tortoise and the Hare. The common moral one associates with this fable is "Slow and steady wins the race." But the story isn't a condemnation on speed, rather against stupidity. The Hare lost simply because he was dumb enough to take a nap in the middle of the race, in no way did his speed work against him.

One of the major sections of the book splits personalities up into four categories, Zeppelins, Balloons, Bottle Rockets and Jets. The tech world mostly consists of Bottle Rockets and Jets, as long as you don't include managers. The Jets run smoothly and routinely hit their targets while the Bottle Rockets follow pets.com off the cliff.

Whenever I'm behind the wheel and someone asks if I know where I'm going I reply, "Nope, but I'm going to get there quickly." While I'm usually joking, it perfectly sums up the attitude of a Bottle Rocket. While a Jet has a single target and maintains focus until it's task is complete, a Bottle Rocket constantly changes it's target and never seems to be able to hit it before being distracted by a new goal, leaving a wake of unfinished debris. Obviously one should strive to be a Jet.

I finished this book two weeks ago. I started writing the review immediately after finishing the book, but I wanted to see how applying the principles helped me out. My favorite section was titled Aerodynamics and led to an immediate change in how I approach working.

Sometimes I find myself falling into a black hole of needless distractions, constantly switching between email, Twitter, Slashdot and any other diversion I reward myself with throughout the day. If I have too many distractions in a short amount of time I'll fall into a pseudo trance of cycling through them endlessly. Afterward I'm at square one with getting back on task. Directly after reading the chapter An Exercise in Consciousness I turned off my email auto checker. This simple change transformed my work environment from an interruptive process to one I'm in control of. By removing the interruption I don't have the temptation to succumb to distractions and I've felt much more productive.

The only time the author had me rolling my eyes was the shameless self promotion of referencing the Age of Speed throughout the book. If I were reviewing this book for a more general audience I would have rated it a point higher, but people in the technology sector don't have the same speed hang ups as most people, negating some of the insights of the book. However, there are plenty of pointers for even the most hardcore tech geek. Surviving in an always on World is easy, the key is learning how to prosper.

You can purchase The Age of Speed from amazon.com. Slashdot welcomes readers' book reviews -- to see your own review here, read the book review guidelines, then visit the submission page.

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114 comments

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Time to read book? (5, Funny)

SirLoadALot (991302) | more than 5 years ago | (#27301065)

And where does one get the time to read this book, exactly?

Re:Time to read book? (4, Insightful)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 5 years ago | (#27301339)

If you don't make time for what is important, your life will continue to be dictated by others' whims.

This book sounds like a rehash of Tyranny of the Urgent and Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Hard to tell from a summary, but that is my first impression. Both are must reads if you want to do important things and not just do a lot of things.

Also 'Laws of Leadership' has its high points, and is worth at least a scan.

Re:Time to read book? (3, Funny)

RollingThunder (88952) | more than 5 years ago | (#27302009)

I far prefer the Seven Habits of Highly Effective Pirates. [wikipedia.org]

Walk in the woods (1)

mrraven (129238) | more than 5 years ago | (#27307287)

Me too, or as George Harrison put it what if we gained the world and lost our souls? Sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself is to take a long walk in the woods, 100% "non productive," and it will make you feel more alive and free. Try it sometime and see... If you think the actual Buddha sat around and worried about how "productive" he was you are kidding yourself.
Remember too boys and girls oh so "productive" bankster CEOs caused the American economy to collapse.

Put more simply (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27301527)

tl;dr

Re:Time to read book? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27301807)

Cliff's notes

Re:Time to read book? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27302155)

And where does one get the time to read this book, exactly?

After deciding that reading /. is less important than this book.

Re:Time to read book? (1)

n1ckml007 (683046) | more than 5 years ago | (#27302793)

Wow that was a fast post, you must be adept in the "age of speed"!

Re:Time to read book? (1)

inKubus (199753) | more than 5 years ago | (#27308095)

And where does one get the time to read this book, exactly?

That's where the SPEED part comes in. You cut out sleep, you see.

Work and Play (5, Funny)

Shome (621324) | more than 5 years ago | (#27301081)

Work like a tortoise and play like a rabbit - that sums it up!

Re:Work and Play (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27301407)

I'd rather play with a rabbit [ugo.com] !

A wet Obama (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27301551)

I just had greasy lunch and I can already feel a wet Obama coming...

I'm Still Confused (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27301111)

I read the entire review and I still don't know if the reviewer ever found out exactly how old speed is.

Re:I'm Still Confused (4, Funny)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 5 years ago | (#27301437)

Me neither, but in the chapter "killing time", it turns out the butler did it. In the living room, with a knife.

Re:I'm Still Confused (4, Funny)

Experiment 626 (698257) | more than 5 years ago | (#27304251)

I read the entire review and I still don't know if the reviewer ever found out exactly how old speed is.

15 years. Though it's really not Keanu's best work.

Pursuit by Stephen Dobyns (5, Insightful)

Slightly Askew (638918) | more than 5 years ago | (#27301173)

Each thing I do I rush through so I can do
something else. In such a way do the days pass -
a blend of stock car racing and the never
ending building of a gothic cathedral.
Through the windows of my speeding car, I see
all that I love falling away: books unread,
jokes untold, landscapes unvisited. And why?
What treasure do I expect in my future?
Rather it is the confusion of childhood
loping behind me, the chaos in the mind,
the failure chipping away at each success.
Glancing over my shoulder I see its shape
and so move forward, as someone in the woods
at night might hear the sound of approaching feet
and stop to listen, then, instead of silence
he hears some creature trying to be silent.
What else can he do but run? Rushing blindly
down the path, stumbling, struck in the face by sticks;
the other ever closer, yet not really
hurrying or out of breath, teasing its kill.

Unlike "Pilot"... (1)

UseTheSource (66510) | more than 5 years ago | (#27301189)

Humans were not meant to multitask.

Is that .. (1)

FeepingCreature (1132265) | more than 5 years ago | (#27301413)

a Farscape reference? :D

Re:Is that .. (1)

UseTheSource (66510) | more than 5 years ago | (#27301899)

Indeed.

Re:Unlike "Pilot"... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27301661)

So, you've never been a parent ...

Re:Unlike "Pilot"... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27301673)

If God didn't want us to wield two guns at once, we wouldn't have two hands. ;-)

Re:Unlike "Pilot"... (1)

UseTheSource (66510) | more than 5 years ago | (#27301829)

If God didn't want us to wield two guns at once, we wouldn't have two hands. ;-)

Sure, that's all well and good... But, just try reloading them without an extra hand. :P

Re:Unlike "Pilot"... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27302013)

Perhaps you missed the Matrix?

Everyone knows you just throw them aside and grab two more from your trench coat ;-)

Re:Unlike "Pilot"... (1)

MrKaos (858439) | more than 5 years ago | (#27304895)

Humans were not meant to multitask.

It's the context switching that kills you.

Priority number 1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27301217)

Don't spend your time reading self-help books.

A Good topic (4, Insightful)

TrippTDF (513419) | more than 5 years ago | (#27301243)

I'll probably pick up a copy of this- it's an important issue. Frankly, we're probably getting to a point that time management needs to be addressed in early education, because we all need some principles just to get through the day.

Re:A Good topic (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 5 years ago | (#27302453)

No.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w7LOCg4uKAg [youtube.com]

I never saw the problem as lack of time, but almost always the lack of prioritizing and also recognizing bullshit and avoiding/minimizing it. You can't do everything. Just pick a few important things.

If kids have time management problems in their life, they're probably having over-achiever parents who live through them trying them to do way too much.

Re:A Good topic (1)

moore.dustin (942289) | more than 5 years ago | (#27303225)

I never saw the problem as lack of time, but almost always the lack of prioritizing and also recognizing bullshit and avoiding/minimizing it. You can't do everything. Just pick a few important things.

While it is not in the sense the OP meant, the answer is still early education. In order to effectively prioritize and/or recognize the bullshit in life, you need to be able to view and rationalize everything for what it really is. That capacity might as well be non-existent for most people in this day and age, especially among the younger generation (in which I am a part of).

The less intelligent our children are, the higher the likelihood that they will allow their time to be consumed by useless activities. TV and gossip mags are prime examples of people wasting away their time because of their complete and total lack of a desire to do anything productive. Productivity is the key word here. Where a smarter person would think productivity is synonymous with progress, a dumb one would likely think the same thing though(They do not realize their error). The difference comes in the ENDS each of these people choose to strive for. An properly educated person would be more likely to know that watching every episode of some TV program is not a worthwhile end whatsoever, while you average person thinks it is a perfectly respectable way to spend their time.

Re:A Good topic (4, Insightful)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 5 years ago | (#27302767)

When you're motivated to get a task done, you get it done. If it's something you don't want to do, you're posting on slashdot instead.

This isn't time management, it's buckling down and doing what we have to do, so that we can do what we want to do.

Age of Speed on Wall St. (4, Interesting)

pileated (53605) | more than 5 years ago | (#27301263)

I wonder if the author did an analysis of how the Age of Speed helped Wall St. to come to its fabulous current state.

The reviewer says we "live in the age of speed." Maybe so. I see plenty of people doing things too quickly. But does that mean we live in the "age of speed?" How does it differ from the age of non-speed? Is it an improvement, an inevitability? Did we lose something? Would the financial disaster we're in right now have been better off without so much speed?

Before reading more about how to cope with the age of speed, I'd prefer to see something explaining just what it is. Otherwise I'm sure not going to spend my valuable time reading it. Right now it just sounds like a buzz phrase.

Re:Age of Speed on Wall St. (1)

Slumdog (1460213) | more than 5 years ago | (#27301417)

How does it differ from the age of non-speed?

If you look at various activities, from filing your taxes to obtaining information or shopping for your favorite laptop, you can do them faster now than say, 20 years ago.

Re:Age of Speed on Wall St. (2, Insightful)

pileated (53605) | more than 5 years ago | (#27303939)

That's true. There is much that can be done more quickly. And I for one won't argue with being able to do my taxes more quickly, or many of other such things.

But I wonder what's been lost. For instance why has the Slow Food movement [slowfood.com] been so popular for so long. Why do I find blogs about slow painting? Why is there a Take Back Your Time day? As far as I'm concerned there's been a tremendous loss. And of course the poem by Stephen Dobyns in one of the first replies indicates this. We are all hurrying. But for what?

I don't think people, and it certainly seems like this book and this reviewer, slow down enough to say: wait a minute! What's the hurry? What have I just lost by being in such a hurry? What have I gained? How do they balance out?

If the book reviewed talked about that I'd be interested. If it just says speed is inevitable and here are some quick hints for dealing with it then I say no thanks.

Re:Age of Speed on Wall St. (2, Informative)

krou (1027572) | more than 5 years ago | (#27301849)

I suggest you read Paul Virilio [wikipedia.org] . He has some rather interesting ideas regarding speed and its effect on society. He's particularly interested in the way speed limits or determines our perception of phenomena. He believes that societies have essentially viewed development in terms of ever increasing acceleration of both communication and transportation; progress is defined according the the acceleration brought about by some technological change. However, in the current age, we're reaching some sort of critical mass where an increase in speed is no longer possible, mainly because speed has a limit, brought about by the discover of the speed of light. (I would suggest that's really what "The Age of Speed" means.)

There's a lot more to add to really explain what he's talking about. For example, he also has another term, called "speed space", which is not just the usual space of three dimensions, but one which is defined by all relative movements, and the acceleration and deceleration of those movements. I'm just beginning to grasp his ideas myself, so I can't give an accurate analysis. I'm currently reading this [google.co.uk] , which is probably a good place to begin.

Since you mention Wall Street, have a look at what he had to say [cryptome.info] about the current economic crisis.

Re:Age of Speed on Wall St. (2, Insightful)

pileated (53605) | more than 5 years ago | (#27304341)

Thanks for the link. I'm unfamiliar with him but did read, too speedily I have to say, his thoughts on the crash. Unfortunately, and I'm not trying to be obnoxious, they strike me as unproven theories at best, and more likely just nonsense.

Perhaps due to my age I've lived through a number of movements, of life-changing, consciousness-changing events. Guess what? The changes were minor. Life didn't change, nor did human consciousness.


Where did the current crisis stem from? the answer is: subprime mortgages; housing credit that proved unsustainable; land. The victims are the hundred of thousands of people who are going to lose their homes. The whole concept of sedentarism had already been challenged by immigrants, exiles, deportations, refugees - and the delocalisation of economic activities. This phenomenon is bound to increase

So what the financial crisis is really a challenge to the 'concept of sedentarism?' I don't think so. The problem with writers such as this is that they know enough about a number of subjects to theorize possible connections between seemingly dissimilar fields. When I first read Marshall McLuhan I was dazzled by his abilities to do this. The problem is that it's like a magician. The audience is too busy being dazzled to notice the tricks, lack of proof, illogic, etc.

Since I've never read him before I don't feel right in criticizing further. Perhaps I'd find more in further reading. But so far I have to say, in spite of what I think are your good intentions regarding him, that I don't find much there.

But I would add I read him quickly. I've found that I always read more speedily, and with less comprehension on the web. Maybe I need to slow down and read a book............

Re:Age of Speed on Wall St. (1)

kj_kabaje (1241696) | more than 5 years ago | (#27301863)

I think you're posting in the wrong thread. This is not "The Age of Greed" thread. Thanks. ;-)

Re:Age of Speed on Wall St. (2, Insightful)

vertinox (846076) | more than 5 years ago | (#27302189)

Would the financial disaster we're in right now have been better off without so much speed?

No. Probably a lot far worse for small time investors just trying to save something for their retirement.

I was thinking of how it was back in the day at least when my dad was introducing me to stocks in the late 80's early 90's. Basically, in the morning you would pick up newspaper with yesterday's closing quote and then call your broker at the end of the day ($50 commissions were cheap back then) and placed your order.

Well by the time that happened a lot of stuff could have happened on wall street and you the small time investor don't have a computer with a dial up connection to the NYSE stock exchange like your broker does.

Well I suppose you could have called your Broker every 5 minutes to see what was going on, but they generally frown on that unless you do $10,000+ trades.

Anyways... The internet has basically imported the little guy (albeit a lot of little guys) to be able to trade like the big dogs. Last year I have actually bailed on stocks I otherwise would have held on to and lost a lot of money on simply because I had net access.

That said, this could be a bad thing when people panic and personal investors tend to be a lot more emotional than the professionals. So your more likely to do dumb things when you should have held on like you would have in the old days.

I would argue that the problem that happened with Wall Street was over leveraging (borrowing of money to invest) of certain big time million/billion dollar funds rather than the fault of a a slew of small time investors who panicked en masse. Yes they did panic, but surprisingly not as bad as you would have though of 1929.

Yes, its a different market these days but its easier to be informed about your investment decisions and able to act on them in a more timely manner.

Still doesn't keep people from doing dumb things.

Re:Age of Speed on Wall St. (2, Interesting)

pileated (53605) | more than 5 years ago | (#27303689)

Actually I was thinking more along the lines of the speed with which CDOs and other structured financial investments were created and sold, without anyone SLOWING DOWN enough to say, you know this sounds like a lot of BS to me..............

If you view Wall St. as nothing more than the ability to trade, then yes 'speed' has given more people the ability to trade quickly. But as a consequence it's also contributed to the substitution of speculation for investment (see John Bogle's new book, 'Enough'). Many people would say I think that speed has been the problem with Wall St. as well in speculation gaining the ascendancy over investment.

It looks so easy with our speedy tools: the price is $9.00 on my screen right here; 30 seconds later it's $9.95 on this screen here. So I sell. That is the Wall St. of day-traders and speed does help. It is not investment.

My guess is that in five years when there's been enough time to sort all of this out that people will say speculation was one of the biggest problems here. That and the abandonment of investment. For example do you buy a house as a long term investment, something that you live in for a long period of time. Or do you buy it for speculation, for a quick profit. I couldn't prove it but I think it's true that most of the speed that you say has been valuable for Wall St. was only valuable if you consider to be Wall St. a speculative entity rather than an investment one.

I think we do agree on panic though. It can move a whole lot more speedily now. I wouldn't be surprised in fact if the huge volatility swings that we see these days are more due to the speed of communication than to anything inherent in the market. But if so then that's one more instance where speed doesn't seem so good. Not that there's much that can be done about it.

Re:Age of Speed on Wall St. (1)

slodan (1134883) | more than 5 years ago | (#27304243)

Over-leveraging is certainly a problem, but it is a feature of every modern economy in the world. The only argument is how much leverage is appropriate, and that number is open to argument. A ratio of thirty seems too high in light of recent events, but no modern economist believes that there should be no leverage.

I think the compensation structure of the large financial institutions is one of the primary root problems of the current economic disaster. Highly rewarding short-term strategies will result in the negligence of long-term possibilities. As a side-note, if you have structured a large portion of your employee compensation as a "retention bonus" so that they don't walk away with your clients, you aren't actually in business. Your employees are just lending their business to you.

Re:Age of Speed on Wall St. (1)

pileated (53605) | more than 5 years ago | (#27304543)


Highly rewarding short-term strategies will result in the negligence of long-term possibilities.

I can't disagree with you on that. Financial Times had a lengthy article on this last summer I think, long before the real meltdown.

But I do think that it's a mistake to say that this was just a matter of over-leveraging, or of compensation. I do partially blame it on speed.

When you can do things quickly, whether the speed is through internet connectivity, computing power or whatever there is a tendency to blindly trust the accuracy of the information. I once needed to code some AP election tables so that they would appear in a newspaper with new calculations and formatting. It looked great and worked quickly. I TRUSTED that speedy computation and formatting. But I happened to notice that when the live returns started coming in they totaled more than 100%. Oops. It all looked good but it wasn't. My experience is that people are far too trusting with the speedy results that technology gives them.

Not being a participant in any of this I only have an outsider's perspective. But something obviously went wrong in many places: CDOs and other structured investments that were very risky; ratings agencies that said they weren't; people eager to make a fast buck, both buyers and sellers. But I wonder how many of the so-called adults in the room, the investment banks and ratings agencies among others, weren't a bit intoxicated by technology: the models worked, the bets were safe. I wonder if they'd been slower and done more investigation by hand if they'd have come to different conclusions.

Or maybe as others have suggested I'm just confusing speed with greed.

Re:Age of Speed on Wall St. (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 5 years ago | (#27302333)

Before reading more about how to cope with the age of speed, I'd prefer to see something explaining just what it is. Otherwise I'm sure not going to spend my valuable time reading it. Right now it just sounds like a buzz phrase.

Otherwise to answer your question more directly and to misuse a quote of a good movie:

You may not believe in "Speed", but "Speed" believes in you.

People could still read the newspaper to get their stock quotes, but that's a horribly inefficient way to do things. Anyone who uses the internet would be at a greater advantage of you in locking in the best price for buying and selling.

Re:Age of Speed on Wall St. (1)

johannesg (664142) | more than 5 years ago | (#27302941)

I believe you are confusing "speed" with "greed". An understandable mistake, of course - the words do look very close.

Chapter 1 (0, Redundant)

spiffmastercow (1001386) | more than 5 years ago | (#27301273)

Stop wasting your time reading slashdot.

My method (4, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 5 years ago | (#27301277)

I dealt with all the things I have to 'juggle' by dropping the biggest that I didn't particularly like: work. It's great because now I have so much more time. Of course it has the side effect of now I live on the street, but really that's so much better because I don't have to 'juggle' other things like wash the toilet, vacuum the floor, or even take a shower. My life is simple now.

Age of Speed? (3, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 5 years ago | (#27301283)

Prediction: It will be found in six months laying in the "nearly free" bin in the bookstore, along with "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People", and "Change Your Underwear, Change Your Life."

News flash: people are impatient..... (2, Insightful)

King_TJ (85913) | more than 5 years ago | (#27302475)

Just from the Slashdot summary alone, I'm placing this book among the ranks of the useless "self improvement/self help" tripe out there.

People are generally impatient when they want things. This is part of the human condition. Technology allows many things to happen more quickly. People, in their impatience, leverage these technologies - and by collectively doing so time and time again, it becomes the "norm" or "standard". People stop planning as far ahead for important things, assuming this "faster delivery time" can be expected/counted on ... and that gives us a perception that we're living in this "Age of Speed".

The thing is, you can read all of these books you want, in some attempt to "improve your own situation". But you can't change the fact that FedEx can deliver a package half way across the world overnight. You can't change the fact that email shows up in a recipient's inbox the second the sender clicks the "send" button. And you definitely can't change the thought processes of business owners who realized technology allows them to process orders at a faster pace, and therefore generate more income per day than they used to.

Ultimately? It comes down to you deciding how many "impatient people" you want to try to cater to. You do stand to gain financially by participating in the "rat race" -- but you can't keep running *all the time* without a break. You have to make your own lifestyle choices and compromises, to find a happy medium.

I've noticed a pretty drastic difference when traveling. If I visit many of the southern states in the US, or even some of the less populated parts of my own midwestern state, there's FAR less overall sense of urgency to get things done. "I'll get to it as soon as possible!" often means "some time before the week is over", vs. "We know you're expecting it today, so I'm trying to get somebody on it this afternoon or by tomorrow morning!"

Try this web site (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 5 years ago | (#27303485)

It pretty much explains exactly why the age of speed exists at all and why it's coming to an end Real Soon Now.

http://www.chrismartenson.com/crashcourse [chrismartenson.com]

 

Re:Age of Speed? (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 5 years ago | (#27303983)

Prediction: It will be found in six months laying in the "nearly free" bin in the bookstore, along with "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People", and "Change Your Underwear, Change Your Life."

Yeah, but not because it's stupid but because it's not about the book. Pretty much all self-help books I've peeked at basicly tell you back the obvious and more often than not have conflicting rules like "stay focued" but at the same time "don't throw good money after bad", "keep focus on the task at hand" and "don't lose sight of the long-term goal" and so forth. The actual insight is very low, it's mostly about making people that don't ever stop to consider what they're doing, and just think a bit on the subject themselves. If you could get those people to just take a timeout they could do the same without the book. Basicly just the same are you doing what you want to do, are you achieving the things you want to achieve and if not what's your options. And if you're having fun whereever you're going, by all means be a Bottle Rocket.

Managing Speed (4, Insightful)

raijinsetsu (1148625) | more than 5 years ago | (#27301291)

The best way to manage speed is not to abuse it. Too much leads to a coronary, and too little leads to not enough time in your day(having a day shorter than 28 hours leaves me with too much to do the next day).

So, whether you inject, inhale, or ingest your speed, be sure do to so in moderation.

I don't care about getting things done quickly (4, Insightful)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 5 years ago | (#27301317)

I care about getting them done effortlessly. We need to automate the mundane completely to leave us more time for our mindless distractions. In truth we probably need to maintain some stress in our lives to avoid becoming shapeless blobs.

Re:I don't care about getting things done quickly (1)

Hao Wu (652581) | more than 5 years ago | (#27302281)

Much of the world has become so wealthy and fat that the only pain and tragedy comes from excessive pleasure, mainly in the forms of drug abuse and arrested psychological development.

I'm not sure if this is better or worse than the world back when sloth and immaturity meant freezing or starving to death.

no need for a book (1)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 5 years ago | (#27301369)

Start to prioritise the things that are important to you and dump the rest. Turn down requests (unless it's from the boss), Stop answering the phone and replying to email (again unless it's the boss) and focus on one thing at a time.

Oh yes, leave the coffee. it does you no good, just increases anxiety. if you can't go a day without a fix, you need help, not more caffeine.

Wrong lesson (4, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 5 years ago | (#27301451)

My favorite anecdote was a fresh look at the Tortoise and the Hare. The common moral one associates with this fable is "Slow and steady wins the race." But the story isn't a condemnation on speed, rather against stupidity. The Hare lost simply because he was dumb enough to take a nap in the middle of the race, in no way did his speed work against him.

The lesson here wasn't "speed is bad" or that "the hare lost simply because he was dumb enough to take a nap." I've always read it more like: you can't let yourself get overly-confident in one of your particular strengths to the point where you take your superiority for granted and stop trying your hardest.

You see it often enough that someone is good at doing something quickly, but they're sloppy about it. Or they're smart, but they don't think things through thoroughly. Being smart and fast are great additions to being a disciplined hard worker-- but they aren't good replacements.

Re:Wrong lesson (1)

bugs2squash (1132591) | more than 5 years ago | (#27304731)

How is it any different from the tale of the jet and the bottle rocket ?

Re:Wrong lesson (0, Flamebait)

nine-times (778537) | more than 5 years ago | (#27306309)

I've never heard of the tale of the jet and the bottle rocket, but I've heard of the tortoise and the hare. I suspect I'm not alone there.

Also, I suspect "the tortoise and the hare" is a better story.

John Cleese: Hare Brain, Tortoise Mind (1)

epine (68316) | more than 5 years ago | (#27307129)

As it happens, I was reading this just last night.

http://www.nytimes.com/1999/02/07/business/talking-management-with-john-cleese-soldier-convention-agent-change-rebuff.html [nytimes.com]

A bottle rocket is one of two things: an energetic talent seeking alignment between aptitude and ambition, or deicing the wings with discount Vodka.

As far as being a jet is concerned, the direct flight from Gander to Boise is highly overrated.

Rather obvious examples don't you think? (4, Insightful)

hellfire (86129) | more than 5 years ago | (#27301475)

This review completely failed to sell me on the book. The user seems very excited by it, but the suggestions are in themselves, rather mundane. The assumptions and analysis in the beginning is flat out wrong. Here's my review of the review:

The beginning of the book deals with shedding the guilt most people associate with getting things done quickly. We are lead to believe at an early age that shortcuts diminish the reward or the experience of a task. While there are some tasks where this holds true, overall it is a common myth one needs to overcome in the age of speed.

Who exactly has guilt at getting things done quickly? Most people I know get things done too quickly, because they are lazy, and don't do it right the first time. The one or two people who take too long and don't use shortcuts are people who are either too lazy to change their routine, or are overthinking the problem. But now more than ever we are all about quick.

My favorite anecdote was a fresh look at the Tortoise and the Hare. The common moral one associates with this fable is "Slow and steady wins the race." But the story isn't a condemnation on speed, rather against stupidity. The Hare lost simply because he was dumb enough to take a nap in the middle of the race, in no way did his speed work against him.

The fable of the tortoise and the hare has never been a condemnation of speed. The author has created this false "reanalysis" to sell the book. We all get the fable, and know what it means, that's why it's timeless.

Whenever I'm behind the wheel and someone asks if I know where I'm going I reply, "Nope, but I'm going to get there quickly." While I'm usually joking, it perfectly sums up the attitude of a Bottle Rocket. While a Jet has a single target and maintains focus until it's task is complete, a Bottle Rocket constantly changes it's target and never seems to be able to hit it before being distracted by a new goal, leaving a wake of unfinished debris. Obviously one should strive to be a Jet.

From here out, the review basically describes something that doesn't take an entire book. Humans don't do well if they try to multitask too much. Multitasking doesn't make you more productive. Sometimes it's necessary (I have to take questions all day at my job while working on a specific task) but you are never more productive.

So basically you are describing a self help book for teenagers and college students who haven't learned yet that all this blogging/twittering/emailing/chatting at the same time is not productive. When you are home enjoying yourself and relaxing, and you relax by having multiple inputs, that's great, but when you are working, shut it all off. Most hardcore geeks understand this, and if they don't, their friends, coworkers, or managers are telling them so. Outside the geek realm, you have your parents constantly telling you to get off the chat rooms if you expect to get your homework done.

There I saved everyone the price of the book.

Re:Rather obvious examples don't you think? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27302285)

Yup, as I take a break and troll Slashdot.

I have considered each of my "inputs" with some care. Some I believe to be pure noise (e.g twitter)- and thereby unappealing in my professional or personal life. Others allow for a rapid and efficient means of collaboration. For example, a short text: "I'll get the kids" followed by the spouse with "ok" is efficient and non-intrusive. If there is a need for a dialog however, pick up the damn phone and talk with someone. Obvious stuff.

Re:Rather obvious examples don't you think? (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 5 years ago | (#27302445)

Who exactly has guilt at getting things done quickly? Most people I know get things done too quickly, because they are lazy, and don't do it right the first time. The one or two people who take too long and don't use shortcuts are people who are either too lazy to change their routine, or are overthinking the problem. But now more than ever we are all about quick.

You sir have never worked for or had to deal with government.

Ever had to fill out a form to get permission to fill out a form?

Well, I think that is what he is talking about when he was talking about shortcuts.

And the most common I can think of in IT is when a user asks you in a person to help them with a 60 second task and you have to have them call in a log a ticket first even though you are nearby their desk for another problem.

Actually come to think of it I've known people to call in to say "'John Doe' told me to call in a ticket cause he worked on my computer."

Sure he bypassed protocol, but he probably did the best shortcut to give the best service.

Re:Rather obvious examples don't you think? (1)

hellfire (86129) | more than 5 years ago | (#27304471)

You sir have never worked for or had to deal with government.

I've worked with the government plenty sir. I know how frustratingly slow it can be, especially since I work for customer service for a software organization myself and customers expect nownownow! What's even funny is outside of support, the processes that occur in our company are as frustratingly slow as the government!

Well, I think that is what he is talking about when he was talking about shortcuts.

I don't. He's talking about individual productivity, not groups. Group productivity is a double edged sword.

And the most common I can think of in IT is when a user asks you in a person to help them with a 60 second task and you have to have them call in a log a ticket first even though you are nearby their desk for another problem.

The funny thing about queues and entering cases and the like is that that's supposed to increase productivity of IT/support, and by far it does. There are plenty of one offs and walk ups and sometimes you have to make a decision about what's best for customer service. On one hand, if you always take walk ups, everyone will walkup to you rather than enter an IT case and you can't manage or priortize your workload and your productivity suffers. On the other hand, yes customer service can suffer if you never take a walkup for such a simple question. The funny thing is that having all those inputs open (email/IM/blogging/etc) is like not having a regulated queue. You should have one queue and work on things one at a time to be productive. So you've helped support my point. I work in support and talk walk ups in my company, for customer service, but I could increase my productivity greatly if I had a closed door office and accepted no walk ups.

The government has way too much beauracracy, I understand, but that's the nature of the beast. We do need to invest time in making it better, because we can improve the processes. I've had reasonable experiences at the DMV (gasp! yes they do occur!) and I've had less than reasonable ones. However, if there wasn't any beauracracy, it would be chaos trying to serve 300 million people and be much much worse.

Doubtful... (1)

C10H14N2 (640033) | more than 5 years ago | (#27303113)

It's pretty doubtful that "we all know what it means." It's not a simple paradox, though it was insightfully lampooned by Bugs Bunny. It's basicaly about infinite division...and, as adequately pointed out by Bugs, this:

"In a race, the quickest runner can never overtake the slowest, since the pursuer must first reach the point whence the pursued started, so that the slower must always hold a lead."

--Aristotle, Physics VI

It has nothing whatever to do with taking naps, though most people think it is and nothing more.

My Review (1)

bigtallmofo (695287) | more than 5 years ago | (#27306451)

My review is on this review of the original review of the book. I found it to be a snarky piece that questions the worth of the original review and even the book it reviews. Its main argument is that the book and review only contain obvious points.

There I saved everyone the time needed to read that 10 paragraph Review of the Review of the book.

Sounds like an interesting counterpoint (1)

wiredog (43288) | more than 5 years ago | (#27301517)

To Faster [amazon.com] by Gleick

Multitasking. (1)

wfstanle (1188751) | more than 5 years ago | (#27301569)

I think that multitasking often gets in the way of quality work. Fundamentally, human beings don't really multitask very well. For small things like talking ans walking at the same time, we can do it but for big things that require our full attention, we fail miserably. For things that require concentration, multitasking gets in the way of doing quality work. For those times, turn off the pager and the cell phone. The problem is that the boss often will not let us and bothers us with trivia.

whats management (2, Funny)

vlm (69642) | more than 5 years ago | (#27301621)

Zeppelins, Balloons, Bottle Rockets and Jets

So what is management, an anti-aircraft gun?

Re:whats management (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27301787)

Zeppelins, Balloons, Bottle Rockets and Jets

So what is management, an anti-aircraft gun?

An anti-aircraft gun would have a chance of hitting something.

captcha - buckshot

Management is more like a beebe gun.

Disclaimer - I have recently moved into a management role.

Re:whats management (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27303409)

Zeppelins, Balloons, Bottle Rockets and Jets

So what is management, an anti-aircraft gun?

A lot of hot air.

Related to Age of Empires? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27301649)

Age of Empires...of Speed?
Synopsis: There's two rival gangs of Speed dealers, some travel via jet, some wear jet packs of bottle rockets.
Gang#1 distributes their Speed via rabbits, while the other gang uses turtles.
Each gang recuits & trains their pushers, then it all ends in an epic battle (with Led Zeppelin playing in the background) declaring one gang the winner.
The winner gets a ballon with their name on it.

It all sounds good & fun, but I'm holding out for Age of Epires of Speed: The Speedy dynasties.

Outlook Calendar (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 5 years ago | (#27301657)

Back when I worked for a big corporation full of PHBs, my boss insisted that everyone maintain their schedule in Outlook. So I went in and marked 8 hours of every work day as "Working". This made it impossible for anyone to schedule me into a meeting unless they contacted me, explained the agenda and why it was important for me to attend, and had me clear a space on my schedule.

Within a couple of years, I had made it to the top of the 'high performers' list, with all of the bonuses and perks that entailed.

Modern technology makes it too easy for people to consume your time by placing their action items onto your queue with not cost to them. The key is to increase that cost so they don't bug you with trivial shit. Cell phones are another example. Really Important People don't spend as much time yakking on them in their cars or at other inconvenient times. Peons and other assorted minions on short leashes do so. If people need to reach me, they'll make an appointment.

Waste of print... (1)

KC7GR (473279) | more than 5 years ago | (#27301741)

Fast. Good. Cheap.

Pick any two.

Re:Waste of print... (2, Funny)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 5 years ago | (#27302797)

Fast. Good. Cheap. Pick any two.

Dating tips on /. ?

Punctuation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27301745)

Please learn what commas are for. Please do not use them instead of semicolons and full stops (or periods if you're American). Otherwise it is quite hard to read your review.

An example: I could have said, please learn what commas are for, please do you now use them instead of semicolons and full stops, otherwise it is quite hard to read your review.

Thanks.

Re:Punctuation (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 5 years ago | (#27304323)

Please do not use them instead of semicolons and full stops (or periods if you're American). Otherwise it is quite hard to read your review.

Please do not put dependent clauses in multiple sentences -- otherwise you will confuse readers.

Needless distraction? (1)

one_in_a_milli0n (1085449) | more than 5 years ago | (#27301761)

...Slashdot? Or, did I need this distraction to learn about needless distractions? Ouch, my head hurts!

That's not speed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27301763)

This is speed...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LKQ-xj5C2m8 [youtube.com]

Pussies.

If you enjoy this, you may also enjoy (1)

Chrutil (732561) | more than 5 years ago | (#27301801)

Fstr, a book by James Gleick (or Chaos fame)
His book is more about making you reflect about the ever increasingly faster society than actually help you speed up, but it's an enlightening read never the less.
http://www.amazon.com/Faster-Acceleration-Just-About-Everything/dp/067977548X/ref=pd_bbs_sr_5?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1237833148&sr=8-5 [amazon.com]
^C

Rabbit Transit (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 5 years ago | (#27301887)

My favorite anecdote was a fresh look at the Tortoise and the Hare.

Eh. I prefer the one with Bugs Bunny where the tortoise had rocket propulsion hidden in his shell. Moral of the story: bring a gun to a knife fight.

Any book with "Geek" +1, Helpful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27301979)

in its hype deserves NOT to be read.

Another waste of time brought to you by Stuff that DOESN'T
matter.

Yours In Communism,
Kilgore Trout [youtube.com]

Wrongheaded (1)

lobiusmoop (305328) | more than 5 years ago | (#27302079)

Somebody needs some Slack. [subgenius.com]

Ah, shortcuts... (1)

cliffiecee (136220) | more than 5 years ago | (#27302311)

We are lead to believe at an early age that shortcuts diminish the reward or the experience of a task.

Besides, proofing is overrated anyway...

(It should be: "We are led to believe".)

fuckER (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27302477)

on slashdot.org

Tony Robbins OPA / RPM (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27302533)

A more useful tool would be Tony Robbins' OPA / RPM (he renamed his own technology!) -- he developed some compelling time management techniques that involve prioritizing and focusing. Unfortunately this didn't seem to sell and is long gone, but fortunately bittorrent and other sources have MP3s of the original cassettes (warning: padded out mercilessly by rambling anecdotes) and you can glean the method from that. Sad to say, he never put this information in book form. But if you get the basic gist of the OPA (outcome/purpose/action) it is a good technique: It focuses on doing tasks purposefully with the expectation of gaining an outcome you want, not just making and checking off a to-do list or frittering away time. I don't know what this book has to offer, but I'd look at OPA / RPM first. (RPM is "rapid planning method" -- for whatever reason, Robbins renamed OPA to RPM.)

Anything (1)

popeye44 (929152) | more than 5 years ago | (#27302619)

That helps me keep my Meth Fresh, I'm all for it.

Hmm... perhaps not so effective after all... (2, Insightful)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 5 years ago | (#27302665)

I finished this book two weeks ago. I started writing the review immediately after finishing the book, but I wanted to see how applying the principles helped me out.

Perhaps they didn't help you out at all, if it took you two weeks to finish an 8 paragraph review?

Unfortunately, the review didn't give enough to go on as far as why the book was good. I'm gonna go ahead and file this away with the various other "time management" systems, right along with "GTD" and others: it very likely takes more time to follow the program than you lose by trying to do too many things at once.

When somebody comes up with a good way to organize all of the /information/ that we deal with every day - and by good I mean "not requiring time or attention", give me a call.

Autochecking is your friend (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 5 years ago | (#27302737)

I turned off my email auto checker. This simple change transformed my work environment from an interruptive process to one I'm in control of.

Dunno, I have my auto-checker turned on, complete with annoying little sounds for mail from "important people." This saves me from having to check to see if I have new mail, unless there really is some from someone important. It's e-mail, if I'm busy, it will wait.

Wish the same were true for the mobile spouse support line (cellphone).

Self improvement sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27302977)

No Goals, No Future!

Guilty as charged (2, Interesting)

Dripdry (1062282) | more than 5 years ago | (#27303033)

I am guilty of not doing things quickly. I have been ridiculed for years on how quickly I tie my shoes, for instance.
I try to do it faster, but I don't see how it can be done much faster, frankly, and I make sure the things are tied well so that I do not have to do it again.

Mindfulness seems to be slipping away. With twitter and facebook and god knows what else, it really feels like the soul has gone out of much of what we do each day.

I see this all the time in my work: People want to have their finances done in a flash without thinking or answering any fundamental questions about their life. When we cave and make a recommendation because people "just want an answer" they will often come back angry later on because they have no idea what we actually did for them, or they see no value in what has been done for them. The advisors who seem to prosper are the ones who brush off doing any really solid work and explain/charm away any difficult issues with their clients. Those of us who may overthink it, but often bring very key issues to light as a result of it, seem to have been relegated to the role of dinosaur. If you're looking for what happened on Wallstreet, I'd say that's it right there.

I am really sick of "The Age of Speed". We should strive for optimal mindfulness in each action we take, not slipshod whizzbang idiocy, which often seems to be called "clever" or "smart" by speed-freaks and know-it-alls.

People can only do so much, but I'd really like to see other opinions on this.

This worked for me (1)

alatheia (1060314) | more than 5 years ago | (#27303149)

Slow down and cut the crap out. Cut off from computer/internet/tv/gadgets on weekends. Just coffee and newspaper/magazine on the porch does it for me. If all the technological efficiencies do not give me more time to relax and enjoy life then they are not worth it.

The juggling analogy again? (5, Interesting)

permaculture (567540) | more than 5 years ago | (#27303327)

As a juggler, it's a little annoying when people use juggling as an analogy and get it wrong. So here's an explanation of juggling and how to do it, whether it's clubs or tasks.

It's all in the throw, not in the catch. If the throw is perfect, the catch happens without any corrections or concious thought.

You may have two hands, but your two eyes can only look at one thing at a time. Jugglers just peep at the object as it arcs over and downwards, and that's enough to tell them where and when to stick out a hand and catch it. This has been confirmed experimentally using opaque glasses to block off the view of the objects except around about the top of the arc.

Once you get beyond juggling three objects, you peep at the object but then you have to remember how it's falling while you peep at another, before you stick out your hand to catch the first object. So 1) consistency is hugely important and 2) you have to practise daily until it's completely automatic.

The most important tool for juggling is gravity. That's how jugglers stack the objects and know where and when they'll fall. If gravity wavered, it'd bring the pattern down. You have to know what to expect. Remember in Firefly how something unexpected would happen, and it'd turn out they'd prepared for that contingency? Same thing, really.

Now let's apply the theory of juggling to 'juggling' a bunch of tasks. You have to be able to give each task some impetus and then move on, knowing the point at which you'll have to return to that task. You have to have some method, equivalent to the way jugglers use gravity, that smoothly handles the tasks while your attention is elsewhere. Finally, you have to make it funny. Or perhaps that only applies to juggling? Well, analogies can only be stretched so far.

Re:The juggling analogy again? (1)

rlseaman (1420667) | more than 5 years ago | (#27304859)

I used juggling to make a different point once at a staff meeting. The soul of juggling is passing objects between two or more jugglers (I humbly assert). When we juggle (or work) in partnership, our actions must accommodate this simple mirroring in the workflow.

It's all in the throw, not in the catch. If the throw is perfect, the catch happens without any corrections or concious thought.

Rather, corrections happen all the time, both in juggling objects and in juggling time management tasks. A throw is never perfect. Even a simple three ball cascade (a pattern/sequence that is wired into our brains) involves constantly correcting varying throwing mistakes.

Jugglers just peep at the object as it arcs over and downwards, and that's enough to tell them where and when to stick out a hand and catch it.

And as you imply, the throw isn't perfect, rather a quick glimpse is enough to correct within a window of possibilities. So when a single juggler tosses a little bit too far in front, the catching hand is directed to the new landing area and then the next throw compensates to return the ball (or club or ring) back to the stationary position. Without these corrections it is commonplace to see a newly taught juggler chasing the evolving pattern across the room.

This very different, however, when juggling with a partner. Imagine juggler A tosses too short. In this case, juggler B receives the throw too far from the body. The natural response is reversed. Juggler A's mistake is compounded if juggler B makes the natural correction of receiving short so throwing long. The errors quickly accumulate as one throws shorter and shorter and the other longer and longer.

Rather, both in juggling and in task management, the response should be calibrated in terms of energy levels. If one juggler (or coworker) throws too hard, the other must convey that fact through their own actions - but without triggering an escalation of reactions.

plUs 2, Troll) (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27303453)

Crisco or lube. by BSDI who sell wAtershed essay, knows fors sure what

Aerodynamics (2, Funny)

Lord Grey (463613) | more than 5 years ago | (#27303457)

Aerodynamics are important! I plan on coming into work tomorrow dressed entirely in low-friction spandex, complete with a skull-fitting hood and matching boots. Googles, too. That way, everyone will recognize that I'm on the fast track, slowing down for nothing, not even air resistance.

As a bonus, if my goggles are sufficiently dark, I can sleep through meetings as well.

s/Googles/Goggles/g (1)

Lord Grey (463613) | more than 5 years ago | (#27303471)

I'm now typing so fast, spell-check can't keep up. Yeehaw!

Re:s/Googles/Goggles/g (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27305581)

I'm reading so fast I didn't even notice your spelliung error!

Re:s/Googles/Goggles/g (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27305629)

The Googles! They do nothing!

Re:Aerodynamics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27307621)

Aerodynamics are important! I plan on coming into work tomorrow dressed entirely in low-friction spandex, complete with a skull-fitting hood and matching boots. Googles, too. That way, everyone will recognize that I'm on the fast track, slowing down for nothing, not even air resistance.

As a bonus, if my goggles are sufficiently dark, I can sleep through meetings as well.

This is the best idea I have heard all day. Great call on the goggles.

How to turn off MS Outlook new mail notification (1)

BlackSupra (742450) | more than 5 years ago | (#27304473)

Turning off new mail notification is buried deep inside Outlook 2003's options. I made a cheat sheet for those who are interested: How_to_turn_off_outlook_notification.png [imagehost.org]

Boring. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27304541)

Yawn. If you want more interesting reading about speed and technology check out something by Paul Virilio or about him like "Paul Virilio: Theorist for an accelerated Culture". He's not garbage like this lame analogy dude. Personally I find it frightening that his book Pure War reads as good today as it did when it was first published.

shxt....... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27306679)

dumbs never read it
smarties already done it

On the ground----running! (1)

woodycat (1000364) | more than 5 years ago | (#27306919)

My blog "Overthinking Man" http://overthinkingman.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com] is a rebellious daily observation of my own defeat by living in the Age of Speed. A shameless self promotion- sorry.
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