I have this on my refrigerator
Feeling overwhelmed? Chances are that, after looking everywhere else, unclear or cluttered thinking is the root problem.
Have you defined your desired outcome and eliminated the extraneous? Removed all of the busy but non-mission-critical activities that consume attention?
Business books and consultants often skip the fundamental shift we need most often: better mental software. Cut out the bugs and upgrade your machine with these three blueprints, listed in the order I recommend reading them:
Simple & Direct
by Jacques Barzun
It is hard to improve thinking. It is near impossible to remember and review after-the-fact. Practicing writing (thinking frozen in time) is the best way to refine thinking and upgrade your present awareness. Barzun’s stated goal in this book is “to resensitize the mind to words.” His refrain, which applies as much to self-talk as it does to communicating with others, is: do not use a word unless you know both its meaning and its connotations. Great advice and a great book.
On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction
by William K. Zinsser
I have read this book more than a dozen times, more often for thinking than for writing. It is a hysterical read and a great example of what it teaches: how to cut all clutter and keep your communication and thinking crystal clear. If you think you think and write well, read this book at least once. It’s like going from a tricycle to a ten-speed.
The Elements of Style
by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White
This is the de facto nuts-and-bolts desk reference for all writers and thinkers alike. There is a refreshing artistry to its bluntness… and brevity. I also love that the New York Times can sum it up and violate its rules at the same time with “Buy it, study it, enjoy it. It’s as timeless as a book can be in our age of volubility.” Volubility? E.B. would have slapped them.
Get the Original 4HWW Manuscript with Extra Content!
This list was in the original manuscript for The 4-Hour Workweek, but it was removed — along with bonus chapters and some awesome case studies — due to space constraints.
Would you like to have 1 of the 8 remaining original manuscripts in the world? This was an early version sent to about 15 people for advanced praise quotes, and even the cover is different.
I will also write a personal note on the manuscript and give you 30 minutes on the phone to discuss or ask anything you want. Since I don’t do private coaching and my usual speaking fee is $15,000-25,000 per hour, this is a rare offer.
If you’re a fan of 4HWW, this is the ultimate collector’s item for an unbeatable cause. Check out the bidding here!
Posted on: August 2, 2007.
The Tim Ferriss Show is generally the #1 business podcast on iTunes, and it was selected for iTunes' "Best of 2015." Each episode deconstructs world-class performers from eclectic areas (investing, sports, business, art, etc.) to extract the tactics, tools, and routines you can use. If you want to 10x your productivity, click here.