Thursday, February 19, 2009

Mini review of "The renaissance soul" by Margaret Lobenstine

I had this book on my wish list since I picked up the title when reading comments to the blog post "The Top 5 Reasons to Be a Jack of All Trades" from Tim Ferris' blog. I was happy when receiving this as a christmas gift and started reading it immediately. During my recent vacation to the Canaries I got the chance to finish the book. Here are my personal impressions of the book:

  • I was expecting to learn a practical time management system from the book. Time management is covered in 22 pages and is not very practical in my opinion. Margaret basicly says that you should put down up to four focal points, calculate how much time you have left for them and put them in your calendar. I don't like using the calendar when it's not necessary. I rather put up my most important tasks for a day and try to finish them. These are all prioritized according to my focal points. This makes you focused, but still flexible. I picked up this tip from "zen to done" from Zen habits.
  • The book is written more like a novel than a practical guide. It is full of stories of clients that Margaret succesfully helped out after coaching them.
  • The title is "The renaissance soul", but I didn't expect the author to use this phrase as much as she does. OK, so the test said that I am a renaissance soul - this does not make me some special, rare creature that should behave differently than any others. Most people need some kind of structural aid to be effective in their day to day work.
  • Even though I didn't like the book very much I found some metaphors quite good: A) When trying to find which focal points to pick then think of them as ice-cream that you can pick a four-flavor sampler from and change whenever you like. B) When faced with a situation involving change you are like a lobster breaking out of it's shell in order to grow: First the shell is a thin membrane without protection and you fear this before you leave your original cozy shell. You later realize that your new shell is bigger and harder and more protective than the old shell.