Thursday, April 15, 2010

Book Review By Prof.M.S.Rao – “First Things First” Authored By Stephen R. Covey, A.Roger Merrill and Rebecca R. Merrill

“As long as you live, keep learning how to live.” – Seneca

I have read the book titled ‘First Things First’ authored by Stephen R. Covey, A. Roger Merrill and Rebecca R. Merrill which is very interesting to read with valuable takeaways. ‘First Things First’ is an elaboration of one of the habits of Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. The book reveals the time management tips and unfolds the priorities people must make in daily life. God blessed all of us with 24 hours and we must learn to manage effectively.

People often fail to understand the difference between what is important and urgent. The book differentiates the same in four quadrants that help you to prioritize tasks and achieve optimum utilization of time without squandering precious time. It is rightly said that time and tide waits for none.

The book flows well right from the beginning to the end without any boredom. It provides several takeaways for all and especially for working executives to plan and prioritize their task properly.

The authors provide Time Management Matrix:

Quadrant 1
• Crises
• Pressing Problems
• Deadline-driven projects, meetings, preparations

Quadrant II
Not Urgent/Important
• Preparation
• Prevention
• Values clarification
• Planning
• Relationship building
• True re-creation
• Empowerment

Quadrant III
• Interruptions, some phone calls
• Some mail, some reports
• Some meetings
• Many proximate, pressing matters
• Many popular activities Quadrant IV

Quadrant IV
Not Urgent/Unimportant
• Trivia, busywork
• Junk mail
• Some phone calls
• Time wasters
• Escape activities

Powerful Punches by Authors:

The authors provide thought provoking messages at the beginning of each chapter. They are:

“If working harder, smarter, and faster won’t solve it, what will?”
“The enemy of the “best” is the “good””
“Anything less than a conscious commitment to the important is an unconscious commitment to the unimportant”
“Doing more things faster is no substitute for doing the right things.”
“Where there is no gardener, there’s no garden.”
“It’s easy to say “no!” when there’s a deeper “yes!” burning inside.”
“Balance isn’t either/or; it’s and.”
“You can want to do the right thing, and you can even want to do it for the right reasons. But if you don’t apply the right principles, you can still hit a wall.”
“Priority is a function of context.”
“Quality of life depends on what happens in the space between stimulus and response.”
“Difference is the beginning of synergy.”
“Anytime we think the problem is “out there” that thought is the problem.”
“Management works in the system; Leadership works on the system.”


“While we do control our choice of action, we cannot control the consequences of our choices.”

The book is worth reading for the people who intend to learn how to manage their time. After reading this book they get to know about effective time management thus eliminating time wasters. The readers will be able to know how to prioritize their roles and responsibilities. They learn to understand and appreciate smarter planning.

The book contains several diagrams that are catchy and easy to understand. It contains several exercises for practice. The book is worth investing your time and there are takeaways that are amazing to read and practice.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

sir , why don't you start your own website with your blog.??

-------------potluri srikanth