Today I bring some readers a freebie courtesy of Leo Baubata, author of "Zen to Done" and the blog "Zen Habits".
It seems that the current incarnation of the self-help books that were so popular in the 80's and 90's is the personal productivity blog. Since some folks have figured out how to make money from blog-writing (mainly through the old business model of selling ad space), and since people always seem to have an interest in learning how to better themselves with as little effort as possible, there are scads of writers out there who are completely missing the irony of having you waste your time reading their blog posts about how not to waste your time.
However, like any idea, there's always a few who stand out. Just as there were some excellent and tremendously useful "self-help" books written by the likes of Dale Carnegie, Mortimer J. Adler and David Allen, there are also some self-help blogs out there that are, in my opinion, worth a visit. So much so, in my case, that I have added their feeds to my Bloglines subscriptions so that I don't miss anything new they might publish.
One of my current favorites is Leo Baubata's Zen Habits, a blog about "simple productivity". The blog describes itself as being about:
"achieving goals, productivity, being organized, GTD, motivation, eliminating debt, saving, getting a flat stomach, eating healthy, simplifying, living frugal, parenting, happiness, and successfully implementing good habits."
In short, it takes a Zen attitude towards achieving life goals, being not about doing more, as much as it is about doing better, and being happier while doing it. For example, recent articles include "A Guide to Living Your Life Consciously", "How Many Hours are in Your Day?" and "Faith in Humanity: How to Bring People Closer and Restore Kindness". For anyone who's looking for a positive view of the world and a few helpful suggestions for personal growth, the blog is definitely worth a read.
Recently, Leo published a post (see "Faith in Humanity, linked above) based around Robert A. Heinlein's idea of "Paying it Forward", in which he gave away copies of his ebook, "Zen to Done"
, to readers who commented on the post. It was done on the condition that each of those readers pay the favor forward by passing on a copy of the book to one other person who would be able to make use of it. As one of the commenters to receive a copy of his book, I thought I could best pay it forward and yet pay back at the same time by getting his permission to pass on copies to a few readers of this blog and help spread the word about his writing.
Thus it is that I have 5 copies of "Zen to Done" in pdf format to distribute to my readers. "Zen to Done" is an application of Occam's Razor to personal productivity systems. In Leo's words:
"Zen To Done takes some of the best aspects of a few popular productivity systems (GTD, Stephen Covey and others) and combines them with the mandate of simplicity. It makes things as simple as possible, and no more."
I have to be honest and say that I have not finished the book yet, but I am enjoying what I've read so far, and am looking forward to finishing it. The thing about a book like this is that I find it best read in chunks that need to be digested for a period rather than in one whole sitting.
If you would like to receive a copy via email, be one of the first five people to either email me (see link at right) or comment on this post (I'm notified of comments by email), and I will send you the book. But be aware...the book comes with the condition that the recipient likewise pay it forward by sending a copy to one other person, to keep the ideas flowing and allow others to benefit from the work.
For everyone else who's interested, there's a link on this page at Zen Habits where you can purchase a copy of the ebook via Paypal. It's not expensive and worth reading, so do yourself and Leo a favor and grab a copy.
Oh...and for anyone who does not know about pay it forward, or might know it only from an episode of Oprah or the Mimi Leder movie, you can find out more about it (and Robert Heinlein) at Wikipedia.
Update: If you want a copy of the book, please make sure you don't comment anonymously, or else send me an email. I need to reply to an address to send you the ebook.