And while I am not fan of stereotypes, I am one. I embody many of the unappealing characteristics bad movies use to portray those who are too lazy to get real jobs and thus write for pay. My desk is cluttered. I have scribbled-on pieces of paper lying around everywhere. Half-written documents adorn my computer desktop. I don’t sleep enough. I often eat on the go. I procrastinate. I blow deadlines. I am constantly “multi-tasking,” which is just a feel-good term for foolishly attempting to do more things at one time than any human is capable of. And of course, I drink too much. Coffee. Yeah, too much coffee.
There may be a saving grace for me, however. Unlike some, I am aware that my quirks detract from my work. I realize a little more organization couldn’t hurt. I understand that there is a better way.
So when a review copy of Peter Bregman’s 18 Minutes came across my desk, I was invigorated. Perhaps this was just the kick in the hindparts my life needed. “Find your focus, master distraction and get things done,” the book instructed — right there on its cover.
Unfortunately, I am a writer.
And so I was quickly able to recognize that this book is so poorly written that its greatest utility to me has been as a coaster for my coffee. It has all the hallmarks of the self-help genre that I simply cannot stand. “Expanding your view of yourself” is the subhead of chapter five (which starts on page 25, showing you the depth the author devotes to the first four sections). Later, I am reminded that “one way to recover your passion is to pursue your desire.”
In fairness, Bregman did include a few nuggets of insight. But mostly I encountered patronizing advice I learned in grade school that was spoon-fed to me in small, gimmicky packages that ooze with cheesy condescension. In the end, reading this book only taught me that there was one more way for me to waste my time.
Well, thanks, Peter, but I already have that covered.