I was excited to hear Matt Perman was releasing a new book entitled How to Get Unstuck.
I’m a huge fan of Perman’s – I enjoyed his first book and have had the chance to speak with him on my podcast. There aren’t many people who write on productivity from a specifically Christian perspective, so naturally we were kindred spirits.
So when I had the opportunity to get an advance review copy of How to Get Unstuck, of course I was going to jump on that!
Perman had a challenge before him when he sat down to write What’s Best Next and How to Get Unstuck. How in the world do you possibly fit into a book everything you want to say?
When we speak of productivity, time management, personal effectiveness – whatever words you want to use – we are essentially speaking about managing our lives. This encompasses everything from the high-level vision casting to the low-level tactical task management.
In this pursuit, we have to confront fears and idols. We deal with problems like procrastination or distraction. We prioritize and delegate. We define our missions and manage our email.
The scope can enlarge beyond the individual to the effectiveness of a business, church, or family. And the specifics will vary tremendously between a CEO, student, mechanic, missionary, and stay-at-home mother.
On top of all that, we don’t merely pursue a secular definition of effectiveness. How should scripture inform the way we think about and manage our time and lives?
It’s not problematic to write a short blog post on a small, isolated slice of this subject. But how do you begin to address this in some logical and wrapped-up fashion in a book? You could write 1,000 pages and you’d just be scratching the surface.
The Beginning of a Journey
I could feel this tension in How to Get Unstuck. Where to start? What to include? What to leave out?
And with this difficulty, I feel that Perman did an admirable job. At the end of every chapter, I had the feeling that Perman left much unsaid and would love to continue for another few hundred pages if he could. Yet a reader would walk away from the book with a good sense of the core of what Perman wanted to communicate – and what the next steps were to get unstuck.
The foundational core of the book is addressing the three key causes of getting stuck: a lack of vision, a lack of execution, and a lack of perseverance through obstacles. Perman spends a great deal of time on the proper attitude and mindset behind personal effectiveness before moving down to the level of execution and then addressing common hang-ups.
So a lot of areas are touched on, such as:
- Urgency and importance
- Vision and mission
- Effective learning and speed reading
- Tracking your time
- Focus and deep work
- Organized workspaces
- Rest and renewal
- Perseverance and discipline
Instead of going deep on any individual aspect, Perman chose to move through the menu and offer a few select morsels. There’s a sense in which reading How to Get Unstuck is like trying to drink from the firehose.
But I feel that Perman embraces this in How to Get Unstuck and turns it into a strength. Each chapter ends with a summary of core points, some action steps, and a generous selection of further reading to investigate. It’s almost as if Perman acknowledges the width and breadth of what he’s trying to cover and is inviting you to continue the journey.
Wisdom from Other Sources
This journey through the expansive subject of personal effectiveness is one Perman has obviously travelled for a long time. How to Get Unstuck is packed to the brim with quotes and perspectives from historical figures, business experts, and modern researchers.
And appropriately, undergirding the book and present throughout is scripture and its relevance on getting unstuck. Perman does not merely echo the secular world but provides a truly biblical perspective on doing good in the world.
I will confess that because How to Get Unstuck tried to cover such a wide variety of material, there were many spots where I just breezed through and nodded my head.
But then I will also confess there were certain points where I felt deeply convicted. There were passages where I had to put down the book and do a little thinking. Many pages were refreshers, but a few pages had the potential to change my life.
And I think that is to be expected with Perman’s approach. Undoubtedly the parts I flew through will make an impact on someone else. The parts that cut me to the bone won’t hit someone else.
John Piper once said, “It is sentences that change my life, not books.” How to Get Unstuck is full of those sentences.
I can enthusiastically recommend How to Get Unstuck. Get ready to drink from the fire hose, but get ready to think. I hope you find your sentences. And my hope is this book changes your life.
Get the Book and Special Bonuses
Head on over to www.howtogetunstuckbook.com to find out more about ordering. It’s available on Amazon and tons of other major booksellers. And if you purchase within the next few days, you can get some great pre-order bonuses. I made sure to pre-order to grab them – so head on over and do the same!
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