The Billfold Book Club: David Allen’s ‘Getting Things Done’

What can I write about Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity besides “it changed the way in which I interact with the world?”


Meet The World’s First Bookless Library

The Commons does have librarians and Internet connections to all the standard electronic resources of a university library. It provides access to a digital catalog that launched with 135,000 e-books. But take a look around the room, and it’s completely bookless.


How Wizards Do Money: Sybill Trelawney

Sybill Trelawney knew she was going to retire before she did.

Most people know they’re going to retire before they do, but Sybill felt like she knew it, like it had been written in air and sent around the world via radio wave. She would retire in the early 2010s, and so she bid her farewell at the end of term in Spring 2014, the last possible date she could choose and make the prediction still accurate.

(Sybill preferred her predictions to be accurate.)

Sybill realized, once she left teaching, that she did not know where her money would come from. So she drank a cup of tea. She still didn’t know where her money would come from.


To Refund or Not to Refund, A Tumblr Message Exegesis

Tumblr user stephanieshift — O Stephanie, I don’t want to haunt your Google results forever and I’m sorry, hopefully this is not your real name, though I suspect it is and you are just that foolish — sent Bad Feminist author Roxane Gay a little message in her Ask Box yesterday.


Reminder: The Billfold Book Club Is Discussing ‘Getting Things Done’ on Thursday, August 28

Thursdays at The Billfold are “Do 1 Thing” days, and if you haven’t done your 1 thing today you might consider taking whatever Next Action is next on your list re: preparing for our Billfold Book Club discussion of David Allen’s Getting Things Done next Thursday.

Is your Next Action “check to see if the book is available at the library?”

Is it “read the book?”

Maybe it’s “decide when I’m going to read the book,” because hard scheduling is an important part of the GTD system.

Your Next Action could, of course, be “decide not to read Getting Things Done because part of getting things done is letting some things go.”

But whatever your Next Action is, today is a very good day to do it.

I look forward to discussing this book with you next Thursday.

Photo: Camera Eye Photography


How Wizards Do Money: Draco Malfoy

Draco knows that people with as much money as the Malfoy family generally don’t think about it too much; instead, they hire people to think about their money for them.

But Draco does a lot of thinking.

The Malfoy family fortune is not properly his, in that if he truly wanted to take the majority of the funds and rebuild Hogwarts—which was on his mind, a decade ago—he would have to go through nests of executors and conclaves of relatives.

And Hogwarts got rebuilt anyway.


Books That Are Worth The Money

1) Books you have read already, perhaps via the library, that you know that you will want to reread

2) Books that activate the release of serotonin in your brain simply by the sight of their spines because you love them so much

3) Books with pretty spines

4) Books with pretty titles

5) Books that help define your tastes, opinions, and proclivities to strangers who might be in your apartment and looking at your shelves

6) Children’s books, because you will read each of them ten zillion times until you have them memorized and can rattle them off while walking down the street. “Up! Up! The sun is getting up! The sun gets up, so up with you! Up ear #1, ear #2!”

7) Reference-y books that you can reach out for in times of need, like Bird by Bird

8) Anything by Anne Lamott, really


Equality /= Dystopia

Today in The Atlantic, there’s a slightly strange argument that it’s going to be difficult to ever have social and economic equality because young adult literature has explored the topic thoroughly and determined that every instance of equality leads to a dystopia.

I’ll let that sink in for a minute.

The article, “What Is The Price of Perfect Equality,” explains the economic and social systems of a few YA texts (The GiverDelirium) to state:

The argument, then, is that perfect equality engineers a certain trade: guaranteed equal outcomes entail the forfeiting of art, music, literature, spontaneity, passion, even color itself. 


Commerce and trade, it turns out, are just as dependent on the passions as the passions are dependent on commerce and trade in The Giver. The true nightmare of a dystopian world is that all of these things are interconnected, and that by losing one or the other, by engineering it away socially or medically, nightmarish unintended consequences will ensue.


How Wizards Do Money: Ron Weasley

Ron and Hermione’s children were at least one-third Muggle, or something like that—maths were never Ron’s strong suit—and Hermione insisted they spend as much time with their Muggle grandparents as they did with the Weasleys. Since he and Hermione spent nearly every Sunday dinner at his parents’ house, that meant he also spent a lot of time watching Hermione zoom away in her little silver Prius, Rose and Hugo in back, on their way to London.


Refundable Pop Culture?

Would you spend more on pop culture consumables if your satisfaction were somehow guaranteed? On my Twitter feed this morning, I saw this series of proclamations from a publisher that believes so strongly in its product that it is willing to refund you your money if you don’t agree. (As always with tweets, read from the bottom up.)

Here’s more information about the book itself, which looks like a loving satire/send-up of undergraduate education in England. If you take this Melville House challenge, let us know how it goes!