Bear with me while I make a brief introduction. I’ll speak about Patrick Rhone’s book, I promise.
On wednesday, from 2pm to 4pm, the cleaning lady comes to take care of the house. I usually get out of the way so she can work better.
I usually plan these two hours out. Most of the time I sit in a local coffee shop, one of the few good things this town has to offer (I’ll be moving in the next months, but that’s another story). Sometimes I work (planning before programming), sometimes I don’t. The golden rule for me is that I need to come home inspired by these two hours.
Last wednesday I worked a bit and then spent the rest of time reading Keeping it Straight. As a consequence I felt inspired and that’s exactly what I wanted.
There’s a work of craft and love in Patrick’s book that revolves around a constant search on how to make the most out of the time you have. It’s one of the most difficult challenges in life.
There are a few tips here and there but as Randy Murray said:
“Fans of David Allen’s ‘Getting Things Done’ will instantly embrace Patrick Rhone’s work. Patrick offers the ‘Why’ to GTD’s ‘How.’”
Patrick makes the questions we’re too lazy to make ourselves. We’re often imprisoned by routines we’ve not chosen but simply accepted. Whether it’s a daily job, a way to approach our tasks or even the attitude towards our life in general, Patrick has some tips to share that come from countless hours of thinking. The great thing is that he manages to shrink them in a few sentences, carefully choosing the best words to express them and make them look tremendously easy.
There’s indeed lot to digest: especially when it comes to making choices and productivity, Patrick has a radical approach that may not be what you need right now. I’d say one step at a time is better.
While there’s a buddhist philosophy background in Patrick’s suggestions, there’s also an apparent US approach to life that is somewhat different to what I’m used to (and that’s probably due to my geographic roots, the always beloved Milan): we’re more detached from our feelings, we tend to express them in a more subtle manner. I always feel a bit uncomfortable when I hear “I’m so excited about this project!”, that seems a bit of exaggeration to me. That’s why I appreciate the chapter on controlling your own emotions, even if it’s not something I can really relate to.
Same goes for the difference between what we are and what we do: as Patrick himself says, this is a typical american trait.
On a global level, you would like to read Patrick’s book because it’s time to make yourself some questions. It’s always time, to be honest. But he’s got a gift: he makes them look feasible, concrete enough to tackle them without feeling they could crush you.
Keeping It Straight is a good way to get up to speed on trying to achieve a simple life: it’s by no means a definitive guide to minimalism, but Patrick knows that and just wants to point in the right direction.
Think about this: you’re walking around the city and you’re not sure where that damn restaurant is. Patrick is the guy you ask information to and points you in the right direction, while also telling you to try out the steak there, because it’s wonderful. At least, that what it felt to me reading it.
Here some links you can check out: