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Book Review: The One Thing by Gary Keller, Jay Papasan

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The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan is an excellent self help book which explains how to prioritize tasks when there are an avalanche of things to get done in the near term. The book shows how people quickly lose focus and accomplish little or nothing in an attempt to get too many things done on an immediate basis.

The authors advise people to stick to one thing or a few things until completion before taking on other tasks. This translates to narrowing focus. A corollary is that one thing at a time advances the world. In addition, do the most important thing first when everything seems to matter. A related concept is to choose to do the right things correctly.

The authors discuss the behavioral dimensions of getting things done too. Once a new behavior becomes a habit, less discipline is required to maintain the new way of doing things. Habits are important because these instilled behaviors help to determine our future success.

The book discusses analysis paralysis and the stultifying effect this has on getting anything done. In essence, the new rule is to get ahead by getting started. Mark Twain warns people of internalized biases in the popular phrase: “What you know for sure that just ain’t so.”

The One Thing is a wonderful book which addresses the dangers of analysis paralysis and the lack of focus in trying to wade through too many items on the agenda. The authors make it clear how to set priorities to begin getting the right things done the right way. This book will benefit management at virtually every level in an organization.

The presentation is enjoyable and very easy to read. In addition, this book could benefit people in addressing chronic behavioral issues ; such as, post traumatic stress disorder and even attention deficit disorder. The authors spend quite a bit of time teaching readers how to prioritize and focus their attention on one thing long enough to get it done correctly. In addition, the book teaches how to develop good habits for doing things right now or at all.

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About Dr Joseph S Maresca

I've taught approx. 34 sections of collegiate courses including computer applications, college algebra, collegiate statistics, law, accounting, finance and economics. The experience includes service as a Board Director on the CPA Journal and Editor of the CPA Candidates Inc. Newsletter. In college, I worked as a statistics lab assistant. Manhattan College awarded a BS in an allied area of operations research. The program included courses in calculus, ordinary differential equations, probability, statistical inference, linear algebra , the more advanced operations research, price analysis and econometrics. Membership in the Delta Mu Delta National Honor Society was granted together with the degree. My experience includes both private account and industry. In addition, I've worked extensively in the Examinations Division of the AICPA from time to time. Recently, I passed the Engineering in Training Exam which consisted of 9 hours of examination in chemistry, physics, calculus, differential equations, linear algebra, probability/ statistics, fluids, electronics, materials science/structure of matter, mechanics, statics, thermodynamics, computer science, dynamics and a host of minor subject areas like engineering economics. A very small percentage of engineers actually take and pass the EIT exam. The number has hovered at circa 5%. Several decades ago, I passed the CPA examination and obtained another license in Computer Information Systems Auditing. A CISA must have knowledge in the areas of data center review, systems applications, the operating system of the computer, disaster recovery, contingency planning, developmental systems, the standards which govern facility reviews and a host of other areas. An MBA in Accounting with an Advanced Professional Certificate in Computer Applications/ Information Systems , an Advanced Professional Certificate in Finance and an Advanced Professional Certificate in Organizational Design were earned at New York University-Graduate School of Business (Stern ). In December of 2005, an earned PhD in Accounting was granted by the Ross College. The program entrance requires a previous Masters Degree for admittance together with a host of other criteria. The REGISTRAR of Ross College contact is: Tel . US 202-318-4454 FAX [records for Dr. Joseph S. Maresca Box 646 Bronxville NY 10708-3602] The clinical experience included the teaching of approximately 34 sections of college accounting, economics, statistics, college algebra, law, thesis project coursework and the professional grading of approx. 50,000 CPA examination essays with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Additionally, membership is held in the Sigma Beta Delta International Honor Society chartered in 1994. Significant writings include over 10 copyrights in the name of the author (Joseph S. Maresca) and a patent in the earthquake sciences.