Book Review: Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy

This month’s book review is of a book that was recommended to me by Coach Cati and instead of reading this one, I listened to the audio version of the book.  The first thing I can tell you about this book is it seems to be very popular as my wait to get it from the library was 3-5 weeks and I couldn’t renew it because of the waiting line for it.  It is a short book, only about 2.5 hours as an audio book, and it is narrated by the author Brian Tracy. I was really interested in this book too, because I am a horrible procrastinator, and I was really hoping the ideas in this book would help me out. 

The book title comes from a quote by Mark Twain: “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”  The main premise of the book is that every day you should determine what is the one most important task that you need to complete to be successful.  Then you should start that task immediately and stick with it until it is finished. His premise is that there will never be enough time to do everything that you must do, so you need to stop doing some things and spend more time on the things that really make a difference in your life.  

Tracy states early on that this book is not about the why’s of procrastination it is all about ways to overcome it.  After studying other people’s work, he has compiled what he considers the 21 most powerful principals on personal effectiveness. These 21 methods or techniques can be used in any order or at any time and you might use different ones in different situations.  

Before Tracy gets into what the 21 methods are, he spends some time talking about habits and task competition.  He comments that task completion leaves you with a positive feeling and makes you happy.  The 3 key qualities needed to help you develop task completion are decision, discipline, and determination.

  1. Make the decision to develop the habit of task completion.
  2.  Discipline yourself to practice the 21 principles over and over until they become automatic.
  3. Back everything you do with determination.     

The book then quickly goes into the 21 techniques to help you “eat your frog”. He explains each method and with many of the techniques, he gives you an activity to do to help you get started.  

I am not going to list all 21 ideas here, if you look up any reviews of the book you can find them, but I will mention a few that stood out to me.  

  • “Set the table”. This is your goal setting step, where you decide what you want to achieve and you write it down or as Tracy puts it, “Think on paper”. 
  • The 80/20 rule.  20% of your work will make up 80% of your achievements. Concentrate on that 20%.
  • Remember the 6P’s: Proper Prior Planning Prevent Poor Performance.
  • Practice positive self-talk. Having a positive mental attitude can help you find creative solutions to problems.  
  • Break large tasks into smaller more manageable pieces. Eat the frog one bite at a time.  
  • Never stop learning.  

While the book focuses on increasing productivity in the workplace all the techniques are ideas that you could incorporate into any area of your life.  

This book is very practical and has a lot of ideas that could be easily implemented into your lifestyle to help a person waste less time and be more productive. Many of them are ideas that you have probably heard before.  A big plus to this book is that gets right to the point and will not take a lot of time to read.  

One problem that I had with the book, especially because I listened to the audio book was that to me, it sounded like a long infomercial.  I just kept waiting for the author to try to sell me something.  This led me to try to find out more about Brian Tracy after I finished the book.  All the bios that I found about him were oddly non-specific.  He is a consultant, he has written a lot of books, he is the President of 3 unidentified companies in California and he is worth a lot of money. I did watch a few interviews with him, and he seems very personable and as I said earlier, the book seems to be very popular. 

The bottom line is that there are some good practical tips in this book that could help you learn to focus on the most important tasks that you need to accomplish. As a self-described procrastinator I think this book has a lot of great ideas and tips that could be helpful, once a person decides to practice them enough to make them habits. This quote sums up the point of the book, “The ability to concentrate, single-mindedly on your most important task, to do it well and finish it completely is the key to great success”.  I’m going to try to really remember that next month and make writing my book review my frog earlier in the month so I’m not writing it the night before the newsletter comes out, even though I finished the book 3 weeks ago. I’ll let you know how that goes. 

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