What better time than the middle of the year to evaluate our performance and work towards improving our productivity?
Finish What You Start: The Art of Following Through, Taking Action, Executing, Self-Discipline by Peter Hollins is the book to help us do that. It is a self-help or personal development book that provides a practical guide to increasing productivity. With about 207 pages, it’s a comparatively small book which I found quite easy to read. I believe it took me 2 -3 days?
Synopsis: “Finish What You Start is a unique deep dive into the psychology and science of accomplishment, productivity, and getting things done. It takes a thorough look at why we are sometimes stuck, and gives detailed, step by step solutions you can start using today. Every phase of finishing and following through is covered, and even productivity pros will be able to learn something new. Above all else, this is a guide to understanding your brain and instincts better for optimal results…”
What I Like
Reading this book felt like having an actual conversation with the author. I enjoyed his simplistic writing and the conversational tone throughout the book. It’s my first Peter Hollins book but he feels like a mentor, even a friend. He uses a lot of relatable workplace and lifestyle examples, in fact, he begins this book with an example of a woman who fails to follow through on her dreams and he goes on to explain why.
Next, he coins a lot of terms, but he defines them in detail and explains their practicality. He also uses funny analogies like Power Rangers and Voltron and I’ll come to that later.
The researcher in me loves how the author references academic studies and literature to support his perspective on things. This gives credit to the original ideas creator and makes the author’s opinion so much more grounded and credible. Finally, Peter promotes a few new ideas for improving our productivity and a step-by-step guide on how to do this.
What I like best about this book is, the author provides summaries at the end of every chapter. It’s a “textbook” teaching you how to solve most of your life problems. The quotes below hit home and feel like mottos we should live by.
“…Sometimes, you feel the need to avoid something that will lead to success out of discomfort… you are avoiding extra work because you are fatigued… you are avoiding talking to new people because it makes you nervous… you want to avoid being uncomfortable for a little while. Therefore, overcoming your instinct to avoid things just because they are uncomfortable for you at first is essential…”
“…Change is always uncomfortable, but it is key to doing things differently in order to find that magical formula for success. Try doing new things outside of your comfort zone… learn new skills, talk to new people, and practice new actions… until you are good at them. Expose yourself to new situations and things. The unfamiliarity will feel very uncomfortable, but you will not be able to expand your horizons and achieve success any other way…”
What Could be Better
If you have read a lot of books on improving your productivity, this book can feel repetitive. You probably already do a number of things he suggests. However, very often we know what we should be doing and the skills we should be using but we don’t follow through. This book at the very least is a reminder of all the things you already know and the reasons you can do better.
This book makes valid points but doesn’t really address knowing when to quit. It felt to me like once you had an idea or dream you had to follow it to the very end. I think part of being productive is knowing when you are chasing your tail and should abandon an idea, task or project. A few paragraphs dedicated to knowing when to quit would have been helpful.
In conclusion, if you are not making progress in life, forget your village people and get this book. Finish What You Start is an all-around great book. It is concise, the message is simple, and the ideas are pragmatic. Should you buy it? Certainly.
For adults, this book might not tell a lot you haven’t already heard before but there will be a few you might like to try. Worst-case scenario, it will serve as a reminder of all the things you wish you had gotten done and encourage you to strive to see them through. I’m putting a lot if practice into what I’ve learnt from this book. After not blogging for 3 months, I’ve got almost 4 posts done in 2 weeks. How is that for increased productivity? I might include my takeaways from this book in a subsequent post because this one got too long.
Don’t ever give up on things just because they call for some change and discomfort. Discomfort is merely your fear instinct at play and does not actually hurt you, so getting comfortable with it is a good idea. You can choose to stay home …never learn a new language, or you can choose to learn it and find a wealth of new business opportunities… You will become conditioned to the sensation of going out of your comfort zone. You will become comfortable with being uncomfortable.
Young professionals, young adults and perhaps teenagers who are learning to face the world stand to learn a lot from this book. Even though the examples in this book are expressed in business terms which may not make meaning to kids who have never held a job, the Art of Following through is a life-long skill which can be applied to simpler situations like finishing homework, school projects or completing house chores. It’s never too early to inculcate good habits and encourage self-discipline. Take it from someone who read the 48 Laws of Power at 17. 🤣
Have you read Finish What You Start by Peter Hollins? Let me know what you think in the comments!
As always, thank you for reading!
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