Category Archives: podcast

Productivity Book Group podcast episodes.

The Paradox of Choice by Barry Schwartz, PhD (book cover)

The Paradox of Choice – Productivity Book Group

Productivity Book Group [ http://productivitybookgroup.org ] discussed The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less [ http://amzn.to/2hIDDzn ] by Barry Schwartz, PhD.

Enjoy the discussion!

The Amazon book description states:

Whether we’re buying a pair of jeans, ordering a cup of coffee, selecting a long-distance carrier, applying to college, choosing a doctor, or setting up a 401(k), everyday decisions—both big and small—have become increasingly complex due to the overwhelming abundance of choice with which we are presented.

As Americans, we assume that more choice means better options and greater satisfaction. But beware of excessive choice: choice overload can make you question the decisions you make before you even make them, it can set you up for unrealistically high expectations, and it can make you blame yourself for any and all failures. In the long run, this can lead to decision-making paralysis, anxiety, and perpetual stress. And, in a culture that tells us that there is no excuse for falling short of perfection when your options are limitless, too much choice can lead to clinical depression.

In The Paradox of Choice, Barry Schwartz explains at what point choice—the hallmark of individual freedom and self-determination that we so cherish—becomes detrimental to our psychological and emotional well-being. In accessible, engaging, and anecdotal prose, Schwartz shows how the dramatic explosion in choice—from the mundane to the profound challenges of balancing career, family, and individual needs—has paradoxically become a problem instead of a solution. Schwartz also shows how our obsession with choice encourages us to seek that which makes us feel worse.

By synthesizing current research in the social sciences, Schwartz makes the counter intuitive case that eliminating choices can greatly reduce the stress, anxiety, and busyness of our lives. He offers eleven practical steps on how to limit choices to a manageable number, have the discipline to focus on those that are important and ignore the rest, and ultimately derive greater satisfaction from the choices you have to make.

Our next reading selection is:

One Year to an Organized Financial Life

Show Notes:

(Please listen to understand the context of the resources provided. If we missed something, please comment on the episode and let us know!)


The callers you hear in this episode are readers just like you, and you are more than welcome to join us on the live calls to discuss productivity books too! Please visit ProductivityBookGroup.org and find out the details and the schedule for upcoming book discussion calls. If you plan to read ahead or read a little more slowly, please visit ProductivityBookGroup.org and check out the schedule on the “Upcoming Books” page.

Please feel free to visit iTunes, Stitcher or whichever podcast directory or app you prefer to access Productivity Book Group…and feel free to review us there! This helps expand our readership and bring new discussion callers into the fold. Thank you.

Finally, all podcast episodes are archived at ProductivityBookGroup.org under “Episodes” so if you missed a call and want to review it, feel free to head over and give them a listen.


Note: All registered service marks, trademarks and other copyrighted materials mentioned on the podcast are that of their respective owners. This group is not affiliated with or officially endorsed by those copyright owners.

Deep Work by Cal Newport

Deep Work by Cal Newport – Productivity Book Group

Productivity Book Group [ http://productivitybookgroup.org ] discussed Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World [ http://amzn.to/2hECDsQ ] by Cal Newport.

Deep Work, as defined by Cal Newport is

Professional activities performed in a state of … concentration that push your cognitive capabilities to their limit. These efforts create new value, improve your skill, and are hard to replicate.

In contrast, Newport identifies Shallow work as

[Cognitively undemanding], logistical-style tasks, often performed while distracted. These efforts tend to not create much value in the world and are easy to replicate.

Further, he then proposes a Deep Work Hypothesis:

The ability to perform Deep Work is becoming increasingly rare at exactly the same time it is becoming increasingly valuable in our economy. As a consequence, the few who cultivate this skill, and then make it the core of their working life, will thrive.

Two core abilities for thriving in the new economy:

  1. The ability to quickly master hard things.
  2. The ability to produce at an elite level, in terms of both quality and speed.

He comes up with several other pseudo-principles and terminologies, including The Principle of Least Resistance and Busyness as Proxy for Productivity. So, that’s enough to give you a concept of what Deep Work is. Let’s get the conversation started with a basic argument of the veracity of Deep Work itself.

Do you agree with the author’s concepts of Deep Work and Shallow Work? And, his Deep Work Hypothesis? Was he able to convince you that Deep Work is vital to the present and burgeoning New Economy?

Cal Newport presents himself as particularly anti-Twitter. Why do you think he points out Twitter specifically and is he right about Social Media? Should you quit Social Media?

Let us know in the comments! Enjoy the discussion!

Our next reading selections are:

Paradox of Choice

One Year to an Organized Financial Life


The callers you hear in this episode are readers just like you, and you are more than welcome to join us on the live calls to discuss productivity books too! Please visit ProductivityBookGroup.org and find out the details and the schedule for upcoming book discussion calls. If you plan to read ahead or read a little more slowly, please visit ProductivityBookGroup.org and check out the schedule on the “Upcoming Books” page.

Please feel free to visit iTunes, Stitcher or whichever podcast directory or app you prefer to access Productivity Book Group…and feel free to review us there! This helps expand our readership and bring new discussion callers into the fold. Thank you.

Finally, all podcast episodes are archived at ProductivityBookGroup.org under “Episodes” so if you missed a call and want to review it, feel free to head over and give them a listen.


Note: All registered service marks, trademarks and other copyrighted materials mentioned on the podcast are that of their respective owners. This group is not affiliated with or officially endorsed by those copyright owners.

SuperBetter - Jane McGonigal - Productivity Book Group

SuperBetter by Jane McGonigal, PhD – Productivity Book Group

Productivity Book Group [ http://productivitybookgroup.org ] discussed SuperBetter: A Revolutionary Approach to Getting Stronger, Happier, Braver and More Resilient–Powered by the Science of Games, [ http://amzn.to/2jh5Q2D ] by Jane McGonigal, PhD. Enjoy the discussion!

The Amazon book description states:

An innovative guide to living gamefully, based on the program that has already helped nearly half a million people achieve remarkable personal growth

… In this book, McGonigal reveals a decade’s worth of scientific research into the ways all games—including videogames, sports, and puzzles—change how we respond to stress, challenge, and pain. She explains how we can cultivate new powers of recovery and resilience in everyday life simply by adopting a more “gameful” mind-set. Being gameful means bringing the same psychological strengths we naturally display when we play games—such as optimism, creativity, courage, and determination—to real-world goals.

Our next reading selection is:

Transitions - William Bridges - February 2017 - Productivity Book Group

Transitions: Making Sense of Life’s Changes, Revised 25th Anniversary Edition, by William Bridges, PhD. Join us on February 25, 2017 at noon Eastern Standard Time for our live discussion!

Winter February 2/25/17 Transitions: Making Sense Of Life’s Changes William Bridges, PhD http://amzn.to/2hIzVqU
Spring March 3/25/17 Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time Brigid Schulte http://amzn.to/2kD36Nk
Spring April 4/22/17 Path of Least Resistence Robert Fritz http://amzn.to/2jCjOuy

Show Notes:

(Please listen to understand the context of the resources provided. If we missed something, please comment on the episode and let us know!)


The callers you hear in this episode are readers just like you, and you are more than welcome to join us on the live calls to discuss productivity books too! Please visit ProductivityBookGroup.org and find out the details and the schedule for upcoming book discussion calls. If you plan to read ahead or read a little more slowly, please visit ProductivityBookGroup.org and check out the schedule on the “Upcoming Books” page.

Please feel free to visit iTunes, Stitcher or whichever podcast directory or app you prefer to access Productivity Book Group…and feel free to review us there! This helps expand our readership and bring new discussion callers into the fold. Thank you.

Finally, all podcast episodes are archived at ProductivityBookGroup.org under “Episodes” so if you missed a call and want to review it, feel free to head over and give them a listen.


Note: All registered service marks, trademarks and other copyrighted materials mentioned on the podcast are that of their respective owners. This group is not affiliated with or officially endorsed by those copyright owners.

Switch - How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip Heath and Dan Heath

Switch by Chip Heath and Dan Heath – Productivity Book Group

Productivity Book Group [ http://productivitybookgroup.org ] discussed Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard [ http://amzn.to/1P3mbA6 ] by Chip Heath and Dan Heath (authors of Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die and Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work). Enjoy the discussion!

(Sorry about the audio…for some reason the teleconference recording clipped/distorted some of the audio!)

The Amazon book description states:

Why is it so hard to make lasting changes in our companies, in our communities, and in our own lives?

The primary obstacle is a conflict that’s built into our brains, say Chip and Dan Heath, authors of the critically acclaimed bestseller Made to Stick. Psychologists have discovered that our minds are ruled by two different systems—the rational mind and the emotional mind—that compete for control. The rational mind wants a great beach body; the emotional mind wants that Oreo cookie. The rational mind wants to change something at work; the emotional mind loves the comfort of the existing routine. This tension can doom a change effort—but if it is overcome, change can come quickly.

In Switch, the Heaths show how everyday people—employees and managers, parents and nurses—have united both minds and, as a result, achieved dramatic results:

●      The lowly medical interns who managed to defeat an entrenched, decades-old medical practice that was endangering patients.

●      The home-organizing guru who developed a simple technique for overcoming the dread of housekeeping.

●      The manager who transformed a lackadaisical customer-support team into service zealots byremoving a standard tool of customer service

In a compelling, story-driven narrative, the Heaths bring together decades of counterintuitive research in psychology, sociology, and other fields to shed new light on how we can effect transformative change.Switch shows that successful changes follow a pattern, a pattern you can use to make the changes that matter to you, whether your interest is in changing the world or changing your waistline.

From the Hardcover edition.

Our next reading selections are:

6/25/2016 Resilience: Facing Down Rejection and Criticism on the Road to Success Mark McGuinness http://amzn.to/1NQ6Z8w
7/30/2016 Stuffocation: Why We’ve Had Enough of Stuff and Need Experience More Than Ever James Wallman http://amzn.to/1PTjBwv

PBG - Resilience - June 2016 - Mark McGuinness

PBG - Stuffocation - July 2016 - James Wallman

Show Notes:

(Please listen to understand the context of the resources provided. If we missed something, please comment on the episode and let us know! Thanks to Bonnie B. for helping out with the Show Notes!)


The callers you hear in this episode are readers just like you, and you are more than welcome to join us on the live calls to discuss productivity books too! Please visit ProductivityBookGroup.org and find out the details and the schedule for upcoming book discussion calls. If you plan to read ahead or read a little more slowly, please visit ProductivityBookGroup.org and check out the schedule on the “Upcoming Books” page.

Please feel free to visit iTunes, Stitcher or whichever podcast directory or app you prefer to access Productivity Book Group…and feel free to review us there! This helps expand our readership and bring new discussion callers into the fold. Thank you.

Finally, all podcast episodes are archived at ProductivityBookGroup.org under “Episodes” so if you missed a call and want to review it, feel free to head over and give them a listen.


Note: All registered service marks, trademarks and other copyrighted materials mentioned on the podcast are that of their respective owners. This group is not affiliated with or officially endorsed by those copyright owners.