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Life Matters


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Roger Merrill and Rebecca Merrill are the authors of the bestselling First Things First. Roger is a vice president and cofounder of the Franklin Covey Company.


Coauthors with Stephen Covey of First Things First, the top-selling management book, this husband-and-wife team has years of experience in the fields of time management and leadership skills. Here they focus on developing a balance between home and work. Stressing the importance of all aspects of life-work, family, money, and time-the Merrills aim to help us identify our most important goals and then to achieve them. To create balance, we must first do three things: validate our expectations (define what our goals and values are), optimize effort (use our time and money most efficiently to meet those expectations), and develop "navigational intelligence," a sense that tells us how well the process is going. A chapter is devoted to optimizing efforts in each of the four areas (work, family, time, and money), and the book closes by explaining how we can evaluate our overall life balance. Certainly, this book challenges us to examine our goals and find better ways to achieve them. Sure to be popular in most public libraries.-Kay Brodie, Chesapeake Coll., Wye Mills, MD Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

"Profound knowledge is literally what this book is. In fact, what I would say is 'profound wisdom, ' because it interweaves timeless, universal, self-evident principles into all of the knowledge that is given."

The Merrills, time management experts who co-authored First Things First with Stephen Covey (The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People), expand their range here to cover creative ways to successfully balance four major aspects of life: family, money, work and time. The premise of their program rests on what the authors call three gotta do's-validate expectations, optimize effort and develop navigational intelligence. For example, if you have determined for yourself and your family that financial security is important (validate expectations), it is necessary to take steps to achieve this (optimize effort) by, say, getting out of consumer debt. Navigational intelligence is the ability to make appropriate decisions when unpredictable events arise that may interfere with your focus. The Merrills borrow a paradigm from their earlier book that divides tasks into four quadrants; urgent, not urgent, important and unimportant. Drawing on personal anecdotes, the authors show how this division can facilitate making choices that balance the requirements of a family life with earning a living. Their philosophy is based on the conviction that a strong family-centered life is one of the keys to happiness and central to a stable civilization. The Merrills recommend working with children to create a family mission statement; they advocate regular family meetings, shared family activities and scheduled "dates" between husbands and wives. This thoughtful self-help manual is not a quick read, but its advice is sound and can easily be applied to daily life. (July) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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