Title: Eat That Frog
Author: Brian Tracy
Rating: 3.5 Lemonades
“Eat That Frog!” – that title and the books blue cover with its cute frog did it for me. I simply had to have this book. For years I was struggling with my unorganised, procrastinating self. I did a lot but never seemed to get anywhere. Not that I have managed to change that much since I’ve read the book. I need a reminder, and lucky you, to recap, I review it for you 😉
How do you eat a frog or what this book is all about
Someone said once you should eat a live frog first thing in the morning so you can go through your day knowing this is probably the worst thing that would happen to you that day. ” Eat That Frog!” is build on that premise and summarises motivational speaker Brian Tracy‘s decades of research into personal productivity. It is organised in 21 chapters of easy to understand steps which everybody can implement in their lives. These steps are a logical path from pinpointing down the most important goals over learning to let tasks go to working in big time blocks and practising these steps every day. It ends with a recap of all the steps so you can easily remember them.
The introduction gives you two laws of frog-eating:
“The first rule of frog eating is this: if you have to eat two frogs, eat the ugliest first” Brian TracyTweet
“The second rule of frog eating is this: If you have to eat a live frog at all, it does not pay to sit and look at it for very long” Brian TracyTweet
There you go 🙂
First impressions of Brian Tracy’s “Eat That Frog!”
The preface of “Eat That Frog!” starts with a couple of simple statements. It states that we simply can never manage to get everything done we want and need to do. It was like a relief sigh for me to hear that. It’s not me. It’s just today’s busy life.
Tracy goes on to tell the reader a little about his life and how he started to ask successful people why they are successful. He followed their advice, kept what worked and discarded what didn’t. Then he wrote his conclusions as this book. One underlying message is repeated time and time again: Everybody can achieve their dream if they follow the same steps the successful people use.
When I read this book, I believed this message to the dot. It felt so easy to be given clear instructions, to follow them and voila: Dream fulfilled. A couple of years later, I changed my mind about this. Yes, following Tracy’s instructions certainly helps to become more productive. However, fulfilling your dreams also depends on support from outside. May it be in cheerleading friends who keep you going or financial support via mentoring programs which are not available to everybody.
How was reading ” Eat That Frog!”
I enjoyed reading “Eat That Frog!” because it was to the point. The chapters are short and have a side box summarising suggested steps. I have read many self-help and self-improvement books that were hard to read because they watered their message down with too many examples and stories. More isn’t always best, in my opinion.
At the same time, I felt a little patronised by Tracy. It’s easy for him to say that Bill Gross, who made a fortune at a business called Pimco, daily meditated and exercised without any of his devices on. I assume he has no daughter going to school who suffers from anxiety attacks or has someone who takes care of his elderly parents. I believe there are situations in which you need to be available 24/7 and simply cannot switch off everything. I also assume he didn’t do nightshifts which exhausts you terribly even if you get 7 or 8 hours of sleep so he could manage the meditation and exercise in the morning.
I also found Brian Tracy a bit bossy. In chapter 15, “Technology is a Terrible Master”, he wrote: “Unchain yourself from your computer. Unsubscribe from all unwanted newsletters. Set up an autoresponder that says:” I only check my e-mail twice per day. I will reply as soon as possible…” This is also how his summary of his steps is written. However, I have implemented some of his suggestions, and they certainly help me:
For example, I check my e-mail and unsubscribe from any newsletter that I haven’t read in 6 months. I do not have notifications for any social media on my phone and check them usually only twice a day. However, it often made me grin or even laugh when he called dis-liked tasks “Frogs”. It makes it so clear what it’s all about. Unless, of course, you are a “foody” and like to eat frogs 😉 .
What did and didn’t I take from “Eat That Frog!”
I pondered to give you a rundown of all the chapters but decided that would spill the frogs too much. Sorry for this terrible pun. I leave that for you to discover if you choose to read the book. However, I’ll give you some of the lessons I could take from the book and some I didn’t.
Besides the two examples of how to use digital media, I started to make a plan in the evening of what needs doing the next day. I do this together with Julia Cameron’s daily journalling called “morning pages” which basically helps me to re-cap the plan and leave my worries on the page. What I still haven’t figured out is how to cut down my plans in small enough chunks to not be overwhelmed by the overarching task as suggested in chapter 18 “Slice and Dice the Task.” Also, how to stick to writing a plan and diary every day. Life always gets in the way of my plans. But maybe that’s just me.
It seems to work for Brian Tracy to put pressure on himself to achieve a task. There are two chapters dedicated to this: 13 “Put Pressure on yourself” and 20 “Develop a Sense of Urgency” in which he explains, that this stops unhelpful procrastination. For me, though, this does the opposite. If I let my inner critic lose telling me to get on with it because it’s important to do this now I simply freeze and do nothing at all. For that though, chapter 10 “Take it one Barrel at a Time”, seems a good strategy. He suggests not to multi-task and concentrate on 3 main areas that give you the most improvement in your life. I still ponder chapter 19 “Create Large Chunks of Time” though. There are other systems out there that suggest doing tasks in smaller time portions. Both strategies have worked for me. I just can’t figure out when which works. Well…
Should you read Brian Tracy’s “Eat That Frog!”?
That, of course, depends. Do you like self-improvement and self-help books? Then “Eat That Frog!” is for you. However, if you do shift and more practical work then this book will only help you partly. That’s because it seems to be laid out for office work and a sales environment. Also, when I read “Eat That Frog!” I was in the midst of a bad bout of depression. Pushing yourself to do what needs doing does only work to a certain extent when you live with bad mental health. However, at the same time, his clear organising of steps made reading possible for me even in this bad mental state. I could take some of his strategies on board which helped me long-term.
“Eat That Frog” consists of many strategies to master the tasks in your daily life even though not all work for all. Take what works for you and leave what doesn’t and you have a book that you can come back to time and time again.
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Liz’s Rating System
1 Lemon could not read it
2 Lemons could read it but didn’t impress
3 Lemonades it was ok
4 Lemonades Great Read
5 Lemonades Incredible read, I’ll read it again
Good vibes your way
You can do it!