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Book Review: Jack's Notebook By Gregg Fraley

May 17, 2008
Most business and self improvement books share a common thread, they are about as exciting to read as a root canal. They drone on and on about concepts, but very rarely put those concepts into a scene where the reader can understand their purpose.

Gregg Fraley has turned this situation on its head with Jack's Notebook. Why not write a novel and embed the business aspect inside it? The novel provides the glue that joins the theories together. While simplistic and outrageous in the plot line, it it perfect to demonstrate the concept of Creative Problem Solving.

This six step process can be used for almost any situation, regardless of if it is business or personal. Some people come across an obstacle and spend their time proverbially 'banging their head against the wall.' This is a very inefficient method whose only consequence is a huge headache. It is often better to step back, and step around the problem.

While that is a huge oversimplification of the concepts discussed in Jack's Notebook, it does get to the gist. People get too wrapped up in the 'here and now,' it is better to view the situation or problem from as many angles as you can.

Gregg Fraley uses theme oriented lists. Again, I will oversimplify, who are your friends, who are your enemies, who can help, and who can hinder?

I enjoyed this book a lot, the story line concerns a young man Jack who feels trapped within a boring and monotonous life, no money, no prospects, and no plans. When he is offered a ride home on a cold and rainy night his life changes. The guardian angel is Manny, a middle aged Hispanic who exudes confidence. Manny is a successful man, and Manny is prepared to help Jack.

Manny loves the written word, particularly lists.

Now, I have to admit that I have a big aversion to lists, no doubt this is as a result of my wife. She produces the biggest grocery shopping lists you have ever seen! However, we do get what we need, and we save a considerable amount of money as a result, we buy what we need, not what we just want.

Fraley introduces us gently into the list concept, "list what you wish for," pick an item and make a list of how you can get there, make a list of who can assist you, make a list of what you need to learn, make a list of the downsides, detractors and obstacles, etc.

The bottom line is that by creating functional lists you can hone in on the subject. You can define, refine, and re-align your focus. I really liked the idea of carrying a small notebook with you at all times, and when you have an idea, write it down. I have a gazzillion ideas, and by the time I hit the keyboard, I have forgotten them all. A good example is this book review, I had a great line to use while I was sitting on the bus, but by the time I had got home, fixed my wife's computer problem, ate dinner, it was gone.

Try Jack's Notebook, it is a fun read for the story alone, and who knows, you might even get an idea or three!

You can get your own copy from Amazon. Greg also has a web site (Gregg Fraley) that is well worth a visit.

(Originally published at Blogger News Network and reprinted with permission of the author, Simon Barrett).
About the Author
Simon Barrett is an adult educator in Calgary, Alberta. With the 11 months a year of winter, he reads a lot of books! He is also a contributing editor for Blogger News and maintains a personal blog at Simon B.
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