Wednesday, July 16, 2014

What's Best Next by Matt Perman

Since pursuing excellence is a worthy goal, books on productivity are a reading necessity. Perman takes the concept a step deeper. He wants each of us to be effective to the glory of Christ, to have time management that is Christ centered. This is a book about getting things done from a biblical perspective.

He aims to reshape our thinking on productivity. “I want to help you live the life that God has called you to live, and to live it with maximum effectiveness and meaning.” (20) He argues that productivity is about effectiveness, not efficiency. Getting more things done is meaningless if they are the wrong things. It is essential that our activity stems from our love of God, recognizing His purposes for us.

He has divided the book into sections that show why it is so hard to get the rights things done, what happens when we look at productivity in light of God and the gospel, an exploration of the processes behinds gospel-driven productivity, and how our understanding of productivity can be expanded to the workplace, our communities, and the world.

I really liked this book. This may be the first time I have seen planning and time management principles centered on the gospel. I understood the need for personal effectiveness but this book gave me a framework for understanding the purposes behind it as well. He also gives the tools to put gospel-driven productivity into practice. The book is centered on what the Bible says but Perman also includes insights from the best writers on productivity.

If you want to get biblical instruction on how to get things done and understand how getting things done relates to your Christian faith, this is the book for you. By increasing your productivity you increase your ability to do good to others and fulfill the purpose of God for your life. That's good news.

Food for thought:
The only way to find fulfillment and be productive in the ultimate sense is to center our entire lives – and therefore our productivity – on God." (54)
Productivity cannot be accomplished apart from Christ.” (56)
...[A] life well lived doesn't just happen; it requires intentionality.” (150)

Matt Perman formerly served as the senior director of strategy at Desiring God Ministries in Minneapolis, MN. He is a frequent speaker on the topic of leadership and productivity from a God-centered perspective. He regularly blogs at and contributes to a number of online publications as well.

Zondervan, 352 pages.

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