Work the System: A book review by Bob Morris

Work the System: The Simple Mechanics of Making More and Working Less
Sam Carpenter
Greenleaf Book Group Press (2009)

Others have their reasons for praising this book. Here are three of mine. First, Sam Carpenter describes and recommends a mind-set that is “different from the mental posture most people carry around with them from day to day.” He duly notes that much as he wants to have himself and his life under control, the most important benefits of that mindset, he doesn’t always fully adhere (“every minute”) to the principles and guidelines that guide and inform it. “I fall down on the job now and then.” However consistent and predictable the “Work the System” methodology may be, those who adopt it will execute it inconsistently, at least for a while. Nonetheless, he seems certain that the methodology he proposes, with its “hyperefficient systems, ” can enable almost anyone to increase the efficiency and productivity of their own systems, “one by one.” With all due respect to human inadequacies of various kinds, Carpenter helps his reader to achieve several important improvements…over time. For example, “an elementary and yet fundamental shift in perspective” on “life’s mechanical workings.”

I also admire how candid Carpenter is about what his reader must do. “At the beginning of the process [of personal transformation] there is some heavy lifting as you create documentation. That’s okay. It’s a superb investment because the end product will be freedom [`from’ as well as `to’], a relaxed persona, and plenty of money. It will probably be the best investment of time and effort you will ever make.” Make no mistake, each of the three steps of the method involves (indeed requires) “heavy lifting.” The nature and extent of the “R” will depend almost entirely on the “I.”

Finally, I greatly appreciate the resources in the five appendices that supplement Carpenter’s thorough explanation of the “Work the System” methodology. The reader is provided with an article that Carpenter wrote, “Ockham’s Razor and the TSR”; Centratel’s “Strategic Objective”; Centratel’s “30 Principles”; Centratel’s Procedure for Procedures”; and Centratel’s “System for Communication.”

Caveat: I urge readers NOT to check out the appendices until after all of the documentation has been created and then fine-tuned, especially the Strategic Objective, the Operating Principles, and Working Procedures. Carpenter invites his readers to check out his company’s “Work the System Template”™ here for details.

Near the conclusion of the final chapter, as he has throughout the book, Carpenter speaks directly to his reader and offers still another valuable suggestion: “Focus on the mechanical systems that produce the results, not the other way around, and never doubt that the superb collection of systems will produce a superb primary system.”

Let the process begin. Visit his website, purchase the book, and obtain a note book in which you can log you’re your daily initiatives, including the completion of exercises. Meanwhile, keep in mind that Carpenter is only an email away.


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