Book Review: Organize yourself- Reader’s Digest


Disclaimer: All the copyrights belong to the respective author/s of the book. The purpose of the book summary and review is to promote the book and share some of the great points from the work.

Cool Bluez Rating (7/10)

This book is a wonderful book for improving not only your personal and professional life, it also covers a wide range of topics related to the management of home and plenty of useful home tips and tricks. If you want to start living an independent and successful life, this book will help you in many ways. The best thing about this book apart from it’s versatility is the short chapters so one can easily read this book without getting unnecessarily bored by reading lengthy chapters.

Selected points from the book:


Get started: The first step is to begin. The second is to begin again. Just getting into the posture for work may put you in the mood. Pianist Ania Dorfman said that the hardest part of practicing was sitting down at the keyboard. After that, habit and discipline too over and set her in motion.

The hardest part of writing a letter is the first line.

In every office, in every endeavor, there’s at least one pacesetter. Just watching him work can inspire you to do more.

Most effective technique of time management is the simple one of setting a deadline.

Most people who work with the ideas use this same device; they work on one problem until they start losing the feel of it, then turn to something else. Later they return to the first problem with fresh interest.

Define your goal precisely so that once it is attained you can move on to other projects.

Start each day by making a general schedule with particular emphasis on the two or three major things you would like to accomplish. Studies prove what common sense tells us the more time we spend planning a project, the less total time is required for it.

People who have serious time management problems try to do many things at once. The amount of time spent on a project is not what counts; it’s the amount of uninterrupted time.

To work for long periods without taking a break is not an effective use of time. Energy decreases, boredom sets in and physical stress and tension accumulate.

Clutters hinder concentration and can create tension and frustration a feeling of being ‘snowed under’.

Remember you can think of only one thing at a time, and you can work on only one task at a time, so focus all your attention on the most important one. A final point; clearing the desk completely, or at least organizing it, each evening should be standard practice. It gets the next day off to a good start.

Of all the time saving techniques ever developed, perhaps the most effective is the frequent use of the word ‘no’.

Many people who worry about offending others wind up living according to other people’s priorities.

Don’t try to do too much quickly. Just force yourself right now to do one thing you have been putting off. Beginning tomorrow morning, start each day by doing the most unpleasant thing on your schedule. You’ll get a feeling of exhilaration from knowing that although the day is only 15 minutes old, you have already accomplished the most unpleasant thing you have to do all day.

Time wasting activities are like cancers. They drain off vitality and have a tendency to grow. The only cure is radical surgery. If you are wasting time in activities that bore you, divert you from your real goals and sap your energy, cut them out, once and for all.

Parents who don’t delegate household chores are doing a disservice to themselves and their children.

Sometimes crises arise to make even the most punctual person late. But there’s always the phone, and a call saying you’ve been delayed underlines your intention to honor your appointment.

People who are habitually late are in a sense still infants to whom time and the other person’s convenience mean nothing.

Being punctual; is the most rewarding habit ; after you have attained it you will find how greatly it simplifies living.

Average individual spends 3 years of life just waiting.

According to Gallup poll of 100 individuals, only 1 in 8 people had any plan to do something constructive with time.

Do take time out-do something that restores the lilt and zest to your living.

You can accomplish more with less effort if you schedule important tasks at the time of day when you perform them most effectively.

You can discover your best time for a given task through trial and error.

When you are faced with a number of problems, ask yourself which are truly important and make them your 1st priority. If you allow your life to be governed by what’s urgent, your life will be one crisis after another.

Try reorganizing your desk for effectiveness by asking ‘what’s the worst thing that will happen if I throw this away?’ If the answer doesn’t suggest a serious consequence, throw the item away.

Learn to say NO. Success at working less and accomplishing more depends on knowing what not to do. Over commitment is one of the frequent ways to dilute our effectiveness.

Establish a period of time each day for placing and receiving phone calls.

Regret, remorse and bad feeling can’t change the past and they make it difficult to get anything done in the present.

Worry is a future oriented useless emotion. “I’ve known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened”- Mark Twain.

Two ways to help get worry out of your life; 1st : confront your concern head on. Ask yourself ‘what’s the worst that could come from this?” When you answer that question, the need for worry usually vanishes. 2nd : replace worrying action planning. Set yourself meaningful goals and go right after them. You’ll soon get so absorbed in their pursuit that you won’t have time for worrying.

The body can handle a reasonable number of emergency calls. But if they are repeated too often, your nerves and organs and glands, fatigued from trying to keep up with all those confusing alarms, finally quit- and you’re in for a nervous breakdown.

Look away from yourself. Practice lifting your mind, every now and again, above the rush and confusion around you. Take time out during your busiest day to think of something pleasant.

Half hour nap can equal 3 hours of night sleep.

How well you rest means more than how long you sleep; relaxed rest is effective in restoring energy.

Small tensions wear you down as much as large ones.

Quiet entertainment relaxes you best; try gardening, sports, home decorations or any other ‘participating’ hobby.

Don’t trust evening decisions; postpone till morning when you’re refreshed. Chances are that your opinions will be different in morning than in evening when you were fatigued.

Extravagance tires you.

Do worst chores first; tackling the tough jobs first will make the others seem easier.

“You must make the person see that you understand his problem, even if you have to say no”- Clarence Lyons.

Say no by helping the person say no to him.

Only solid approach to socio-economic success and security consists of judgment, creativity and love.

One must ‘re-see’ one’s family as a relevant and magnificently important aspects of the real life. You must recognize that the family member’s affairs have as much important as-perhaps even more than-your own activities.

Important too is the need to re-evaluate one’s use of time.

Never to act or speak when driven by the whirlwinds of anger, fear, hurt, jealousy or resentment.

Sharpen your powers of anticipation. Much of what is going to happen is determined by what is happening now.

The father is the forgotten man of our society.

Studies of the family backgrounds of both male and female homosexuals reveal a very high incidence of father-deprivation.

A warm relationship with a father fosters the self-confidence needed for achievement.

To gain personal freedom; save money, expand your education and skills so that you can utilize different job opportunities, try not doing any dubious or foolish act as in today’s world all information can be sought out immediately, keep your private life private, don’t give your life to one organization unless it can be given whole heartedly, be active! Take on responsibility! Work for the things you believe in. If you do not, you are surrendering your fate to others who do act.

Change how a man habitually thinks about his performance; McCklelland and his associates believe that you can change his actual performance.

Arrange for some ‘accomplishment feedback”: Art of designing tasks such that a person succeeds bit by bit, reaping a reward each time, and thus strengthening the desire to achieve more. Seek models of achievement: “If I see people around me succeeding, it will stimulate my desire to succeed”. –David Kolb. Modify your self-image: People with high achievement motivation seek personal challenges & responsibilities, require continual feedback of success. Imagine yourself as a person who must have success, responsibility, challenge & variety. Control your reveries: Some of us give ourselves assurance; others do quite the contrary. Great athletes Billie Jean King for one, talk to themselves during the matches, repeating words of encouragement. Conversely negative ideas that linger in reverie can be discouraged by simply saying “STOP” whenever they are detected at the border of consciousness.

Summarizing a book by chapters is highly effective way of comprehending and retaining what one reads.

You can do 52 different things on the weekends in one year.

It is definitely better for a person to get frequent short breaks in the routine than one long, continuous vacation.

Weekends can become real vacations if they are planned and scheduled weeks or months in advance.

Almost 2/3rd of all murders and drowning and nearly 1/3rd of all suicides involve alcohol abuse, as do roughly half of all the fire deaths and fatal car accidents. We have adapted a lifestyle that sacrifices health; we then try to buy health back. Unfortunately as we’re discovering, health is not always for sale.

Helping people to develop personal goals has proved to be the most effective way to help them to cope with problems.

The establishment of a goal is the key to successful living and the most important step towards achieving an objective is to first define it. Think about your objective every day. Create concrete mental images of the goal, as if you’ve already accomplished it.

Whenever you discover a strength or talent, think of five possible ways to develop it. Write these down on a card as well and check them periodically to keep them fresh in your mind.

Always have the next goal in the back of your mind, since the most satisfaction comes from pursuing a goal, not simply achieving it. Above all, don’t be impatient about reaching your objectives.

The more you break tasks down to their elementary components, the more readily you will be able to accomplish the more difficult and complicated tasks. The belief that you can’t do something is merely a rationalization for unwillingness to take a risk.

Be aware of situations that generate the five great enemies of peace; avarice, ambition, envy, anger & pride.

Avarice comes from believing that you need certain things when you probably don’t and from the feeling that what you depend on will be taken from you but excessive ambition can lead you to set unattainable goals. Pursue your objectives at a pace suited to your temperament. Envy comes from irrational comparison of what others have achieved and what you have achieved. Lack of what others possess does not cause frustration but failure to develop your assets does.

Anger can envelop you and destroy your incentive. When you become angry, review what happened actually? Has somebody ignored or criticized you? Should that bother you? Must you depend on other’s opinion? Have you allowed others to impose their expectations on you or to control your behavior?

Pride develops from a need to impress yourself and others with qualities you lack. The mature individual acknowledges his limitations, acts humbly, and tolerates differences with others.

Self-reliance comes from2 separate acts; a positive orientation toward goals, and a reduction of unnecessary and inhibiting dependency patterns. Trying to meet the expectations of others in order to be accepted by them creates a compulsion to act in certain ways, which limit your own ability to fully express yourself. This is dependency.

Many people become oversensitive to the non-verbal and often unconscious-attitudes of criticism, hostility or rejection of others. Acknowledge that everyone has a right to think for himself and close the discussion. Maintaining a positive attitude will, in the long run, draw positive responses from others.

Ask yourself “what factors in my life are draining me? To what extent am I neglecting my own needs?” Are you known as someone with strong shoulders, willing to assume all kinds of burdens? Are you too easy to approach, so that friends, relatives and others feel no hesitancy about imposing on your time? Positive gratification from this must be weighed against the negative price you pay in giving up free choice.

Don’t worry about refusing requests that seem to be demanding of yourself. It is better over the long haul for family and friends to know that what you do for them you do willingly, because you want to and not because you hadn’t enough courage.

The ability to withdraw into solitude will increase your faith in your capacity to achieve objectives. It will also give you strength to endure frustrations and uncertainty. Learn to listen to your own thoughts.

There is a direct link between service to others and rewards in life.

If you wish others to respect you, treat them with respect. Everyone needs love, respect and attention.

There is something to be learned by everybody.

The way to try to understand the world is to see it from many different viewpoints as possible.

When you feel hurt, try to understand what is that you have lost? What did the loss mean to you? What needs it fill? Where can you now have those needs taken care of?

Your feelings will demand to be expressed in one way or another. If they are not directed at the person who caused them, as they should be, they will find expression wherever they can.

People get anxious(worried, frightened, uptight) when they are afraid of being hurt or losing something. If you feel anxious, try to pinpoint what it is you are afraid or losing- whether it is the love or attention of other people, your control over a situation or yourself, or your self-esteem and worth as a person. See what help you can get to prevent the loss or to prepare for it. Avoiding things you fear only makes them more entrenched and difficult to manage.

If anger is long submerged, it is difficult to express appropriately, because it’s sources have been buried for so long that are all but impossible to recognize.

Guilt: When anger is not expressed appropriately, it often becomes directed at the person who feels it.

How do you deal with guilt? If you remember that most guilt comes from suppressed anger and that anger comes from being hurt, the solution should be found in understanding the hurt and what caused it, and permitting the anger to be directed where it should have been in the first place.

All feelings, especially unpleasant ones have to run their natural course. When a child loses a pet, for example, we don’t expect him to perform well in school for a while. This child must grieve and loosen his ties to the pet, when this is accomplished, his energies will once again be free to invest in work and play.

What prevents so many thousands of troubled correspondents from reaching their own solutions? It’s because they have certain roadblocks in their minds, psychic obstacles that limit or paralyze their problem-solving abilities. Whatever their problem, real or imaginary, they are convinced they can’t cope.

If you think success, you create a climate in which success is probable. If you think failure, you set the stage for it.

Best way to forget their own problems is to help someone else solve his.

Carrying a load of anger around with you wastes your energy. It blocks communication.

Religion teaches that the only way to deal with a guilt problem is to regret the offense, resolve not to repeat it, make amends if possible, seek forgiveness of the person you have wronged and then forget it.

The truth is that the vast majority of feared disasters will probably never take place. In any case, merely worrying about them does nothing to prevent them.

Another remedy is deliberately to distract yourself. Play a game. Go for a walk. See a movie. Chop wood. Dig in the garden. Paint a fence. Do anything except sit and brood. If you change your setting, you can usually change your mood.

But the greatest remedy of all is faith in God, belief that He is, that He cares, and that He stands ready to help.

A common result of being frustrated, the Yale investigators have shown, is an act of aggression, sometimes violent.

The aggressive act that frustration produces may take a number of forms. It may be turned inward against oneself, with suicide as the extreme example. It may hit back directly at the person or thing causing the frustration. Or it may be transferred to another object-what psychologists call displacement. Displacement can be directed against the dog, the parlor furniture, the family or even total strangers.

In some cases, frustration leads to the opposite of aggression, a complete retreat from life.

Children in all societies are necessarily frustrated, practically from birth, as they are broken in to the customs of the tribe.

Slips result from competition and intermixing among underlying mental-processing mechanisms, often working parallel to one another.

The likelihood of human error increases when there is stress.

Facing up to oneself is the first step towards choosing a job or career.

Stop regarding procrastination as a harmless little hang-up. It is just not a habit, it is a villain that can thwart your ambitions, destroy your happiness, even kill you.

Pick one specific area where procrastination plagues you and conquer it; if you can thus break the hold that procrastination has in one segment of your life, the sense of relief and triumph will help you eliminate it from others.

Learn to set priorities and then focus on one problem at a time; in night I list all the items in descending order of importance. That way I can tackle them in sequence the next day, joyfully crossing off each one as I dispose of it. You have to make up your mind, though, not to let distractions creep in. Sometimes I have to talk harshly to myself ‘you are going to sit in this chair until you have finished the job in front of you’. Once the mind accepts the discipline, the needed power will flow. Above all, it’s necessary to concentrate.

Give yourself deadlines.

Don’t duck the most difficult problem.

Don’t let perfectionism paralyze you: lots of people fail to act because they are afraid that they may not perform perfectly.

We’ve probably been looking for happiness in the wrong place. The source is not outside us; it is within. Most of us have not begun to tap our own potential for happiness.

Being aware of your own achievements is one thing. For example when you do something you are proud of, dwell on it a little, praise yourself for it.

Instead of convincing ourselves beforehand that something we want to do is impossible, we should spend those energies looking for ways to do it.

Every time you catch yourself putting yourself down, just stop and turn around and push yourself up. It takes realism too. People often want to be perfect and become discouraged when they are not.

Give everything you’ve got: Often it’s the fear of failure that prevents us from going all out. It’s as if we were preparing to excuse our failure in advance. Paradoxically losing oneself in the task at hand is the only way of finding oneself.

Give it one more try: After hitting the books as hard as they could, most students said “Well that’s that”. The A’s however said ‘let’s give it one more for good measure’. Flaubert rewrote his great novel Madame Bovary at least 3 times, and was still so dissatisfied with it that he considered burning the manuscript. He gave it one last try and the result is a classic.

Take a proprietary attitude towards your job.

Tackle little jobs as if they were big ones: Some people don’t think their jobs are worth their best efforts. They are always saving themselves for the great break-which never comes. They don’t realize that the big job consists of many little jobs, all of which have to be done well.

Want to sign your work?

Create your own style. Doing something he can call his own satisfies a deep need in man.

The basic human sickness; problem of the person who is living far below his potential and knows it, who is deeply unhappy but cannot seem to do anything about it.

Pinpoint your primary goal in life: You must determine exactly what you want and when. Write down a summary of goal and the achievement date; put it beside your bed and read it aloud to yourself every morning when you wake up. Vagueness is the invariable hallmark of the unfocused mind. Get rid of it.

Use imagination to fan desire: Daydreams and wistful wishes are not enough, there must be intense, burning desire. Ask anyone who has achieved outstanding success in any field.

Expect to pay for what you get: If you set a high goal, you’ll have to pay a high price.You’ll have to work, take chances, make sacrifices, endure setbacks. You won’t be able to afford the luxury of laziness or the delights of the frequent distraction. When setting your goal, remember that unless you’re willing to pay the price, you’re wasting your time.

Send the right signals to your unconscious mind: If fear thoughts, worry thoughts, failure thoughts are constantly channeled into the unconscious, nothing very constructive is going to be sent back. But if a clear, purposeful goal is steadfastly held in the conscious mind, the unconscious will eventually accept it and begin to supply the conscious mind with plan, ideas, insights, and the energies necessary to achieve that goal.

Be willing to fail-temporarily: Successful men in various fields had only one trait in common: persistence. They kept picking themselves up and returning to the fight long after most men would have given up. A man failed in business in 31. He was defeated for the state legislature in 32. He failed again in business in 34. He had a nervous breakdown in 41. He hoped to receive his party’s nomination for Congress but didn’t in 43. He ran for the Senate and lost in 55. He was defeated again for the senate in 58. A hopeless loser as some people said. But Abraham Lincoln was elected president in 1860. He knew how to accept defeat-temporarily.

Believe in the power of thought to change things.

Never build a case against yourself.

Stop shop circuiting yourself with alibis: To become a focused person you have to control your self limiting thoughts.

Top rank professionals and noted achievers almost inevitably turn out to be men who tackle the difficult task head on without procrastination.

Once what we confront a difficulty, we find it less troublesome than when it appeared.

The calmest men I know, the happiest, and by and large the most successful are those who grapple with their problems as quickly as they appear.

It is quite possible that the thing we say so flatly that we will never do is the very thing we need for completion.

Certain kinds of success can indeed be destructive. The danger of too early success is particularly acute whenever a child demonstrates special talent.

Success that comes too early is also damaging.

Success is also bad when it’s achieved at the cost of the total quality of an experience. Successful students sometimes become so obsessed with grades that they never enjoy their school years.

Why are so many people so afraid of failure? Quite simply because no one tells us how to fail so that failure becomes a growing experience/

The trouble with failure-prevention devices is that they leave a child unequipped for life in the real world. The young need to learn that no one can be best at everything, no one can win all the time-and that it’s possible to enjoy a game even when you don’t win.

The youngster should be allowed to experience disappointment and then be helped to master it.

Failure is never pleasurable. It hurts adults and children alike. But it can make a positive contribution to your life once you learn to use it. Step one is to ask “Why did I fail?” Resist the natural impulse to blame someone else. Ask yourself what you did wrong, how you can improve. If someone else can help, don’t be shy about inquiring.

Success, which encourages repetition of old behavior is not nearly as good a teacher as a failure.

We do know that people often get sick when they are asked to change again and again-and can’t keep up. How does change produce illness? A change in stimuli-visual, auditory, tactile-triggers in us a complex, massive bodily response. If the environment is overloaded with novelty, it can produce the equivalent of anxiety neurotics, people whose systems are continually flooded with adrenalin, whose hearts thump, whose hands go cold. And prolonged stress produces illness.

Heart palpitations, tremors, insomnia or unexplained fatigue may well signal over-stimulation. By asking ourselves if we are living too fast, we can attempt, quite consciously to assess and change our life pace.


Choose a core you’re now paying someone to do. Learn how to take on the job yourself.

Crash-save: for emergencies; you decide to buy only absolute necessities for 13 weeks. You’ll cut out or way down on, movies, concerts, weekend trips, restaurants, taxis etc.

The advantage of using credit can be enjoyed only by consumers who keep their buying under control.

Barter is meeting needs- and everyone needs something. When you’re able to supply it, you can ask for almost anything in return.

Add up your assets: Make list of everything you no longer need or don’t use full time. A spare room? Trade it to a student for housekeeping or lawn care.

Find your barter partner: Keep in mind a simple rule: No matter what a person has, there’s always something else he or she needs. Sometimes the other party doesn’t know he has a need until you bring it to his/her attention.

Blend together the lure of easy credit, an urge for middle-class luxuries, sloppy budgeting and ignorance about the hidden costs of owning a house and you can get into deep trouble fast.

Know what you can earn, know what you can spend.

Don’t use more credit than you can afford; don’t borrow more than 15 % of your annual income, excluding the mortgage.

Be sure to go to shopping after you’ve eaten, please!. You’ll spend more money for every minute over half an hour that you’re in supermarket.

Make a list ; preferably according to the layout of the store.

Under-inflated tires waste as much as 6% in fuel and accelerate tire wear.

Know your own house; find out where the main water valve is. Tag it and turn it off once or twice to make sure you can shut the water off in case of a burst pipe or hot water tank.

Learn some elementary plumbing.

Using fluorescent tubes instead of incandescent bulbs in kitchen, bathroom, workshop. A 4- watt fluorescent gives 25-85% more light than a 100 watt incandescent and it costs less to operate.

When painting walls, choose light colors. They reflect more light than dark colors and you’ll need less artificial lighting.

Do “off peak buying” ; buying summer’s item in winters and vice versa due to low price.

“Will you take less?” can save families significant amount of money a year.

Even if you’re willing to pay $ 100 dollars for an old buffalo head, offer 10 $. The seller may be under orders from his wife to get that buffalo out of the house.

For bargaining: For instance you’re going to buy a car, check the tires, look under the hood & frown. Comment on every bit of rust and wear. As you steadily attack the car’s value, the salesman realizes he’ll have to come down. Keep the initial offer low.

Do not shop for food on empty stomach: people who shop after meals invariably spend less than those who shop when hungry.

If the person preparing your tax return does not sign it, provide his/her name and identification number, find another tax preparing person.

Waste is a sin no matter how great one’s resources be.


All stirring should be done with a wooden spoon. Metal chemically affects some food.

In pan frying and sautéing, always get your pan hot first, then add the butter or oil. Meat even eggs won’t stick to it.

Color guide to meat buying; Beef should be well marbled and very bright red with white fat. Chicken: Should have fat as close to white as possible; if the pinfeather holes are close together the bird will be young and tender, veal should also be as white as possible.

To keep raw meat fresh and odorless, rinse them with fresh lemon juice and water, dry thoroughly, wrap and refrigerate.

Cut off both ends of cucumbers to avoid bitterness.

To chop an onion efficiently, cut it in half and place flat surfaces on your cutting board; cut in thin slices across with chef’s knife. Then turn slices around, holding them together and chop into fine pieces. This method keeps the juices in better too. To avoid tears; sprinkle fresh lemon juice on the flat surfaces after you’ve cut the onions in half.

Never cut salad greens with a knife. This bruises them and makes them bitter. Tear them gently into bite-size pieces by hand.

Secret of a good sauce: low to medium heat, never high.

Submerging a lemon in hot water for 15 minutes before squeezing will make it yield more juice.

Store cottage cheese upside down. It will keep longer.

To get ketchup out of a fresh bottle, insert a drinking straw and push it to the bottom. Enough air will be admitted to start an even flow.

To clean Copper pots, dip lemon halves in salt and rub. White hard-water spots on stainless steel can be removed with white vinegar.

Sprinkle burnt pots liberally with baking soda and just enough water to moisten; let stand for several hours. Generally, the burned portion will scrape right out of the pan.

To clean eyeglasses without streaks, use a drop of vinegar on each lens.

To preserve news clipping, dissolve milk of magnesia tablet in a quart of club soda overnight. Pour into a pan large enough to accommodate the flattened clipping. Soak it for 1 hour, remove carefully and pat dry, don’t move till it completely dries.

When postage stamps are stuck together, place them in the freezer. They will usually come apart and the glue will still be usable.

For carpet cleaning: try shaving cream as spot remover. The foam works greatly, use water or club soda for washing.

To remove some types of ballpoint ink marks, saturate with hair spray, allow to dry, then brush lightly with a solution of water and vinegar.

Before wearing new clothes, touch the center of each button (front and back) with clear nail polish. It will seal the threads and buttons and will help them to stay much longer.

If you’re in hurry and notice a stain on your white suit or sweater, cover it up by rubbing baby powder into the stain.

A new paintbrush will last longer and be easier to clean if it soaks in a can of linseed oil for 12 hours before it is ever used. To banish paint odor, add two tablespoons of vanilla extract per quart of paint. A large cut onion placed in a pan of cold water will also absorb paint odor.

If your ballpoint becomes clogged with excessive ink and fuzz, insert it in the filter portion of a cigarette. Just a few turns and it’s ready for use.

Candles burn more slowly and evenly with minimum dripping if placed in freezer several hours before use.

To kill a bee or any winged insect, use hair spray, as it’ll stiffen the wings immobilizing it immediately.

The page is a part of Cool Bluez (2011)