Simply Brilliant: Fergus O’Connell

Simply Brilliant: The Competitive Advantage of Common Sense is a simple book presenting simple ideas without being simplistic. It advises the reader to look for simple problems, simple solutions and direct approaches.

The general tenet is for you to be nice to people you work with, and to see problems from their point of view.

The key points from the book are:

–  The best ideas are often the most simple, don’t search for complexity

–  Smart people often fail to demonstrate common sense

O’Connell outlines 7 principles to deal with everyday problems. These are:

1.  Many things are simple despite our need to make them complicated

2.  You need to know what you are trying to do

3.  There is always a sequence of events – join the dots in your mind to see the cause and effect

4.  Things don’t get done if people don’t do them

5.  Things rarely end up how you planned, so plan for the unexpected

6.  Things either are or they are not – Don’t fudge it to meet your expectation

7.  Look at things from the other person’s point of view

O’Connell structures the book as an informal manual. It covers:

–  How to plan

–  How to prioritise

–  How to complete projects

–  How to remember the customer’s needs

He suggests you write the minutes of a meeting in advance to know what you want to get out of it.

He also highlights the difference between the duration of a task and the time is takes to complete it.

Activity isn’t progress.

He outlines why things don’t get done – Confusion, Over-commitment, lack of knowledge or skill.

He also suggests that you plan your time assuming that there will be interruptions

The final point I think is most telling of people in general is that common sense isn’t all that common in reality.

A good little book that highlights the need to keep things simple in a complicated world.

Dare to Aspire

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