What I’m Reading Now: The Lazy Winner

Barry Noble, managing director at Tpoll discusses a new book which advises business leaders to be 'intelligently lazy'.

Barry Noble, managing director at Tpoll disagrees with themes of The Lazy Winner by Peter Taylor, a new book which advises business leaders to be ‘intelligently lazy’.

There’s a quirky little chapter at the start of Peter Taylor’s self-help book The Lazy Winner. It asks the casual book-flicker a few questions designed to define whether they should read it or not and it’s a fairly honest summation of the philosophy the book puts forward, which is better described as self-serving rather than self-help.

The central tenet of the book is about how best to be ‘lazy’ in your work – giving you the ‘strength of (saying) no’ and the ‘skill of (saying) yes’. Taylor asks us to be ‘intelligently lazy’, doing only the tasks we are best suited for and enjoy the most – a policy which, he contends, will make us more efficient.

It’s an enticing theory, but in reality few have the luxury of asking ourselves questions like ‘do I want to do this?’, ‘do I need to do this?’ and ‘am I the best person to do this?’ before drawing up our to-do list. Things have to get done: that’s business reality.

In line with its genre, the book’s tone is motivational and is lightened up with humour throughout, making it an easy read. Content has an air of credibility, borrowed in part from mentions of self-help classics including The Four Hour Work Week as well as mentions of business theory like the Pareto Rule.

But in the final analysis The Lazy Winner did nothing to change my attitude to work or help me do it any better – which after all, is the point of self-help books. It’s an entertaining read, but what says it all is that I found the appendix almost better than the book itself. Put it this way – it won’t be going on the staff bookshelf.

Related: 30 must-read books on business, technology and productivity

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter was the Editor for GrowthBusiness.co.uk from 2012 to 2014, before moving on to Caspian Media Ltd to be Editor of Real Business.

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