I was visiting the states from Canada and came across the article. Had to sit right down at Borders and read it through. Great promo and hopefully inspirational enough to get a few thousand more people in touch with David and GTD!
I read the article as soon as my copy of that issue of The Atlantic showed up in the mail. I was glad that the article finally made it into print. The Dallas seminar Jim Fallows mentioned in the article was in September 2002. That was my first David Allen seminar, although I had been trying on my own to implement the GTD methodology based on my reading of the book. (Believe me, there's no substitute for going to the seminar itself -- and I've also listened to the GTD Fast CDs many times over since the seminar.)
I also got permission from The Atlantic folks to reprint the article to hand out an in-house program I'm doing at our firm to give our summer associates a flavor of the GTD system.
Who read the article on David/GTD in the Atlantic Monthly?
As James Fallows tried to say in a very nice way in his post, the David Allen Company doesn't own the rights to the article in the Atlantic and cannot legally post an electronic copy without the Atlantic's permission. Whether they would be willing to grant permission is something I don't know.
Because the Atlantic is a quality magazine, it is not sold in the supermarkets and drug stores I frequent, so I had to go to Barnes and Noble to get a copy. I is possible that there are libraries in Warsaw (probably academic libraries or top-quality public libraries) that would carry important English-language publications like the Atlantic (although they may be in transit for a while). I know this may impose some difficulties for you, but the folks who own the article get to decide how it is distributed.
By the way, I thought the article was quite good, although it reminds me yet again that each of us has our own organizational challenges, and we adapt systems to meet our own needs and tendencies. But for people who have read the book and followed the discussions on this forum, there is probably not a lot that's new. It would probably be most helpful for someone who has never heard of David Allen and needs a good recommendation to read the book or go to a seminar.
Thanks for comments about the Atlantic article. This is just a housekeeping note about the Atlantic's posting principles, what you're missing (or not!) by not seeing the article, et cetera.
* The reason it's not immediately available on the web site is that a variety of print publications have realized that they cannot indefinitely both give away their content and attempt to sell it. Yes, there are differences in "look and feel" that, in my mind, will give printed books, magazines, and newspapers some long-term viability despite the Internet. (It's nicer to read a "real" book while sitting on the couch or riding the subway than any electronic counterpart of the moment; newspapers reflect actually quite sophisticated ergonomics that allow readers to scan a variety of topics quickly, gauge their importance, and find what interests them; magazines have a glossy feel that can make even the advertisements part of the experience; etc.) Obviously electronic counterparts are more and more important -- and obviously there are circumstances where they are the best and only way to get the chosen information, for instance if you're looking for a Malaysian publication while in the U.S. or a U.S. publication while you're in Poland.
But the entire print-based "intellectual property" business has realized that it needs to be discriminating about how much info it just gives away electronically. There really is a demonstrated "cannibalization" trend in newsstand sales, depending on how much of their content magazines in particular make available instantly on the internet. And sales on the newsstand are far and away the best means of attracting future subscribers -- which is what print publications need if they are to exist at all. That is why newspapers switch to "registration" schemes; it is why some magazines don't put any of their content on line, and why others do it in phased ways. The Atlantic was, to my knowledge, the first major U.S. magazine to put all its content on line for free, in real time. Now it puts a few features from each issue on line in real time --and the whole magazine is of course available in real time to subscribers worldwide and, in North America and the UK, on newsstands. The whole issues become available on an archived basis when later issues have appeared.
So if you're outside the US, you can wait a month or two for the archives to appear. If you're in the US or Canada or England, you can go to the actual newsstand or subscribe or place a single-issue order online or something. The reason is, it costs us time, expenses, and effort to produce the magazine. And, this current July-August issue is one of the best the magazine has produced, IMHO. The cover story has already received a lot of press. 8)
* So much for the high-concept. On a practical basis, no one who has read 'Getting Things Done' (and paid for it -- rather than getting it on the web for free :wink: ) will have any big discovery from my article. Its entire point was to introduce The David Allen Way to people who didn't know anything about it, and perhaps interest them enough so that they would look into it further.
End of long post, and I appreciate the tips offered on this site. Jim Fallows
Thanks again for the article, and you're right, this is a great issue of The Atlantic.
But, because Jim wouldn't take this opportunity to pat himself on the back, let me refer forum readers to an earlier issue (can't remember which month), in which Jim wrote an excellent pre-war piece on Iraq: The 51st State (my apologies if the title is not quite right). I read it when it first came out, and recently re-read it (it's probably available on The Atlantic's website). Regardless of your political persuasion or position on the war, Jim's article was both revealing and prophetic. That article alone made the issue in which it appeared one of my favorites.
IMHO, and trying not to be a sycophant here, it's worth subscribing to The Atlantic just for Jim's articles -- and you get a lot of extra great stuff to boot!
Thanks again, Jim. Let's hope your article on David brings many more into the "fold." I share David's "vision" that someday we'll be teaching this stuff in school and grade school children will wonder why any of us ever tried to keep stuff only in our heads!
I thought the article was a very clear summary of what GTD is about, and it has helped me explain the system to others; indeed, it has helped my own understanding-- specifically, the part where Fallows explains the idea of a whole external system that you can trust. He does so by comparing how people wake up worrying about something versus the trust that people have in their calendars to remind them what day to go to the airport. I have struggled for more than a year to consistently implement GTD (especially the weekly review and the emptying of inboxes), and I think I will have it working when I can really trust my lists to have everything in them that I need to deal with.
I was also fascinated by Fallows' personal experiences of the seminars and the conversations with David Allen; I haven't been able to attend a seminar, but I have listened to the GTD Fast CDs several times, and I hope Mr. Fallows (or anyone else in this posting board who has attended seminars) will let us know, if he has a chance to hear them, how close they are to what the seminars are like. And I would love to know more about DA's life and how he came to develop and promote this system -- maybe he will write an autobiography for the website?
I never realized until reading the article that this is sort of like a cult; At least, I can say that I would not have been able to stick with this system without the community of this posting board and the yahoo discussion groups, which keep me feeling encouraged that I can and ought to do all this collecting, processing and reviewing.
My idea for Davidco is following:
1) As we hear the article is great introduction to GTD.
2) For marketing and evangelism purposes Davidco should buy the rights to the article and put it in the free domain (with rights for translation to other languages).
I have been an Atlantic subscriber for years and usually scan it the day it arrives. I read the article about GTD and it immediately rang a bell with me due to my being overwhelmed with work/life issues at the moment. The logic of the system as explained in this very good article impressed me to the point that I bought both David's books the very next day, ordered the CD seminar that afternoon, and spent my spare vacation time listening to the CD's. I have since listened to them repeatedly while driving and have begun implementing GTD as rapidly as I can. I recommend the CD's higly to anyone with a real desire to grasp the concept. Although I am still in the early stages, it has already changed the way I manage work flow and I see hourly/daily evidences of how my thinking has already changed drastically. (If GTD doesn't alter your thinking, you're either already doing it or else you haven't gotten it yet, IMO.) I agree that the article should be distributed as widely as possible.
I read the Atlantic article, and it set off a light-bulb over my head. As an author with several concurrent projects, I immediately realized that Fallows was talking about me.
So, I ordered the book, started applying the basics, and already I've seen a change in my work and organization. While I'm not applying GTD to the letter, the changes I've made have been quite impressive.