Quick Takes: More Productivity Snake Oil

Yesterday I Tweeted about my blog post on what productivity snake-oil looks like1. One of my good friends pointed me towards a great interview2 with a very successful blogger (Maria Popova of Brain Pickings), by a very successful personality (Tim Ferris).

I have an immense amount of admiration for Mr. Ferris and readily admit that he’s been more prolific in the last few years than I have in my entire life. That being said, when I clicked the link to visit his site, the offer that popped up was classic productivity pr0n3:


Again, with the utmost respect to Mr. Ferris—and the acknowledgement that well-designed apps can be extremely helpful—any intimation that more tool options will make you more productive smacks of snake-oil.

I’m reminded of one of my favorite quotes, which comes from the film The Princess Bride4:

Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.

1. You can read my post about what productivity snake-oil looks like here.2. You can listen to Tim Ferris’ interview with Maria Popova (about her blog Brain Pickings), on the Four Hour Workweek website.3. You can read Merlin Mann’s full definition of ‘productivity pr0n’ on the 43 Folders wiki.4. You can listen to the quote about pain from The Princess Bride in a clip from the movie on YouTube.

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Practicing the art of bringing guns to a knife fight.

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