Excerpt from the author introduction
In recent years the air Is full of talk about efficiency. The word has been so much a shibboleth that it has created the usual prejudice against the overworked word. Yet all the world admits its keen interest in anything that will give better effects as compared to energy expended, and this all engineers tell us is efficiency.
But the discussion has been nearly all in terms of shop, factory and counting room, while this new book seems to forget these smaller things and devote itself to a matter of vastly greater importance; to the efficiency of one's own life and its manifold personal details, which it considers with a minuteness comparable to the factory motion- study expert, who will spend days of patient study in learning how to save a single second on some constantly repeated single operation.
Every large work involves five " M's "; material, machinery and tools, methods, money or working capital, and men; and by common consent of the wise, the greatest of these five is men, and the greatest problem of modern life is to make the man himself more efficient. It is a good omen that some of the cleverest thinkers are now giving to the chief factor at least a fraction of the thought they have bestowed so long on the four minor factors, especially on machinery and methods. No intelligent reader will expect that each of the thousand suggestions, plans, methods, scorecards, charts, dos and don'ts is going to apply exactly to his complex personality.
He will be more than content if he finds a goodly number that is practically useful. After forty years of constant administrative experience and large study in these special lines, I have never yet picked up this book for even five minutes' reading without getting direct practical value from some new thought or some unusual or more telling presentation of an old one. These stimulating pages bristle with epigrams and sparkle with the texts of a thousand sermons, and these texts will be remembered because of their brevity and sharp outlines long after the full conventional sermons themselves would be forgotten.
He who checks up so unusual a book to see if every item agrees with every other quite misses its purpose and defeats much of its helpful possibility. It is one of the author's own warnings not to believe all the prophets tell us but to study their systems and adopt from their teachings what fits our own conditions and thus get much greater good than by trying to digest all. This would be like reading all the eighty pages of a Sunday daily through in order, instead of culling here and there what then and there to that special reader is best worthwhile.
Don't read this book as an inspired bible but as the often inspiring advice of a keen observer and student with the singular gift of putting things so that he who runs may not only read but also quickly and easily mark and inwardly digest. The lynx-eyed Aristotle said, " Mere intellect never moves anything." Fighting forces are re-recruited not only for common war but for all the great undertakings of life, not so much by cold, precise statement of facts as by something that, stirring the emotions, causes the heart to beat faster and makes great things seem more and more possible or even probable. The banner flung to the breeze, the strains of martial music or tramp of armed men will fill the ranks after the cold logic has failed.
Our author seeks to enlist us in the great lifelong battle to make our own lives more efficient in whatever we have to do. Sometimes he shocks us into gasping but vigorous attention with the tonic of an ice-cold mental plunge, some- times he startles you with a statement we are sure we could disprove or greatly reduce, but it has set us thinking hard, and that was his purpose. His flashes of humour and playful parentheses when discussing the most serious subjects may surprise, but his point will be remembered much longer than if presented with all the dignified conventions. His apt illustrations stick in the mind like burrs, even when like a parable they will not stand on all their legs. And the wisest whoever took the form of a man constantly spoke in homely, telling parables, and because of it, the people heard him more gladly.
Then our author often speaks as one having authority and not as the scribes, and always there are those unwilling to listen to anything ex-cathedra. But the book is vastly more compact and useful and readable than if diluted with self-depreciation and modest disclaimers. He gives us his opinions for what they are worth, condensed into epigrams or sharp challenging statements so they may go home like a spear and penetrate to the deep places of our minds instead of being like a blow with the flat hand, which must be on the surface only and quickly forgotten.
Contents of Efficient living:
I What Is Efficiency? 1
II Study and Efficiency 34
III Food and Efficiency 63
IV Home and Efficiency 91
V Work and Efficiency 124
VI Play and Efficiency 147
VII Hygiene and Efficiency 170
VIII Money and Efficiency 202
IX Thought and Efficiency 219
X Guide to Efficiency Problems . . .258
Download PDF book 5.7 MB