Posted On: Tuesday, 12 December 2023 by Rajiv Popat

I recently stumbled upon Someday is Today and read it cover to cover over the weekend. The book was really fast paced and obnoxiously prescriptive; which is not the type of book that usually appeal to me.

Most self help books use this style of writing, where the story telling resolves around four simple steps: 1) The author tells you how miserable he once was. 2) He then tells you how successful he is now. 3) He tells you what worked for him or how he became successful. 4) He assumes that everything that worked for him will also work for you and if you don’t follow his advice you will never be successful in life.

It’s the same writing style most self help authors use. It’s also the same style most so called coaches and gurus selling YouTube courses on how to become a millionaire use; which is why I am not a big fan of this style of writing.

Fundamentally, there is nothing wrong with this style. A lot of TED talks also follow this style. I’ve myself written a book in this style back when I was younger. But as I grow older, I tend to lean towards a calmer, suggestive and research oriented tone rather than prescriptive voice when it comes to the articles, posts or books I love to read or write.

The steps involved in the suggestive (rather than prescriptive) style of writing usually are: 1) Here is one problem I was struggling with. 2) Here is what I tried that did not work. 3) Here is what I tried that I think may have worked; though I am still not hugely successful. 3) Here is some science behind it. 4) See if it works for you; no worries if it doesn’t. Results always vary. We are all different. I don’t have all the answers.

Someday is Today uses the former, self-help based prescriptive style of storytelling and generally speaking I would have stopped reading the book after it’s first chapter; but I continued because of a strong central idea that the book was built around. The idea that creativity is messy; creativity is a game of inches. That and the fact that the author is an excellent story teller.

In the end I was happy I read the book in spite of multiple over the top ideas that I did not agree with. By the time I was done, I had a few solid takeaways from the book. Nothing I did not know, but the information I already knew was crystalized into mental models and insights I could remember and reuse at will.

You can read the book if you have the time. Overall it’s a good book that provides a lot of insights about productivity. The book is really well written and dances on the fine line between healthy and highly toxic productivity without ever brazenly crossing that line.

For example, the author talks about reducing your shower time to less than ten minutes to increase productivity and you are left wondering how far this productivity rabbit hole goes. Should you stop taking showers every day to be productive? Should you just shower every other day? Once a week? And even if you do that, is that what we want to advice others and then insinuate that if they spend more than 5 minutes in a shower, they are “idiots”?

But then there is a lot of good advice in the book. For example, the author talks about why he chooses to be a primary school teacher and doesn’t run after promotions and corporate jobs because being a primary school teacher gives him time to be productive in areas that matter to him. If there is a fine line between healthy and toxic productivity, this book walks smack on that line without ever crossing it. It makes you uncomfortable, it also inspires you and best of all it makes you think about what productivity means to you and what regrets you might have as you approach the end of your life.

Here is my book summary of the central ideas and all the key takeaways that I found not only appealing but really useful:


You can download a PDF of my book summary here if you would like to keep a handy reference. You should definitely give this book a read. If you are too busy to read it now, I’m hoping the one pager will still give you all the insights and the key takeaways that I found particularly useful and make you a bit more productive.

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