Barefoot on Broken Glass is a curious title for a management book. Its aim is to give you the practical skills and confidence to achieve your goals and though it’s primarily a business book, its advice can be applied to personal challenges too. Author John Timperley was a marketing director at PricewaterhouseCoopers when he started work on this and though he was familiar with the techniques he describes he wanted to stretch himself and affirm their validity by realising a new goal. That goal–which he did achieve–was to walk barefoot across 12 feet of broken glass. The fear and apprehension he experienced in mastering this, erm feat, are similar to the emotions felt by anyone trying something unfamiliar for the first time says Timperley in the preface. Including trying new ideas in business. So maybe the title isn’t so curious after all.
Timperley is keen on being succinct and cutting to the chase. He notes that most of us have attention spans ranging between 20 and 40 minutes and capitalises on this with short chapters that can be read within the time span. These chapters–16 of them in around 150 pages–introduce techniques to help you think faster and more creatively; do more in less time; identify and then achieve goals; remember more and absorb information faster; strengthen your power to get things done; and use your thoughts to balance your life. The general principles are described and outlined–mind mapping, speed reading, memory games, goal setting and so on–the theory bolstered by real world examples and five “killer questions” to ask yourself at the end of each chapter. It shouldn’t take too long to read this book, but what you learn from it could, just like John Timperley’s ability to walk barefoot on broken glass, last a lifetime. –Sandra Vogel