Every decade has its defining self-help business book. In the 1940s it was How to Win Friends and Influence People, in the 1990s The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People. These days we're worried about something much simpler: Getting Things Done.
That's the title of productivity guru David Allen's pithy 2001 treatise on working efficiently, which continues to resonate in this decade's overworked, overwhelmed, overteched workplace. Allen hasn't just sold 500,000 copies of his book. He has preached his message of focus, discipline and creativity everywhere from Sony and Novartis to the World Bank and the U.S. Air Force. He counsels swamped chief executives on coping with information overload. He ministers to some clients with an intensive, two-day, $6,000 private session in which he and his team organize their lives from top to bottom. And he has won the devotion of acolytes who document on their blogs how his Getting Things Done (GTD) program has changed their lives.