The Art of Time

The Art Of Time
Jean-Louis Servan-Schreiber
Pub. Date: September 2000, Avalon Publishing Group
ISBN 1569246475
162 Pages

Success Rating :4

Why I Read this Book:
Time is the most valuable asset to any human being. There is so much written about dealing with all other assets in our lives. I wanted to get started mastering what really counts; my time.


Every once in a while you read a book that just does it for you.  It takes the topic at hand and delivers it in a way you could not have imagined.  The Art of Time absolutely nails it.  When we think about it, there is not anything more valuable and precious to us as humans than the time we have to spend our days.  Servan-Schreiber lays out the hours and minutes of our days as an art that truly can be mastered.  By nailed it, I mean he starts from a very high level of general thoughts on time management and what time really means to us and he drills into the very aspects of our life that tend to drain away our time the most.  Once these are made obvious to the reader, it is then, that he or she can start to work on improving upon those points.  This book not only provided a moment of enlightenment for me but has and will serve as a guide to taking the time in my life and turning it into the time of my life. ?

The Art of Time was recommended to me by a long-time business mentor of mine who I respect dearly.  Just recently I was in his office having a discussion about the progression of his new book.  We got to talking about reading and I asked him what books he might recommend.  This is a question I am sure to ask all successful men and women with whom I come in contact.  I recommend this as a best practice to everyone.  Invariably behind every successful person is an office or library full of books that helped him or her get there.  What better people to ask for book recommendations than from the people who have clearly reaped their benefits.  Upon asking this man his recommendations, he quickly turned to his book shelf and pulled out a little green book.  He said, “Scott, this was given to me by my father and it was not until just recently that I finally read it.  It is the most valuable book I have read to this day.”  I had the book finished by the following week.  How could I not?

The author touches on so many relevant points that perfectly resonate with the reader almost as if the book was written for you, the reader, specifically.  It is written in a way that is very congruent to the ideals of time management with short, concise and digestible chapters.  When it comes down to it, our time is really just made up of the perception we give it.  After all in the eyes of some, time does not exist but was a system to maintain order.  Once we can get a hold of the proper perception of what we call time, the wind will be at our backs.

We all have the same amount of time in our days and every one of our moments has a direct cost associated with it.  Servan-Schreiber suggests that we as individuals must stop making our decisions based upon the mundane concept of money, which is a renewable asset, and instead weight our lifetime and everyday decisions based upon the one asset in our lives that is not renewable; time.  It seems obvious to me now, but is that not how it always goes?

After touching on Servan-Schreiber’s developed theory of the art of time, he then goes into the specific things in our lives that have the great potential to waste away our time if not used properly.  He spends ample time discussing cell phones, email and the Internet.  I do not think any of us need to read a book to know that we spend much too much time doing the above three things.  They have taken away from the more valuable and enriching aspects of our lives such as reading and spending time with the people we love and care about.  Many of us think that the cell phone, Internet and email have allowed us to do these things better and more efficiently.  There still is not and never will be a good substitute for sitting down by yourself with a good book or a good friend and opening yourself up.  So often do we forget that.

The final concept I would like to mention before suggesting you go out and read the rest from the source, is the idea of journaling.  Only weeks before reading this book, a highly respected colleague of mine introduced me to the great power of keeping journals of all one’s thoughts.  Then weeks later, The Art of Time made it that much more real.  Journaling has been so powerful to a number of the great minds of our world’s history.  Einstein, Davinci, Edison; they all kept journals. ?

Servan-Schreiber recommends keeping a journal every day that contains your thoughts, dreams, frustrations, desires and everything else that goes through your mind.  It is only once you get these thoughts out of your mind that you can really begin to see what they mean.  I used to think that going through thoughts in my head was enough, but I cannot believe what I’ve learned about my self since I have poured those thoughts on paper.  If there is only one thing that is taken away from this book, I believe it should be the power of journaling.  It will serve you for life and start you off in the direction of living and understanding the time of your life instead of losing the time in your life. ?

As success-oriented individuals, we should all know that the one thing we cannot get enough of is time. Time to live, time to love, time to learn and time to succeed. The startling thing is, the one resource that we will never have as much of as we did yesterday is the time in our life. Yet how many of us actually spend the time to understand time and how to best use it to our advantage?  Confusing, I know.  Jean-Louis has given us the tools to master the art of time.  Those of you who read it will see that he has found some of the most valuable techniques to seize every day.  I will end with a question that each of you should now be able to answer.  When is now a good time to read a book like this?

Valuable Quotes:

“All the tragedies we can imagine can be reduced to just one: the passage of time.”
      —Simone Weil

“Of all the resources, time is the most precious because it is the only one that is not renewable.”

“Spinsters of action, we lack the wind for the long distance race of reflection.”

“Our obsession with the ‘how’ and the ‘how much’ keeps us at a comfortable distance from the ‘why’.”

“In practice, only the present counts, for that is where we spend our life and it is unimaginable that we could be elsewhere.”

“Never again will we be as open as the child for whom everything is new and who can dream and be surprised and forget everything else to benefit from the moment.  Without the burden of a past, without care for the future, we live our childhood happily in the present, before our memories and our projects gnaw it down from both ends.”

“The lack of time is caused by the way we make use of it.”

“Without our knowing it, it is we who deprive ourselves of a great deal of time because of our routine, a guilty conscience, or simply a lack of thought.”

“There are no favorable winds for the one who does not know where he is going.”
      —William of Orange

“Trying to remember everything is as brave and as useless as walking up ten flights of stairs when there is an elevator: It is good exercise but not smart when you are in a hurry.”

“The mastery of time is not only a weapon against stress, it is also a philosophy of life.”

“Let us make ourselves more deserving than we are, and let us admit our desire to succeed in life, for it is certain that no one else will do it for us.”

“It takes time, decades, to become aware that many essential answers are already within us.”

“If we visit our goals ahead of time, our chances of reaching them and of benefiting from them are
significantly improved.”

“To choose our time better, we have to know ourselves better, to be better informed on what life offers, and not to say yes too quickly.”

“To create, launch, explore, learn, or build anything, you have to desire it, want it, and most of all, anticipate it.

“What I fear most about stress is not that it kills but that it keeps me from savoring life.”

“No machine is more useful than good sense.”

-Reading for Your Success