Book Review: What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast by Laura Vanderkam

Title: What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast
Author: Laura Vanderkam
Year: 2012
Publisher: PORTFOLIO/The Penguin Group
Pages: 130
Topic Covered: Time Management

It’s amazing how such a small little book can deliver such a big impactful message. Laura Vanderkam’s book is actually three books in one, consisting of ‘What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast, ‘What the Most Successful People Do on the Weekend’, and ‘What the Most Successful People Do at Work’. As we approach the new year, one thing most of us are all seeking is time management. New Year’s resolutions are starting to be thought of and I bet that a lot of people are seeking things like work life balance and more time with family, friends and just on own personal development whether it be on fitness or just relaxation. If you are seeking to use your time more effectively, please pick up this book and read it to start the year right.

What You Will Learn

What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast

Laura Vanderkam has carefully studied people’s morning habits and in the first section of her book, she explains how you could get more out of mornings with this 5-step process:

  1. Track your time
  2. Picture the perfect morning
  3. Think through the logistics
  4. Build the habit
  5. Tune up as necessary

Laura strongly argues that the most successful people know that the hopeful hours before most people eat breakfast are far too precious to be blown on semiconscious activities. She shows you how you can definitely do a lot with those hours no matter if you are single, married or a father or mother.

What the Most Successful People Do on the Weekend

If you like to live by the seat of your pants, you won’t like this secret. The secret to get the most out of your weekends is to:

Plan your weekends.

When you plan enjoyable things ahead of time, you magnify the pleasure. There definitely are barriers like chores and kid’s activities that you have to work around but check out these 6 secrets that Laura walks you through:

  1. Dig deep
  2. Use your mornings
  3. Create traditions
  4. Schedule downtime
  5. Make time to explore
  6. Plan something fun for Sunday nights

Your weekends don’t have to be wasteful and filled with just cleaning the house or taking the kids to hockey. You can make your weekends count. You just have to avoid saying on Friday night, ‘so what are we going to do this weekend?’ Get a calendar and start planning.

What the Most Successful People Do at Work

Laura couldn’t be more right when she says “Once you know how many work hours you have available to you, the next step for transforming your career is figuring out what you’d like to do with them.” This was the section I was looking forward to the most. If you’re like me, emails and meetings can easily sap your hours and energy away. Through interviews with successful people, Laura shows you what they do, how they handle their day and how they get the most out of their hours. One of the biggest tips I got from this section is to log my hours. If I want to see what I’m doing with my time, I need track them and review to see where I should cut down on some activities and ramp up on more important ones.

Favourite Quotes

  • “When you make over your mornings, you can make over your life. That is what the most successful people know.” – pg. 33
  • “In the busyness of daily life, it can seem like there will always be another weekend, but, like all things, time is finite.” – pg. 73
  • “You may be frustrated to discover that how you’re spending your time isn’t how you wish to be spending your time, but the stark truth is that time is a nonrenewable resource – when it’s gone, it’s gone.” – pg. 91

Final Thoughts

There is a saying that goes like this:

You can always make more money but you can’t make more time.

Life is precious. Time is precious. You can have the life you want to live and use your hours to the fullest. Laura Vanderkam offers some great resources if you subscribe to her email list at She offers you a ‘How to do your own time makeover’ PDF and a ‘168 Hours time management spreadsheet.’ Tracking your time is the best thing you can do to see how you are using your time. It’s time you give yourself a gift and read this book . Allow Laura to be your personal time management coach.

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