Book review: Google’lize Your Life by Jeff VanDrimmelen

20 Dec

When I first received Jeff VanDrimmelen’s book, Google’lize Your Life, I was terribly excited. The book whispered, “Do you want to Google’lize your life?” Predictably, I screamed, “Hell yes!”

This was the first warning sign. (You get pretty familiar with warning signs when you are an obsessive organizer and someone who uses obsessive organization as a way to manage your chronic anxiety.) Yet I decided to ignore this, and also the fact that I’ve been using Google products since Gmail first came out in 2004 – eons, in internet years – and probably didn’t need the advice.

Yet I stick with these tools precisely for the same reason, I assume, VanDrimmelen wrote an entire book about them: they work. And because I’m a more productive person thanks to these products, because I value their consistent simplicity, and because I can never consume enough information about the things I love, I was interested in the little hacks and tweaks that might take me to the stratosphere.

And that was a great plan, except that Google’lize Your Life didn’t rock it, at least not for me.

To his credit, VanDrimmelen writes in an easy and accessible way that would benefit any Google beginner, and I would recommend his book to anyone who is unfamiliar with Gmail, Google Docs, and Google Tasks, especially if they’re looking to get a lot out of a straightforward productivity system.

However, my major complaint is that the screen shots for Google Tasks that VanDrimmelen provides in-text don’t match any screen shots in real life. I don’t know how he’s getting his Tasks list to look like this, and he doesn’t tell me. I would have loved to access this feature, and was greatly disappointed when I got online and found I couldn’t expand my Tasks this way. (So disappointed, in fact, that I’ve put off writing this review so that I could calm down enough to assess it fairly.)

Google’lize Your Life is a good starting point for people who are considering the basic Google products. It’s just not enough for someone who has already Google’lized to the power of Google, with a big Googly smile on her face.

Update: A day after this post was published I received an email from the author. To access the canvas view of Google Tasks, log into Gmail and follow this address: https://mail.google.com/tasks/canvas. Thanks, Jeff!

* * * * * * * *

This book was elf-published by the author in 2010. For more information, visit the Google’lize website. This book is not currently available through independent booksellers. As always, happy reading.

FTC Disclosure: This review was based on a copy of the book that I received from the author.

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3 Responses to “Book review: Google’lize Your Life by Jeff VanDrimmelen”

  1. Camille DeAngelis December 21, 2010 at 7:30 am #

    Before I realized he just means using Google spreadsheets for greater productivity and such, I read your headline and almost had an Orwellian panic attack.

  2. Jeff VanDrimmelen December 21, 2010 at 1:13 pm #

    Hey Sarah,

    Thanks for your review. To access the canvas view of your tasks just log into gmail and go to this address:

    https://mail.google.com/tasks/canvas

    Happy Google’lizing! Let me know if you have any questions I can help with.

    ~Jeff

  3. Fran January 1, 2011 at 9:51 am #

    Since I’m already logged in the link took me straight to a fresh clean task list, just waiting for me to adopt it as a 2011 tool for improved productivity. I’m going to try it! And given my recent request for permission to access your doc list, I might have a double-hitter this morning! Happy New Year, 2011!!

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