Extreme Productivity.

Author:Sweeney, Paul
Position:BOOKSHELF - Book review

Robert C. Pozen is our century's Benjamin Franklin.

Recall that America's 18th century Founding Father was, among other things, an entrepreneur, author, scientist, inventor, statesman, diplomat, self-help expert and aphorist. His "13 Virtues" necessary for success--including temperance, order, resolution, frugality, industry and cleanliness have inspired striving Americans for more than 200 years. So much so that his exhortations are still studied today at elite academies of commerce.


"I concluded that it was (in) our interest to be completely virtuous, and that the contrary habits must be broken, and good ones acquired and established, before we can have any dependence on a steady, uniform rectitude of conduct," Franklin wrote.

Now, in 2012, we have Pozen, who has simultaneously held two fulltime jobs--chairman of MFS Investment Management and senior lecturer at the Harvard Business School--has authored six books, served as the former associate general counsel at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, was a partner at a Washington law firm, president and vice-chairman of Fidelity Investments and Massachusetts' secretary for economic affairs.

So remarkable is his resume that business people sometimes recognize and buttonhole Pozen in airports to ask how he accomplishes so much.

"I can point to a number of habits and methods that have helped me become successful," Pozen writes early on in Extreme Productivity, which can be read as a sequel to Franklin's Autobiography and has much in common with similarly themed efforts like Stephen R, Covey's The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.

But even more critical, writes Pozen, "was the realization early in my career that success comes not from just hard work and careful planning. Success depends in large part on a proper mindset: focusing on the results you plan to achieve, rather than the number of hours you work."

Consider his daily strategic reading regimen. Pozen scans the Boston Globe's local news and "excellent" sports pages but slights its national news, preferring the political coverage and mainly liberal columnists in The New York Times. "I resolutely ignore the other (Time) sections despite their tempting headlines," he writes.

For business news and conservative opinions he both skims and reads The Wall Street Journal from front to back. For international business he uses the Financial...

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