Juliet's School of Possibilities

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 12 Mar 2019

Member Reviews

I've read Vanderkam's nonfiction books and enjoyed her practical, pragmatic approach. Juliet's School of Possibilities is more of an inspirational fable, similar to Who Moved My Cheese? I didn't find this book as useful. 

Many thanks to NetGalley, the author, and the publisher for my ARC. All opinions are my own.
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This is an interesting idea – a fable that takes Laura Vanderkam’s ideas about time (see my reviews of 168 Hours and What The Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast) and puts them into a story about a young woman trying to juggle her life and career. I would like to see another version of this with a protagonist who has a less high-flying job and privileged lifestyle. More in the video: http://www.betterthandreams.com/2019/04/march-2019/
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JULIET'S SCHOOL OF POSSIBILITIES by Laura Vanderkam is subtitled "A Little Story About the Power of Priorities" and is reminiscent of business fables like Who Moved My Cheese? Or Fish! Vanderkam also has a popular TED Talk about work/life balance and she has produced several podcasts on related topics. Her new text introduces Riley Jenkins, a twenty-something who has always excelled through hard work and yet receives a poor performance review as well as concerned feedback from friends and family.  Riley heads to a weekend women's retreat where she meets Juliet, a working Mom who finds time to mentor Riley and others, offering advice like: "We always have time for what matters to us." And "You cannot do everything. The choice to meet one expectation is always a choice to not meet another."  Using the power of story, JULIET'S SCHOOL OF POSSIBILITIES is an inspiring and relatively quick read which concludes with several introspective exercises to help readers contemplate how they would like to spend their time.  4.5 stars

Link in live post:
https://www.ted.com/speakers/laura_vanderkam
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Riley Jenkins is upto her ears in emails and is on the verge of burnout when is forced to attend Juliet's School of Possibilities as a last means of redemption. Ms Vanderkam uses a modern parable to illustrate how easy it is to get caught up in  the busyness trap and miss the bigger picture. Yet we will have opportunity to recalibrate, create margin for the  meaningful things and people in our lives. 

My biggest takeway was the truism "I don't have time means its not a priority" which I will plaster on sticky notes every where.  This was a timely read and I would highly recommend it.
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Short story but full of meaning. In this world, we need to learn how to priorities things. There are so many interesting things going on that our individual lives won’t be enough to experience them all. These things just keeps on growing and growing. It is hard to make something a priority sometimes but in the long run it would be fulfilling since you’ve accomplish things without unnecessary stress of thinking of other things.
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This good is good, although the copy of the book provided was not easy to read. I quite liked the idea of using a fictional character to model the tips provided. I love Laura  Vanderkam and thought that this was a good extension to her existing books. However, the characters felt a little flat. As a fiction book, it was okay. As a self-book, it was great.
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This treatise to modern-day troubles  presents a Dickensian tale sensitizing one to the aspect of possibility thinking.
This is a perfect text for those seeking mindset mastery. It is perfect in length, but to absorb its content I recommend not speed reading this one.
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Great read. The author wrote a story that was interesting and moved at a pace that kept me engaged. The characters were easy to invest in.
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When you are familiar with Laura Vanderkam's other books, you will recognize her time management lessons in the parable of Riley. Riley is a young consultant at a large firm who fails both in her work and her personal life because she doesn't choose her priorities. Even though the story is short; it took me less than an hour to read, it certainly made me think about my own choices, how I am spending my time and how I can prioritize in a better way.  The journaling questions in the back of the book are helpful to envision yourself as the Riley in you to see where you can improve. 
Even though Riley and I differ in many ways I certainly can relate to her; Laura Vanderkam reminds me that I have to set my priorities to live a more happy and fulfilling life.
When you are not familiar with Laura's other books, read this one to get a grasp of what she's teaching and then pick one of her other books for more practical advice on how to better choose your time.
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This was a wonderful book. It is written as a parable to help the reader identify with the idea that "Anything is possible." Of course it also marries that idea with the fact that what we choose, we become. What choices are we making? Do those directly impact the goals we have for ourselves. Riley, the main character, is a busy bee, so busy in fact that she isn't able to keep her commitments. So busy that maybe she is too busy to actually reach her goals. Her choices are defined for her given that she is entrenched in pleasing others. But is she really pleasing herself?
This is a great book for those who are workaholics, those who are passionate about what they do, and those who juggle my hats. Vanderkam does a great job creating a relatable story to drive home her point. We are all busy, but we still have choices, choose well.
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Absolutely adored this title and will not only be purchasing a copy for my library, but for me personally.  It was perfect timing for things I'm facing in life and I enjoyed seeing it through the eyes of another.  Lovely read!
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The book is a parable of a young woman working in the corporate world and facing various challenges when it comes to prioritise and understand the important values in life.The protagonist attends a corporate retreat which will definitely help her to find her way.

It is an easy ready and very pleasant:it gives tips with the help of the fiction,however I was not completely captured by the story.

I enjoyed the final chapter with tips from the author and believe that the chapter could have had few more pages.


Thanks to NetGalley for this book in exchange of an honest review.
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I have been looking forward to Juliet’s School of Possibilities since I first heard Laura Vanderkam mention it on the Best of Both Worlds Podcast last year. I love Vanderkam's books about time management and this is her first novella. She incorporates her knowledge and expertise into a short fable about a woman named Riley who is spread too thin. ⁣⁣⁣
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In a society where “busy” reigns supreme, Vanderkam’s books are a wonderful reminder about how we get to choose how we spend our time and energy and this book is such a fun spin-off. We meet Juliet who shares wisdom and helps Riley rethink this balance. “Expectations are infinite. Time is finite. You are always choosing. Choose well.”

A big thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Books for a copy of this book. All opinions are my own.
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Understanding the power of prioritising is a world where a quick response is the order of the day can seem both challenging and counter-intuitive. Many of the books dealing with the issue are detailed and for some could be overwhelming. This fable keeps it simple. If you have already spent a  great deal of time in examining the issues, it may seem just a little too simple. It reminded me of some of the things I value very highly:
If you want to spend time strategising or innovating, you have to take the time to this kind of work,” you have to find space for brilliance.”
People will judge you by your actions, not what you say you will do. If you don’t make time for the people who are important to you, they are not a priority.
Other people don’t get to determine how you spend your time, you do. 
When you have a vision of who you want to achieve or the legacy you are looking to leave, every activity needs to be assessed as to whether it will keep you moving on this journey.

I think it could be a lovely book to share with colleagues who do not yet understand the concept or for those who find a deeper read (more than an hour or two) challenging.

With many thanks to the author, the publishers, Penguin Random House LLC, and NetGalley for my free copy to review.
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This was a short, sweet fable about a young woman who was so busy being busy that she lost sight of her priorities. If you’re familiar with Laura Vanderkam’s non-fiction work on time management, you’ll recognize many familiar themes here. Each time I read one of her books I come away with new, useful takeaways to help me make better use of my time.
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The author does a good job of helping the reader imagine what being under constant corporate pressure is like. But when the main character has her realisations about what kind of changes she needs to make it's so close to the end of the book that I wished she had had deeper insights that could help me! Perhaps I'm the wrong audience for this parable - type A's might need this much convincing that overwork is ruining their lives. For me, it was too obvious too soon.
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This was a good parable that has me thinking more about the idea of “choose well”. I joke that 2018 was supposed to be the year of “No”, but what ended up happening was I started to get more choosy about where I spent my time. The book helps frame and solidify that concept for me. I am hoping that I can keep it up!
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A wonderful fiction story from well known time management guru Laura Vanderkam. A lot of time's nonfiction books lay out the facts but we may not see how they play out in real life. This was a great way for Vanderkam to illustrate her points in an easy to read fiction story with characters you could relate too.  It's a quick read but full of  good wisdom and principles to put into your life. One quote I had to write down and put on my mirror as a daily reminder! Recommended for anyone who'd hoping to make better use of their time and prioritize their life.
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I am a fan of Laura Vanderkam's work but found this a really difficult book to review. It is fiction and takes the form of a fable to relate the work and life experiences of Riley - a consultant pulled in all directions and failing in all of them - who ends up at a corporate retreat hosted by the Martha Stewart/Joanna Gaines esque character named Juliet. Through some soul-searching, some magical-ish moments with Juliet, and reflection Riley realizes she can't continue working 24/7 and needs to prioritize better to solve her problems. 

I think because the book is perhaps aimed for those in the corporate world who are taking place in some leadership training already and might discuss this as a group, it can be hard to accurately gauge it for us corporate people.  Much is made of Riley's career as a consultant but consulting on what??? IT is all so vague. Other than manage teams it is not clear what her job actually is. Vanderkam also chooses some pretty bland fictitious names for her companies (MB Consulting) that, when combined with everything else, all just feels a bit generic. There were random bits of info about Riley's background and Juliet but really the whole thing was...think about what you want to be know for..and focus on that.  Even with the short length of this, it still seemed like too long for that one message. 

I think readers would fare much better with Vanderkam's other works. Her non-fiction writing is straightforward and easily digestible, but I don't think she has quite got a handle on fiction yet. Dialogue can be clunky and very little diversity in the characters or their back story.
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This fable-ish story drives home the point of time management and how to make good decisions with the limited time we all have.

The character's personalities are exaggerated opposites - extremely busy and harried Riley vs. calm and collected Juliet. I could actually feel my blood pressure rising when reading about Riley and lowering while reading Juliet.

While the take away from this parable is clearly meant to be "choose well", it also reinforced the idea that sometimes you need to step back and away to get some perspective on a situation.   Our best ideas can come when we are not trying too hard.

This quick read is perfect for anyone needing a little help seeing the big picture in their life, and gives permission to make the best decisions to get to the life you want to lead.  A message I feel we all need to hear, and one I am glad I read.
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