December 15, 2011

Bit Literacy by Mark Hurst

I downloaded this book from Apple because it sounded interesting and it was free. It is not the sort of book I would pay money to read. The description made it clear that this was a book with something to sell.
Bit literacy is the product and Hurst's company will gladly sell it to your company for a hefty fee. I don't begrudge Hurst for this or think any less of him, but I don't ever feel like paying for a marketing tool.
It turns out that the book has some good stuff in it. It also doesn't shy away from offering up details on using the system. So, if you are buried under bits(e-mail, photos, power points, etc) it may be worth paying a few
The key to the whole system is rooted in standard productivity lore. Let the unimportant stuff vanish so you can focus on getting things done. Don't keep ten pictures of the same thing; only keep the best one. Don't save every scrap of e-mail because it buries the stuff you need to save.
Hurst is a proponent of inbox zero. You should empty your inbox at least once a day. E-mails are either junk to be discarded, to do items that need to be tracked, or information to b stored in an appropriate place. The inbox is not a place to keep to do items or information.
One other discussion I found interesting was the discussion of file formats for textual data. Hurst comes right out and says that Word, and its ilk, are never the proper choice for sharing text. He prefers plain text unless you require formatting. If formatting is required he prefers PDF.
Bit Literacy has some interesting ideas for writers as well. Hurst has a whole section on how to write in a bit literate manner. Basically it is all about front loading the point and brevity. Write in a way that respects that the reader is busy. This is not about pleasure it is about efficiency.
Hurst's book has some worthwhile points. There is something in there for anyone who uses a computer.

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