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Book Review – Finish what you start

Last updated on maart 25, 2020

Time to read 3 minutes

In Finish what you start, Peter Hollins guides us along the path of getting things done. Not in the productivity sense, but just having the discipline of finishing anything you begin doing. I feared he would use the term willpower a lot, but, to my surprise, Hollins presented a set of tools to help you finish stuff.

Book specs


Title: Finish what you start – The art of following through, taking action, executing and self-discipline
Author: Peter Hollins
Publisher: the man himself (made possible by Amazon Fulfillment)
Year of release: doesn’t say!
Pages: 205

About Peter Hollins

When I tried to look for info on the guy for my last book review, I found there’s not much to be found on Peter Hollins. Even when he wrote at least 10 books on topics like (self-)learning, brain farts (yes!) and how people are wired. Doesn’t lavish on his degrees, but he has two in psychology. What the guy currently does? I don’t know! My assumption: he leads a pretty offline lifestyle. After downloading a set of studies from his site, I found this quote by him on his writing:

“It’s been a great change of pace for me and I find that I have a lot to share with people on account of the research, studies, and theories I’ve been exposed to over the years.”

Hollins wants to share what he knows. Let’s leave it at that. Oh, and he likes hiking.

The general idea of Finish what you start

In eight chapters, Peter Hollins teaches you a few tricks to finish pretty much anything you start. He says: we all have a plan, but when we are faced with trouble (boredom, busyness, anything really), we abandon our mission like a mike drop. First, he breaks down what ‘finishing’ and ‘following through’ actually mean. It sounds simple, but after reading is explenation, I beg to differ. As Hollins knows a fair bit about how the body and brain work, we wastes no time and explains why it’s hard to follow through. We’re amateurs at execution.

In order to be better at executing our plans, he explains about things like:

  • Internal and external motivation (I have read that before) and how to set them up for success
  • Opportunity Cost
  • Setting rules for yourself in a manifesto
  • Follow-through mindsets
  • Temptation bundling to smash procrastination
  • Minimizing disctractions
  • Developing a daily system for success

Developing a manifesto

ManifestoI’d like to highlight a part of his book which I found to be an eye-opener: writing a manifesto to hold yourself accountable for what you’re doing. A set of rules or rather, principles. Well, what is this manifesto then? Something you can hang on the wall at least. Hollins gives us a few examples, like ‘three major tasks a day, maximum’, or setting daily limitations, like watching YouTube-movies for just one hour. In turn, you set daily requirements – things you MUST do. Playing my keyboard for 15 minutes a day for instance.

I think the manifesto is a helpful tool for me. It’s like signing a contract with yourself. Currently, I’m writing down what rule(s) would help me mainly in my office hours. So I can stay productive. I’ll be sure to post a draft of mine as an example, when I’m ready.


Apart from the stated above, the book focuses on things like time management and singletasking. Things you can read about in other books. However, I was fairly new to the concepts of ‘Attention Residue’ when switching between tasks, and ‘Temptation bundling’, which is combining an unpleasant task with a desireable task. Like cleaning your apartment while listening to an audiobook. 🙂

I particularly liked The Don’t Do Task list. Useless things that steal your time away from reaching a goal. Wonderful little exercise to do before creating my manifesto. The book features a lot of practical advice that one can pick up on independently or together. Nice!

So, altogether a fine pragmatic read. One I’ll probably re-read over time, to keep me on track if I slouch and don’t follow my own rules anymore.




Published inFocus and Habits

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