Book review: The Long Game – How to be a long-term thinker in a short-term world

Written by Michelle Telling.

The long game book

The Long Game – How to be a long-term thinker in a short-term world, by Dorie Clark

One of the minor ‘positives’ to come from the death of Queen Elizabeth II on the 8 th September 2022 was the cancellation of the train drivers strike – which meant I was able to travel down from Huntingdon and meet up at Ozone Café in London for a very tasty brunch (with new big brekkie on the menu), and lively conversation with a group of fellow Kiwis. Being in London at this time of national/worldwide grieving was odd and a fair bit of time was given over to our memories of growing up in NZ and appreciation of the life and legacy of our Queen.

That aside, we did put some time to discussing the book. The title and back cover description had me – the ‘long’ game is something I know I’m not good at (much more of a fire-fighter/deal with the ‘now’ kind of girl); but it is an area I need to improve on as Director of a manufacturing business. 

If you were looking for a career as a writer, key note speaker, academic – perhaps speaking and teaching how to ‘do’ business, then this book may hit the mark. However, the general feel of the group was that we found very little that was new although the helpful summaries at the end of each chapter give the gist and save a lot of time.

That said, and with the aim of giving some point to reading this little article, my key takeaways from the book are:

 We overestimate what we can achieve in a day and underestimate what we can achieve in 10 years. Take a moment to think that through.
 Best use of time can be multi-tasking, providing the two tasks are compatible. As an example, I enjoy having breakfast with a group of Kiwi ladies in London every few months, but the time also counts as CPD for my professional qualification. Win win.
 We are never ‘less’ busy, so we do need to be intentional about making thinking time and create deadlines/targets for change to occur.
 When a task feels overwhelming, start by doing a small thing – this I’ve already put into practise, when my office seemed chaotic and full of junk, I started by picking up a couple of bits of paper and dealing with them. Each day I did a little more until it became less overwhelming and I could push through to sort it all out. Not sure what this has to do with the ‘long game’ but a useful tip nonetheless!
 Test new ideas out in small ways first, if it ‘fails’ re-purpose as an experiment and learning exercise, not a failure. 

Going back to our discussions, we strayed into the ultimate ‘long game’ and the importance of celebrating life now whilst making sure we have put our affairs into order. A recommended book was ‘The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning’ by Margareta Magnuson. Life can be short, we need to make the most of our time with an eye on our own ‘long game’ but also living in the moment and enjoying the simple pleasures of life.

If you haven’t been before, I recommend joining us next time for brunch and a good chat – look out for the date and grab the book: ‘The Power of Regret’ by Dan Pink.