Lifemaps: A Step-by-Step Method for Simplifying 101 of Life's Most Overwhelming Projects

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Overview

For all of life's little challenges that can seem so

confusing, here's a clear and comprehensive guidebook to

getting things done in the twenty-first century.

Inspired by the visual format of the bestselling Lifescripts, and offering practical solutions to 101 business, ...

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Overview

For all of life's little challenges that can seem so

confusing, here's a clear and comprehensive guidebook to

getting things done in the twenty-first century.

Inspired by the visual format of the bestselling Lifescripts, and offering practical solutions to 101 business, financial, consumer, and family problems, each Lifemap

• helps you clarify your goals •

• gets you up to speed on the information and terms you'll need to know for each project •

• informs you of the helpful resources available •

• provides a graphic representation of the chronological steps that will lead to completion •

Whether you're buying a home, starting a business, planning a wedding, changing careers, repairing your credit rating, choosing new health insurance, dealing with a stalker, or just trying to rent a car, here's your guide to simplifying the most intimidating tasks and suddenly making them manageable.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Using the graphic format of Pollan and Levine's best-selling Lifescripts, freelance writer Antoniak has boiled down 101 major life projects to their most essential steps. The book is divided into four parts: "The Basics," which covers how to approach a problem in general; "Career and Business," which tackles how to find a job and get a raise, etc.; "Personal Finance," which discusses how to improve one's credit rating and so on; and "The Consumer," which includes guidance on buying a used car. Each project is given an overview of up to two pages, followed by a to-do list of 20 to 40 steps. Although the information is clear and accessible and the graphics helpful, Antoniak oversimplifies projects that require very detailed information to avoid costly mistakes. For home collections, Lifemaps could serve as a handy preparatory reference. But library patrons will be looking for more comprehensive, project-specific information. Not recommended. David Leonhardt, Toronto Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780743400619
  • Publisher: Atria Books
  • Publication date: 8/6/2002
  • Pages: 528
  • Product dimensions: 7.38 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 1.19 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Antoniak is a freelance writer and the author of two previous books, How to Open Your Own Store and How to Start a Home Business.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1: how to use lifemaps

the basics

Each Lifemap begins with a section that briefly describes the premise of the map. When you're trying to get from one point to another, a map is a real convenience. It's the best resource for determining how to reach your destination, what landmarks you should look for, what turns to take. A map describes a path but not your journey. Although a road may not change, it's different for every traveler. Each Lifemap in this book is based on this same premise. In the pages that follow, you'll find information to help you deal with many issues you're likely to face in your personal or professional life. Today, with the demands of family and career pulling in several directions at once, it's often difficult to focus your energy where needed. Lifemaps can help prepare you for specific life challenges. Like any map, though, they only describe the landscape through which you must travel. Their value rests with how well you use and adapt the insights they offer for reaching personal goals.

inside information

The second section of each map provides more detail as it discusses the underlying strategy of the Lifemap. There's always something more you need to know in order to accomplish your goal. We come at many of life's challenges as outsiders; here you'll find a quick synopsis or refresher course that can help you implement the strategy described in the Lifemap. Sometimes that means knowing what forces are at work and the challenges each imposes. In other situations, the focus is on established policies and procedures. Occasionally the section presents a discussion of prevailing trends shaping the topic. Theintent in each is to help you develop the understanding and insight necessary to effectively adapt the Lifemap to your life.

jargon

Here you'll find definitions of some key terms you're likely to encounter as you use the Lifemap. Every business and specialty has its own terms and terminology. Some are uncommon meanings of common words. Or there may be a word you're unlikely to see anywhere else. In a few situations, a definition may describe a document or process specific to the subject of the Lifemap.

fyi

The purpose here is to provide some supplemental information to enhance your understanding of the topic. The value of the Lifemaps depends much on what you bring or add to each. You can get a quick grasp of a topic and solution from these pages, but it may take additional research and work on your part to effectively adapt and implement each strategy.

warning

This section alerts you to common dangers, pitfalls, and false assumptions that can impede your progress. Every situation, every individual is different. Each Lifemap presents a plan as a linear progression of logical steps. Some you'll fly through; others pose obstacles to further progress; some may even present you with entirely new challenges. Lifemaps are not solutions but recommended strategies you can adapt to your situation.

Here you'll find sources of additional information to help you master each topic and realize your goals. You should be able to draw enough from these pages to tackle many problems. Sometimes, though, you'll need to supplement your understanding or turn to an expert for additional help. Depending on the topic, recommended resources may include books and publications; Web sites of companies or agencies; organizations; or any combination of these.

Note: The Internet URLs were correct at the time this book went to press; however, all URLs are subject to change.

Copyright © 2002 by Third Millennium Press, Inc., Michael Antoniak, and Stephen M. Pollan

Chapter 2: how to approach any problem

the basics

Problems — "challenges" might be a more appropriate term — present themselves at every turn, in every day of our lives. They can be as simple as finding directions to an uptown location; as straightforward as figuring out how to frame in a new window; or as complex as bringing warring parties in the office to the table to resolve their differences. In these and countless other situations, we need to draw on our knowledge and experience to achieve a goal or to recognize our limitations and identify the expertise that will allow us to do so. In school, we were presented problems in math and science to develop our thinking. The same skills and intuition that got you through geometry or physics, together with your own intuition, will equip you for solving the many problems and challenges of life.

inside information

The toughest and most important part of solving any problem is identifying your goal: what you need to know or what you must accomplish. Once you've identified that, it's simply a matter of determining what's required to reach that goal. Consider each step in that process as an individual goal, and break each down into manageable tasks. The more complicated the goal or the less prepared you are to reach it, the more steps are involved. A written plan can help focus your energy and resources. For some people, it's enough to describe the problem and desired outcome. Others prefer a detailed plan: a checklist of things you must do as you progress or a diagram outlining all steps. Each Lifemap in this book describes a plan that can be applied to common problems and challenges. A written plan offers several advantages: it organizes your thoughts and actions; serves as a measure of your progress; and reinforces your accomplishments, making it easier to stay focused. When striving for any goal, always be prepared for the unexpected. There will be unforeseen obstacles. Flexibility and the ability and willingness to adapt will be critical to your ultimate success. Many problems you face will involve personal relationships. A formal training course may meet some of these challenges, but your own sensitivity, intuition, and ability to hear what people are really saying can prove crucial to success. The golden rule always applies: Treat others as you want to be treated, respect the basic equality of all, and personal problems will present you with opportunities for growth.

jargon

Intuition: Instinctive knowledge of or insight into a situation without conscious reasoning. A conviction more felt than known, which proves true.

Manageable tasks: Small steps or modest goals, easily achieved, which ultimately contribute to the progress toward reaching a goal or solving a problem.

fyi

There are some problems, some personal challenges, for which there are no easy answers, no practical solutions. In such cases it's better to walk away and remove yourself from the situation rather than waste energy pursuing elusive answers. You may find that stepping outside the problem lends you the new perspective you need to solve it. It's easier to summon up the energy to meet a challenge when you consider it an opportunity rather than an obstacle. Many of life's challenges, by forcing us to reconsider our path, awaken us to possibilities otherwise missed.

warning

Solving a problem requires completing manageable tasks at a sustainable pace. Try to accomplish too much at once, and your problems will overwhelm you. Blaming others for your problems only distracts you from what you need to do. Regardless of how you got into a situation, only actions you initiate can remove you from it. You'll be able to meet many minor challenges on your own. Recognize, too, that some challenges are more than you can handle alone. Never let pride get in the way and prevent you from turning to others for the skills, experience, or emotional support you need.

When Families Feud. Understanding and Resolving Family Conflicts by Ira Heilveil (Berkeley, 1998): A psychologist's observations on the roots of family problems, with specific advice on how to restore harmony.

Turning No into Yes: Six Steps to Solving Your Financial Problems (So You Can Stop Worrying) by Stephen A Pollan and Mark Levine (HarperBusiness, 2000): Using examples from real life, the authors present an easily adapted six-step plan for resolving even the most vexing financial problems.

Copyright © 2002 by Third Millennium Press, Inc., Michael Antoniak, and Stephen M. Pollan

Chapter 3: how to research anything

the basics

You already have the skills to discover the answers to almost all your, questions. All that's involved is the patience to plan your research and the tenaciousness to follow it through. One of the tricks in doing research is knowing what you are looking for. The more specific you can be in identifying what that is, the quicker you'll find the answer. Think of all research as trying to answer a question: the who, what, when, where, how, or why of what you need to know. Often, how to define that question is obvious. Sometimes it's not. Everything else about the process depends on how well you've posed the question. The second key to effective research is to use multiple sources for your information. No matter what the research topic, you'll rarely find a single source that has all the information. Use as many sources as it takes to develop a breadth of understanding about the subject you are investigating. Depending on the type of information you are after, research can get extremely tedious. There are people who do research for a living, and you can hire their services. But you'll still need to define the information you seek before they can help you.

inside information

The Internet has made researching any topic much simpler. In fact, it's such a valuable source of all types of information that Lifemap 4 is devoted to helping you learn how to conduct research online. That said, local public and college libraries, as well as area bookstores, are your best alternative sources for research information. They usually have an abundance of reference materials on hand as well as access to magazines, journals, and newspapers with the latest information. Experts on the subject you are researching are also good sources. Most don't have the time to spend answering a confused telephone call. But they may enthusiastically offer answers and suggestions to a person who sends them an organized, concise letter requesting specific information. It never hurts to ask. College professors and graduate students can be good sources, as their knowledge is highly specialized and focused on your research topic. If other sources fail, try calling the local college or university.

jargon

Abstract: A concise summary of the information contained in an article. Commonly used in medical and academic journals, it briefly introduces the reader to the key points of the research explained in the article.

Archive: A repository of information of general or specific interest.

Bibliography: The list of references used to produce a book or research article. The bibliography of any written document can help identify sources for additional information.

Reader's Guide: Shorthand for Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature, a reference book that provides an index to all articles on all subjects covered in major periodicals. Available in most public and school libraries.

warning

Your research is only as good as your sources — and your notes. Get into the habit of keeping notes on the information you uncover as the work proceeds. Also, keep records of the sources you use. Thorough research can be a time-consuming process. You must be willing to devote whatever time it takes to answer your question fully. It can't be rushed.

resources

The New York Public Library Book of How and Where to Look It Up, edited by Sherwood Harris (Macmillan, 1994): A solid introduction to research procedures with advice and sources for locating information on a range of subjects.

Online: Amazon.com (www.amazon.com) and Barnesandnoble.com. (www.bn.com) are two major online booksellers that feature search engines that can help you quickly identify the books, both in print and out of print, available on any topic.

Almanacs, dictionaries, encyclopedias: Basic reference guides for refining your research subject and gathering preliminary information and identifying sources.

Your local library's reference room and reference librarian: A logical start for any research project. The librarian can be especially helpful in identifying resources you may not be familiar with.

Copyright © 2002 by Third Millennium Press, Inc., Michael Antoniak, and Stephen M. Pollan

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii
Introduction xiii
Part 1 Lifemaps: the basics
1. How to use lifemaps 3
2. How to approach any problem 7
3. How to research anything 12
4. How to do research on the Internet 16
5. How to tap into online resources 21
6. Should you do it yourself or hire a professional? 26
7. How to evaluate a professional 31
8. How to protect your interests in a contract 36
9. How to resolve disputes 41
Part 2 Lifemaps for career and business
10. How to conduct a job search 49
11. How to prepare a resume 54
12. How to prepare for an interview 59
13. How to evaluate a company and a job offer 64
14. How to get a raise or promotion 69
15. How to fight age, sex, and race discrimination 74
16. How to propose new workplace options 78
17. How to develop a business plan 83
18. How to raise start-up funds for your business 89
19. How to select a business partner 93
20. How to investigate a franchise or business that's for sale 98
21. How to incorporate your business 104
22. How to choose a business location 109
23. How to set up a home office 114
24. How to make your home business more professional 119
25. How much should you charge for your service or product? 124
26. How to get publicity 129
27. How to evaluate advertising and promotional media 133
28. How to launch or promote your business online 138
Part 3 Lifemaps for personal finance
29. How to obtain a lower-rate or no-fee credit card 147
30. How to repair your credit rating 151
31. How to launch an investment program 156
32. How to establish household and personal budgets 160
33. How to select a financial adviser 165
34. How to select a pension plan 170
35. How to set and reach your retirement goals 175
36. How to select a retirement location 180
37. How to determine your insurance needs 185
38. How to buy home and auto insurance 190
39. How to buy life and disability insurance 195
40. How to buy long-term care insurance 200
41. How to avoid a tax audit 204
42. How to handle a tax audit 209
43. How to make a will 214
44. Should you buy or rent your home? 219
45. How much can you afford to pay for shelter? 224
46. How to judge a community 228
47. How to judge an individual apartment, co-op, or condominium 233
48. How to judge an individual house 238
49. How to negotiate the price and sales contract of a home 244
50. How to raise a down payment 249
51. How to obtain or refinance a mortgage 254
52. How to obtain a home equity loan 260
53. How to prepare your home for sale 265
54. How to find a trustworthy real estate broker 269
55. How to price your home for sale 274
56. How to hire and deal with a moving company 279
57. How to plan a home renovation project 284
58. How to find and choose a home renovation contractor 289
59. How to buy vacant land 294
60. How to appeal the amount of your property taxes 300
Part 4 Lifemaps for consumers
61. How to choose a long distance plan 307
62. How to choose an HMO 311
63. How to appeal an HMO's refusal to pay 316
64. How to find a good physician 321
65. Should you buy or lease a car? 326
66. How to buy a car from an auto dealership 330
67. How to buy a used car privately 335
68. How to shop for an auto loan 340
69. How to sell your used car 344
70. How to deal with an auto repair problem 349
71. How to find the lowest possible airfare 354
72. How to get the lowest rate at a hotel 358
73. How to stop junk mail, telemarketing, and e-mail "spam" 362
74. How to control how your charitable donations are used 367
75. What to do if your purse or wallet is stolen 372
76. How to deal with identity theft 377
77. How to resolve consumer complaints 382
78. How to file and win a case in small claims court 387
79. How to trace your family tree 392
80. How to craft a fair prenuptial agreement 396
81. How to plan a wedding 401
82. How to find quality child care at home and away 406
83. How to get help for a child with special needs 411
84. How to make college tuition bills more manageable 416
85. How to choose and gain admission to the right college or university 422
86. How to craft a fair divorce settlement 427
87. How to win custody of your child 432
88. How to plan a funeral 437
89. How to become a naturalized U.S. citizen 442
90. How to research a health problem 446
91. What to do if you are diagnosed with a serious illness 451
92. What to do when a relative shows signs of depression 457
93. How to protect your medical privacy 462
94. How to manage medical care from many miles away 467
95. How to get a parent onto Medicaid 473
96. How to get a loved one into a good nursing home 478
97. How to arrange home care for a loved one 484
98. How to deal with domestic violence 489
99. How to stop a stalker 494
100. How to deal with problem neighbors 500
101. How to get the police to act on a complaint 505
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First Chapter

Chapter 3: how to research anything

the basics

You already have the skills to discover the answers to almost all your, questions. All that's involved is the patience to plan your research and the tenaciousness to follow it through. One of the tricks in doing research is knowing what you are looking for. The more specific you can be in identifying what that is, the quicker you'll find the answer. Think of all research as trying to answer a question: the who, what, when, where, how, or why of what you need to know. Often, how to define that question is obvious. Sometimes it's not. Everything else about the process depends on how well you've posed the question. The second key to effective research is to use multiple sources for your information. No matter what the research topic, you'll rarely find a single source that has all the information. Use as many sources as it takes to develop a breadth of understanding about the subject you are investigating. Depending on the type of information you are after, research can get extremely tedious. There are people who do research for a living, and you can hire their services. But you'll still need to define the information you seek before they can help you.

inside information

The Internet has made researching any topic much simpler. In fact, it's such a valuable source of all types of information that Lifemap 4 is devoted to helping you learn how to conduct research online. That said, local public and college libraries, as well as area bookstores, are your best alternative sources for research information. They usually have an abundance of reference materials on hand as well as access to magazines, journals, and newspapers with the latest information. Experts on the subject you are researching are also good sources. Most don't have the time to spend answering a confused telephone call. But they may enthusiastically offer answers and suggestions to a person who sends them an organized, concise letter requesting specific information. It never hurts to ask. College professors and graduate students can be good sources, as their knowledge is highly specialized and focused on your research topic. If other sources fail, try calling the local college or university.

jargon

Abstract: A concise summary of the information contained in an article. Commonly used in medical and academic journals, it briefly introduces the reader to the key points of the research explained in the article.

Archive: A repository of information of general or specific interest.

Bibliography: The list of references used to produce a book or research article. The bibliography of any written document can help identify sources for additional information.

Reader's Guide: Shorthand for Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature, a reference book that provides an index to all articles on all subjects covered in major periodicals. Available in most public and school libraries.

warning

Your research is only as good as your sources -- and your notes. Get into the habit of keeping notes on the information you uncover as the work proceeds. Also, keep records of the sources you use. Thorough research can be a time-consuming process. You must be willing to devote whatever time it takes to answer your question fully. It can't be rushed.

resources

The New York Public Library Book of How and Where to Look It Up, edited by Sherwood Harris (Macmillan, 1994): A solid introduction to research procedures with advice and sources for locating information on a range of subjects.

Online: Amazon.com (www.amazon.com) and Barnesandnoble.com. (www.bn.com) are two major online booksellers that feature search engines that can help you quickly identify the books, both in print and out of print, available on any topic.

Almanacs, dictionaries, encyclopedias: Basic reference guides for refining your research subject and gathering preliminary information and identifying sources.

Your local library's reference room and reference librarian: A logical start for any research project. The librarian can be especially helpful in identifying resources you may not be familiar with.

Copyright © 2002 by Third Millennium Press, Inc., Michael Antoniak, and Stephen M. Pollan

Read More Show Less

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2003

    School of hard knocks

    An incredible work. Antoniak shows you how to work your way through more than 100 of life's most difficult challenges. And he does it in a way that's easy to understand and follow. This book is an indispensible addition to anyone's library...it replaces all your other how to books.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2002

    You want it? This book's got it!!!

    An excellent book...tons of useful advice almost every possible situation. Easy to read, understand. Antoniak, Levine, and Pollan have done it again - GREAT job guys!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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