How To Get Better At Anything
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How To Get Better At Anything

About the Book

This book is about a way I have discovered to get better at anything, regardless of age, limitations or current level of proficiency. This is not a book about fundamentals. The book assumes the reader already has a fundamental level of proficiency.  It is a practical book for people who are serious about continually improving their personal performance.

I discovered the approach I share in the book as a software development coach and I explain in the book how I have applied the approach successfully to multiple personal improvement endeavors. 

If you are wondering why you should care about getting better my first answer would be that we all need purpose in our lives. Having a goal to improve yourself is one way to keep yourself excited about getting up in the morning and tackling the day. A second reason to care is because if you are not getting better you are getting worse.  No one stands still.

If you are primarily interested in team performance, you should care about the material in this book because teams succeed when team members understand their role and have the proficiency needed to perform.  

Whether you are looking to improve your professional skills, or just looking to get better at a hobby such as golf, running, or tennis, this book will give you the tools you need to get better at whatever you want to get better at, and keep getting better for the rest of your life, regardless of any obstacles you may face. 

What people are saying about this book

 "First, this is an interesting and well thought out book. I have read it through a number of times, taken notes, and even gone back to some of your earlier referenced books for help in understanding your process. Secondly, reading the book has inspired me to develop a game plan for improving my own golf game. I think the strength of the book lies in your personal examples at identifying problems, setting goals, implementing a game plan, and the tips for reaching successful solutions. The deeper into the book I read the more I enjoyed your insights, process and tips. The illustrations are helpful in understanding and reinforcing the content. Perhaps the most valuable, and personally reinforcing, aspects of the book for me are your insights on being a proactive patient and on meditation and mindfulness."  Rich Allman, Financial Planner(Retired), Binghamton, New York

"I found this book personally constructive. I really clicked with your underlying methodology. I will reread and I am pretty sure I can work your approach into what I consider lifelong challenges. Funny, mine revolve around running too --something I haven't been able to do successfully for years, but something I enjoy and something I too believe has a positive effect on my life.”  Jim Convery, Runner, Norfolk, Virginia

About the Author

Paul E. McMahon
Paul E. McMahon

Paul E. McMahon (, Principal, PEM Systems ( has been an independent consultant since 1997 helping organizations increase agility and performance. Paul's current focus is on coaching teams in practical techniques to solve their own challenges using the Essence framework ( He has taught software engineering at Binghamton University, conducted workshops on engineering processes and management and has published more than 50 articles and multiple books including "Integrating CMMI and Agile Development: Case Studies and Proven Techniques for Faster Performance Improvement," and "15 Fundamentals for Higher Performance in Software Development," and "It's All Upside Down: What I've Learned About Software Development and Why it Seems Opposite to Everything I was Taught." Paul is a co-author of "The Essence of Software Engineering: Applying the SEMAT Kernel." Paul is a Certified Scrum Master, Certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, and a Certified Essence Training Provider. His insights reflect 24 years of experience working for companies such as Link Simulation and Lockheed Martin, and 20 years of consulting/coaching experience. Paul has been a leader in the SEMAT initiative since its initial meeting in Zurich in 2010.  

Table of Contents

  • What people are saying about this book
  • Acknowledgements
  • Preface
  • Background
  • Chapter One – Introduction
  • Chapter Two – The Approach: Aspects and Checklists
  • Chapter Three – Starting an improvement endeavor
  • Chapter Four – Locating your repeating specific weaknesses
  • Chapter Five – More about my performance improvement plan
  • Chapter Six – A credible plan
  • Chapter Seven – Responding to changing conditions
  • Chapter Eight – Right time, right direction, right goal
  • Chapter Nine – The power of mental practice
  • Chapter Ten – Breaking the work down
  • Chapter Eleven – Leadership and role models
  • Chapter Twelve – Reflections and results
  • Chapter Thirteen – A Caution With Regard to Physical Improvement Endeavors As You Age
  • Chapter Fourteen – Summary and Conclusion
  • Epilogue
  • Appendix A – Relationship of Approach Used in this Book to the Essence standard
  • Appendix B – Summary Aspect Definitions and Checklists Used to Get Better at Anything
  • Appendix C – Summary Tips To Get Better At Anything
  • References
  • About the author
  • Notes

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