Monday, 11 June 2012

Book Review

Personal Development Book Review

This month I am reviewing classics by three highly respected authorities in the field of personal development: Dale Carnegie, Steven Covey, and Norman Vincent Peale.  Click on the title of any book that particularly interests you and you can buy it right away from Amazon.

How to Stop Worrying and Start Living

by Dale Carnegie

Even if you never buy another book, you should consider investing in this one.  I read it while still in my teens, and 40 years later still find myself practising the eminently sensible advice Carnegie distilled into this marvellous book.  It is ideal, obviously, for those who find themselves worrying and want to stop.  But even those of us who do not normally worry about things will still find it filled with helpful advice.  This is a must for everyone’s personal development bookshelf.
Here are some comments from other readers of this book:

“After a series of personal difficulties, I went to my GP for sleeping pills and anti-depressants. My GP declined to give me these and told me to buy this book instead. Less than impressed with my GP's advice, I bought it anyway. I read it cover to cover in a matter of days. It's clear, concise, factual and is backed up with case study upon case study upon case study. The advice it gives makes perfect sense. Unlike other 'self help' books, it's not full of 'wishy washy' spiritual blurb - it's common sense. The book is a little dated but then it was written in the fifties and there are a few religious tones here and there but don't let that deter you. The author gives excellent, practical steps on how to manage your stress and worries...and how to eliminate them completely. Since reading this book, I now sleep at night, I stop worrying about things and I am slowly turning my life around. I can't praise this book enough. If you buy one book in your life, make it this one.”
-    La Nobbre

“I first purchased this book a few months ago on a whim - I was feeling pretty down and felt I was carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders in worry. Just yesterday, I decided to have a look at How to Stop Worrying and Start Living properly, having seemingly "nothing" to do with my spare time - and how GREAT of a choice it was to read this book! I got so hooked that I finished it in one day!

I can already feel a complete change in my physical and mental attitude towards life - my happiness, my self-esteem and my judgement of what is even deemed worthy to worry about, after just ONE day! You will soon realise that even the toughest of emotional upsets and worries can be overcome using the techniques in this book. You just have to apply them! This book will change your whole worldview, creating a happier and less tense life. I read all of the chapters in this book, and highlighted and annotated the most relevant and memorable parts that I can apply to my life. I intend to re-visit this book often, to keep it clearly in my mind. I cannot make it any clearer - BUY THIS BOOK NOW!”
-    TheNathanA "Good and honest reviews."

“This is a fantastic read and has numerous helpful and practical tips to help you stop worrying. By applying some of these measures my life and wellbeing has changed for the better. This is a must have read.”
-    Sinead

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People

by Steven Covey

Many reading this blog will already have Steven Covey’s classic on their bookshelf, but for those who do not, read this review by an enthusiastic reader:

“As the title of the book implies, Covey describes the seven habits of highly effective people and techniques for adopting the seven habits. Covey makes clear that an individual must make a paradigm shift before incorporating these habits into his/her own personal life. A paradigm is essentially the way an individual perceives something. Covey emphasizes that if we want to make a change in our lives, we should probably first focus on our personal attitudes and behaviors. He applies different examples via family, business, and society in general.
This book's focal point is on an approach to obtain personal and interpersonal effectiveness. Covey points out that private victories precede public victories. He makes the example that making and keeping promises to ourselves comes before making and keeping promises to others.
Habits 1, 2, and 3 deal with self-mastery. They move an individual from dependency on others to independence. Habits 4, 5, and 6 deal with teamwork, cooperation, and communication. These habits deal with transforming a person from dependency to independence to interdependence. Interdependence simply means mutual dependence. Habit 7 embodies all of the other habits to help an individual work toward continuous improvement.
Habit 1 discusses the importance of being proactive. Covey states that we are responsible for our own lives; therefore, we possess the initiative to make things happen. He also points out that proactive people so not blame various circumstances for their behaviors but they realize behavior comes from one's conscious. Covey also explains that the other type of person is reactive. Reactive people are affected by their social as well as physical surroundings. This means that if the weather is bad, then it affects their behavior such as their attitude and performance.

He also explains that all problems that are experienced by individuals fall into one of three categories, which are direct control, indirect control, or no control. The problems that are classified under direct control are the problems that involve our own behavior. The problems classified as indirect control encompasses problems that we can do nothing about. The problems classified as no control are those that we can do nothing about.
Habit 2 focuses on beginning with the end in mind. Covey wants the reader to envision his/her funeral. This may sound disheartening but his goal is to help you think about the words that you wish to be said about you; it can help the individual visualize what you value the most. To begin with the end simply means to start with your destination in mind. That gives an individual a sense of where he/she presently is in their life. One has to know where they are going to make sure that they are headed in the right direction. Covey also mentions that the most effective way to begin with the end is by developing a personal mission statement. After doing that, you should identify your center of attention. Are you spouse centered, money centered, family centered, etc. The he tells you depending on you core of interest, your foundation for security, guidance, and power.
Habit 3 is the practical fulfillment of Habits 1 and 2. Covey accentuates that Habits 1 and 2 are prerequisite to Habit 3. He states that an individual cannot become principle centered developing their own proactive nature; or without being aware of your paradigms; or the capability of envisioning the contribution that is yours to make. One must have an independent will. This is the ability to make decisions and to act in accordance with them.
Habit 4 deals with the six paradigms of interaction, which are win/win, win/lose, lose/win, lose/lose, win, and win/win or no deal. Win/win is a situation in which everyone benefits something. It is not your way or my way; it is a better way. Win/lose declares that if I win then you lose. Simply put, I get my way; you don't get yours. Win/lose people usually use position, power, possessions, or personality to get their way. The win/lose type of person is the person that feels that if I lose; you win. People who feel this way are usually easy to please and find the strength of others intimidating. When two win/lose people get together both will lose resulting in a lose/lose situation. Both will try to get the upper end of the stick but in the end, neither gets anything. The person that simply thinks to win secures their own ends and leaves it up to others to secure theirs. The win/win or no deal person means that if there is not a suitable solution met that satisfies both parties then there is no agreement.
Habit 5 deals with seeking means of effective communication. This habit deals with seeking first to understand. However, we usually seek first to be understood. Most people to not listen with the intent to understand but with the intent to reply. The act of listening to understand is referred to as empathic listening. That means you try to get into the person's frame of mind and think as they are thinking.
Habit 6 discuses combining all of the other habits to prepare us for the habit of synergy. Synergy means that the sum of the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Possessing all of the habits will benefit an individual more than possessing one or two of them. Synergism in communication allows you to open your mind to new possibilities or new options.
Habit 7 involves surrounds the other habits because it is the habit that makes all of the others possible. It is amplifying the greatest asset you have which is yourself. It is renewing your physical, emotional, mental, and social nature. The physical scope involves caring for yourself effectively. Spiritual renewal will take more time. Our mental development comes through formal education. Quality literature in our field of study as well as other fields help to broaden our paradigms. Renewing the social dimension is not as time consuming as the others. We can start by our everyday interactions with people.
Moving along the upward spiral requires us to continuously learn, commit, and do on higher planes. This is essential to keep progressing. At the end of each habit, there are application suggestions or exercises that help you become a more effective person. This is definitely not a quick fix it book. The concepts should be studied in order to be fully achieved. I think if you learn to use these 7 habits, it will change your life.
This is a must-have book!”
-    An Amazon customer

You Can If You Think You Can

by Norman Vincent Peale

“This book was recommended to me by a friend who received it as a Christmas gift. When I bought this book, I was going through a period of being very negative, both at work and at home. I was very cynical and didn't think that my life would change after reading one book ... how wrong I was. Dr Peale really puts life into perspective and makes you realise that there are no magic formulas but everything you need to be a positive person in right there in your head. There are lots of stories which lift you up and make you realise how lucky you are relative to others and they give you the confidence to believe in yourself and the confidence to change your life. He makes it very clear that if you want to change your life, it is up to YOU to change it - if you don't like something in your life the do something about it. He states lots of very simple and abvious things about life that are too easy to forget when you're in a rat race. At the end of each chapter he summarises the main learning points. He does talk about religion a bit, but this is not in any way preaching - he even says that you should take what you want from the comments about religion and ignore what you don't want. My attitude to life really has changed after reading this book (I can't believe I am writing this!) - I will not let my mind be polluted with negative thoughts, I love my job (the same job), I'm laughing and smiling at home and yes, I love life! If you want a more positive and happier life then BUY THIS BOOK!”
-    Sunil

“In 1990, this was just one of three great books that turned my life from a tradgedy to success. Back in 1990, I had a huge business that came crashing down. I was jobless and pennyless. Dr Peale's excellent book and a book that I had read many years before turned my life around. Within weeks, I had found a brand new opportunity and within months my income was at a all time personal high. The other two books? They were "Think and Grow Rich" by Napolean Hill and More Wealth without Risk" by Charles Givens. I obviously highly endorse all three. The priciples work. Please don't make the same mistake I did--read it and pack it away! Read the books, take good notes, apply and reread at once a year. It's very true that what you don't use, you'll lose. I know it happened to me.”
-    An Amazon Customer

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