Sunday, 2 December 2012

Book Review

Parables of Success

For those of us who are Christian, our minds are turning this month to the birth of Jesus, a wonderful story teller.  Jesus knew that the best way to get his audience to internalise the truths he wanted to teach them was to tell them those truths in parables.  The Sufi mystic Nasrudin, or Nasreddin Hodja, adopted a similar approach.  In fact, you will find story telling to make the faithful realise a universal truth is integral to most religions.

I felt now would therefore be a very good time to focus on stories that encapsulate some simple truths we should all internalise on our journey of personal development.

Click on the title of any book that particularly interests you and you can buy it right away.  If you want to pay in pounds sterling, or have it shipped from the UK instead of from the States, click on the "UK link" right at the end of each review.

The Richest Man in Babylon


George S. Clason

A review of personal development parables could do no better than to begin with George S. Clason's classic, The Richest Man in Babylon.  This book has led generations to personal and monetary success.  If you have not yet read it and have any interest in improving your financial situation, do not let 2013 fade without doing so!

"This book teaches financial lessons through stories. Every point is illustrated through a tale that explains exactly why certain things need to be done when investing your money.

It's specific advice along with a neat little story proving how it works in real life. This is a crucial point with me and all business advice. If it's not practical and makes sense in reality then it's useless fluff that may sound good but isn't useful at all. And let's face it, finance isn't an area where you want to learn by trial and error using bad advice.

The investment strategies that applied back then are still as applicable today as they were back when this was first written. No nonsense, tired and true business advice. That's what made this a hit for me."

-    Shelby

"A MUST READ for all ages. Clason emphasizes that it is never too late to improve your financial situation. Short stories in the book bring to life the significance of developing a plan to save for the future and/or get out of debt. Don't be fooled by the simplicity of this book. The concepts are powerful and relevant."

-    DMerryM

"I read this book 35 years ago when starting out in business and its teachings are timeless. It was written in 1929. The principles have taken good care of me all my adult life. If the young (and the not so young) would apply its teachings then the world would not be in the financial mess it is in today."

-    aspedd

Look Ma, Life's Easy


Ernie J. Zelinski

This novel is a Kindle edition.  It presents a story of personal transformation that will inspire ordinary individuals to feel they can truly achieve extraordinary results in their lives.

"This is a classic personal development book on par with Think and Grow Rich in its impact, depth and usefulness.

The book is part story and part personal development wisdom. The two intertwine perfectly.

The premise of the book is that if you do the hard things in life today your life will be much easier because you will achieve great things and you won't be stuck with the same old problems. It sounds simple, and it is, but the author depicts clearly how this little rule applies to every area of life and how powerfully and immediately it can bring positive change to your life.

I will be reading this book over and over to glean it's wisdom and improve my life even more."

-    Tom Corson-Knowles
Best-selling author of Rich By 22: How To Achieve Business Success At An Early Age

"I'm a fan of Ernie Zelinski. I like his writing style, his humor, and his grasp of humanity. In this fable, Ernie, through his characters, is our cheerleader, our guide, our shrink, and our mentor. He points the way to becoming our best self by asking us to question our assumptions, work hard, to delay gratification, and dump the victim mentality.

His pearls of wisdom throughout the book are even in a different color and font, so they can't be missed. For example: "The past is a nice place to visit. But you better not make it your home." Or, "Just as important as deciding what you want in life is deciding what you don't want."

If you're looking for a roadmap to inspire and change you, one that goes down easy but packs a wallop, get a copy of Look Ma, Life's Easy."

-    Jan Cullinane

"Where has this little gem been hiding, this really is an excellent book from Ernie Zelinski, more people should be aware of it. I especially like the line at the start of the book: "You can disappear into the mainstream, or you can be true to yourself and swim against the current". This sets the tone early on for what becomes an adventure of self-discovery. It is a compulsive and inspirational read, and you won't read it only once, you will refer back to its wisdom time and again."

-    A. Reilly

Twelve Pillars


Jim Rohn & Chris Widener

This novel will inspire you to take your life to the next level and beyond. It will challenge and encourage you to become the best that you can be!

I have sourced a hardcover version here which is cheaper than the paperback version I found on Amazon.  If you want it shipped from the States, be sure, therefore, to click on the link in the title rather than simply going straight to Amazon to find it.

"I am not an easy sell when it comes to financial self-help books because many of them want you to do things that are improbable, or impossible, at certain times in your life. However, this books focuses on making you a successful person inside before starting the outside (material) successes. I really liked that because I believe many people think money will buy them happiness; this book shows that you must first be happy inside to be able to enjoy your outside (material) success."

-    Stacy Howett (BROOKHAVEN, PA, United States)

""Twelve Pillars" is one of my favorite books. The author successfully presents nonfiction self growth content in a novel-style. I've red it several times, and every time I tuned up to tears at the end."

-    Dr. Irina Koles, author of Taste of Thoughts: Improve Your Health and Whole Life

"This is an excellent book for people that want to do something more with their lives than just live a day to day existence. I will recommend this book to all of my friends."

-    Blondie

The Exploits of the Incomparable Mulla Nasrudin / The Subtleties of the Inimitable Mulla Nasrudin


Idries Shah

This is actually two books in one, and includes 100 short aphorisms by the Mulla.  Great to dip into when you only have a few moments.  And great to allow the humour to insert some real truths into your psyche!

It is difficult to describe Nasrudin's style without actually seeing it, so here is an example:

"If you want truth", Nasrudin told a group of Seekers who had come to hear his teachings, "you will have to pay for it."

"But why should you have to pay for something like truth?" asked one of the company.

"Have you noticed", said Nasrudin, "that it is the scarcity of a thing which determines its value?"

Other reviewers' comments:

"One is immediately forced to use one's mind in a new way."

-    New York Times

"(Nasrudin's) antics are parallels of the mind's workings"

-    The Observer, England

"Idries Shah popularized religious teaching stories of the "righteous fool" variety in his three books of Nasrudin stories. The tales themselves come from Rumi, Attar and a host of other sources - written and oral. While I recommend both Rumi and Attar, the retelling of the stories in a concise and oral telling style is a gift to the reader - one is impacted by the story itself and not distracted by the form of the story (poetry of Rumi) or by the frame story (as in Attar).

One should read these stories one at a time and reflect on them as you would a koan, if you wish to treat them as "spiritually beneficial". But they are also enjoyable as a quick read for laughs."

-    M. J. Smith (Seattle, WA USA)

I was unable to source this title at a reasonable price in the UK.  My UK readers should click the title and buy from the States.

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