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Personal Development for Smart People Format Kindle
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Le système complet que développe Steve Pavlina me semble cohérent et pertinent, et très très profond. Vraiment, c'est pour cela que je n'hésite pas à le qualifier de système philosophique : Steve Pavlina propose, ni plus ni moins, un guide complet pour penser et réussir sa vie - à tous les niveaux - tout en laissant à chacun une marge de liberté gigantesque. De plus, alors qu'il aurait pu utiliser un jargon universitaire ou technico-scientifique pour se faire mousser - comme c'est hélas devenu la règle dans le milieu universitaire - , Steve utilise une langue remarquablement claire et simple, allant droit à l'essentiel.
Le corollaire de ce système, c'est qu'il peut sembler un peu trop universel et directif. Mais la richesse du livre fait que chacun pourra y piocher ce qui l'intéresse en fonction de ses besoins et de ses envies du moment, quitte à y revenir plus tard. Je pense que tout le monde y trouvera au moins une idée et une action à faire qui vaudra le prix du livre et le temps passé à le lire.
Pour continuer sur les défauts, toutefois, je dirais que Steve tombe parfois dans une naïveté qui m'aurait fait mettre en sous-titre Steve Pavlina à Disneyland si j'avais été méchant. Mais je ne suis pas méchant.Lire la suite ›
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In a nutshell
This book takes a new approach to personal development. I've read numerous books on goal-setting, relationships, career, finances, etc. and 99% of them focus on the practical things you can do in order to achieve success in whatever area you'd like to. "Personal Development for Smart People" is unique in that it tries to establish a set of core principles that form a foundation of all personal development, rather than just focusing on what you should try to DO. Steve Pavlina believes that it is acting out of the 7 core principles of Truth, Love, Power, Oneness, Authority, Courage, and Intelligence that guarantees success. Just like how there are universal laws of physics, he believes that he has discovered the universal laws of personal growth.The first half of the book explains the 7 core principles, and the second half of the book discusses how to apply them.
How different is "Personal Development for Smart People" from other personal development books?
It is extremely differernt- sometimes too different for my comfort. Of course, Steve Pavlina is very different from your typical self-help book author. He starts off the book by describing how he was arrested for felony grand theft as a 19 year-old, and subsequently got kicked out of college. He enrolled in another college and graduated in THREE semesters, while double-majoring in computer science and mathematics. Now, he is a vegetarian, and eats only raw food. He is also married to psychic medium/intuitive counselor.
So... you would expect Steve's book to be a little out-of-the-ordinary, yea?
Indeed it is. For example, in illustrating the "connection" principle under his core principle of Love, he asks you to imagine an everday object like a pen. He asks you to feel the connection between you and the object, to imagine that the object is part of you. He asks you to send your love energy toward the object and say "I love you," and "You're beautiful."
I don't know about you, but I didn't do that exercise, and I don't ever plan to! It's far too strange for me!
"Personal Development for Smart People" has many other strange exercises, like "Time-Travel Meditation"... I think that the name would tell you that it's another rather unusual exercise?
How practical is this book?
Despite the many weird things that Steve writes in his book, there are many insightful things that he mentions, too. In the second half of his book, he discusses how you could apply the 7 core principles in the areas of Habits, Career, Money, Health, Relationships, and Spirituality. He has many interesting views on everyday issues. For instance, he says that the 2 components of career are its Medium and its Message. Its Medium is what it is, eg. you're a doctor, a salesman, a teacher, etc. while its Message is what beliefs/values you communicate through your Medium, eg. compassion, love, curiosity, enthusiasm. He says that often, we focus too much on the Medium, when it is the Message that really brings you fulfillment in career. He says that in order to build an authentic career, you must ask yourself 4 questions: 1) What must I do? 2) What can I do? 3) What do I want to do? 4) What should I do? When you find that the answer to the 4 questions is the same, you're on the right path.
He mentions a lot of other practical things you can do to improve your relationships, finances, health, etc. - and his advice is all based on his 7 core principles.
All in all, I would say that "Personal Development for Smart People" is much more belief-centered than action-centered- unlike most other personal development books.
My personal belief is that being should precede doing. I've heard it said before: "Being precedes doing, that's why we're called human beings, not human doings." Steve Pavlina clearly believes this too, which is why he focuses on principles rather than actions.
However, there are just some weird things (spritual and philosophical in a strange sort of way?) that Steve writes in this book that just give me goosebumps. I think this will be the case for the average reader... but there are definitely a lot of interesting perspectives and useful information presented in "Personal Development for Smart People". But I could never fully subscribe to his beliefs/core principles, even though everyone could benefit from a lot of the practical applications he suggests.
That said, I was a little disappointed by Steve's recent book, which is titled after his site. Steve is ambitious in his book's scope: he wants to define the "core principles" of personal growth, the principles on which all successful growth efforts are based. There exist self-help books on a broad range of topics--personal finance, career choice, relationships, and so on--and Steve wants his book to subsume all of them. His thesis is that all effective personal growth techniques are based on a few core principles. If you apply these principles to your life, he thinks, the more-specific techniques presented in other books will come naturally.
Steve's presentation is clear and well-thought-out. I like his core principles, which are named Truth, Love, and Power. Truth is seeing and accepting things as they are, Love is engaging fully and openly with the world, and Power is consciously effecting change. I also like Steve's scientific approach: he requires that his principles be universal, complete, irreducible, congruent, and practical. And I think Steve is probably right that his principles underlie most, if not all, effective personal growth efforts.
So why did I find PDFSP a little disappointing? Maybe I just had high expectations. And, admittedly, I've read enough of Steve's articles that it's hard for me to judge his book on its own merits. But I do think it could have been quite a bit better.
First there's its organization. PDFSP feels overly-structured and overly-segmented. I suspect this organization came from Steve's desire to be systematic--and perhaps to make writing it straightforward--but the result is often tedious, predictable, and repetitive. The first seven chapters are devoted to the three core principles and four secondary principles that are supposed to derive from them. A chapter is devoted to each principle, and each chapter is further sectioned off into independent discussions of "terms" that Steve associates with that principle. For example, in the Truth chapter, there are sections on "perception," "prediction," "accuracy," "acceptance," and "self-awareness." This kind of structure is tedious. I would have preferred a more-lively take on the principles.
Worse still is the structure of the later "application" chapters, which apply the principles to the usual self-help topics: money, career choice, relationships, and so on. Each of these chapters is sectioned off into a separate discussion of how its topic relates to each of the primary and secondary principles. So, in the money chapter, we get sections on "Money and Truth," "Money and Love," "Money and Power," and so on. Each of the six application chapters is like this, and they account for almost half of the book. It's not surprising that this repetition of structure leads to repetition of ideas. For example, when discussing Oneness, one of his secondary principles, Steve repeats his view that we are all "individual cells of the same body" over and over again.
Steve's simple, exuberant, and almost-naive writing style may be off-putting to more-skeptical readers. This style, combined with the general abstractness of PDFSP, makes it a bit hard to relate to him as a person. Though Steve does describe a few painful experiences from his past, his explanations feel detached and overly analytical. I only mention this because, in a personal development book especially, it's nice to feel a personal connection to the author.
All right, enough of the negative. There's a lot of great advice in PDFSP. I like Steve's suggestion to rate the parts of your life--career, relationships, etc.--numerically from 1 to 10. If you give something a "decent" score like "7," chances are you're more dissatisfied with it than you think. To make his point, Steve says that a "7' score is really a "1."
I like (love?) Steve's view on love. Steve sees love as a form of connection and as a way of engaging with the world. For example, he suggests that, instead of seeing yourself as inherently separate from the people around you, you assume you're already connected to them. Rather than assuming that connections take a long time to create, he suggests you assume they already exist ("Instead of having to break the ice with someone, assume that there is no ice."). Such an attitude will yield in-kind responses from others and fast friendships, Steve claims. I believe him.
Steve has good advice on making lifestyle changes. For example, he suggests running "30-day trials" to evaluate new habits. The idea is to try something new without actually committing to it. If a change is good, it shouldn't be difficult to keep going with it after the 30 days are up. Steve himself has done interesting trials of things like polyphasic sleep and a raw food diet and has posted the results on his website.
In general PDFSP contains a lot of great advice, whether it be on facing fears or on time management. And I love Steve's attempt to break personal development down into a few core principles--he's largely successful, in my opinion. However, I can't offer an unqualified endorsement of his book. Its overly-formal structure is boring and repetitious, and its simplistic exuberance can take some getting used to. If the good stuff I've mentioned sounds interesting to you and the bad stuff doesn't sound too bad, it's worth a look.
If you are unfamiliar with Steve Pavlina, I encourage you to check out his personal development website at [...] One could literally spend hours reading through more than 700 free articles of incredibly thought provoking information on that site. In the span of a few years, Steve has risen to the top echelon of personal development aficionados, attracting more than two million monthly readers to his site. When I first stumbled upon Steve and his website, I was amazed at the depth of his knowledge in personal growth. Steve's tag line is to "live life consciously" and in each article of his that I read, I grow more confidant that he truly follows this mantra every single day.
Steve begins the book by taking us back to the pivotal moment in his life when he realized that he was interested in personal development. It was 1991, and he was sitting in a jail cell after being arrested for felony grand theft. It soon becomes clear that he has had his fair share of life experiences to build from. We learn that over the course of his life he has had many ups and downs, from bankruptcy to owning his own video game software development business (reaching levels of success far surpassing what many people can imagine), to the birth of StevePavlina.com. Each of these experiences brought him closer to answering the ultimate personal development question:
What does it mean for us to consciously grow as human beings, and how do we intelligently guide that process?
Steve believes that the answer to this question lies within three core principles: truth, love, and power. He goes on to explain that four secondary principles are then derived from these first three.
Oneness - Truth + Love
Authority - Truth + Power
Courage - Love + Power
Intelligence - Truth + Love + Power
The book is organized into two parts. Part One goes into great detail on the theory behind these universal principles, explaining how to align yourself with each. These principles can and should be applied to every aspect of life. Part Two explores how to apply the seven principles to specific areas of life, such as habits, career, finances, health, relationships, and spirituality. Some examples would be injecting truth into relationships, aligning your career with love, and bringing power to your spiritual practice - things that many of us struggle to do.
Steve admits that applying what we learn in this book won't be easy and it wasn't even easy for him, but he says that real conscious growth is seldom undemanding, but it's always worthwhile.
He goes on to explain that if you are dealing with a major problem in your life right now, that dilemma can be redefined as a problem of alignment with one or more of the three primary principles of truth, love, and power. If you change your perspective so that you can see it in that sense, you will be equipped with all the tools to right that situation.
Also, you may find that you are stronger in one or two of the primary principles, and weaker in the other(s). The details laid out in this book will help you to gain a balance of all three. As you continue to increase that balance, life just starts to fall into place. Things happen that seem as if "destiny" brought them into your life (tying into the law of attraction). If you get off track, you will notice that maybe things aren't so peachy anymore, and that is your cue to realign yourself with these principles again.
I started out reading the introduction of this book wondering if I was in over my head. Steve is sometimes a very analytical writer, and he goes into "technical mode" right off the bat. I got a little nervous at first, thinking I might not be able to connect at this abstract level. I soon realized I was wrong, and by the time I finished the book, I had completely killed a brand new highlighter pen. Steve mixes soul searching type topics with personal stories, real-world examples, and exercises to illustrate the key points and deepen your understanding while keeping an overall easy-reading feel. No need to feel intimidated, we are talking about life here, not biophysics.
Keep in mind, this book is not for the narrow-minded. In order to fully achieve the personal growth that this book offers, you have to approach it with an open mind. Steve has an almost brilliant way of defining each of the seven principles, but a lot of what he says directly calls into question much of what we currently believe as a society.
My overall take away from the book is a feeling of true self acceptance. Personal Development for Smart People is a tool that allows us to remove the shell and gain a greater awareness and understanding of the vast amount of social conditioning that surrounds us. Our friends, family, co-workers, and acquaintances contribute heavily to our understanding of reality. We are told that this is the way it has to be because that is what is accepted by our culture, society, religion, etc and we believe it.
Not to say that social conditioning is always a bad thing, but it is something that many of us rarely question. By aligning ourself with the principles Steve speaks of, it gives a level of clarity and peace that is not easily achieved when we allow ourselves to go through life, ignoring the voice inside that tells us to question something doesn't feel right, but is accepted by society as a whole.
Following is a list of a few more of my favorite "aha" moments and highlights from the book.
- The first step on your path of personal growth must be to recognize that your life as it stands right now isn't how you want it to be.
- Perception is a key component of personal growth because we react to what we perceive to be true.
- When you fail to release incompatibilities from your life, you settle for mere tolerance and prevent compatible new connections from forming.
- The purpose of every relationship is to teach you how to love yourself from the inside out.
- Some belief systems teach us that powerlessness is a desirable trait, but nothing is further from the truth.
- There is no power in the past or the future, only in the present moment. We should set goals not to control the future, but to empower ourselves and improve our present reality.
- Exercise your courage to go after the prize of true fulfillment, which is so much greater than the illusion of security.
- Your greatest regrets in life won't be the mistakes you've made; they'll be the opportunities you let slip through your fingers by failing to act.
- Being authentic doesn't mean being perfect.
- Risk taking isn't gambling.
- Never close your eyes to the truth. If you want to grow beyond your current limitations, you must first learn to stop resisting where you are.
- Your relationships have a tremendous influence on your self-development. Surround yourself with people who naturally empower you.
- In a world that isn't fully committed to health, the most natural and beneficial practices are often considered extreme. Average is a slow suicide. Summon the maturity to make intelligent choices for yourself, regardless of what throngs of sick people encourage you to do.
- Don't wait for a crisis to strike before taking action to improve your health.
- Fear of rejection is one of the major blocks to aligning one's self with love.
My Favorite Message
- Power is a direction, not a position. The best thing you can do to empower others is to empower yourself.
The message from the book that truly hits home the most for me is that living life purposefully means to live an inspired life, consciously using our potential to its fullest. As we do this, we become more intelligent, because we are truly aligning ourselves with the core principles of truth, love, and power. The closer in alignment that we are to those principles - the more we improve ourselves, and in turn, inspire others to do the same. Then, as those people follow in our footsteps, finding their own path, they inspire others, and the ripples go on and on down the chain. By living a fulfilled life, we are in essence contributing to the greater good. As we improve ourselves, we improve everyone. This point made so much sense to me, because I have found how amazing it feels to follow your passion, and by the same token, I am almost magnetized to people who I encounter that are doing the same.
Altering Your Perspective
There is a big difference between working with the flow versus letting go and simply allowing life to happen to you. Why do we just settle? We have power, we just choose not to use it. When we are operating with the flow, things feel good, like there is a powerful energy working through us. We know from the inside out that we are on the right path. I think this is where a lot of people could benefit from reading this book, just as much as I have, because we tend to think that we don't have a choice. In reality we have all kinds of choices, we just tend to narrow our focus too much and we don't see all that life has to offer if if we would let it.
The chapters on relationships and spirituality were the toughest for me to comprehend due to my own past beliefs. I like that Steve comes right out and says that you may disagree with things that he says and that is fine. His main goal is to get you to challenge your assumptions and make your own conscious choices.
Religion is a touchy topic, but yes...he goes there, and I am going to go there too. I was raised Catholic, went to 12 years of Catholic school, and as you would expect, certain beliefs have been ingrained in me. Over my life, I have questioned some things regarding my own spirituality, because that is just my personality - I tend to want to know the how's and the why's, and I had trouble coming to grips with the idea of one religion being "right", suggesting then that all others are "wrong".
As I read through the book, I was pretty excited to see that Steve addressed this very question. I realized that when I take a step back and think about spirituality without social constraints, I see that the more open I am to learning about different cultures and different religions, the more I am able to consider life and reality from multiple perspectives and gain a greater understanding of other people and the world.
It's Never Too Late
I know what it's like to work in a job that is unfulfilling. I know what i is like to think, "Man, I want more than this," only to follow that up with thoughts of feeling like I don't know how to fix it or feeling powerless to the situation or contributing factors. Steve puts it so simply when he says, "The longer you follow that path, the more skill you build at something you don't enjoy." You may continue to gain seniority and experience in that line of work, but ultimately if it doesn't fulfill you, you are just digging yourself into a deeper and deeper hole.
Sometimes it takes courage to withstand some short term sacrifices to get you to a long-term place of true meaning and joy. And then when you find the career that truly drives and empowers you, life becomes a journey, and we are no longer living day by day, striving for the destination of 5 o'clock, or the weekend, or retirement. Life is meant to be lived, not endured.
We are not powerless because we have children to be responsible for, or because we currently do not have the income of our dreams, or because we are 50 years old. Its never too late to start changing your life for the better. And if you are inspired at all by what I have said above, I know without a doubt that this book could have a great impact on your life. I say "could" and not "will", because ultimately, it is up to you to take all the knowledge that Personal Development for Smart People: The Conscious Pursuit of Personal Growth has to offer, and apply it.
So why should you read this one? Because it's an...
Accessible. Practical. Integrative Framework.
Accessible: This book was not written from a Tibetan monastery or Princeton think-tank-- it was written by a transparent, plain spoken guy who is sharing what he has learned from both extensive reading and analysis and the lab of his own life. You won't need to haul out your dictionary or scratch your head and think, "Now what does he mean by that?"
Practical: This book gives more than just concepts- in each chapter there are practical exercises where you can put the concepts into direct doable action designed to kick-start growth and change in your life. I dare you to read this book and not find a dozen ideas that will REALLY WORK in your life immediately.
Integrative Framework: I've read other books that helped me with organization or work or approach to life or understanding myself. They were helpful, but they dealt with only one component of my life. One the other hand, Personal Development for Smart People gave me an overall framework that let me see a complete picture of my growth as a person, and allowed me to integrate those other good ideas and books into the framework. This allowed me to utilize all my resources more effectively and see where they fit into my life as a whole.
In the introduction, Steve sets out the question,
"What does it mean for us to grow as conscious human beings, and how do we intelligently guide that process?"
He answers that there are three universal principles: truth, love & power. The goal of the book is, "to teach you how to bring all areas of your life into alignment with these universal principles." He starts out with chapters on each principle, its components, common blocks to it, and ways to increase it in your life. Each chapter contains clearly written insights, engaging personal experiences, and practical exercises.
He next devotes chapters to principles he derives from the first three, which include oneness (truth+love), authority (truth+power), and courage (love+power). He caps it off with a chapter on intelligence, which he defines as the integration and mastery of all six principles.
After a discussion of the principles, he moves to application. There are chapters on how to apply each principle to the areas of habits, career, money, health, relationships, and spirituality.
What did I like about this book?
-I love that it is an integrative framework that I can fix in my head and use to structure my insights and actions about personal growth.
-The three basic principles are solid and I was immediately able to apply them to my own life. They echo the three principles that the Apostle Paul once wrote, "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."
-The book has given me insight and motivation to make some real, substantial changes in my life. I currently am in week 2 of getting up at 5am every morning (even weekends), exercising a half hour a day, and not eating dessert or red meat. I've lost 7 pounds, crafted an effective life purpose statement and feel greater clarity and productivity.
What came up short?
-Steve's principle of "oneness" is not a universally accepted principle in the same category as truth, power, & love. For Steve, this belief serves him because he rejects the idea of a Judeo-Christian Creator God. For me, knowing that I am a loved child of an omnipotent Sovereign works better than thinking I am one with everything else in the world.
-Some of the application chapters were strong (money was especially helpful to me), but others such as relationships, health and spirituality again strayed more into aspects of Steve's personal worldview than universally accepted principles.
Overall, Personal Development for Smart People is a great read and a fantastic resource. There are some parts you will likely not agree with, but there's a lot of gold to be mined and effectively used in your life. I've read it twice in two weeks, and already given two copies to friends. Highly recommended
The author has tried hard to tie various component of personal development into three universal principles that can be applied to any situation. Unfortunately human personality is a much more nuanced thing that defies such neat categorizations. The attempt to force fit the 'fundamental principles of personal development(!)' into neat categories can only result in such inanities as love + truth = oneness; truth + power = courage; etc. There is no explanation on why only these categories are considered universal, why not others? After all we have a long list of desirable qualities say virtue, honor, commitment, persistence, discipline etc. etc. On what basis do you pick 3 of them and declare them to be 'fundamental principles'? If truth, love and power are the fundamental principals of personality, then what about the others? The author believes that others are just a combination of these 3. So,
Oneness= Truth + Love
Courage= Love + Power
Authority= Truth + Power
Intelligence= Truth + Love + Power
I am not sure if this is an exhaustive list of all desirable personality traits. May be other things can also be derived from fundamental principles in some different combination. May be further research can show that "commitment = 2/5* power + 1/3* love" or something like that. I don't know.
The point is that there is no scientific basis for claiming that truth, power and love are the basic three principles and others are just a combination of them. There are no hypothesis, no tests, no analysis and no proofs. No reference to any studies in any university of repute. No double blind tests on sample population. Just results. Whatever author says is a revelation that does not require any external validation. His assertion is enough since it is based on his personal experience. Believe it and you will see the results.
My second complain is that the style is very boring and the book is unnecessarily lengthy. Probably, it is because the author has tried to fit in everything in the same structure: Principles-> components-> blocks to principles and -> how to improve on it. Therefore even when no further elaboration is needed on a point, the author is tempted to add his 'two words' on it. The entire content of the book can be summarized in just couple of pages without loss of any information. In fact the first 5 star review on Amazon has all the information that you will get from the book (except for the equations: love + power = courage etc.)
Finally, this book proves that a blog and a book are two entirely different mediums. Something that may pass as intelligent and thought provoking on a blog may not necessarily cross the bar in a book form where readers are accustomed to see more rigor.
Bottom line is that this book is a boring compilation of author's personal opinions on personal development, some of which may be true; others may not, since there is no evidence either way except author's own assertions. If you think that one data point is large enough sample to draw conclusions and put your efforts to see if it works for you, then go ahead and buy this book.
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