self-help

Review of ‘Habit Stack: 21 Small Life Changes to Improve your Success, Wealth and Productivity’

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What we achieve in life is largely determined by the effort we put into it, and those efforts are guided by habits we’ve developed over a lifetime. In order to make a change for the better, it’s first necessary to develop positive habits, and those positive habits can be achieved by combining, or stacking, them onto existing habits.

In Habit Stack: 21 Small Life Changes to Improve Your Success, Wealth and Productivity by Philip Paterson, readers are introduced to 21 exercises that can start making the changes that will transform them into the persons they want to be.

Arranged into chapters that are written with the non-academic in mind, each ending with a summary that recaps the main points, these are exercises that anyone can master. A nice self-help book that is only marred by a depressingly large number of formatting inconsistencies that are detracting—at least to me—and the author’s practice of inserting review links throughout the book. This, I feel, is overkill. It’s such a short book, a single review link at the end would have been sufficient.

Despite these problems, I still recommend this book for anyone who really wants to change for the better.

I give it three and a half stars based on the mechanical problems, but high marks for content.

Review of ‘Outsourcing: The Beginner’s Guide to Hiring Virtual Assistants’

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If you’re a solo entrepreneur, chances are you spend a lot of time performing tasks that could more easily and profitably be performed by someone else. If, however, you’re operating on a tight budget, taking on more employees in your business might not be an option. Not really a problem; there’s always the less expensive option of using virtual assistants. Outsourcing certain routine, repetitive tasks might be just the thing you need to be able to refocus your time more profitably.

Outsourcing: The beginner’s Guide to Hiring Virtual Assistants by Robert Lawrence is a brief tutorial on how to deploy outsourced help in your business. A good starting point if you’re just starting out in your business.

I received a free copy of this book.

I give it four stars.

Review of ‘Positive Thinking’

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You are what you think. Too many people are bogged down in the swamp of negative thinking, and never seem to be able to see the positive side of life. With effort and practice, you can learn to refocus your thoughts and develop the habit of positive thinking.

Positive Thinking by George Ripley is a short book of tips to rid yourself of pessimism and get on the road to a more positive, fulfilling life. While I found many helpful hints in this book, the number of typos and grammatical errors (that could be eliminated with a better job of editing and proofreading) detract a bit from its overall value. It would also be helpful to know a bit more about the author’s credentials as an aid in assessing the validity of his claims. The quotes supporting his thesis were helpful.

With better editing and a display of credentials this could be a five-star book. Unfortunately, I’m only able to give it three stars.

Review of ‘7 Simple Steps to Use the Law of Attraction Effectively’

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Karma is the belief that what you give the universe, the universe gives back to you. If you feel that your life’s not going right, you just might need to adjust your thinking.

John Ward’s 7 Simple Steps to Use the Law of Attraction Effectively is a handy little guide to making the necessary self-adjustments to get your life back on track. From visualization to thinking positively, to meditation, these hints can be applied by anyone, and are a validation of the axiom, ‘as you think, so you are.’

While the grammar in this book is a bit clunky, it is still a useful guide for anyone who wants a simple, easy-to-apply method for self-improvement.

I give it three and a half stars.

Review of ‘Self Esteem’

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Most people fail because they lack the degree of self-confidence to succeed. Developing self-confidence and self-esteem is a matter of desire and practice.

Self Esteem by Freed Jeremy is a short workbook designed to help individuals develop the self-esteem needed to succeed at just about anything. While this book contains some gems of wisdom, poor grammar and excessive repetition detract from its value. With a better job of editing and proofreading this is a book that I would recommend for anyone’s reference shelf. If you can ignore the editing problems, there are a few helpful hints here.

I can, however, only give the book three stars as it currently stands.

Review of ‘Perception’

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When marketing a product, even if YOU are that product, it’s important to offer value; being the best is important. But, in today’s world, it’s not enough to just be the best; you must be perceived to be the best.

Perception: Take Charge of How Others View Your Brand, Become Irresistible, and Make a Bigger Impact by Franziska Iseli and Christo Hall walks you through the steps to create the desired perception of your brand and then how to take that perception to the level of acceptance in the marketplace.

Each chapter of this book starts with a story of an entrepreneur facing a dilemma, and how that dilemma was solved. The story is then followed by no nonsense guidance on the issue at hand. This brief book walks the reader through the task of self-understanding, the first step in creating the desired perception, and then the steps to creating and promoting that perception with the end goal of making yourself, or your product, ‘talkaboutable’ (one of the many made up words the authors use to drive their points home.

Regardless of the nature of your enterprise, this book offers practical advice, in straight forward, out of the box, language that can be applied immediately.

I received a free copy of this book.

This is a five-star book that should be in every small entrepreneur’s reference library.

Review of ‘Rewire’

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Rewire by Mike Morosov is a short guide to getting your life in order through mindful actions. Short paragraphs containing actions at the end that are useful to people who want to get their life in order. The actions the author prescribes, while simple, can have a profound impact on an individual’s outlook on life, and if practiced faithfully, can show immediate results. A useful book, it would be even more so if the author had gone into more detail—but, that’s just the opinion of someone who has practiced meditation for decades.

As self-help books go, this one has the advantage of being short and easy to read. I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my unbiased review. The theme and intent of the book is definitely five star, but I was a bit distracted by the author’s tendency to change from addressing the reader as ‘you’ in places, and then switching to third person, often in the same paragraph. A minor style glitch that doesn’t really mar the value of the book all that much, but one worth noting. Nonetheless, I give it a solid three and a half stars for a good first effort.

Review of ‘F*ck Feelings: One Shrink’s Practical Advice for Managing All Life’s Impossible Problems by Michael Bennett, MD and Sarah Bennett | Key Takeaways, Analysis & Review’

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Most books by psychologists, especially self-help books, are written in psycho-babble and are long on grand promises to help you get on the path to achieving life success. F*ck Feelings by Michael Bennett, MD and his humor writer daughter, Sarah Bennett, is anything but. Written in a pragmatic style, with bits of self-deprecating humor and salty language that make it a book you don’t want to leave lying around where your kids can access it, F*ck Feelings pulls back the curtains on life and tells it ‘like it is.’

F*ck Feelings: One Shrink’s Practical Advice for Managing All Life’s Impossible Problems by Michael Bennett, MD and Sarah Bennett/Key Takeaways, Analysis & Review by Eureka Books is a practical, easy-to-read summary of the book, and goes a long way to providing an iron to smooth the wrinkles out of your life roadmap.

First, some things in life can be change, but many can’t, and we have to learn to live with that fact. Secondly, we must be aware of the unintended consequences of our actions, even the well- meaning ones.  Practical and nonjudgmental, this sounds like the book everyone needs to read. I give it five stars.

Review of ‘The Millionaire Map’

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“Who wants to be a millionaire?” The answer to that question could well be another question, “who doesn’t want to be a millionaire?” This has been the case since the adoption of currency, but in today’s age of declining economies, escalating personal debt, and looming financial insecurity, it is a more compelling desire than ever. There is no shortage of books on the market that purport to tell you ‘how to become a millionaire,’ but upon reading them, most of us are left as clueless as we started.

Not so with The Millionaire Map by best-selling author Jim Stovall. A blind ex-athlete who had to have a reader to help him get through college (a reader, by the way, whom he later married), Stovall went from the depths of poverty to multi-millionaire status, and he shares that journey with the reader in a practical, no tricks style that is all that a map should be – easy to understand, and, with the right measure of desire, dedication, and determination, not all that difficult to follow. Not too difficult, that is, if you know a few basic things: where you’re starting from, where you’re going, and why you want to go there.

A truly self-made multimillionaire, Stovall share his wisdom and experience as he went from the bottom to very near the top of the financial ladder. One of the most important things he imparts in this exemplary book is the definition of wealth – it’s not about the total amount of money you have, or even your appearance of wealth – it’s all about being financially able to live your life on your own terms. Stovall warns against being ‘all hat, and no cows,’ like the many people who through the use of easily available credit spend more than they make to create the appearance of wealth, but who are, in fact, spending more than they make. And, that is one of the best sign posts on his ‘millionaire map,’ – wealth is accumulated through spending less than you earn.

It’s simple, as Stovall writes, but not easy, because it takes being honest with yourself. I can honestly say that this book, which I received free as a review copy, is not just one of the best books on gaining financial independence I’ve read, but the best – bar none.

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