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Good Among The Great,The Paperback – Apr 1 2011

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Cardinal Publishers Group; Original edition (April 1 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0984606122
  • ISBN-13: 978-0984606122
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 14.2 x 1.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 363 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #998,047 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa78e05c4) out of 5 stars 14 reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa838b3f0) out of 5 stars Definitely not for everyone Aug. 2 2011
By Keepinit Real - Published on
Format: Paperback
If you are a single, well adjusted, relatively rich person looking to reach the highest level of transcendence, this is definitely the book for you. If you are a family person trying to balance kids, a mortgage, and a so-so job, then this book might make you a little bit frustrated. Donald Van de Mark is (as far as I can tell from Google searches) pretty much a single male model reporter type who has no experience in being a father or dealing with the demands of a family.

This book basically cribs a bunch of stuff from the writings of Maslow and culls out the 19 best traits of the "best human beings". By the way, if you are a sales person or bean counter (this includes teachers) he doesn't make you believe that you are really eligible to be one of the "Top 1%" as he calls it.

Unfortunately contradictions abound throughout the book. You are supposed to stand back and be detached and yet be experiential. You are supposed to be laid back and proactive and exuberant and chill out. You are only supposed to do the work that you LOVE. You are supposed to have great morals - (piece of cake, right - well, that's just ONE of the nineteen). You are supposed to be jolly and realistic.....and on and on it goes.

With many insights gleaned from his "rich kid" private academy school existence and time spent with families he knew who "summered at their lake home", Van De Mark gives examples of these unknown "everyday" types (as well as celebrities - his ultimate archetype is Meryl Streep) who exemplify one or more of these traits - yet the underlying feeling is that you pretty much need to have all of these in order to reach that "Elite 1%" - - after all, that does equate to about 3 million people in the U.S. as he points out.

Yes, this book has some interesting points and makes one pause to see how they stack up (I actually went through and self-assessed in each area) but it is pretty elitest and in a way gives the reader almost a defeated sense that they will never be able to live up to all of these great, yet often contradictory traits that exemplify the most transcendent of humans. The problem is that this ideal person, in my life experience, just does not exist and that the process of trying to be "that person" rather than just living your life might be more painful than positive.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa8218234) out of 5 stars A well-constructed, interesting, supportive and encouraging place to begin improving your life Aug. 25 2011
By rlweaverii - Published on
Format: Paperback
Book review by Richard L. Weaver II, Ph.D.

I have read many self-help books, many motivational books, and many books of support and encouragement. I have even written a number of them myself, and my college textbooks on communication, in a sophisticated way, are like self-help, motivational books that offer students support and encouragement. Van de Mark's book is all of these in one.

Throughout my professional career, too, I have depended upon the work of Abraham Maslow, and Maslow's hierarchy of needs appears in many of my textbooks. I have never read Maslow's nineteen specific personality traits that make people exceptional. It is these traits that provide the theoretical and philosophical underpinnings for Van de Mark's book. He offers readers one chapter per trait.

I have to admit that I begin reading books like this one with a great deal of skepticism. Often, there is so much repetition between such books as these, and they reek of common sense and platitudes that offer little that is new. That being said, however, I have often felt that any book or set of ideas that encourage people to become more creative and joyous -- much less admirable! -- is, automatically, useful and valuable. Why not encourage people to improve themselves? I have done the same in a book entitled YOU RULES -- CAUTION -- CONTENTS LEADS TO A BETTER LIFE!

Well, let me tell you, this is really a very well-written book. Although the nineteen traits (autonomous, loving, ethical, unaffected, private, detached, experiential, realistic, laid back, performance and process oriented, egalitarian, jolly, empathetic, dutiful, appreciative, creative, exuberant, joyous, and transcendent) are not earth-shattering, nor do they plow new territory, Van de Mark is a terrific story teller, and along with some well-known celebrities (Warren Buffet, Meryl Streep, Ellen DeGeneres, Charles Schwab, Robin Williams, and Steve Case, to name a few), the book reads easily, comfortably, and will hold your attention.

If you are looking for quick condensations of what he writes in each chapter, read the "Takeaways" he offers at the end of every chapter. It is in those sections, especially, where the self-help orientation of the book is most pronounced. There are always five or six ideas that readers can survey, adopt, internalize, and practice.

Yes, I was impressed. It is clear that this is a well-constructed book. The ideas are interesting, and if you are looking for support and encouragement in your attempts to improve your life, Van de Mark offers a great place to begin your search.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa8c8611c) out of 5 stars Van de Mark, With Maslow, Provides a Practical Guide on Becoming a Great Human Being July 4 2011
By Thomas M. Loarie - Published on
Format: Paperback
Author and cable business news (CNBC, CNN) pioneer, Donald Van de Mark, spent more the twenty-five years interviewing prominent people. As a trained observer, he noticed significant differences between the "mega-successful" he covered..."Most were okay; many were obsessed and ruthless, and some were even miserable. Many were feared, if not hated." There also existed a small fraction who were truly joyful, creative, and worthy of admiration. These differences became the catalyst for "The Good Among the Great." Van de Mark developed a compulsion to study these differences then report on what he learned.

Trained as a newsman, he learned to decipher how his subjects' minds and hearts worked and why they were successful. He came to see a thread - "similar attitudes and patterns of behavior - variations on similar themes: what motivates them, how they think and behave, why they do what they do, and why they don't make common mistakes, and why they often forfeit short-term gains." They shared nineteen similar personality traits, which contributed to his/her being a truly great human being. Traits, Van de Mark believes, "you can spot in others and develop within yourself."

These nineteen traits (one trait per chapter) which characterize the most "admirable, creative, and joyful" people include: autonomous, loving, ethical, unaffected, private, detached, experiential, realistic, laid back, performance AND process oriented, egalitarian, jolly, empathetic, dutiful, appreciative, creative, exuberant, joyous, and transcendent. They match up, by no accident, with Abraham Maslow's, the father of positive psychology, nineteen specific traits of exceptional people. Maslow's wisdom, which Van de Mark discovered on his journey, is integrated throughout the book.

Van de Mark uses stories and examples (from people with public personas - Warren Buffet, Meryl Streep, Ellen DeGeneres, and more - and from others who do not) to "explain why and how the people we admire are as good and happy as they are strong and capable." He provides "takeaways at the end of each chapter."

For example, for the trait Creative... Go out and play! - recover the boundless creative energy you had as a child by:

* Find quiet time regularly, daily. This is your place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be.
* Encourage and participate in artistic endeavors.
* Keep a notepad or recorder handy to capture ideas.
* Sensory experience suspends analytical thinking and spurs creativity - immerse yourself in nature.
* Schedule time for daydreaming and time with no purpose.

"The Good Among the Great" inspires by highlighting exceptional people who are stand-out contrarians in a turbulent, self-indulgent world. It also provides a guide for those who have "faith in their own ability to make themselves, their lives, and the lives of those around them better."
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa7370e64) out of 5 stars A Most Worthy Gift for your Children March 30 2011
By Latife Hayson - Published on
Format: Paperback
As a lifelong lover of motivational and inspiration prose, I found Van de Mark's "the Good Among The Great" a surprising page turner. It's a no nonsense, to the point blueprint for those seeking to enjoy a more successful, joyous and admirable life.

From the stories of his youth in Canada to his enviable career as a Journalist with CNN & CNBC in DC, one can't help but think Van de Mark has been close to extraordinary people his entire life and was meant to share the considerable knowledge he has gained along the way.

I highly recommend the book as a keeper that you will refer back to often along your journey. I particularly liked the chapter on `Being Realistic'.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa8c85078) out of 5 stars The Good Among The Great - What makes them so? April 20 2011
By Eleanor Biddulph - Published on
Format: Paperback
After more than twenty years of studying and profiling the politically powerful, the rich and the famous, former CNN and CNBC correspondent Donald Van de Mark learned that not all newsmakers are exemplary human beings.

Among the world's mega-successes, however, is another group. Van de Mark describes a minority who is surprisingly aware, egalitarian, dutiful and happy. Their associates and staffs love them; competitors respect them. These people care deeply about others and regularly use their positons to help the larger community.

In The Good Among The Great, Van de Mark connects the nineteen key character traits identified by 20th century psychologist Abraham Maslow to the behaviors that separate the truly good people from the merely successful. He shares related narratives about people from all walks of life who demonstrated those qualities, from Abraham Lincoln to Jack Welch to Meryl Streep to the matriarch of the family Van de Mark spent summers with as a child.

The book is organized into four key sections:

"Developing a True Whole Self" includes the following traits: being autonomous, loving, ethical, unaffected, private and detached.

"Assessing the World Clearly and Efficiently" means being experiential, relialistic, laid back, and performance and process oriented.

"Caring and Interacting With Others Effectively" suggests being egalitarian, jolly, empathetic and dutiful.

"Earning Your Personal Payoff" includes being appreciative, creative, exuberant, joyous and transcendent.

Readers benefit not only from the stories and learning about the traits Maslow identified, but also from tips offered throughout the book to help identify and nurture those qualities. Each chapter focuses on a single trait and includes a summary of key takeways at the end. Don't just skip to the summary, though! There are nuggets of value throughout the book. I highlighted many quotes, anecdotes, provocative thoughts, and interesting conclusions.

I would like to have learned a little bit more about some of the lesser known people in the book; more details about their struggles, how did they overcome, where did their goodness orginate? All in all, though, enough was shared to gain an understanding of how the particular trait was revealed through their actions.

I found myself pulled in by the stories told, keenly interested in the behavioral discussion, smiling at some of the anecdotes, and taking notice of how I could apply the lessons to my own life and leadership. If you want to achieve greater success in your personal and professional growth, consider adding this book to your leadership, business, psychology or self-development library.