Most peoples' bookshelves are weighed down with self-help books. Some teach you how to lose weight. Others refocus your financial development. Still others help you with relationships. Yet others look at better habits. And others propound moral principles to guide you. What most of these books have in common is that they are usually superseded by a new and better book . . . soon after being published. How can you hope to keep up? Well, you couldn't . . . until now.
Jack Canfield and Janet Switzer have created something different in the self-help literature -- a compendium of the principles that have stood the test of time. I didn't find a single source of ideas that I like (except those that are only grounded in my religious beliefs) that wasn't included here somewhere.
The book is organized in several sections to make these references easier to follow: The Fundamental of Success (which includes principles like Take 100% Responsibility for Your Life, Be Clear Why You're Here, Decide What You Want, Believe It's Possible, Believe in Yourself, Unleash the Power of Goal-Setting, Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, Be Willing to Pay the Price, Reject Rejection, Use Feedback to Your Advantage, Commit to Constant and Never-Ending Improvement, Practice Persistence, and Exceed Expectations); Transform Yourself for Success (which includes principles like Drop Out of the "Ain't It Awful" Club . . . and Surround Yourself with Successful People, Acknowledge Your Positive Past, Face What Isn't Working, Transform Your Inner Critic into an Inner Coach, Stay Motivated with the Masters, and Fuel Your Success with Passion and Enthusiasm); Build Your Success Team; Creative Successful Relationships; Success and Money; and Success Starts Now.
The authors also provide many free tools to help you succeed.
If the strength of this approach is that you cover the waterfront of sound principles, the weakness is that the coverage is pretty thin in places. That will be the gripe of many people against this book. But unless it was to be 2,000 pages long, that weakness is unavoidable. The suggested reading and other references in the back, however, are more than adequate to lead someone to deeper resources where they are needed.
I only noticed one unmitigated weakness in the book: a preference for evolutionary change and improvement rather than encouraging readers to develop breakthrough skills as well.
To give you a sense of how valuable I found this book, I persuaded the dean of the university where I teach to let me launch a new course for self-improvement based on The Success Principles as the text. This one book will replace what many students are now acquiring through taking as many as six other courses. I see that as an important step forward for their educations . . . and yours, too, if you read and apply this book as I have been doing since I read it. I've seen immediate results . . . and believe that you will, too!
If you are a writer, you will also enjoy the many places in the book where Mr. Canfield shares lessons from his remarkable success with developing the series, Chicken Soup for the Soul.
If you have already read much of the success literature, you probably think this book isn't for you. I beg to differ. Seeing so many good ideas in one book will help you weld together good habits and actions in even more constructive ways.