on May 26, 2004
Do you want to become more effective and efficient or do you want to feel better and motivated? The problem with so many self help books these days is that the allow a person to simply feel nice and motivated for a little while. These companies don't make money by solving the problems that impede your success, they make money by patching them. This book was nice, but I was looking for something to help people I care about actually become more effective, I find so few books accomplish this. Here is my best advice to people who are tired of patching and want to start enjoying the tasks that lead to success... I believe that you can enjoy everything that you do to meet your goals. I'm going to recommend a book that does not talk cute to you, it does not provide the kind of sappy success stories which at times can seem exaggerated at best such as Hyrum's book. It's a toolbox, a user's manual for your brain. The trick is that you have to spend sometime and apply the tools. When I first was given this stuff by a friend of mine, I thought he had lost it but the stuff works amazingly well. Introduction to NLP by O'connor and Seymore, when you read it, it's not going to tell you what to do to fix your life, it's going to provide you with tools. Here is what you can do with the tools... Allow your actions become congruent with your values, belief, purpose, whatever. I'm not religious myself but I imagine this can make things a little easier. It discusses "congruency" in a clear concise fashion that will be motivating in itself it's called the Dilt's model I believe. Essentially, if you understand what you want (may require some introspection, you maybe surprised how much we can learn by having a little internal dialog with ourselves) and measure all aspects of it's value relative to you, make some goals, short term, mid term and long term. Simple so far? Okay, to begin everyday, spend time planning your day in a way that reflects your values, i.e. your goals. Every time your doing something, anything, understand why your doing it, why it has value. This book will teach you to "anchor" your goal and it's attached value that it has, to everything you do, down to your valuable leisure time and taking out the trash. Done consistently over a period of time, and this may allow you to reframe the way you think about your opportunities to accomplish your goals how easy it is to "feel good" about your daily routine. Once you do this, which may require you step a little outside your comfort zone, you may find how easy it is to begin to be proactive in all aspects of your life leading ultimately to personal success. As far as the 10 natural laws book goes, it maybe worth while to some, I enjoyed the warm fuzzy teachings in the first 7 chapters of 10, Hyrum seems like such a nice guy I hate to criticize but I mean, he wrote a book, so hear goes...
Hyrum is fairly self absorbed and has lost touch with the outside world, his focus is overly concerned with convincing the reader that he has impacted others with his stories that only a few of these are very useful. I do admit that I really liked some of his stories before he began to fall off the deep end later in the book. The book has an underlying religious agenda which can be a great motivator for so many people that it seems appropriate and unobtrusive until he starts taking up large amount of one page space for scripture and devotes an entire chapter toward altruistic behavior. I suppose this wouldn't be offensive if I didn't feel that the author was a lot less than honest with his stories. I will never knock a person to exaggerate or fib to get a point across and motivate people, it's not my style, but none the less the author has good intent. I am concerned however that some of the authors stories seem very unrealistic especially when describing social interaction and in one example, the high school class incident for those of you who have read, showed a lack of respect, understanding, and a clear prejudice with respect to the students who have problems. The weirdest part is when you ponder what type of person would fabricate this type of story. Anyway, that stuff is mostly in the end of the book and up to that point he does an excellent job of framing the reader on things such as "time robbers". An excellent way to view the things that get in your way of spending your time in the way you planned. As long as you buy this book knowing that you will never reference it for time management, it's a nice motivational read to provide fish for a day, if your done with these pep talk books and want solution, maybe you want to give the NLP route a try. Just a thought.
on October 21, 2003
Hyrum Smith talks about the kind of life that makes one eager to get up in the morning. He talks about tapping into natural laws that are immutable and consistent to achieve this desired level of living. He makes his point by saying "We can get together and vote against the law of gravity, but our vote wouldn't make one bit of difference" (p. 12). He says whether we agree with these laws or not, they govern our lives. The logically thinking person seeks to discover these laws and apply them.
He has a powerful observation on reading. "A man can think no deeper that his vocabulary will allow him to. I read regularly each day...One cannot teach from an empty well" (p. 57).
On emotions we're told "Do not waste time on unproductive feelings" (p. 60).
He advocates using focus as a means of bringing daily energy to bear on the acheivement of long term goals and dreams.
Habit is a power than either we dominate and control or it controls us (p. 124).
This is a book to help one reach one's goals by doing things in order of priority.
on August 22, 2003
I bought this book 5 years ago and after my first reading of it I began to call it my "Second Bible." This is by far the best book of its kind surpassing many others in its field including the Anthony Robbins' books and tapes, Stephan Covey's works and many others. I don't mean to put the others down because they are also very good, especially the Anthony Robbins books/tapes/CDs/etc. However I have noticed that when my life was going well it was because I was following the principles in this book, when my life was not going well it was because I was not following the principles in this book. It's that simple. Everybody alive should have a copy of this book. And for the price it's a far better deal than all the workshops, seminars, 10-part development programs etc., that cost hundreds or thousands of dollars and they don't come anywhere near the practicality and ease of what is contained in these pages. I cannot highly recommend this enough. Get it, use it, and treat everything else as a supplement if you need more (which you might not). After 5 years with this my title of "Second Bible" still holds. Enjoy.
on May 5, 2003
If you buy only one self help book this year then this is the one.
This is the best self change book ever! I have read virtually everything you can imagine (& I even used the Waitely & Robbins tapes too), from Covey to Robbins, from Carnegie, Clement Stone,Swartz, You name it I have tried it.
Ok what makes this so good?
In one book of 217 pages you will by the time you finish:
Understand that you cannot control time but can control events (This is very powerful)
You need to understand what your values are to lay the faoundation for personal fulfilment, two powerful illustrations are given
Understanding that you get peace when what you do daily links with your values (This was an eye opener the 1st day I implemented it)
The need to get out of the comfort zone to reach any significant goal. (Yes its hard but the story of the labourer turned Dentist is amazing)
Daily planning leads to results from focused efforts
Each one of the chapters I read was the equal of the best books by other authors. This book really gets you going and implementing.
This guru developed the Franklin Planner that is still used 2 years later by 90% of the people who buy the planner. If you love Covey but find it difficult to implement I believe this book (By his business partner) is for you. I intend to do a further write up as I use what I have learnt.
I believe that this gives you the tools that you can embellish later. The main advantage here is that you will apply what you have learnt. I recommend it highly.
on May 10, 2002
My motivation for reading this book was two-fold: 1) The ten "laws" stated in the Table of Contents seem to make sense and encourage exploration, and 2) I facilitate a "Life Management Studies" course through Ken Smith's Christian Stewardship Ministries and wanted to explore other good books and perspectives on the topic of Time & Life Management. Ken is the author of "It's About Time!," a book that approaches the topic from a biblical perspective w/ the understanding that God has a unique plan for every individual. Although Hyrum Smith, and his partner Stephen Covey, recognize the importance of spiritual values and "absolute moral truth" (see Hyrum's concluding chapter in "The 10 Natural Laws..."), their emphasis and appeal are broader than Ken's ministry. This is confirmed by the fact that some of their readers are not even aware that they are Mormons.
With that aside, the ten "laws" of Smith's book are better understood in light of his complementary "Productivity Pyramid" and "Reality Model". The pyramid is comprised of four steps that lead from identifying our highest values (which must be written & prioritized) to accomplishing our daily tasks in accordance with our intermediate and long-range goals. The Reality Model is presented horizontally, beginning with our needs. These are then filtered through the beliefs in our "belief window" which cause us to subconsciously create rules (if.., then..) that govern our behavior and produce results. The results act as feedback so we can assess whether our needs (and the values based on them) are really being met in the long-run. The "Needs Wheel," introduced w/ the Reality Model, depicts in quadrants what Smith considers our four basic psychological needs: to live, to love and be loved, to feel important, and to experience variety. Smith adopted these needs from Dr. Murray Banks, a psychiatrist popular in the 1950s. It is important to understand the difference between our psychological needs and our beliefs (not to mention our wants). The idea is that if our beliefs are incorrect (that is, they don't correspond to reality), then we won't satisfy these needs. According to Law 8, negative behaviors also come from incorrect beliefs, so one must change beliefs in order to change behavior. As a complementary (but more philosophical) study on the topic of needs, values and priorities, see Mortimer J. Adler's "Six Great Ideas" where he discusses "goodness" in all its various aspects (real & apparent, ultimate and common, degrees, etc.). According to Adler, sometimes we don't want (desire) what we need. That is why honest self-analysis and discipline are necessary to gain control over our desires in order to meet our psychological (and spiritual!) needs. Regarding control, Smith notes that there are events that we can't control, but believe we can just as there are events that we can control, but believe we can't. Examples of both are given.
Smith acknowledges his indebtedness to other authors with special recognition going to Alan Lakein, Alec R. MacKenzie, Charles R. Hobbs, and James W. Newman. For those who enjoyed this book, Smith has also written a new one titled "What Matters Most: The Power of Living Your Values" (Oct 2000). Two good books on space management are "Conquering Chronic Disorganization" by Judith Kolberg and "Organizing from the Inside Out" by Julie Morgenstern who also wrote "Time Management from the Inside Out". Good books are also available for financial management (One author recommended by many Christians is Larry Burkett).
on April 7, 2002
I used to think that Hyrum W. Smith was a rough and tumble, hard line executive type whose first and only lust was the bottom line.
I was so wrong.
This is a pleasant book with a conversational tone, along the lines of Dale Carnegie. I wish my other books were so simple, and were plainly written and plainly taught. Shakespeare mentions "Simple truth miscalled simplicity," (Sonnet 66) and that "Brevity is the soul of wit." (Hamlet, Act 2, sc. ii), and Mr. Smith demonstrates his ability, again and again, to plainly teach the ten natural laws.
In fact, the tone of this book is almost grandfatherly.
The book is divided into two halves, the first half dealing with your time, the second half dealing with your life.
The first laws are (Don't get mad-you could Xerox these from a library copy!):
1. You control your life by controlling your time.
2. Your governing values are the foundation of personal fulfillment.
3. When your daily activities reflect your governing values, you experience inner peace.
4. To reach any significant goal, you must leave your comfort zone.
5. Daily planning leverages time through increased focus.
The laws regarding controlling your life are:
6. Your behavior is a reflection of what you truly believe.
7. You satisfy needs when your beliefs are line with reality.
8. Negative behaviors are overcome by changing incorrect beliefs.
9. Your self-esteem must ultimately come from within.
10. Give more, and you'll have more.
I think that the central principles are first, controlling your life and not being controlled, and second there is an objective reality, despite all the braying and bleating of the relativists. The issue, then is one of organizing and prioritizing, and not just being a forty-year old teenager living from stimulation to stimulation.
As has been observed, this book is geared for the big business executive, but I have found that I can adapt the principles to my less busy and less hectic life. That may be another underlying factor: wanting to want something. You must want the principles to work for them to be effective. "Stick-to-itiveness" I think is the word.
There has also been comment about the values and the similarities of this book to other books, specifically Covey's "Seven Habits." It shouldn't be surprising, since all the arrows of moral laws hit one target. We do not have a male and a female law of gravitation, and the electrons do not drive on the wrong side of the road in the UK. We are all talking about the same thing. C. S. Lewis in "The Abolition of Man," traces the similarity of moral laws across many cultures and time. True, manifestations and understanding of truth may differ; it is all fundamentally the same. You can do math by Roman numerals, but Arabic numerals are far easier.
Moreover, Franklin and Covey merged a few years ago, so the two books have really become one in the hands of the company.
As to the hidden agenda, what can I say? If you are smart enough to spot any hidden agenda, then you are also smart enough to know how to avoid any entanglements.
As always, the hardest part of any self-help book is the implementation of the ideas.
on April 25, 2001
The title is a bit corny, but nevertheless I found the contents of the book is rich and deep with insight and helpful paradigms.
Besides the 10 laws, of special mention include: use of roles (mentor, father, husband, son, student, friend, partner, advisor, etc etc.) we are all a "10" when it comes to our inner role, but our objective should be to achieve a "10" in all our various other roles in life.
Also, we all have our own "reality window", how we do things and what we do is driven by how we view things through our reality window. Each of our reality window in charaterized by our own unique upbringing, experiences, influences, etc. Understanding our own reality window and those of others helps in understanding our own or others actions.
Also, author's productivity pyramid symbolizes creating your short and long range action plans grounded from what matters most and what is most important to you, consistent with your core values. Your to-do list should not just be about getting day to day mundane things done, but rather be grounded in core priorities, core values, life-long objectives.
Although some of the concecpts are duplicated in his more recent book, "What matters most", I would recommend reading both.
on February 24, 2001
I was very skeptical about reading another book on time management. Sometimes I have the feeling that many authors who write time management aids have spent their last several years living on the planet Mars. Hyrum W. Smith is an exception to the rest of them. His book unfolds like a story with many dramatic and funny episodes that have occurred throughout his life which seduce the reading into continuing until they reach the very end of the book.
The whole system is based on your own values but also helps you in determining what is the most important thing in your life, which is the base for his whole system. Once you have discovered your values, it is easy to start prioritizing events and work related matters in your life. At the same time, he creates one of the most beautiful formulas for keeping appointments and "things to do list".
I found several of the sales pitches for his "Franklin Day Planner" a bit negative, however all of the things that he talks about are also achievable without this planner. I have been able to integrate most of the conceptions of this book's time management on the Microsoft Outlook. At the beginning when he started mentioning religion, I became annoyed by this but as he writes in the book; These are his values and it is for everybody to discover their own.
Before reading this book, my time management consisted of writing one line messages on those nice yellow stick-it notes and hoping I would not forget them. I would only find myself accomplishing a small fraction of what I set out to do.
I have had a backlog of many things I wanted to do with my family and projects to accomplish at work. I was never able to sort out the good from the bad and ugly until I read this book. I have my act together and am plan on visiting one of their seminars in London this fall to reinforce the written material.
on January 18, 2004
Before I read this book, my life was out of control. My self-esteem was running really low. I was overweight. My personality was always down in the gutter somewhere. I would stop being myself... I was so insecure about myself that I would actually read my horoscope first thing in the morning and totally believe that astrology was the answer to all my problems...obviously as foolish as I was, astrology was not the answer to happiness. This book does not really guarantee anything because the individual who reads the life-changing information is the one who must make the choice, the choice to change.
But there is something even greater to this book than just prioritizing goals and time managment, and that is happiness. This book offers tools and ultimately a way of thinking that ensures an individuals happiness. Hyrum Smith gives us the formula, and we just pop our own individual life charactersistics and goals into the equation.
The best self-help book out there!!!!!
on May 8, 2001
This book by Hyrum W. Smith would be equally at home in the business or self-help section of a bookstore. Its message is as applicable to a CEO of a large company as it is to a recent high school graduate. Smith liberally peppers the book with anecdotes. These amusing stories provide interesting breaks from the instructional tone he uses in describing the ten natural laws for managing your time and your life. They also help put his abstract concepts - like the Franklin Reality Model and Personal Productivity Pyramid - into an easier-to-understand context. The stories illustrate the concepts of the book in terms everyone can understand. We [...] recommend this useful book to executives who want to learn more about managing their time effectively.