Tuesday, September 11, 2012

PDPF, Part II - The Books

Earlier this week I mentioned that I felt it was time for a personal reassessment and re-commitment to some goals. The first goal was a self-actualization makeover, which mainly meant reading, listening to and embracing the lessons of ten of the greatest personal development books out there. 

The list I posted was not in any order of preference. They do represent the ten personal development books that most piqued my interest. I have read or listened to all but three of them. I did a little research on people's favorite PD titles a few months ago and was able to find copies of everything at the library except Think and Grow RichA New Earth and  Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway. I have a hold order in place for the one copy of A New Earth, which will hopefully be back in the library soon. I will probably end up buying the others on half.com or eBay.  

Here's my nutshell review of the book titles. 

7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey - Probably the best known of all PD titles. Spawned a whole series of follow-ups and spin-offs and organizational tools. Success with this program requires more than reading and understanding - it requires repitition and practice until the concepts become second nature behaviors. Well worth the effort, though.

How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie - Perhaps the original self help book of the modern era. Carnegie's precepts are still applicable today, 75 years after its publication. Some of his examples sound kind of quaint to 21st century ears, but human nature hasn't changed as much as our technology and it's amazing how people continue to succumb to the same foibles.

Your First Year in Network Marketing, Mark Yarnell - I have friends that are doing quite well in direct marketing and they are all a font of great PD resources. I listened through this one - about 16 hours on CD - and came away with a great appreciation for trials and benefits of going with a direct marketing career. Mark Yarnell bravely lists all the pitfalls and then makes sense of why they happen and how to get past them. Some good lessons for anyone interested in going into business for themselves and, like the first two entries on this list, the lessons work well beyond the business arena.

Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life, Wayne Dyer - I read Your Erroneous Zones in my teens and put it down in disgust when I realized I had miread the title. Since then, my wife has turned me on to some of his other titles, all of which are recommendable. This one has the most useful and practical suggestions with concrete examples of  how to create a much more open and empathic mindset.

Psycho-Cybernetics, Maxwell Maltz - Another book I found lying around my Dad's shop in my teens. I'm glad I read it then because this one, like How to Win Friends or 7 Habits was a game changer. In my mind, it was around the time that this book was popular in the early '60s that the idea that  Americans were becoming too dependent on mass marketing for their self images and that maybe being good sheep following the Madison Avenue shepherds didn't make a lot of sense. In some ways, Psycho-Cybernetics laid part of the pathway that would lead to the rebellious late 60s.

The 8th Habit, Stephen Covey I am currently reading this one. The target audience is those people that embraced and regularly practice them. The subtitle sums up its goal: "From Effectiveness to Greatness". I can't imagine anyone who wishes to lead a world-class business not reading this book.

On My Up-and-Coming List:

First Things First, Stephen Covey - The last of my Covey triad for now. I started it last year and set it down with about a half dozen sticky flags sticking out of the pages. I need to start all over again to get the full effect as the main idea is to develop ways to prioritize things before you tackle them (and yes, I do recognize the irony).

A New Earth, Eckhart Tolle - More of a guide to spiritual enlightenment, but I guess that can't hurt if taken in moderation. I am the recipient of a CD set that has been handed down through three other listeners who recommend it highly. Reviews I  have read say that it is an expansion of Tolle's earlier book, The Power of Now. Although, I typically try to (actually, obsess on) reading an author's works in order, I'll try out A New Earth and then go back to TPON if it really resonates with me.

Think and Grow Rich - Napoleon Hill - Written around the same time as Carnegie's HTWFAIP  , this title was just as big at that time, but seems to have faded from the common memory while Carnegie's works have taken on a life of their own. Still, this book is referenced in alost every other business/personal development book out there. Always good to be familiar with foundational work like this. 

Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway - Susan Jeffers - Okay, this one had me at just the title. So many things I have attempted in life have been accompanied by some paralyzing fear of some kind. Whether it is public speaking, going on an interview or starting a business, fear is usually along for the ride. It can be both an obstacle and a great motivator. I'm hoping this book provides good ways to turn the former into the latter.

More to follow later in the week - Next up is about the certifications I chose to pursue and why I felt each was necessary.

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