Against Happiness PDF Summary

Against Happiness PDF

In Praise of Melancholy

“Don’t worry, be happy…”

Or should you?

Happiness is the ultimate dream on this planet, but as we will see below, chasing for happiness, while running away from its polar opposite, can destroy us.

Who Should Read “Against Happiness”? And Why?

“Against Happiness” is a controversial book, in the context that it ‘glorifies’ melancholy as the source of creativity, and criticizes people for wanting to be constantly happy, even stating that such endeavors might destroy this world.

We recommend it to self-help buffs and all those who feel intrigued by this subject.

About Eric G. Wilson

Eric G. WilsonEric G. Wilson has penned numerous books on the topic of literary psychology and is currently teaching English at Wake Forest University.

“Against Happiness PDF Summary”

There are some names that we all know because of their work that stood the test against time. Literary and musical legends are still inspiring generations years after their death.

There are many things different about all of these people and many other things that connect them.

And, believe it or not, melancholy is one of the characteristics they shared.

Yes, they were depressed!

Winston Churchill, Ernest Hemingway, Napoleon Bonaparte et cetera, all belonged to this group of people.

Actors like Cary Grant, Marilyn Monroe, and one of our contemporaries Jim Carrey are part of the “crew” as well.

Melancholia, if we imagine it as a building, would be inhabited by one of this world’s most brilliant people: from artists to politicians, to scientists.

Why are we telling you this? Why has the author made an effort to tell you this?

Well, because melancholia is usually connected to bad feelings and destructiveness, and the reality is quite the opposite.

In fact, melancholia can trigger creativity and can be a source of inspiration for many individuals.

Even when asked, some composers or singers claim that their best work resulted from the worst period of their lives.

Accepting the dark part of yourself and reshaping them into something beautiful is a noble act.

In this context, we must mention Virginia Woolf who has openly claimed that darkness when it comes to her feelings and mood is what has inspired to write her best stories. According to her, these states made her face the “assault of truth.”

But how can such mental darkness and depression result in something so light and beautiful?

Well, the answer may be hiding somewhere in the connection between polarities.

Carl Yung believed that many of the things that seem opposite are actually just manifestations of the same principle – the unconscious.

He stated that the unconscious consists of linked oppositions such as sadness and joy, darkness and light etc.

He went even further, connecting melancholy to understanding and mental health.

Melancholia is shaping people’s ability to open their eyes to the beauty and make a distinction between something that looks pretty and something that is truly beautiful.

What is the difference, you ask?

It is simple. Pretty things seem made, artificial, and very much alike.

Beautiful things, on the other hand, breathe friends and wilderness.

But if melancholia is good for you, then why do people feel aversion toward sadness?

In most parts, it is because of the ever-present fear of death.

Melancholy makes you face the fact that everything in this world, including yourself, is temporary. Everything will one day disappear.

To be able to live freely, you have to stop running away from death, and instead directly confront it and explore it.

It seems that people in the Middle Ages were more in touch with this part of themselves since it was common then to decorate the houses with skulls and skeletons, in order for those that lived there to be constantly in touch with the thought of the inescapability of death.

When you embrace these unchanging facts about the life, you can look deeper into the meaning of your existence and the existence of all things.

Being a melancholic will keep you constantly curious, questioning the world, and therefore the chances of creativity and invention are much higher.

Although there are many benefits of adopting such mentality, people do not see melancholy as beneficial – instead, they just want to be happy.

Isn’t it strange that people just feed themselves with antidepressants at even the slightest feeling of uneasiness?

Just take a look at the statistics about people that have their own therapists – the numbers are humongous.

Does that mean that the whole world is depressed?

It certainly does not. But not accepting the occasional blues also means that the world passes on the opportunity to become more creative.

Key Lessons from “Against Happiness”

1.      Sadness is Healthy
2.      Destroying Melancholia Is Dangerous
3.      Do Not Immediately Reach Out For Help

Sadness is Healthy

We repeated many times throughout the text, and we will do it again: sadness is healthy. We are not talking about clinical depression here, but it is very artificial to try to be constantly happy.

We all have moments when we feel down, and when such moments come, instead of running away from them, we need to learn how to channel them the right way.

Destroying Melancholia Is Dangerous

The link between creativity and melancholia is confirmed. So, if the world continues fighting against the feeling and trying to get rid of it, it will also get rid of progress and the possibility of breakthrough innovations and beautiful art.

Do Not Immediately Reach Out For Help

Every time you feel uneasy or mental anguish, you should not immediately reach for antidepressants or a therapist’s help. Instead, you should learn to live with such feelings, as they might give you the chance to reflect.

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“Against Happiness Quotes”

Creating doesn’t make us unhappy; unhappiness makes us creative. Click To Tweet Melancholy shows us that our demons – the dark parts of our hearts, our agitations and our loathings, our cynicism and our acerbities – are integral parts of ourselves. Click To Tweet Some of our most sacred institutions have become happiness schools. Click To Tweet American happy types are hopelessly frustrated because they’re trying desperately for security in an insecure world. Click To Tweet Sadness reconciles us to realities. It throws us into the flow of life. It puts us on the brisk edge of experience. It makes the heart beat hard, throbbing between faith and doubt. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

“Against Happiness” is not your typical self-help book.

It offers a different look, a new perspective on one of the most avoided feelings in the world: melancholy.

After reading it, I felt more at ease with myself and started embracing those blue moments, instead of fearing them, and feeling uncomfortable when they came by.

So, I guess, when it comes to me, the book served its purpose. Now it is your turn to try it.

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What Are the Four Agreements?

Don Miguel Ruiz

There are some moments in life which are bound to change us profoundly.

Sometimes it can be an innocuous lollipop moment, and sometimes it can be the death of a loved one.

In the case of Don Miguel Ángel Ruiz, a Mexican author born on August 27, 1952, it was a near-fatal car accident.

Born into a large family in rural Mexico – he was the youngest of 13 children! – Miguel didn’t have a great life for most of his childhood, scarred by poverty and numerous obstacles.

His parents, healers, and practitioners of ancient Toltec wisdom and traditions offered him everything they could, and he learned a lot of them even as a child.

With their help and the help of his siblings, he fought through all of the hardships and managed to become a neurosurgeon, just like one of his older brothers.

And for few years, he practiced medicine with him in Tijuana, thinking that he had found the goal and object of his life.

And then the accident occurred.

Don Miguel Ruiz saw his life passed before his eyes and realized that it was not the life he was supposed to be living.

So, left both his promising medical career and Tijuana and went back to his mother to learn more about the “essential truth about life and humanity.”

His mother passed on him the ancestral teachings of the Toltecs, and Don Miguel Ruiz soon realized that, through her words, he had already embarked on his journey to awareness.

But it was not enough.

So, he apprenticed himself to a shaman and spent many years studying and absorbing the secrets of the ancients. And his initial vision rapidly “evolved into a deep understanding of the physical universe and the virtual world of the mind.”

Since he had a scientific background, don Miguel became conscious of the fact that he was one of the very few people on the planet capable of merging the wisdom of the Toltecs with modern physics and biology.

So, he did just that.

And that’s how “The Four Agreements” was born.

Published in 1997 and subtitled “A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom,” “The Four Agreements” quickly went on to dominate the bestseller lists and during the past two decades has sold over six million copies in the United States alone.

In addition, it has been translated into no less than 40 languages, becoming a bestseller in almost every country where it was eventually published.

Just like its subtitle promises, “The Four Agreements” is an applicable 4-step routine which can help you achieve a “long-term, personal transformation” and finally become the man you want to be.

The 4 steps are actually the 4 agreements of the title, which, in Don Miguel’s terminology are, in fact, a sort of “thought habits” or oaths.

Simply put, they are 4 promises you make to yourself – and 4 sentences you repeat as many times as possible until they become an irrefutable fact.

But –

What Are the Four Agreements?

Before we analyze them more thoroughly, here’s a nice visual representation:

What Are the Four Agreements

Agreement #1: Be Impeccable with Your Word

It’s not as easy as it may seem: being impeccable with your word is actually one of the most difficult things you can do in your life!

Because to be impeccable with your word means to:

Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.

Look up the word “impeccable” in the dictionary, and you’ll realize just how difficult it is to be impeccable with your word.

Because “impeccable” means “faultless,” “immaculate,” “perfect,” and “above reproach.” It means saying the things you really want to say, and, yet, never saying anything which is not love and truth.

Because words have energy, and because their energy – whether good or bad – will eventually come flooding back to you, to make you smile or haunt you.

The best part: it’s your choice!

Agreement #2: Don’t Take Anything Personally

To quote Don Miguel Ruiz:

Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.

Stop thinking that you are the main character in everyone’s story!

Because, the fact is that you can be the protagonist in one and one story only – your story.

And the same is true for everybody.

Consequently, everyone is right in the novel he is writing himself or herself. Everyone is the hero and the winner in his or her own story.

When someone wants to impose his or her worldview on someone else, he/she is actually trying to rewrite someone else’s story unknowingly.

This is the birthplace of all the misunderstandings and quarrels of the world.

It doesn’t mean that if two people don’t agree with each other that only one of them is right. It usually means nothing more than that their stories are incompatible.

But what should you do in these kinds of cases?


Just – apologize and forgive.

That doesn’t mean that you’ve made something wrong.

It only means that you value your friendships more than your ego.

And that’s a great thing!

Agreement #3: Don’t Make Assumptions

Don Miguel presents the penultimate agreement in the following manner:

Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness, and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.

When you think about it, this mantra is as old as time!

Or at least as old as 1973 when the “Odd Couple” Season 3 episode “My Strife in Court” premiered. At one point, the main character of the show, Felix Unger, says something we feel obliged to quote here:

“You should never ASSUME. Because when you ASSUME, you make an ASS, of U, and ME!”

And Don Miguel says that he’s got a point!

Just stop trying to read other people’s minds!

Because the chances are you’re doing it wrong and making life worse for everyone – especially yourself:

Agreement #4: Always Do Your Best

The final agreement is as straightforward as they come: always do your best!

Your best changes from moment to moment; your best is different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Simply do your best under any circumstance to avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.

This agreement is Don Miguel’s favorite.

Why shouldn’t it be?

It’s the one which transforms the abstract concepts of the first three agreements in reality and success:

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Bonus: Agreement #5: Be Skeptical but Learn to Listen

Fifteen years after the first four agreements saw the light of the day, Don Miguel Ruiz teamed up with his son Don Jose Ruiz to write “The Fifth Agreement,” adding one more oath to the four the world was already so profoundly familiar with.

This one’s about being skeptical but only after listening to other people’s stories.

A hint: the first part of it is the easier one.

Final Notes

What more can we say about a book we’ve featured on more best-of lists than basketball analysts have featured Michael Jordan in!

It’s one of the most inspiring books out there, and one of the top self-help books ever written.

And if you want to – you can start reading a selection of its best quotes this very instant.

Just click here.

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The 50th Law PDF Summary

The 50th Law PDFA sequel to a fantastic book, which gives an unbiased review of the world we live in.

The burden is on your shoulders, and it’s about time we harness the power of universal laws.

In this book summary, we encapsulate the most critical elements that will help you become the man/woman of the hour.

Who Should Read “The 50th Law”? And Why?

Getting to the bottom of the problem requires honesty and self-criticism.

The 50th Law gives you both and instigates a new behavior which can take you one step closer to fulfilling your life-purpose.

As such it’s highly recommendable to anyone over the age of 15.

About Robert Greene & 50 Cent

Robert GreeneRobert Greene received a lot of criticism for one of his bestselling books 48 Laws of Power. The book has lifted the roof and gained overnight popularity among celebrities and even prisoners.

50 Cent50 Cent is an American Hip-Hop artist, businessman and an international star who has been singing the praises of Robert Greene’s ideas and practices.

“The 50th Law PDF Summary”

Chapter 1: See Things for What They Are-Intense Realism

Before reality, as a process is set in motion, you must realize that competitiveness these days is on another level. If you don’t push hard to find a place in this world, you’ll end up stranded on a deserted island, without a boat to take you back where you belong.

Generally speaking, people are choosing their battles as well as their battlefronts. Sometimes you’ll find yourself fighting someone else’s inner or outer war. Don’t fall for shallow promises, and stand your ground, regardless of the circumstances.

Use this momentum to take hold of reality, and everything that adds to your final purpose.

Chapter 2: Make Everything Your Own—Self-Reliance

It’s needless to say that 90% of the people are under someone’s thumb. When you give up your creativity that easy, don’t be surprised when other persons crush you in a heartbeat. Get some respect by diving into your own waters.

Ask yourself what is worse: To be forever at the mercy of others and stick to your comfort zone, or failing to succeed on your own? – In truth, temporarily defeats are an integral part of prosperity, but if you embrace fear as a decision-making tool, you’ll regret it sooner or later.

Align your goals with your capabilities, and you have a win-win situation – No Doubt!!

Chapter 3: Turn Shit into Sugar—Opportunism

Yin – Yang forces indicate that in every adverse outcome there’s something positive in it and vice versa. This simple, but life-altering reality gives you a taste of the endless opportunities that emerge day in and day out.

For instance: You want to start your own business, but you lack funds. This could be an excellent opportunity for you to find investors, or someone willing to invest in your idea, and thus gain a long-time associate. Don’t let despair and frustration guide your life.

It’s in your power to convert failure into a life-lesson or an incentive for future endeavors.

Chapter 4: Keep Moving—Calculated Momentum

Do you know that every office has a micromanager who wants to supervise almost every little detail? The bitter truth is unless you eradicate this habit you’ll lose control over others including yourself. So, take notes, and get the big picture.

Don’t be rigid, stay flexible and adapt to the environment so that your agenda will get accepted. Less open-minded personalities are struggling when on the lookout for favorable circumstances.

Life rarely has a natural flow, it is filled with storms, sunshine, and rainbows, and you got to take all into account.

Chapter 5: Know When to Be Bad—Aggression

Strange but true, some people envy you, and they try to obstruct the ascend regarding your personal and professional life. In the midst of conflicts, it’s best if you don’t fall under their influence and remain confident in your beliefs.

One of the best ways to overcome the fear of confrontation is to perceive it another way. Rather than seeing it as an unnecessary activity, get the message that life is all about challenges. These forces combined with strings of manipulation cannot harm you unless you give the go-ahead.

Morality is sidestepped, and self-interest is up-and-running!

Chapter 6: Lead from the Front—Authority

Alexander the Great on numerous occasions proved its greatness on the battlefield because he led with an example, not with words. In any organization, it’s the leader who sets the tone, but not always his methods are well-received.

Shouting and pressuring your employees to work harder is not only ineffective but counter-productive as well. If you perform better than they are, they will instinctively follow your lead, and rely on your absolute authority.  

Chapter 7: Know Your Environment from the Inside Out—Connection

Many business plans kick in the minute a person devises a plan to launch its idea. In reality, if you don’t understand the market linked with the chain of demand and supply, you may end up targeting an audience that does not need your product.

The trends are changing in a flash, and your business must create value. After that, when you define what the audience wants, you can begin forging a plan and mastermind a great product. In general, if your product doesn’t receive the best feedback don’t get discouraged and simply move on.

Keep improving the quality of your services, and don’t run away from criticism.

Chapter 8: Respect the Process—Mastery

Learn how to make a better move by anticipating what comes next in the process. Your job is not to witness a periodical success that swings around without proper foundation for stability.

People’s greatest adversary is boredom combined with a lack of expertise. You, as a self-motivated individual, must withstand the pressure of being in the spotlight and make your customers addicted to your service for a long time.

Let your ideas grow, and expand, don’t put “ifs” and “buts” in the process, just let it flow with your supervision.

Chapter 9: Push Beyond Your Limits—Self-Belief

How often do you push yourself over the edge, and do something that you never thought possible? – If that answer is never, perhaps you need a change of pace. Your actions speak for you, which means it’s up to you to determine the level of independence you apply to the process.

Aim for the stars and trust in yourself! Nonetheless, the mental assets are only one part of the game. Improve your chances of success by enhancing your knowledge and prowess on a daily basis. No one can consider you worthy of anything unless you take full responsibility for your actions and methods.

If people are willingly following you, it means that your aura radiates self-esteem and boldness.

Chapter 10: Confront Your Mortality—the Sublime

Socrates once implied that wise men seek death all of their lives, and they don’t try to escape from its grasp! In truth there are only two options:

The first one allows you to get as far away as possible from every thought that signalizes death. This way you’ll cling to the illusion that you have all the time in the world to make things right.

Option #2 indicates that this inevitable truth actually works in your favor. How’s that? This way you’ll be able to put your focus on the most important things and live life fully, without regrets. Knowing that death lurks behind every corner, you’ll embrace a fearless attitude and an idea to dread nothing.

Key Lessons from “The 50th Law”

1.      Take full control over yourself
2.      Become a great leader
3.      Don’t run away from the truth

Take full control over yourself

If you don’t do it, who will? What do you have in mind? – Robert Greene doesn’t accept any excuses regarding your inability to push the buttons.

It’s your life, and you must be held accountable for your actions!

Become a great leader

Leadership is a discipline that is yet subjected to various discussions.

Great leaders have one thing in common – They listen, and they don’t belittle anyone’s role.

Don’t run away from the truth

Sometimes, we simply refuse to acknowledge our mistakes. Ascertaining the causes for the organizational or personal breakdowns is carried out without sincerity and real intentions.

If you continue this way, you’ll never climb the ladder; think twice before drawing a conclusion.

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“The 50th Law Quotes”

Your fears are a kind of prison that confines you within a limited range of action. The less you fear, the more power you will have and the more fully you will live. Click To Tweet The real poetry and beauty in life comes from an intense relationship with reality in all its aspects. Realism is in fact the ideal we must aspire to, the highest point of human rationality. Click To Tweet The dreamers, those who misread the actual state of affairs and act upon their emotions, are often the source of the greatest mistakes in history—the wars that are not thought out, the disasters that are not foreseen. Click To Tweet True ownership can come only from within. It comes from a disdain for anything or anybody that impinges upon your mobility, from a confidence in your own decisions, and from the use of your time in constant pursuit of education and… Click To Tweet Reality has its own power—you can turn your back on it, but it will find you in the end, and your inability to cope with it will be your ruin. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

Robert Greene continues in the same fashion, only this time he has the support of 50 Cent.

Indeed, his methods are still controversial but practical; it’s up to you to decide the level of acceptance.

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The Power of Self-Confidence PDF Summary

The Power of Self-Confidence PDF SummaryBecome Unstoppable, Irresistible, and Unafraid in Every Area of Your Life

You know that you can achieve much more than you have achieved so far – but you’re having second thoughts over how to achieve it?

You are probably just insecure and don’t trust yourself enough.

And Brian Tracy is here to teach you all about “The Power of Self-Confidence.”

Who Should Read “The Power of Self-Confidence”? And Why?

Well, it’s there in the title: if you have a problem with self-confidence, this book is one of the best ways to start tackling it.

In other words, if you see yourself in a negative light all the time and are often paralyzed by anxiety and fear, you are living an unhealthy life, and you must read “The Power of Self-Confidence.”

It’s basically the Vitamin C to your scurvy.

This book can help you find a better job, win few of the most important battles in your life, and even a more loving and caring partner – possibly even the (wo)man of your dreams.

It may sound fairylike, but self-confidence is nothing less – just think of all the mothers capable of lifting a truck to save their child or those short and fat guys who’ve landed a number 10 catch.

What they’ve got and you don’t is self-confidence.

About Brian Tracy

Brian TracyBrian Tracy is a legendary Canadian motivational speaker and the author of over 70 self-help books which have sold in millions of copies worldwide.

One of our favorite authors here at 12min, we’ve written a summary of many of them.

Some of the more popular ones (which we earnestly invite you to read) are “Eat That Frog,” “Be a Sales Superstar,” “The Psychology of Selling,” “The 21 Success Secrets of Self-Made Millionaires,” “Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life,” “Focal Point,” “Get Smart!,” “No Excuses!” and “The 21 Success Secrets of Self-Made Millionaires.”

Needless to add, we’ve featured some of them among our top sales books of all time and our top productivity books to maximize your potential!

“The Power of Self-Confidence PDF Summary”

Bruce Barton was an American politician and advertising executive.

Once, he said something you should never forget:

“Nothing splendid has ever been achieved excepted by those who dared believed that something inside of them was superior to circumstance.”

In other words, the people who have done the most extraordinary things in history are the people who believed that they are special.

Unsurprisingly, Brian Tracy has opted to start the “Introduction” to his book “The Power of Self-Confidence” – aptly titled “Entering the No Fear Zone” – with this very quote.

What follows are seven chapters written in Tracy’s famously simple and legendarily motivational language which, if repeated as a mantra, is capable of making you believe that you are the king of the universe while you’re brooming the spiderwebs in the corners of your bedroom.

And what better way to start learning about the hidden power of your self-confidence than finding out its foundations.

That’s what the first chapter is about.

The basic idea?

Self-confidence is just another name for positive thinking.

You won’t make it far if you see yourself in a negative light. You’ve got to build your personality around personal values and positive thoughts.

“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so,” said Shakespeare.

And he should know.

Chapter 2 is titled “Purpose and Personal Power.”

What it strives to teach you is that you have much more power over how the world looks like than you’ve ever imagined.

The Law of Correspondence says that the outer world is just a reflection of your inner one. To that, the Law of Attraction adds that, consequently, you can change it by changing the way you think about things.

The Law of Concentration teaches you how you can do this. Finally, the Law of Substitution educates you how you can crowd out thoughts by replacing the negative with positive ones.

“Achieving Competence and Personal Mastery” is the title of Chapter 3, summarized well in Vince Lombardi’s epitaph:

“The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, no matter what their chosen field.”

In other words, if you want to reach someplace high, you better commit yourself to the idea and the goal.

Find your true place in this world and identify your own skills.

Then, you can start developing your talents and building courage and self-esteem.

Afterward, the sky is the limit!

Chapter 4, or “The Inner Game of Self-Confidence,” explains what happens inside your body when you stop worrying about things and start believing in yourself.

Yes – that means talking to yourself constantly so that you can stay on the right track.

“Capitalizing on Your Strengths” is the self-explanatory title of Chapter 6.

As we have told you numerous times before, your talent will never be enough. Especially, if you don’t really know your talent!

You may be the best pilot ever born, but will you ever find out if that sentence is true if you don’t hop on a plane and start learning the commands?

So, the first step towards capitalizing on your strengths is discovering them.

Then, choosing the right field where your strengths will make you unique and different than the rest.

Afterward, it’s all about knowing that you have chosen a job you like and a career you can be the best in.

Do that, and your self-confidence will come to visit your mind in no time!

Unsurprisingly, chapter 6 covers what will inevitably happen next: “Triumphing Over Adversity.”

You’re by now prepared for that bad moment on your journey – because adversities will inevitably come – but if you master just a few simple tricks more, you’ll also be able to overcome it in a whiff!

The most important thing is to develop the reality habit and understand that failure, rather than a bump in your journey, is a leader towards new heights.

This mindset will help you build a kind of character capable of persevering.

And that’s what great people are made of.

In fact, as Chapter 7 – “Self Confidence in Action” – points out, that’s one of the things great people are made of. You should base your life on three more.

Combined, these traits are called the four D’s of success and self-confidence.

And they are desire, dedication, determination, and discipline.

You’ll need nothing more.

Key Lessons from “The Power of Self-Confidence”

1.      Welcome to the No-Fear Zone, Nick Anderson
2.      The Secret Ingredient of Success: Self-Confidence
3.      Learn the 4 D’s of Self-Confidence and Success

Welcome to the No-Fear Zone, Nick Anderson

We know your name isn’t Nick Anderson.

Unlike you, Nick Anderson was a great NBA player.

He scored two out of three free throws for most of his career. But, then, he missed four key free throws. This made him doubt his ability to shoot well. And, from then on, he was never able to score more than four out of ten free throws.

So, what happened?

He just lost his self-confidence.

And this is exactly how the lack of it affects your life.

Do you hear that call?

It’s time to enter the no-fear zone.

The Secret Ingredient of Success: Self-Confidence

Self-confidence is the secret ingredient of success.

As Bruce Barton claims – quoted by Brian Tracy at the very start – everything great that has ever been created was made by someone who believed to be better than the rest of the bunch.

Some may say that that’s immodest, unchristian, and downright narcissistic.

But Brian Tracy says – it’s necessary.

The world is a jungle and only the ones who believe they can survive – actually do survive.

Learn the 4 D’s of Self-Confidence and Success

Self-Confidence and Success are built on four different foundations.

Incidentally, they all start with D, making us think that Brian Tracy has used the dictionary to create the mnemonic.

It all starts with desire – the thing that drives you the most and the thing you think about most often.

Dedication follows – you’ve got to remind yourself constantly that you’re in it for the long run.

Which leads us to determination – the willpower, the grit which drives you forward.

Finally, discipline – because nothing will ever happen if you don’t organize your time well enough to make it happen.

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“The Power of Self-Confidence Quotes”

When you set more goals, try more things, engage in more activities, and explore more opportunities, your probabilities of success increase dramatically. Click To Tweet The foundation of self-confidence, the basis of boldness and self-assertion, is a deep inner trust, based on living a life of perfect integrity, and disciplining yourself to live consistent with your highest values in every situation. Click To Tweet In fact, the habit of setting and achieving ever-larger goals is absolutely indispensable to the development of ever-higher levels of self-confidence and personal power. Click To Tweet What one great thing would you dare to dream if you knew you could not fail? Click To Tweet There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so. (epigraph, via Willliam Shakespeare) Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

Denis Waitley – a guy about as legendary as Tracy – describes his buddy as “the master in understanding and teaching self-enrichment.”

Regarding “The Power of Self-Confidence” he has this to add: “In this priceless book, he unlocks the key to your door of success and fulfillment—belief in your own potential. Internalize his wisdom, and you will surely realize your goals.”

And we – well, we have nothing to add.

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Get Smart! PDF Summary

Get Smart! PDFHow to Think and Act Like the Most Successful and Highest-Paid People in Every Field

The difference between you and the people that have succeeded achieving their dreams is not your IQ, but a simple change in perspective.

Who Should Read “Get Smart!”? And Why?

“Get Smart!” is a book that will open your eyes about what really being smart means, and will show you how you can achieve all of your dreams by just a simple shift in the way you look at things.

We recommend it to everyone who wants to finally stop comparing him or herself with everyone else, and accomplish anything they want.

About Brian Tracy

Brian TracyBrian Tracy is a writer, a speaker and a consultant with vast experience in business, economics, and psychology.

“Get Smart! PDF Summary”

There are times when you meet someone, and you cannot help but feel intellectually inferior.

In such moments, you probably even feel that you cannot do anything about it and that other people are more creative or better fit to do some job than you are.

However, you should not let yourself fall into such a mind trap!

Many of the people you consider brilliant are no smarter than you are – they are just using more of their potential than you do.

Most of us use just 10 percent of our brain’s potential. Just imagine what we could accomplish if we could just activate a few more percents of our brain’s power!

But wait, we have some good news for you: this can all be changed.

The potential is there; you just have to unlock it!

How do you go about it?

Well, the key is changing your perspective.

When you do this, you can see the big picture, and not just the details that can sometimes see limiting.

But, wait, what can you do to change your perspective, if you are used to looking at things a certain way?

The first thing you need to do is get in control of your immediate needs and start engaging yourself in some long-term thinking.

This will allow you to be a step ahead and know the consequences of every possible action you might take. In other words, you can see the situation you will be in if you take a certain step, and then consider what you can do from that situation and so on.

Those people that have “made it” in life, and that you consider smart, are actually taking calculated steps toward their goals. So, in order to be “one of them,” you just need to start thinking in advance.

Determine your end goal and then find out the steps you need to take in order to accomplish it.

Every decision in your life counts, so make sure you make the right ones – those that will take you in the right direction.

Stop rushing things and shaping all information to reach your conclusions. Instead, just take a step back in your thought process, and allow for the information to shape the ultimate fact that you come up with.

Especially when it comes to your future, decisions are important, and it is complicated to calculate all of the possibilities and chose the best one.

So, when you are making such a decision, consider every option and its consequences, and choose the one which you can visualize yourself in.

When it comes to looking at things, there are two ways you can go about it. The first way is when an achievement others have reached makes you feel envious, and the other way is to get inspired or be grateful for what you have.

The first way is a negative one, and will not take you very far. In fact, it will only block your success, since it induces stress and demolishes your self-confidence and motivation.

Many times you will be tempted to fall into such a trap, especially when you are not very satisfied with your current position. But, you have to understand that some things are out of your control, and those that are under your control can be changed.

We are not saying that you should avoid negative emotions – of course, when an adverse occurrence blocks your path, you will feel bad.

But, you have to get out of the “dark” place of negativity as soon as possible by looking at the situation as a lesson that helped you learn something.

The only way to be successful and happy in life is to be positive, flexible, and to think in advance.

Key Lessons from “Get Smart!”

1.      Strategizing Is The Key to Success
2.      Avoid Confirmation Bias
3.      Finding The Reason To Your Problems Will Show You The Solution

Strategizing Is The Key to Success

Most big things in life, if not all of them, ask for long-term planning, and so if you want to accomplish something amazing, you will need to learn to strategize and be patient.

Avoid Confirmation Bias

Your head is filled up with thoughts, and you need to find a way to quiet your mind and stop messy thinking.

Most of the time the easiest way is to look for information that will just confirm the conclusion you already have come in your head, but this is just a way to induce confirmation bias.

Finding The Reason To Your Problems Will Show You The Solution

Whenever you feel in a situation you feel uncomfortable in, find the reason for your unwanted position, visualize a better one, and work on thinking of the right steps that will help you accomplish whatever you want to achieve.

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“Brian Tracy Quotes”

Never complain, never explain. Resist the temptation to defend yourself or make excuses. Click To Tweet Successful people are always looking for opportunities to help others. Unsuccessful people are always asking, - What's in it for me? Click To Tweet You cannot control what happens to you, but you can control your attitude toward what happens to you, and in that, you will be mastering change rather than allowing it to master you. Click To Tweet It doesn't matter where you are coming from. All that matters is where you are going. Click To Tweet Look for the good in every person and every situation. You'll almost always find it. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

“Get Smart!” is a book full of useful advice that will guide you to using more of your brain’s potential, to be more successful and live a happier life.

By just a simple change in perspective and how you perceive things, you can turn everything that you used to see as a problem into an opportunity.

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The 3rd Alternative PDF Summary

The 3rd Alternative PDF SummarySolving Life’s Most Difficult Problems

Stuck in a “fight or flight” mentality ever since the days of the Neanderthals and unable to break free?

Well, Stephen Covey says that there’s an alternative to these two options.

It’s “The 3rd Alternative” – and it’s a way of life.

And it can help you solve life’s most difficult problems.

Who Should Read “The 3rd Alternative”? And Why?

We’ve already told you a lot about Stephen R. Covey, and, if you have to take one thing from it all, it’s probably this: he was much too prominent and respected self-help thinker and educator for you to need a special reason to read any of his books.

However, if you’ve never read “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” we advise you to read that one before you delve into “The 3rd Alternative.”

If you are one of the millions and millions of people who have bought and read Stephen Covey’s masterpiece, then you need no further recommendation than this: “3rd Alternative” develops further the fifth and sixth habit first presented in that book.

And Covey considered it an essential addition.

About Stephen Covey

Stephen Covey was an American writerStephen Covey, educator, and businessman, named by “Time” magazine one of the “25 Most Influential Americans” back in 1996, and still – half a decade after his death – one of the Top 3 most popular self-help authors according to Amazon.

He rose to fame with “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” a book “Forbes” magazine recently named one of the 10 best business books in history.

Many books followed, among them “First Things First” (co-authored with Roger and Rebecca Merrill), “Principle-Centered Leadership” and “The 8th Habit.”

After a cycling accident, Stephen Covey passed away on July 16, 2012, at the age of 79.

“The 3rd Alternative PDF Summary”

The 3rd Alternative” was published in 2011; and, unfortunately, it ended up being Stephen Covey’s last book.

However, it is a fitting end to a remarkable life: a 500-page testimonial which spends about a fifth of its pages defining and explaining the 3rd alternative into detail, and then moves on to explore its practical applications at work, at home, at school, in law, in society, and in the world.

Early in the second – longest and most important – chapter (alliteratively titled “The 3rd Alternative: The Principle, Paradigm, and Process of Synergy”), Covey makes his intentions and goals clear:

“There is a way to solve the toughest problems we face, even those that look unsolvable,” he writes. “There is a path that cuts through nearly all life’s dilemmas and deep divisions. There is a way forward. It’s not your way, and it’s not my way. It’s a higher way. It’s a better way than any of us have thought of before. I call it ‘the 3rd Alternative’.”

In a nutshell, what this Hegelian logic tries to tell us is quite straightforward.

Namely, that most conflicts have two sides and that neither of them is the right one. Not because they are both wrong, but, quite contrary, because they both have inherent merits.

Compromising makes both sides lose. And as Michael Scott taught us once, it is not ideal:

Synergizing – i.e., the 3rd alternative – has the opposite effect. It’s a win-win situation because it’s the higher way, the synthesis of two opposing theses, which doesn’t work merely as a compromise, but also as a mind-widening solution which transcends the needs of the “I” and “You.”

If you remember well, synergize was the sixth of Covey’s original seven habits of highly efficient people. And, in fact, “The 3rd Alternative” is a detailed look at it and its related habits from the “Interdependence” spectrum: “think win-win” and “seek first to understand than to be understood.”

To acquire a 3rd alternative mind mode, you need to learn to apply four thinking paradigms.

Let’s have a look at each of them.

Paradigm 1: I See Myself

This is the obvious foundation of every proper thinking process.

That is, practicing the Ancient Greek art of knowing thyself.

Because once you step outside of the boundaries of your limitations and ego, you achieve a small “private victory” which will help you understand the needs of the other and the real problem behind the lack of solution.

Which brings us to –

Paradigm 2: I See You

Now that you’ve understood your side of the story for yourself try doing the same with the story of the one you have a conflict with.

Step outside your shoes and into the shoes of the other.

Now you’re ready for –

Paradigm 3: I Seek You Out

This is Covey’s final extrapolation and clarification of the “seek first to understand than to be understood” habit – which he mentions that had had the most significant impact on his life out of all seven (and, later on, eight) habits.

The trick is simple:

Don’t expect the others to understand you if you don’t put the effort to understand them first.

Once you do that – you’re ready for the magic, the miracle of synergy!

Paradigm 4: I Synergize with You

This is, obviously, the longest and most important part of the 4-step process towards synergizing. And is, in fact, split into four processes itself.

1. Ask the 3rd Alternative Question

Covey says it’s revolutionary since it doesn’t ask anyone to give up his idea; it merely asks the other to check if his approach is the best one.

And the question?

Here it is:

“Are you willing to go for a solution that is better than any of us have come up with yet?“

2. Define Criteria of Success

This part starts with a question itself: “What would better look like?”

The idea?

To come up with a clear vision of what’s to follow, criteria which will satisfy both parties in the discussion.

3. Create 3rd Alternatives

During this part, you and your partner turn the thinking process upside down, creating prototypes, brainstorming new frameworks, and, most importantly, suspending judgment for a while.

The trick?

Experimenting with radical possibilities.

Because, after all, they are the ones we see the least.

4. Arrive at Synergy

It’s easy from thereon.

Because some of these solutions will be the 3rd alternative.

And it will incorporate the best from both worlds, making both sides happy and content.

Key Lessons from “The 3rd Alternative”

1.      Paradigm 1: I See Myself
2.      Paradigm 2: I See You
3.      Paradigm 3: I Seek You Out
4.      Paradigm 4: I Synergize with You

Paradigm 1: I See Myself

Conflict resolution shouldn’t be about compromises. It should be about synergy.

And you can arrive at synergy if you start by trying to find out the limitations and the flaws in your solution. Or, better yet, understand your needs and interests.

At this stage, you need to ask yourself questions such as these:

What’s my story? Do I need to change the script?

1. Where might I have blind spots about myself?
2. How has my cultural programming influenced my thinking?
3. What are my real motives?
4. Are my assumptions accurate?
5. In what way are my assumptions incomplete?
6. Am I contributing to an outcome – an end to the story – that I really want?

Paradigm 2: I See You

Afterward, you need to move on to seeing the other, or, to use an old Roman adage, hearing out the other side as well.

It’s about seeing others as people instead of things.

Which means: see the other in terms of what he actually is, and not in terms of what his age, sex, nationality, religion, sexual orientation influence you to see him.

Paradigm 3: I Seek You Out

“I seek you out” is all about adopting the attitude of “You disagree? I need to listen to you.”

It is the exact opposite of “I defend myself against you.”

In the eyes of someone using thinking paradigm 3, a conflict is not a problem, but an opportunity.

Paradigm 4: I Synergize with You

In paradigm 4, you are able to use that opportunity.

You start by asking the other the 3rd alternative revolutionary question: “Are you willing to go for a solution that is better than any of us have come up with yet?“

Then you move on to defining the criteria which will make both parties happy.

Afterward, you brainstorm radical solutions and check them against the pre-defined criteria.

Finally, you synergize, i.e., you arrive at a solution which transcends compromises and middle grounds.

The higher way.

The “our” way.

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“The 3rd Alternative Quotes”

We hear a lot about identity theft when someone takes your wallet and pretends to be you and uses your credit cards. But the more serious identity theft is to get swallowed up in other people's definition of you. Click To Tweet When man created the mirror, he began to lose his soul. He became more concerned with his image than with his self. Click To Tweet The 3rd Alternative is more than an armistice, and far more than a compromise – it’s about creating a new reality that is better than what’s ‘on the one hand’ or ‘on the other hand.’ Click To Tweet ’Are you willing to go for a solution that is better than either of one has in mind?’ The question changes everything. Click To Tweet 3rd Alternative thinking has to transcend the principle of fairness. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

If you’ve read Covey’s previous books, you’ll find very few original things in “The 3rd Alternative” – speaking on a purely philosophical plane.

However, in terms of applicability and step-by-step guiding manuals – you’ll not be disappointed a bit. “The 3rd Alternative” has them and has them in abundance.

And you’ll certainly profit from using them!

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The Game of Life and How to Play It PDF Summary

The Game of Life and How to Play It PDFLife is a game.

To progress to the “next level”, just like in any other game, you need to learn the rules.

Who Should Read “The Game of Life and How to Play It” and Why?

“The Game of Life” is a classic work, that has a huge impact on many people. Such is the case for a reason – it offers a playful perspective on life which promises that all of one’s dreams may and should come true.

We recommend it to all dreamers and lovers of popular psychology.

About Florence Scovel Shinn

Florence Scovel ShinnFlorence Scovel Shinn was a book illustrator and an artist with a passion for life philosophy and spiritual advice.

The Game of Life is one of the few classic texts that is considered to be relevant even today, after so many years.

“The Game of Life and How to Play It PDF Summary”

Life is not a battle. Life should not be a struggle.

It should be fun. It should be a game.

If you start seeing life as a game, you will understand that it also has some rules, that if you follow, will ensure you less stress, more happiness, and bigger success.

The author found that being a person of faith is much better than being a person of fear. He found the signs that showed him the path that he believed is the best to follow in the Old and New Testaments.

These concepts include the law of expectancy, the divine pattern, the law of karma, the law of substitution, the power of words, the law of use, the law of forgiveness, the law of love, the law of use, and the law of nonresistance.

The law of expectancy is created around the power of imagination. Imagination and the subconscious have the power to manifest things in your reality.

The divine pattern means that you should always ask for the right circumstances in your life, and not something specific since what you have in mind might not be the right thing that will make you happy.

Along these lines works the law of substitution as well. Many of us are not aware of what really makes us happy and satisfied, and thus do not know our true desires.

The law of karma means that whatever we emanate and give to the world, that is what we will receive. That is why this law is also called the law of cause and effect.

So, make sure you radiate positive energy, and you will get positive results as a return.

The law of non-resistance complements the law of karma. You should not focus on negativity and should not let negative events affect you and your feelings.

The power of words is immense. Be careful how you express yourself and avoid using negative words, since they have a huge manifesting power.

The law of forgiveness is one of the higher laws than the one we talked so far. Christianity, for example, is based on this law, instead of the law of karma, which means that people can redeem themselves, and save themselves from all unwanted conditions.

The law of love is one of the most powerful laws that exist. Everyone is created out of love and should live like that as well. Love is the ultimate power of creation.

The law of use puts emphasis on gifts. The author believes that gifts are the best investment you can make. It is logical – if you give something with positive thoughts and feelings in mind and heart, the law of karma will work for you and make you happier.

You must change your thoughts, the words you use, and finally your actions. Just changing your vocabulary with a more positive one is certainly a step forward, but you need to also show your positive thoughts with your behavior.

If you manage to attune yourself with these principles and laws, you can easily create a better reality for yourself and achieve the “square of life”, which consists of the four focal points that make up your life: wealth, health, love and self-expression.

You should not be doubting if you can achieve a total well-being or question yourself if you deserve it. Everyone deserves it. It is your divine right, and you should live up to God’s plan of your life.

Have faith that the best is coming for you, and it shall come. Love life and life will love you back. Give and you shall receive.

All of these things you have heard about before but you have not put too much thought into them. And yet, these lines contain the philosophy to a happy and fulfilled life.

If you are not living and acting as we described, it is time that you change it. It is the only way you can live up to your purpose.

Key Lessons from “The Game of Life and How to Play It”

1.      The Square of Life
2.      Happiness Is Your Divine Right
3.      Sometimes Your Desires Are Wrong

The Square of Life

Your life consists of four focal points that demand your dedication: wealth, health, love and self-expression.

Shaping each of these parts of your life the way you want to will ultimately result in a memorable and happy life.

Happiness Is Your Divine Right

Whenever you feel that you have to work for happiness, remember that you are born with the right to be happy!

Life your life filling yourself up with positivity and stop beating yourself up for every little mistake on the way.

Sometimes Your Desires Are Wrong

Many people sometimes have a wrong idea of what they desire. That happens when people try to find solutions to a final state they want to accomplish themselves.

For example, if you ask people what they need to be happy, most of them will say that they need money – although money has nothing to do with happiness.

So, focus on the end result, and let God, the universe, or however you may call it, show you what can satisfy your desires.

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“The Game of Life and How to Play It Quotes”

Whatever man feels deeply or images clearly, is impressed upon the subconscious mind, and carried out in the minutest detail. Click To Tweet Jesus Christ taught that man's words played a leading part in the game of life. By your words ye are justified and by your words, ye are condemned. Click To Tweet Many people are in ignorance of their true destinies and are striving for things and situations which do not belong to them, and would only bring failure and dissatisfaction if attained. Click To Tweet Whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap. Click To Tweet Every man on this planet is taking his initiation in love. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

Do not be put off by the many religious references, if you are not a religious person – if you keep an open mind and see past the terminology, you will find a vast amount of useful advice that can potentially make you reconnect with your “divine” self.

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The Blue Zones Summary

The Blue Zones SummaryLessons for Living Longer From the People Who’ve Lived the Longest

Do you want to know the secrets of living a long life?

The people living in the so-called Blue Zones might have the answer.

Who Should Read “The Blue Zones” and Why?

“The Blue Zones” is a book that will take you to the areas of the world where people enjoy a long and healthy life and will try to reveal their secrets to you.

We recommend it to everyone who wishes to know how to improve the quality of their life and extend their lifespan.

About Dan Buettner

Dan BuettnerDan Buettner is a bestselling writer who focuses on exploring the secrets of longevity. He is also a National Geographic Fellow.

“The Blue Zones Summary”

The world is a puzzle of different cultures and unique civilizations, each of which possesses its own customs and habits.

Among these civilizations, there are those that share a common trait – they live longer.

So, it is worth studying these areas in the world, called the Blue Zones, where people tend to live longer than anywhere else on the entire planet.

One of these Blue Zones is Sardinia. This Italian island was among the first ones that gained worldwide attention for the longevity of its inhabitants’ lives.

Studies conducted in 2011 showed that around one in 600 people of this region lives up to the age of 100. As a contrast, take the numbers in the USA which show one in 4000.

But, these numbers are not worth much if they do not show us the secret to a long life right?

We are getting to that just now.

There are, of course, things people can do to prolong their lives.

You might think that longevity depends mostly on genes, but if you are an advocate of this opinion – you are wrong. Research shows that only 25% of longevity is dependent on genes.

Then, what does the other amount depend upon?


There may not be any magic pills that can stop aging overall, but you can make changes in your lifestyle which will extend your life.

Or, in other words, you can stop all the unhealthy things you do that accelerate your aging and thus improve the quality of your life.

The people from the Blue Zones have one thing in common: they live naturally.

They spend time in nature, are physically active and mind what they eat.

Of course all of their diets are different depending on the areas they live in and the products available to them, but in general, they eat a low-calorie diet and drink plenty of water.

Do not worry; you are allowed to have some alcohol as well. In fact, red wine seems to help your longevity, since it is rich in flavonoids, just as dark chocolate and brightly colored vegetables and fruits.

Flavonoids decrease the chance of heart disease and some kinds of cancer.

When it comes to food, opt for a vegetarian or vegan diet. Fill up during the morning and afternoon and keep your dinners light.

Other than the body, you need also to have a healthy psyche.

Everyone who wants to live a long and fulfilling life needs to have a sense of purpose.

Did you know that many people die in the first year of their retirement?

It seems that living without a clear purpose can be harmful to you and that people need something to motivate them to open their eyes and get up in the morning.

When you keep yourself busy with your life plan, even after reaching a certain age, you will find that you will not have time for meaningless conflicts and stress.

Being busy will also help you provide more for your family, which is also a great factor in having a long life. Why?

Because if you do not have a family, who will take care of you?

Lastly, in order to have a longer life, people need to develop a sense of being part of a community.

All of the things we mentioned above lead to one thing you should avoid: stress.

Enjoy the moment, stop obsessing over the past and the future, take care of your mind and body, and get prepared to live a long and happy life.

Key Lessons from “The Blue Zones”

1.      The Right Lifestyle Can Prolong Your Life
2.      Eat Less, Drink More
3.      Your Psyche Matters

The Right Lifestyle Can Prolong Your Life

Studies show that a long life does not depend solely on genes but on your lifestyle. People who are living a more natural lifestyle, are moving a lot and are eating a healthy diet tend to live longer.

You should treat your body as a temple, and clean it from all negative influences and stress.

Eat Less, Drink More

Your diet is a part of your lifestyle, so of course, it has a huge impact on your aging. In order to slow down the process, you should drink more water, and eat less food.

Research shows that people living in blue zones eat a low-calorie diet, usually vegetarian or vegan, and drink plenty of water.

So, ditch the sugary drinks and replace them with fresh water. You do not have to drink water alone – a glass of wine from time to time has huge benefits as well.

Your Psyche Matters

Long life is not only about physical health but about mental health as well.

You have to live a life of purpose and focus on creating healthy family relationships that will keep you busy and not let you stressed out about small and insignificant things.

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“The Blue Zones Quotes”

Recent studies found bitter melon an effective anti-diabetic as powerful as pharmaceuticals in helping to regulate blood sugar. Click To Tweet Many age-related diseases are caused by an immune system out of balance. Click To Tweet I found that when you are depressed, that’s when you do something for somebody else. Click To Tweet The average American, however, by living a fast and furious lifestyle, pushes that accelerator too hard and too much. Click To Tweet This sweet potato—high in flavonoids, vitamin C, fiber, carotenoids, and slow-burning carbohydrates—is one of the healthiest foods on the planet. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

This book is fantastic. The best thing about it is that it includes a few blue zones in its research, situated in entirely different parts of the world.

Such revelation proves that some lifestyle behaviors lead to a longer life, while at the same time offering some different advice, empowering everyone to find what fits its interests the most.

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How Will You Measure Your Life? Summary

How Will You Measure Your Life? SummaryFinding Fulfillment Using Lessons From Some of the World’s Greatest Businesses

A great career, deep happiness, great relationships – you can have it all!

You just need to learn how to get it.

That is where we come into play.

Who Should Read “How Will You Measure Your Life?” and Why?

“How Will You Measure Your Life” is a book about motivation, that will teach readers the right ways to motivate others, and will show them the path to both professionally successful life and a genuinely happy one.

We recommend it to all readers who want to learn the secrets to motivation, and who want to strengthen the relationships with their loved ones.

About Clayton M. Christensen, James Allworth and Karen Dillon

Clayton M. ChristensenClayton M. Christensen is a Professor at the Harvard Business School and a critically acclaimed author.

James Allworth is a Baker Scholar at the Harvard Business School.

Karen Dillon is a former editor of the Harvard Business Review and an investigative journalist.

“How Will You Measure Your Life? Summary”

If we ask you now what would you need to feel happier at work, what would you say?

Some extra cash?

More admiration from your coworkers?

Most probably, your answer will lie somewhere along these lines.

However, the tangible things will not be the ones that will actually make you happy, although you intuitively believe they will.

Just look around you. How many professionally successful people you can see, that are extremely unhappy?

The success in the workplace and the money in the bank will not ensure good family relationships and peaceful sleep at night.

However, although it is evident that the material incentives have nothing to do with happiness, workplaces keep using unhealthy approaches to ensuring productivity.

Many theories explain how people get motivated.

The incentive theory, for example, advocates that the more people are paid, the better their performance will be.

However, let’s think about NGO’s for a minute. The people that work there accomplish life-changing tasks, and yet they get paid very little.

Then, there is the hygiene-motivation theory, which advocates that conditions at work, job security and company policies are those that ensure good productivity and high motivation.

However, even if the conditions are excellent, if the work does not leave space for progress and promotion, employees will not get motivated.

So, what is the answer to ensuring job satisfaction?

Job satisfaction can be accomplished if the previously mentioned hygiene factors get mixed and balanced with motivation factors such as personal growth, recognition, and sense of responsibility.

So, it is crucial that a job be both intellectually stimulating and offers an excellent working environment.

Another thing you should accomplish a balance in is your career strategy.

Career strategies can be deliberate or emergent. The deliberate strategy is usually built on anticipated opportunities, which are those opportunities that we consciously choose to use.

However, things do not always go according to plan, so deliberate strategies are not always a success.

That is when emergent strategies come into play – they are built around unanticipated opportunities and get created during the implementation process of a particular deliberate, anticipated strategy.

As you can see these strategies are complementary, so creating a balance between them is the only way you can make sure you can use any opportunity that comes your way.

You need to be both flexible and calculating when you are looking for your direction.

Furthermore, two more variables can help you on your way to having a satisfactory job.

In life and work, in order to be prosperous and peaceful, you need to understand the minds and needs of other people.

In order to do this hard task, you have to use your intuition and empathy.

Learning how to use your intuition and empathy to come to truthful judgments about a situation will not only help you in your professional life but your personal life as well.

No matter how important you work is to you, you should never forget the importance of your family, and your ultimate life goal: being a good parent that will lead his or her children on the right path.

You want to be a role model for your children, and the best way to do it is to have integrity.

Integrity requires of you to be constantly self-aware of every little choice you make in life.

Even the exceptions you consider to be a one-time thing may become the beginning of your irresponsible habits.

So, always keep your actions in check. Be a good example for your environment, and your environment will follow.

Key Lessons from “How Will You Measure Your Life?”

1.      You Have to Tend to Your Relationships
2.      Your Family Life is a Job As Well
3.      Do Not Become a Marginal Thinker

You Have to Tend to Your Relationships

To have good relationships with people, you need to put an effort. They require constant attention, and are easily breakable, even if it comes to our closest family.

So, do not forget to set some time apart to spend with your family.

Your work may give you instant gratification, but it is of no worth when you have no one to spend the money you earn with.

Your Family Life is a Job As Well

The best way you can go about improving your relationships is treating them as a job. If you do, you will actually put in the effort and work on them so that they will thrive.

Do Not Become a Marginal Thinker

Another relationship you need to look after is the one you have to yourself.

The best way you can be kind to yourself is always to protect your values and integrity, and make sure you can rest peacefully at night.

Do not do things that you may be sorry for in the future.

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“How Will You Measure Your Life?  Quotes”

It's easier to hold your principles 100 percent of the time than it is to hold them 98 percent of the time. Click To Tweet Intimate, loving, and enduring relationships with our family and close friends will be among the sources of the deepest joy in our lives. Click To Tweet If you defer investing your time and energy until you see that you need to, chances are it will already be too late. Click To Tweet I had thought the destination was what was important, but it turned out it was the journey. Click To Tweet In order to really find happiness, you need to continue looking for opportunities that you believe are meaningful, in which you will be able to learn new things, to succeed and be given more and more responsibility to shoulder. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

This book tells you something you will not hear a lot in this fast-paced world: work less and spend some time with your family.

It is a statement we all should hear: it is about time we go back to being human.

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How to Be Alone Summary

How to Be Alone SummaryThe School of Life Series

During the past few decades, the world has irretrievably changed. At no time in history, humans have been better connected than today.

However, this has come with a downside. Namely, it’s almost impossible nowadays to be on your own; even though, it is one of the most important favors you can do to yourself.

That’s why you better listen to Sara Maitland as she tries to teach you “How to Be Alone.”

Who Should Read “How to Be Alone”? And Why?

If you can juggle well with your schedule – i.e., you repeatedly complete all your tasks on time and are still able to find some time to be alone – then you may find the wisdom this book offers a bit redundant.

However, since such people sound mythical in today’s world, we guess that this book should find a very broad target audience.

Because even if you don’t like to be alone, it’s essential to find out why that is not such a good idea. And If you do want to have some time for yourself, but you are incapable of finding it, then Sara Maitland’s manual is a good place to start as any other.

About Sara Maitland

Sara MaitlandSara Maitland is a British writer, celebrated both as a feminist author and an award-winning religious fantasy novelist. She considers feminism, socialism, Christianity, and friendship the bedrocks of her life.

Maitland debuted in 1978 with “Daughter of Jerusalem” which won her praise from the critics and the Somerset Maugham Award the following year. Since then, she has gone on to write six more novels, seven short story collections, and eleven non-fiction books.

In addition, she has also worked with Steven Spielberg on the 2001 film “A. I. Artificial Intelligence,” tasked with giving the original story “a feminist fairy-tale focus.”


“How to Be Alone Summary”

We have never been more connected than now. And chances are – unless we devise some form of teleportation or planes flying at warp speed – not many things can happen to make us feel more connected in the future.

And that is wonderful!

Or, at least, it would have been if we hadn’t found a way to subjugate ourselves to connectivity! Come to think of it, as humans, we are exceptionally talented when it comes to transforming great inventions into time-wasters, addictions or nuclear bombs.

Remember educational Heinrich Böll’s short story about the relaxed fisherman and the photographer/entrepreneur we retold you here?

Well, Sara Maitland’s book is about that.

About how to stop feeling anxious when your mobile is in the next room. And about how to go on long walks or to the cinema with no company but yourself – and still feel happy.

You know, about – “How to Be Alone.”

Because solitude is not bad. In fact, if you want to become more self-aware or boost your creativity, solitude is essential. A century ago, Virginia Woolf begged men to give women a room of their own and a key so that they are able to write.

And they will thank you with masterpieces.

You know what happened?

9 out of the 10 bestselling authors last year were women.

So, solitude works.

But, why does it have such a bad reputation?

Why are you predisposed to think of solitary individuals as eccentrics and oddballs? Especially today, when we value individualism and uniqueness above all?

Philip Koch, in his book “Solitude,” claims that we got the word “predisposed” right in the previous paragraph. Like so many other things, disliking lonely people has a lot to do with evolution.

We got here because we decided not to be alone. Lonely people didn’t stand a chance in a thousand-year-long history filled with wars, wild animals, and natural catastrophes.

But, the past is past, and the present is not so bad.

And being alone – for no matter how long – will not make you less of a human than the other people. In fact, it may make you more.

Take, for example, Greta Garbo, who retired at the age of 35, at the height of her stardom, just so that she can experience solitude. And Henry David Thoreau went to the woods “to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life” for two years, two weeks and two days back in the 1850s.

Even better, take Anthony the Great, the father of monasticism, who lived alone for twenty years in the wilderness and didn’t go mad.

Want a more recent example?

Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo is a British-born Tibetan female monastic who looks much more enlightened than most people you know even though she lived 12 years alone in a remote cave in the Himalayas!

In other words, solitude can’t kill you.

On the contrary – it can make you a much more creative and an infinitely calmer person, an individual more in touch with oneself.

So, what are you waiting for?

Start spending some time with yourself!

Take few long walks in nature and listen to the birds chirping while the cool breeze caresses your cheeks. Expand your solitude gradually, starting with a longer bath and finishing with a solo adventure.

Daydream – first for five minutes and in a year for five hours! Because you did that as a child and because it made you feel wonderful back then.

It will once again.

Trust us.

We’ve tried.

Key Lessons from “How to Be Alone”

1.      Solitude Is Underrated
2.      Make a Long-Term “Alone Time” Plan
3.      Give Your Children the Gift of Solitude

Solitude Is Underrated

The world is nowadays more crowded and connected than ever. And it’s so noisy you can hardly hear yourself think.

So, they teach you that you have to stand out from the crowd. That you are unique and original. You know, that you have to be yourself to be a badass.

Then, how is it that when you see someone doing this alone, you’re instantly suspicious. Strictly speaking, an individual can be an individual only when alone. Otherwise, he’s part of a crowd.

Well, you know what?

Alone people are usually not lonely. On the contrary – they are self-sufficient enough that they don’t fear being alone. Unlike most of the folks around, they can spend hours and hours with themselves because they are interesting people and because, consequently, they are never bored.

When was the last time you felt that?

Make a Long-Term “Alone Time” Plan

If the answer to the above question is “about millions of years ago,” then you have to make an “alone time” plan straight away.

You’re like a heroin addict – you are hooked on phones and people – so, it won’t be easy. You can’t just sever your connections right away. It will make you look strange, and it will not have a positive effect on your health.

But, do it gradually. Take a longer bath. Turn off the notifications. Then your phone for an hour or two. Daydream. Take a solo walk somewhere in your neighborhood. After a while, go on a solo adventure in the mountains.

At a certain point, your solitude will result in something you’ve never experienced before: feeling one with the universe.

Paradoxically, you’ll hardly ever feel that among people.

Give Your Children the Gift of Solitude

Boredom is not such a bad thing when you’re a child. Because it passes quickly. After all, the world is so full of mysteries and wonders, that it’s almost blasphemous to say that you can’t think of anything to do.

So, don’t worry: you don’t have to engage with your children constantly. Supervise them always but leave them alone once in a while in the park or somewhere in nature. We know it sounds scary. It isn’t; it is necessary.

Asked what he would like to say to the young people of his day, possibly the greatest director of all times, Andrey Tarkovsky, sent a message which reverberates to this day. The subtitles are a bit poor, so here’s a better translation:

“I think the only thing I’d like to say is that they should learn to be alone and try to spend as much time as possible by themselves.

I think one of the faults of young people today is that they try to come together around events that are noisy, almost aggressive at times. This desire to be together in order to not feel alone is an unfortunate symptom, in my opinion.

Every person needs to learn from childhood how to spend time with oneself. That doesn’t mean he should be lonely, but that he shouldn’t grow bored with himself because people who grow bored in their own company seem to me in danger, from a self-esteem point of view.”

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“How to Be Alone Quotes”

You are one of those courageous people who want to dare to live; and to do so believe you have to explore the depths of yourself, undistracted and unprotected by social conventions and norms. Click To Tweet Running alone can allow you to hit the mute button on the world... and take full advantage of exercise's stress-busting benefits. Click To Tweet We declare that personal freedom and autonomy is both a right and good, but we think anyone who exercises that freedom autonomously is 'sad, mad or bad.' Or all three at once. Click To Tweet We know that solitude is almost a necessity for creativity and the development of a genuinely and richly autonomous sense of identity. Click To Tweet Remember that it is good for children to be bored sometimes. Children who are not continually provided with stimuli develop more active imaginations, a stronger sense of self-sufficiency and, probably, higher self-esteem. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

“How to Be Alone” is part of “The School of Life” series of books – which means that you can watch numerous related videos on YouTube, some of which sum up the reasons Sara Maitland offers as concisely and as appealingly as the book itself.

And that may be the only bad thing about this book: it’s too long for its sake. And, moreover, it spends too much time explaining why you should be alone, and too little how you can do it.

However, we feel that many people have forgotten why they should be alone, so even though we think that the title of the book may be wrong, we know that the content is not.

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