Monday, October 14, 2013

Succeeding when you’re supposed to fail: The 6 enduring principles of high achievement

By Ron Brafman

Book review by Richard L. Weaver II, Ph.D.

The eleven pages of notes (pp. 181-191) should really be called "Further Readings," not notes, because that is precisely what they are.

This is an easy, fun, quick book to read. It is well-written and full of interesting examples. Also, the way Brafman incorporates research throughout the book is both enlightening and informative.

Basically, this is a motivational book. If, for any reason, you are facing adversity in your life, you will find this book helpful.

If you want to know why some people who face adversity come out stronger because of it, or why some people who succeeded but were not supposed to now live their lives differently, or how you can stay strong when everything around you tries to pull you down, read this book.

Brafman is a working/practicing psychologist who holds a Ph.D. in psychology and has taught university courses in personality and personal growth.

His explanation of the differences between "externals" and "internals" was well explained; the discussion of the importance of having an even-tempered disposition was insightful (and how general temperaments, for the most part, follow individuals throughout their lives), and his discussion of the value of humor in boosting success and its role as an anxiety shield (how it protects people from the intensity of stress), was enlightening.

The author’s specific advice (pp. 164-167) is practical: 1) Shift the focus back to you, 2) Search out meaning, 3) Stay calm, 4) Stay the course, 5) Give yourself a break, 6) Don’t be afraid to use humor, 7) Be on the lookout for satellites (those who seem interested in you, or seem reliable, respectful, and willing to challenge you), and 8) Allow yourself to become inspired. This is useful advice.

There is advice, too, for employees (pp. 167-170), and for children (pp. 170-176) as well.

 Whether readers consider any of Brafman's advice "new," is not as relevant to me (for most of it is quite well known), as the contribution he makes to people's well-being.  Yes, this is a motivational book; however, it offers useful advice and can certainly lead some people out of adversity.  Besides, it's a fun read.

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