Monday, October 28, 2013

The compound effect: Jumpstart your income, your life, your success

By Darren Hardy

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

Over the years I have read a large number of self-help books. This one is a small book (6-inches wide and only 7½-inches long) of only 162 pages of text. So, right up front you know that it will be a short read. It reads quickly and comfortably.

Every day of his life, Hardy reads "something positive and instructional" (p. 103). I would recommend this book—that is, if you’re looking for something positive and instructional. It fits, it works, it succeeds! "Finally," Hardy writes, "I like to read at least ten pages of an inspirational book before going to sleep. I know the mind continues to process the last information consumed before bedtime, so I want to focus my attention on something constructive and helpful in making progress with my goals and ambitions" (p. 104). I have a second suggestion: Read this book. If you’ve already finished it? Read it again.

There is no index, no notes, and no references. Often, this is a trigger for me that suggests that the book is lightweight, frivolous, shallow, and not to be taken seriously. What counters that notion are the characteristics of the writer of the book.

Hardy has been a leader in the personal development industry for sixteen years, a successful entrepreneur by the age of eighteen, and CEO of a company producing $50 million in revenue by the age of 27. But these, to me, are not the most profound credentials. He has been the publisher and editorial director of SUCCESS magazine for five years (since September of 2007).

It is his work at SUCCESS magazine that gives him the unique credentials to write this book. That is because, as he says it himself, "as publisher of SUCCESS magazine, I sift through thousands of article submissions and books, help choose the experts we feature in the magazine, and review all of their material. Each month I interview a half-dozen top experts on a multitude of success topics and drill down to their best ideas. All day, every day, I read and filter through an ocean of personal-achievement information" (p. 3). That is what makes this book great—no, not just great, terrific!

Throughout the book he borrows from the self-help gurus he has interviewed, written about, or read about. He cites his sources, of course, but he borrows liberally. So, this isn’t just Hardy talking, he backs up his thoughts, and he offers tidbits and suggestions that have worked for others and that he, himself, has adopted in his life. This makes for a very enjoyable read.

His background, expertise, and knowledge is evident (and appreciated) throughout this short book, and he is absolutely correct: If you want a distillation of what all the other self-help authors have written about ad nauseam, this is surely the book for you. It is crisp, succinct, well-written, and full of noteworthy, memorable, and valuable examples.

There are so many places in this book that directly reinforce what I have been teaching for over thirty years. For example, he says, "For most of us, it’s the frequent, small, and seemingly inconsequential choices that are of grave concern. I’m talking about the decisions you think don’t make any difference at all. It’s the little things that inevitably and predictably derail your success. Whether they’re bone-headed maneuvers, no-biggie behaviors, or are disguised as positive choices (those are expecially insidious), these seemingly insignificfant decisions can completely throw you off course because you’re not mindful of them" (p. 25).

For a second example, Hardy was in a seminar when the speaker asked, ‘What percentage of shared responsibility do you have in making a relationship work?’ Well, the answer is NOT 50/50, 51/49, or even 80/20. "The instructor turned to the easel and wrote 100/0 on the paper in big black letters. ‘You have to be willing to give 100 percent with zero expectation of receiving anything in return’. Only when you’re willing to take 100 percent responsibility for making the relationship work will it work. Otherwise, a relationship left to chance will always be vulnerable to disaster.’" (p. 29).

For a third example, "You alone are responsible for what you do, don’t do, or how you respond to what’s done to you. This empowering mindset revolutionized my life. Luck, circumstances, or the right situation wasn’t what mattered. If it was to be, it was up to me" (p. 30). It revolutionized my life as well.

For yet another (can you believe a fourth?) example, "Personally, I’m always happy when something is hard. Why? Because I know that most people won’t do what it takes; therefore, it will be easier for me to step in front of the pack and take the lead" (p. 90). There are so many examples!

Also, I liked the "Summary Action Steps" Hardy places at the end of each chapter. No, they’re not really needed. This is a short book, and chapters read quickly. But I think the reinforcement they offer is useful, and since each one is so practical, they can serve a functional assist for those who are trying to put Hardy’s advice into action.

You see what really energized me about this simple but profound book? He reinforces, buttresses, supports, and lends encouragement to what I have taught, lectured about, put into my speeches, and written about for all of my professional life. All in a 162-page book! It has taken me so much more time and space that it’s embarrassing! (He says with tongue placed squarely in cheek! —even though tongues are not square!)

This book isn’t merely motivational (and yet it is!), it is inspirational! If you are looking for a book that will rouse your spirits, stir your emotions, energize your conscience, influence your intellect, galvanize your gut, and incite you to action with a fire in your belly, then choose this stimulating, animating, uplifting book because it will have a compound effect on your life!

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