Following my breakup with girlfriend, I have decided to streamline my goals to accomplishments. At the beginning of 2012 I had decided that I wanted to read 25 books before the end of the year and last night, or this morning – I don’t recall what time it was – I completed that goal.
In the last week I have read four books that I would now like to regurgitate for you. However, unlike past book regurgitations, these will be more similar to reviews, as I did not highlight or pull out too many examples to share.
Ironically, during pre- and post- breakup I was reading The Mastery of Love by Don Miguel Ruiz.
I firmly believe that this book should be read by every adolescent of love. I would define an adolescent of love as anyone who has not read the book. This makes it very black and white as to who I think needs to pick it up. Did this book help me save the relationship? Obviously not. Could it have if I read it earlier, yes, but everything happens for a reason. (And that reason is usually based on the fall of three aspects, which you can read more about in my Twelve Pillars regurgitation toward the end of this post).
While you may solely believe that the book is supposed to help you master love, develop an honest and stable relationship and build a stronger chemical bond between you and your partner, you have correctly assumed only half of it. Reading this book during the break-up assisted me in making realizations and accepting them. The key to it though is not necessarily the eye-openers or realizations, they come naturally if you remain objective. However, if I had to simplify it for you, love is about acceptance.
In short, no matter when, where, or why you would pick this book up, you are going to feel that it was written for you, just you, at just the perfect time. Love is all there is, better to learn how to master (accept) now than later.
1-5 with 5 being read it right now, I will give it a 4.5
The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield
This book was on my 50+ book list to read and to be straightforward (when am I ever not?), I got exhausted from reading all of the references to this book, all of the reviews and people suggesting others like me, to read it. As a writer, the more I know about the Resistance the better and who better to learn from than the one who put a title (the Resistance) to what prevents us from being creative.
After reading it in nearly one sitting, I was disappointed. Not in the sense of how it was written, or the advice in it, actually, the book is perfect but…
It’s perfect for someone who doesn’t know about the Resistance yet. For me, I’ve been aware of it, dancing with it and fighting with it for a
fear few years now. As I set the book down, I really do believe that it should only be read by anyone who either has no clue about the Resistance or who is just starting to learn what being creative really entails.
If a blank mind opens the book, it will be taking in the knowledge Pressfield presents quicker than the desert floor absorbs a bit of rain, and craving more all the same.
While most of what Pressfield shares is only a reminder to me, there are certainly a few actions I will take as a result of reading it. One specifically is in response to reading the chapter “The Definition of a Hack”.
“I learned this from Robert McKee. A hack, he says, is a writer who second-guesses his audience. When the hack sits down to work, he doesn’t ask himself what’s in his own heart. He asks what the market is looking for.” (pg 152)
For quite some time I have been eliminating multiple sentences and sometimes entire paragraphs, rewriting portions that I think are too personal or that the reader wont give a damn about, excluding swear words and even holding back a bit of my real potential. Possibly more times than not, I’ve been a hack.
Rest assured, that phase is over thanks to reading The War of Art.
1-5 with 5 being read it right now, I will give it a 5 if you don’t know what the Resistance is, a 1.5 if you do
These next two books are ones that came with the Success book package I purchased last November to jump-start my pursuit for just that, success.
An aside about reading Success books: You don’t need 20 of them. You probably don’t even need 10. A strong handful will do since they regularly repeat themselves in different forms. Also, you can purchase huge packages of 20-30 books on Success but what I have learned is that when you make and devote time to reading on personal growth, you have less and less time to continue doing so. Why? Because you are putting thoughts into action, advice into results and lessons into experience. By the time you begin going through your whole list of personal growth/ success books, you will have already changed your life so much that you are living the life you read about.
My immediate reaction upon reading and resting The Seasons of Life by Jim Rohn on my side table was that it’s a book that should be read in the Winter. It is a highly motivating take on the cycle of personal growth and from experience, most people are already feeling the height of their life during Spring/Summer. The Seasons of Life is not set to make where you are standing now even better, it is to give you a deep understanding of why you are standing where you are at this moment and advice on how to control where you will be standing one season, two seasons or three seasons from now.
Something I really enjoyed about the book was that it did not overdo it with the seasonal/nature analogy. There was a depth of optimistic realism – yes, that may be an oxymoron – that enables you to relate your life to that of trees, flowers, leaves, or the seasons themselves.
We all know that in the Spring we are often times ecstatic, in the Summer we are happy and content, in the Fall we are at peace but at Winter we are depressed. Reading The Seasons of Life does not present to you a way for balance or consistent happiness, but a mind-set and strategy to make the absolute most of every season.
1-5 with 5 being read it right now, I will give it a 2.5 and suggest again to read it during Winter
The next book in my “success series” we can call it, was Twelve Pillars by Jim Rohn and co-author Chris Widener
They took a fictional approach on telling the Twelve Pillars of success. It felt real in the sense that we all wish it would happen to us, so there is an instant connection between reader and protagonist. Speaking of it being fiction, it was slightly predictable, at least the plot twists were but nevertheless the foresight did not degrade the story in any way.
There is truly a plethora of incredible quotes. For example,
“‘That’s great,’ Charlie said. ‘I am so glad for you. You will have to keep me posted as it progresses. Just remember that once a flower blooms, it still needs water and sun to keep it from wilting. The work isn’t over when the color comes out.”
The Twelve Pillars:
- A Chance Encounter (Personal Development)
- Live a Life of Health
- The Gift of Relationships
- Achieve Your Goals
- The Proper Use of Time
- Surround Yourself with the Best People
- Be a Lifelong Learner
- All of Life Is Sales
- Income Seldom Exceeds Personal Development
- All Communication Brings the Common Ground of Understanding
- The World Can Always Use One More Great Leader
- Leave a Legacy
Overall, Twelve Pillars was an entertaining read that allows you to put each pillar into action in your own life at the end of each chapter.
1-5 with 5 being read it right now, I will give it a 3.5
– As stated with the first book regurgitation on The Mastery of Love, I will now go into a quick insight about love/relationships from a combination of these two books, plus experience. Building a relationship is based on three factors: time, effort and imagination. HT to Jim Rohn, but I think I’ve taken it a step further than that.
Time can be based on quantity or quality, but in the real world, “time” is more “timing” than anything. It’s about spontaneity and creating the perfect moment.
Effort can be dwindled down completely to compliments. Women do not receive enough of them and once you begin to put in the effort, you will realize just how many they deserve.
Imagination is doing something fun, weird, and different together. It’s about getting her to think about the crazy things she has always wanted to do but never has and doing them! Dates, dinners and distractions have their place in a relationship but nothing will make a girl more happy than to do the oddball things she has always questioned about life.
Let me know any of your responses to my thoughts or your thoughts on the books in the comments section and keep coming back for more book regurgitations. After all, I have more time to read now. Is that an up side?
Stay Positive & Genuine
Garth E. Beyer