Author: Dr. Phillip C. McGraw
Info: Copyright 1999: New York: Hyperion
Where acquired: Amazon purchase.
Rating (on a scale of 1-4 stars): ✮✮✮✮
What it's about: Dr. McGraw presents his ten life laws and seven life strategies for building a successful, authentic life. Through real life examples and assignments, he asks the reader to take a long hard look at life and teaches how to form strategies for improvement.
"In every church I have ever attended, the people with real problems hid them rather than seeking support, and those who didn't hide them wished they had, after the doses of guilt, judgment, or alienation they received. We hide our problems, and judge those who don't or can't hide theirs. It's not working people--not even close. We have forgotten the basic laws of living in general, and living together in particular, and therefore violate them constantly." - p. 22
"Instead of asking whether the way you are living, behaving, and thinking is 'right,' I want you to ask whether the way you are living, behaving, and thinking is working or not working." - p. 30
"My dad had taught me there are times in life when you just don't want to miss a good chance to shut up." - p. 29
"Failure is no accident. You set yourself up for it or you don't." p. 39
"Once you acknowledge and embrace the second law [You Create Your Own Experience] you stop being a victim. It's like sitting alone in a moving car, you can't not drive and expect anything besides a crash. Take the wheel. Begin to consciously, purposefully, and actively create experiences that you do want, instead of suffering through experiences that you don't want." - p. 62
"Be a willing spirit. Lean forward. That doesn't mean that you are to suspend good judgement or take reckless risks in the name of willingness. If someone is saying, 'Hey, try some cocaine; you'll love it.' that's obviously not the time to be a willing spirit. Tell them to go blow their own nose!" - p 63
"Life doesn't reward quitting. You are the only one who does that." - p. 110
What I Liked:
- This book was written by a Doctor of Psychology, but it is not loaded with some pseudo-psychological, namby-pamby, mental voodoo. Dr. McGraw, as he is known for, simply tells it like it is. Yes, I like heavy reading, but I also want to understand what I read well enough to implement what it contains.
- The author does ask the reader to deal with past issues, but he doesn't leave you there. In fact, he emphasizes that one who still carries psychological or emotional baggage will not succeed at applying the strategies.
- He doesn't tell you how to think, but he does get you thinking.
- The assignments, though thorough, are an integral part of the entire life strategies process. Without them, the book would be full of information, but no guidance on execution.
- McGraw is very good at using humor to get his point across (thus some of the quotes above).
- When it came to relationship strategies, McGraw assumes that the reader is in some sort of romantic relationship. He didn't offer much help to those who wanted to improve friendships or fellowships, rather than marriages and dating situations. Also, some of his assessment questions were scored based on a participants love and sex life. So, what if you don't have one? Or want one? Are those the only viable relationships?
- Some parts were confusing. For example, in Chapter Three: You Create You Own Experience, McGraw seems to suggest that one takes the blame for every negative event in his life. He nearly lost me on that one because I thought he was off his rocker. It isn't until much later in the chapter that he explains that victims of certain atrocities are NOT responsible for creating that particular reality. Yes, accountability is important, but not for victimization someone else is responsible for.