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Thursday, June 6, 2013

READ. THINK. SOAR: Nonfiction You Can Use

by Kathy Holzapfel

Life doesn't come with an instruction manual. This means we get to assemble our own; one that can be customized, updated, and overhauled at will. Talk about empowering! In this column, we'll explore ways to promote positive growth via books and programs on success and personal development.

The Success Principles - How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be
By Jack Canfield (with Janet Switzer)

Version reviewed: Paperback, ISBN 13: 978-0-06-059489-3
Published by Harper Collins, 2005
Nonfiction category: Success
Note: Published in 2005, The Success Principles is still ranked in Amazon's Top 100 Success Books category as of April 2013.

Dubbed "America's #1 Success Coach," author, speaker, and business founder Jack Canfield has written numerous New York Times bestselling books including The Power of Focus and The Aladdin Factor. He is probably best known as one of the originators of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, which has over 500 million copies in print worldwide. A featured teacher in the movie The Secret, Canfield has also appeared on hundreds of major radio and television programs.

The Success Principles is a compilation of 64 timeless strategies aimed at helping people become top achievers by mastering the various aspects of their personal lives, their careers, their finances, and their relationships.

Ever wish you had a wise, successful mentor who would openly share the techniques and skills they personally used to master high achievement? Jack Canfield does this with The Success Principles, condensing over thirty years of study and hands-on application, into 64 proven principles of success. In the introduction, Canfield details his own accomplishments from applying these principles in his business and personal life - successes such as writing multiple bestselling books, founding major businesses and training programs, speaking, traveling, and enjoying life while earning a multi-million dollar net income.

Each of the principles is explained with advice that is clear, direct, and immediately applicable starting with Principle #1 - Take 100% Responsibility for Your Life, and ending with Principle #64 - Empower Yourself by Empowering Others.

Weighing in at over 500 pages, (see anatomy below) the book is a hefty treasury. The tone is positive and encouraging, yet straightforward. Graphs, pertinent quotes, examples, and anecdotes enhance the text. Headers telegraph key ideas and break the principle into user-friendly components.

The book is divided into six sections:
·         The Fundamentals of Success
·         Transform Yourself for Success
·         Build Your Success Team
·         Create Successful Relationships
·         Success and Money
·         Success Starts Now

In an interview, Jack Canfield said he had difficulty trimming decades' worth of profitable information down to only 64 principles. That thoughtful condensing shows, too. The text does not sag with extraneous fill but rather directs you in a "here's what you do and why" manner. The book's conversational style conveys the feeling of a series of one-on-one sessions with a personal coach who not only wants you to succeed but also believes in your ability to do so.

Here's a sampling of principles found in the book: Be Clear Why You're Here (#2), Embrace Change (#31), Find a Wing To Climb Under (#44), Keep Your Agreements (#54), You Get What You Focus On (#57), and Master The Spending Game (#59). All the principles are astute and important, but my personal favorite is #63: Start now!...Just Do It!

There's a line in the book that sums up the entire premise: "You and you alone are responsible for taking the actions to create the life of your dreams."

If you diligently apply these principles, this book can help you change and/or improve your life. The key phrase is "diligently apply." What good is knowledge unless appropriate action is consistently taken?

Canfield says in the introduction, "The Principles always work if you work the principle." And a quote from Jim Rohn drives the point home: "You can't hire someone else to do your push-ups for you."

Don't know where to begin? Start small. Pick one principle, study it, use it. Repeat until you own it. Then move on to another.

Another idea: form a group and study The Success Principles with a gathering of like minds, either online or in person. The website has a free Instructor's Manual to help you get started. Other planning forms available include a strategy guide for mastermind groups and an annual calendar.

Canfield encourages readers to underline, highlight and make notes in the margins. My personal copy is filled with notes. Scribbled hearts and lightning bolts mark significant passages. When I ran out of space in the margins, I used sticky-notes. Here's a photo of one of the pages my book.

 While I've recommended this book to countless people, I won’t lend out my copy.

Canfield has developed other works based on The Success Principles including audio and DVD programs, online courses, and a version of the book for young adults, The Success Principles For Teens.

His latest release, Tapping Into Ultimate Success, co-authored with Pamela Bruner, combines the practice of Meridian Tapping with some of Canfield's success principles.

This is the type of book you can open to practically any page, dive in and begin learning. It's also a "total package" book: if you had to choose only one book to study on success, The Success Principles would give you a lifetime of tremendous value.

Your life is a work in progress, formed and reformed by your thoughts, feelings, words, and deeds. One way to fuel positive growth is by reading works that build you up. So be cool: read and excel.

Page count:     Main text: 435 pages (approx.)
Front matter: 33 pages (Table of Contents, introduction, etc.)
Back matter: 38 pages (Suggested reading, index, etc.)
Chapters:         64 - one principle per chapter.
Chapters range in length from 16 pages (only 2 chapters) to 3 pages (6 chapters.) Though the average chapter length is about 6 pages, only 8 of the chapters contain 10 or more pages.
Formats:          Hardcover, paperback, eBooks Kindle/Nook/Apple, Audiobook
Library:           Widely available. lists over 1200 libraries in the U.S. with copies.

The copy reviewed was purchased by Kathy Holzapfel. No material connection.

Award-winning novelist and life coach, Kathy Holzapfel is passionate about creativity and personal development. Please visit her website and blog:

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