Book Review: Personal Development for Smart People

It’s hard to find a person seriously interested in personal development and not familiar with Steve Pavlina’s blog. Now that Steve has his first book out, I would like to share with you my thoughts on his work.
Personal development is a challenging topic to cover. It’s so vast that rarely an author manages to pick the right angle to present you with new possibilities and to suggest solutions for your real-life challenges without making it all seem either too simplistic or overly complex.

In this regard, Steve Pavlina’s book have really lived up to my expectations: clear and focused material stayed on a topic at all times, although every chapter has a few examples from Steve’s personal experience, examples generic enough for many people to relate to.

I think Steve managed to maintain his original style of writing throughout the book – guiding and suggesting, but always making it clear that there are no rules which work for everyone. However many options there are, it is your own task and responsibility to pick the right tools and choose the direction for your own development.

Live consciously

If you read Steve’s blog, you know that living consciously is the main theme of his life. Although many reasons behind this are obvious from blog posts, I only realized how conscious Steve’s approach is after reading the book.

There are two parts in the book: introduction to the core principles of personal development and a practical guide to applying these principles in real life situations.

Such a structure ensures you have all you need to get started with your own conscious living: you learn the principles, and you are given examples of how to make use of them.

I enjoyed both parts of the book, but would like to read the book again in a few months time. The way material is presented, you are encouraged to start making changes right away. Practical examples give you an opportunity to pick the few steps for starting immediately changing something in the way you act. However, it will take time for the fundamental principles to settle in your view of your own development, so reading the first part of the book again is highly recommended.

Seven fundamental principles of personal development

There are seven fundamental principles of personal development, and first part of the book explains in great detail each of them. Apparently, every aspect of your personal growth, every conscious effort in self-improvement can and must be aligned with the core principles.

Here are the seven principles you will discover:

  • truth
  • love
  • power
  • oneness
  • authority
  • courage
  • intelligence

The beauty of these principles is in their nature – as I read the book, none of them felt like they should be enforced and re-introduced into my life. Instead, I was surprised to discover the presence of each principle in my everyday actions. I felt real joy as I was explained why each principle mattered and how I can benefit myself and those around me by further aligning with the fundamentals of personal development.

Learning these seven principles was quite a revelation. None of them are completely new to me, yet it is the first time I see someone present these fundamentals in such an obviously interconneted way.

The first three principles – truth, love and power – are the core principles of personal development. Everything that you do and experience in your life is a result of applying these principles by either yourself or people around you.

The next four principles are secondary in a sense that they are derived from the core ones. Oneness is truth plus love. Authority is truth plus power. Courage is love plus power. Intelligence is the combination of all three core principles: truth, love and power.

Why you should definitely read this book

It gives me a great pleasure to be recommending Steve’s book. This is easily the best book on personal development I have read so far – it’s easy to see how some of the views Steve developed are a direct result of reading hundreds of other books.

It’s a great book to finally make sense of why some actions and feelings seem natural and some don’t. It’s a chance to improve your own understanding of the fundamental principles of living a better life.

You will not find false promises of easy changes that happen overnight. You will not discover any magic secrets of becoming an instant success upon the completion of the book. You will not learn any weight loss tactics or one-liners to save your relationship.

What you will get though is an opportunity to realize how closely related are all the aspects of your well-being and personal growth. You will get a chance to start living consciously and gradually make the changes you always wanted.

Sounds like a book you want to read? Get it here! Enjoy!

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  1. says

    I really like what Steve Pavlina does. I like his ideas and share his points of view on personal development problem. I’ve read about 10-15 articles (blog posts) on his website and found it really useful and sensible personally for me. I’ve also listened all his podcasts and made some mindmap drafts during listening and even review them severall time later. If you didn’t listen Steve’s podcasts – I recommend to listen.
    Unfortunatelly Steve is unemployed now so he writes so much posts that I really have enough time to read all of them :-) I think to have this book – is the solution for me.



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