Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Steve Pavlina: Personal Development For Smart People

Pavliniac (n): Person who is an avid reader of Steve Pavlina’s blog and participant in his forums.

Okay, I freely admit it… I’m a Pavliniac, and like many others, I’ve been eagerly anticipating the release of Steve’s book, Personal Development For Smart People, since he announced that he was writing one. Luckily for those of us who are impatient souls, a glitch somewhere along the line resulted in the book being released earlier than the intended date of 15 October. Dare I call this a collective manifestation caused by all Steve’s many fans?!

The reason why I’ve been a long-term reader of Steve’s blog is that I enjoy the blend of logic and intuition in his writing and thought processes. Often, personal development blogs sit at one of the extremes, and while I’m more than happy to read such blogs, I find that my blog reading list as a whole has to find a balance between the two. Steve’s blog, however, is one of the few that combine the best of both sides of the brain, and his newly released book follows suit.

This book presents the results of Steve’s search for the universal principles underlying personal development – Love, Truth and Power. These core principles are further expanded to Oneness (Truth + Love), Authority (Truth + Power), and Courage (Love + Power). Finally, Intelligence is defined as the combination of all three core principles.

This framework synthesises information in what is often a broad and fragmented field, and provides both philosophical and practical applications to a diverse range of life areas, such as career, relationships and health. Although Steve has given examples from his own life throughout the book as well as provided exercises through which readers can utilise the principles in their own development, this is not a prescriptive book. Rather, the book aims to increase readers’ awareness of the principles in their lives, so that where these are present they can be further developed, and where these appear to be absent they can be allowed to grow. It is, as the book’s tagline says, the conscious pursuit of personal growth.

In the introduction, Steve states that the principles should be simple and elegant. They are. In fact, at first glance, it may appear that some of the book’s content is in fact too simple. Yet, this is not a simplicity born of triteness and self-help cliché that is unfortunately all too common in the personal development arena. Instead, this is the kind of simplicity that emerges from dedicated and conscious exploration and experimentation in the area of personal growth. It is a simplicity that allows us to recognise the overarching structures of life that exist at a deeper level. It is what Oliver Wendell Holmes referred to as the simplicity on the other side of complexity.

Can things really be this simple? Yes. But, remember that simplicity doesn’t necessarily equal easy. As Steve points out, personal development can be very challenging at times. It is at such times that it helps to have a touchstone to return to and which can guide us through to the other side of the complexity. This book is that touchstone.

If you’d like to try before you buy, Steve has very kindly provided a sample chapter of his book for download. The formatting of this sample chapter is different to that in the book, but the content is the same.

The full book is available from Amazon:


Evelyn Lim said...

Thanks for writing a review for Steve's new book. I also enjoy his blend of intuition plus personal development and would be interested to know what he is covering in his book. Reading your review helps!

Mags | Woo-Woo Wisdom said...

Thanks, Evelyn - Glad it helped!

Shamelle said...

I can also related to your first paragraph. I really like the way Steve's "writing voice".

The Enhance Life

Mags | Woo-Woo Wisdom said...

Thanks, Shamelle - Yes, Steve's writing is both informative and personal. I find it very easy to read.

Irene | Light Beckons said...

Hey Mags, I'm a pavliniac too! The book is on its way to me from across the Pacific Ocean ... am so looking forward to reading it. :)

Cath Lawson said...

- this is a great review. I've only browsed the book so far but I'm really enjoying it.

I hope it becomes a bestseller - I think that would be a real breakthrough for blogging and also pave the way for other bloggers who want to publish a book.

Mags | Woo-Woo Wisdom said...

Irene - From one Pavliniac to another, I'm sure you'll enjoy it!

Mags | Woo-Woo Wisdom said...

Thanks, Cath - I think the book has already become a bestseller... in fact based on pre-orders alone, it moved into Amazon's top ranks!