On the Docket: The Success Principles by Jack Canfield

Genre: Non-fiction, self-help

Publisher’s Blurb:

If there’s anyone qualified to write a self-help book on success, it’s Jack Canfield, who’s worked his way from scraping by as a teacher to holding a Guinness world record for having seven books simultaneously on The New York Times® Best Sellers list.

As a coauthor of the Chicken Soup for the Soul® series, he’s sold more than 80 million books and now lives “in a beautiful California estate” with his days of dining on spaghetti and tomato paste long behind him. “All you have to do is decide what it is you want, believe you deserve it, and practice the principles in this book,” he says, and success is yours.

First Impressions:

Please don’t laugh at me. I don’t understand my reading choices this month. I’ve been all over the map. Can you believe that I was distracted from a Stephen King novel by a self-help book? It’s not my usual schtick. I was halfway through Cell when I found this gem hidden in the recesses of my bookcase. Yes, you heard me. I called The Success Principles a gem! Believe me, I don’t usually go for Oprah gurus; I don’t subscribe to a Dr. Phil philosophy. When The Secret was released to open arms and fanfare, I was too busy rolling my eyes to pay any attention. Don’t get me wrong, though, The Secret still makes me roll my eyes… but, I was pleasantly surprised by the logic of The Success Principles. It makes total and complete sense! And, as you might have guessed, I bow to the goddess of logic on a regular basis, so this book was an unusual delight for me.

Although Mr. Canfield can be a bit… what’s the word?… preachy… and sales-pitchy… his intentions are honourable. The 64 Principles of Success he outlines in this book are more than approachable, achievable and relevant to everyday life. I’ve implemented some of his advice and, already, have seen some interesting opportunities present themselves without requiring too much elbow grease. This book is mainly about behavioural change, how to alter our thought patterns and self-sabotaging ways in order to achive our dreams. This may sound very new age or just plain unrealistic, but I ask that you refrain from laughing at my naiveté until you have read this book as well. I think you will be pleasantly surprised!

Another realization that occured to me while reading The Success Principles: I usually read every evening. I’ve taken the time and made the effort to create a tradition in which reading replaces my internet-surfing and tv watching. However, I generally don’t consider the tone of my reading material very often. By tone, I mean its level of negative and positive energy. Especially if you’re going to sleep soon after reading, this is something to consider. In the past, I was never bothered by reading horror novels or sad, depressing classics at midnight. But, it wasn’t until I read Canfield’s book for three evenings in a row that I began to consider this important part of the equation. For those three nights, I went to sleep feeling positive, up-beat, full of confidence, and relatively relaxed. Not that I’d refrain from reading Stephen King at night (what’s the fun in that?!) but I certainly would think twice about consuming too much negative information right before closing my eyes.

What kind of books do you read before you fall asleep? Have you ever tried reading only positive material for a whole week to see how you feel? I challenge you to give it a try!

Final Verdict: If you’ve ever battled serious issues with procrastination, frustration with your career, or general malaise, this book will help you articulate what is not working in your life, and help you develop a workable solution. Canfield doesn’t promise overnight success. Belive me, if that were the case, I would not endorse this book at all. Let’s just put it this way: he doesn’t make any promises that he can’t keep. When you close the book after you’ve read the last page, you’ll feel capable, energized, and full of potential. But you’ll also feel a great sense of responsibility, to yourself, to your dreams, and to your happiness, because it all comes down to you. Me. Us. We alone have the power to change our behaviour, habits, and decisions. When we actually follow through, not cave in when things get boring or tough, keep working through the problem until we get to the other side, then we’ll truly see results. I can vouch for this statement myself. It only takes one small step each day to change your future, to change the direction of your life. So, what are you waiting for!?

Care to share your thoughts on self-help books? I can hear your skepticism already! Don’t worry, I won’t bite. Comment below!