Book Review: Thrive! by Alan Weiss

I have made it clear in past posts that I am a big fan of Alan Weiss of the Summit Consulting Group. He is the consultant’s guru, thought leader and my role model. He can be found on Twitter @BentleyGTCSpeed if you wish to follow him. He has written a superb series of books for consultants. I recommend them. Most recently however, he has written a book that has applicability to many people. I think it has particular application to those in the HR profession. Thrive! Stop wishing your life away is a guide book for success in life that will have a major impact on how well you do in your profession. This book is about achieving success through smart work and smart use of time, money and your brains. It is NOT a book about wishing for success. It is a guidebook for gaining confidence, gaining competence and gaining success. It is straight forward in its advice, and as is his approach Weiss’ is direct and pointed in his comments. As an example he says “You can’t live your life by daintily stepping around the eggshells of others’ inadequacies.”

Weiss in his writing is very quotable. Some of my favorites include:

  • Wallflowers are not chosen as centerpieces.
  • We are not here to stick our toes on the water. We are here to make waves. The water doesn’t matter. You should.
  • Speed is “not of the essence” it IS the essence.
  • Life is about quid pro quo. Mastering your life entails helping others master theirs.
  • We should never put ourselves in a position of sacrificing our own needs to satisfy those of another. Even in a marriage.
  • We all grow by exploiting strengths not correcting weaknesses.

Chapter 9 discusses the Five Traits of The Masters of Their Own Fates. An excellent chapter. These traits include:

  • Trait 1- Resiliance. This means you do not the support or input of others to sustain yourself. Ture resiliance does not require the validation of others. It is a behavior, not a competency.
  • Trait 2- Eternal learning. NEVER “dumb down” your abilities, competencies or brilliance.
  • Trait 3- Self-esteem. (more about this in a minute.)
  • Trait 4- Perseverance. You win some, you loss some, some get rained out. But you have to “suit up” for all of them.
  • Trait 5- Love. Masters of their own fates feel free to love, and do so repeatedly and continually.

His Self-Esteem builders are excellent. They are:

  • Acquire and hone skills.
  • Apply positive “self-talk.” (My comment: this is as close as he comes to “self-help“)
  • Walk with the Lions. Enter tough debats, take on the “experts”, question what you find to be suspicious.
  • Build on Strengths. Identify your strengths and exploit them. You don’t grow on improving weaknesses.
  • Articulate your values. Be cognizant of what you stand for and be able to explain it to others.
Before I go on to repeat the other book I will stop here. All I can say is I got jazzed by reading this book. I took notes and I reread the notes on a fairly consistent basis. I suggest you do the same thing. You can get the book here. It will be worth you time and money.

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