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Personal Development for Smart People: The Conscious Pursuit of Personal Growth

3.92  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,952 Ratings  ·  75 Reviews
Despite promises of “fast and easy” results from slick marketers, real personal growth is neither fast nor easy. The truth is that hard work, courage, and self-discipline are required to achieve meaningful results—results that are not attained by those who cling to the fantasy of achievement without effort.

Personal Development for Smart People reveals the unvarnished trut
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published October 15th 2008 by Hay House (first published 2008)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Sara Gran
Sep 07, 2010 Sara Gran rated it it was amazing
I like self-help books, as long as they're actually SELF-help, as in help-a-person-discover-their-unique-destiny-and-encourage-them-towards-self-determination-books. Not help-the-corporate-economy-by-suppressing-dissent-books. So this is a good book to help you be more yourself, not more someone else.
Feb 15, 2009 kareem rated it it was amazing
Personal Development for smart people

7: In order to grow, you must repeatedly tackle fresh challenges and consider new ideas to give your mind resh input. If you merely repeat the same experiences, you'll stagnate, and your mental capacity will atrophy.

7: Excessive routine is the enemy of intelligence.

7: Think about where your life is headed and and yourself "how do i honestly expect my life to turn out?" imagine a logical impartial observer is assigned examine your life in detail and to pr
Mark Dykeman
Mar 03, 2010 Mark Dykeman rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone
Steve Pavlina, a former computer gaming software entrepreneur, started blogging about personal growth in 2004. He has pursued personal growth and self-improvement voraciously since avoiding a jail sentence for theft at the age of 19. Since then, he has undertaken many personal growth experiments, read and studied a great deal of material, and has worked to share that information with other people. He turned his life around and has done some cool, worthwhile things since then. In short
Jun 19, 2009 Nicholas rated it really liked it
Shelves: lifestyle
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 20, 2009 Chris rated it it was ok
Found this book to be of little or no use. The concepts put forth in this book basically try to break down all personal development into the primary building blocks (truth, love, power). From this, a number of secondary elements are defined as the intersection between the primary elements. Overall, the book seemed to mostly be an attempt to justify the authors' definition of these building blocks, with little in the way of practical advice or direction.

The one section I did enjoy was the splitti
Chris Porter
Feb 28, 2016 Chris Porter rated it liked it
A book for narcissists? :)

It was refreshing to read a self-development book with a unique framework of ideas instead of a derivative list of techniques.

Truth. Power. Love. If all your actions are in alignment with these three things then you are being Intelligent. And intelligence is the over-arching goal of everything. (Brings to mind one of my favourite maxims: Given enough time Hydrogen starts to look back and wonder where it came from.)

After explaining the core principles (and the subsequen
Jan 06, 2009 Barryhobbs rated it liked it
I forget WHY I picked this specific book up. Something must have caught my attention on a blog somewhere about it. The first chapters where he is setting up the vocabulary that he will use later on are... thin and vapid. I found myself doing a whole lot of "yeah, I want you to talk about that", which is responded to with "we'll talk about that in a later chapter."

Once you DO get to the later chapters, he brings up a few good ideas, and a lot of exercises and things to think about. The money and
Greg Webb
Jun 20, 2015 Greg Webb rated it it was ok
I stumbled upon Steve's blog last year and found several of this posts insightful, useful, and fun. So I found his book at the library and after reading it, I'm glad I didn't pay for it.

This was a total switch, because where I found the blog posts to be enjoyable, here it seems he was trying to impress everyone with his intellect. I got the impression that because he was now a well-known, published, household name that he was forcing himself to try and cram as many 'big words' into a sentence as
Feb 19, 2016 Justin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Steve is probably the most influential blogger I've ever read. I often keep his blog posts open on browser windows on my computer and phone so I can refer to them frequently. Just being reminded of some of the posts make me smile. SO I probably had too high expectations for this book.

The good:

--A fairly coherent system that looks at both the logic and emotion of self-improvement.
--A holistic approach that looks at money, career, fitness, etc.
--Some of the exercises have a way of cutting thro
Nancie Paz
Mar 19, 2014 Nancie Paz rated it really liked it
First of all, the book is solid. Steve Pavlina is a great writer which is a skill he honed from writing so many blog posts--which are also great.

The reason this doesn't get five stars is because of the book's overall feel. It's different from some of his greatest blog posts.

I get the feeling that, unlike his blog posts which are often written more in the spur of the moment--and thus, often turn out better--this book was labored within the confines of a logical mind.

The principles ARE solid. The
Oct 11, 2010 Alex rated it it was amazing
Steve is a controversial person. I used to worship him, I used to question his choices in life... but all in all he is a very bright star in the personal development area and this book is one of the few ones that instead of just describing author's approach to personal development, actually tries to establish certain foundation that then can be applied to many other higher-level techniques including GTD, Covey's principles etc
Steve Lindenberg
Sep 20, 2015 Steve Lindenberg rated it really liked it
Steve Pavlina does an excellent job distilling the key principles of an effective life.
I found it to be a very valuable resource in solidifying concepts that I suspected, but hadn't confirmed.

This book is divided in to two main parts; key principles, and application of these principles.

If you're a skimmer, most of the value is contained within the first half.

The application section grows quite repetitive by dutifully completing pages for each of the seven principles as they apply to 6 major life
Dec 08, 2008 Tom rated it it was ok
Shelves: selfhelp
The book of common sense. What is common sense in dealing with finances, relationships, religion, career, etc.
It was okay but was left a bit disappointed in some way. Can't really explain why.
Feb 02, 2016 Jen rated it it was amazing
I've been a reader of Steve's site since the year it began so I might be biased but, I love this book!!! It's truly a beautiful piece of work and a must read for anyone committed to exploring their personal growth. I smiled often while reading it and was moved to tears more than once. Steve has such a distinctive, personal way of writing that it often feels more like listening to an old, respected friend. This is a great introduction if you're new to Steve's writing and if you're a long time rea ...more
Jul 26, 2010 Elias rated it did not like it
Shelves: utter-crap
Self-indulgent nonsense. Do not read this book if it was the last book on Earth.
Abner Rosenweig
Mar 22, 2016 Abner Rosenweig rated it it was amazing
This is a great book. I read it in a difficult period of my life, one of my all-time lows, and it helped to restore faith in myself and gave me hope that I could take charge of things and create positive change.

Pavlina is almost Buddha-like in his approach. He identifies a few core principles and then explores how you can effect major life transformations by adhering to these principles. His philosophy is simple but not at all simplistic or shallow. The book is a lucid guide that gives you tool
Matt McCormick
Nov 04, 2013 Matt McCormick rated it really liked it
A few years ago, I attended a weekend seminar by Steve Pavlina. A lot of what he talked about in the seminar is also in this book so I didn't think I would get much out of it. Maybe it was because the seminar was a few years ago and I forgot a lot about it but this book offered a lot of detailed, relevant information, basically about how to life a better life.

If you're a logical person, like me, you'll get a lot out of this book. Before getting into personal development, Steve developed compute
Nayad Monroe
Feb 23, 2015 Nayad Monroe rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
The best thing about this book is the chapter on habits: how to make new habits and break bad ones, and a long and awesome list of effectiveness-boosting habits that I look forward to deploying. That list alone added a star to my rating. The rest of the book is okay, but very repetitive, and contains a lot of phrases like "resonating with oneness" and "aligning yourself with truth, love, and power"--which are not bad ideas, but I think I read that last one over a hundred times. So it's a decent ...more
Nov 22, 2009 Robb rated it liked it
I find a lot of articles on the author's blog very helpful which is why I bought the book. There was a lot of helpful thoughts and advice in this book on living consciously. It was inspiring to me. The flow of the book at times seemed forced to fit his triangle diagram of truth love and power, but at the same time it was convenient to view a lot of topics within the context of these principles. For readers who are Christians, there were a few things in the book that do not resonate completely wi ...more
Aug 30, 2015 Luca rated it really liked it
Sometimes You read a book and think for yourself, why didn't I read this book earlier. This book is one of those. It has lots of good points and I recalled its principles. It is a great book explaining the principles of personal development. Each principle gets examples and personal stories so you gain right away a very good understanding of what it is you need to think about. It has also lots of to do's, exercises, and surveys. All of these helped me to take a look at myself. Honesty, truth, lo ...more
Ryan Blum
Jan 18, 2014 Ryan Blum rated it really liked it
While this book is at times hokey and often redundant, it does give a practical, principled-based approach to life and keen insight into applying his universal principles. Grounded in life experience rather than metaphysical gibberish, there is something that everyone could learn from Steve Pavlina's life philosophy. I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking to make, or consider making, important changes in their life.
Sep 02, 2013 Atul rated it it was amazing
A Great Tool For Personal Reflection To See Your Life A Little More Clearer. Like a mirror you'll get out of it what you are honestly willing to face up to while reflecting on it. Whether you're happy with what you see looking back at you,or whether you would like to make improvements to that image is ultimately up to you. But this book will certainly make you examine the reflections of your life a little bit more closely,with pointers on how to improve what you would like to see in your life's ...more
Oct 19, 2011 Jen rated it liked it
I think there was a lot of valuable advice, but some of it just came across as something the author wrote in a manic phase.

Best part is how he recommends simply trying things for 30 days. Treat it like a science experiment, where you hypothesize, you test, and you either discard or keep. I think this really helps the mentality of "it's all or nothing, and I have to jump in at 100% right now!"...which is usually followed by "Ack! I failed...I give up, it was too hard anyway."

So, baby steps. Tell
Jul 01, 2015 Ryan rated it it was amazing
One of the best personal development books I've read. Many of the ideas of this book are not revolutionary, but it is the organization of the concepts that make this book unique. The author demonstrates how living a principle-based life can offer you a blissful and successful life.
Sep 21, 2014 R.cojocaru rated it it was amazing
the book is a wonderful compilation of self development instruments. i discover new values important for me and firs of all the courage. Great book!
Oum Sovanna
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jomel Imperio
Oct 13, 2011 Jomel Imperio rated it liked it
I've read this at least once before, or at least have tried to read it. I think it's a fairly no-nonsense, straightforward book, and that his framework is actually pretty useful. Perhaps you'll need to get past an initial instinctive distaste at his brazen usage (re-appropriating) of terms such as Truth, Love, and Power, but once you get used to it you'll find yourself drawing useful lessons and new ways of framing your life and how to improve it. (Admittedly though I really have to *do* things ...more
Max Nova
May 10, 2015 Max Nova rated it liked it
Steve Pavlina starts off this book by saying that he is going to unite the principles of Truth, Love, and Power and the secondary principles of Oneness, Courage, Authority, and Intelligence into a coherent method of personal development. After this buildup, I thought that either this was going to be the best or worst book I ever read. I was wrong. Personal Development for Smart People is at best middling and obvious. At worst, it is preachy, repetitive, and naive. I went into this book with pret ...more
Marcus Solberg
Not sure which year I read this one.
Dwayne Johnson
Jan 06, 2016 Dwayne Johnson rated it really liked it
Basic, but has useful tips.
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Self-help author, motivational speaker and entrepreneur. He is the author of the web site and blog dedicated to personal development, and the book Personal Development for Smart People. He writes on a broad range of topics, and his lifestyle experiments (e.g. polyphasic sleep) have generated some mainstream media interest.
More about Steve Pavlina...

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“Life has no other discipline to impose, if we would but realize it, than to accept life unquestioningly. Everything we shut our eyes to, everything we run away from, everything we deny, denigrate or despise, serves to defeat us in the end. What seems nasty, painful, evil, can become a source of beauty, joy and strength, if faced with an open mind. Every moment is a golden one for him who has the vision to recognize it as such.” — HENRY MILLER” 2 likes
“When I’m working on a problem, I never think about beauty. I think only how to solve the problem. But when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong.” — R. BUCKMINSTER FULLER” 1 likes
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