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

3.93  ·  Rating Details ·  3,110 Ratings  ·  79 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
Paperback, 266 pages
Published October 15th 2009 by Hay House (first published 2008)
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Feb 15, 2009 kareem rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Sara Gran
Sep 07, 2010 Sara Gran rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Mark Dykeman
Mar 03, 2010 Mark Dykeman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lifestyle
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
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
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
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: utter-crap
Self-indulgent nonsense. Do not read this book if it was the last book on Earth.
Aug 17, 2016 Justyna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: borrowed, self-help
I'm feeling somewhat conflicted about this book. A friend of mine told me to read it and that it's the best book on self-development he read. I was skeptical at first, I'm not really into this entire blown-up self-development movement. I had a pretty serious setback a couple months before and I needed to figure out how to get past it, so I felt like the book wasn't fully relevant.

But then I started reading, and I absolutely fell in love! (However brief that was, read on to hear about that) The a
Eszter Pálmai
May 23, 2016 Eszter Pálmai rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
Just another painful disappointment.
It all started so well, finally a self-help book after longlong search - actually, that was the best first paragraph (almost first chapter) i have ever read from a self-help book. It was explaining the importance of truth, defined self-development as finding out new truths about oneself, then got a bit into practicalities about discovering the truth and possible traps on the way. Awesome it was.
The first red flag i noticed was that after all this praising of t
Abner Rosenweig
Mar 22, 2016 Abner Rosenweig rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Alex Luzzardi
Without a shadow of a doubt one of the best books I've ever read. Steve Pavlina reveals the three core principles, or key human qualities if you will, that are necessary to achieve any kind of success. With each principle comes different elements.

Power: effort, focus, discipline
Truth: self-awareness, perception...
Love: communication, connection, etc..

The magic happens when you start combining principles.

Power + Truth = Authority
Power + Love = Courage
Truth + Love = Oneness
Power + Love + Truth = I
Aug 30, 2015 Luca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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!
Aug 25, 2016 Dean rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
will definitely be coming back to this again. A good set of social doctrine for non religious people
Oum Sovanna
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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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.
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“So you have two basic options: deny the unpredictability of life and create your own false sense of security, or accept the vagaries of life and learn to live with them.” 2 likes
“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
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