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Life in Half a Second: How to Achieve Success Before It's Too Late

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Life is short, too short. In the grand scheme of the universe, you only have half a second to live - half a second to pursue your dreams, live fully, and succeed. You don't have a moment to lose. Truthful and hard hitting, Life in Half a Second is the first "fact-based" formula for achieving success in life and business. Proven through thousands of studies and decades of research, it presents the five doors you must walk through to achieve success in your career, business, or personal life. Gimmicks, mind tricks, fairy tales, and wishful thinking NOT INCLUDED. Just facts.

186 pages, Paperback

First published October 1, 2013

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About the author

Matthew Michalewicz

7 books13 followers
Matthew is an international expert in entrepreneurship, innovation, and success psychology. He has established boards that include former heads of state, Nobel Peace Prize winners, and Fortune 500 CEOs, and has a track record of starting businesses from scratch and selling them for tens of millions of dollars.

From 2005 – 2012, Matthew was the co-founder and CEO of SolveIT Software, a supply chain optimisation business he grew from zero to almost 180 employees and $20 million in revenue before selling the business to Schneider Electric. Under his leadership, SolveIT Software became the 3rd fastest-growing company in Australia in 2012, as ranked by Deloitte. The company won numerous awards, and counted among its customers some of the largest corporations in the world, including Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton, and Xstrata.

From 1999 - 2003, Matthew was the co-founder and CEO of NuTech Solutions in the USA, where he raised more than US$15 million in venture capital and grew the business to almost 200 employees in six international offices. Matthew established an “A-list” board of directors, which included former President of Poland and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Lech Walesa, former National Security Advisor to the President of the United States, Zbigniew Brzezinski, former Bank of America Chairman and CEO, Hugh McColl Jr., and world-renowned fraud expert and subject of Steven Spielberg's blockbuster "Catch Me if You Can," Frank Abagnale. NuTech Solutions was acquired by Netezza Corporation, which was subsequently acquired by IBM Global Services.

From 1994 – 1999, Matthew was the founder and operator of Fitness Forever, a personal training business, and later, the co-founder of CFG Investments, a money management and financial planning company with more than $150 million under management.

Matthew’s business achievements have been featured in numerous television shows and publications, including Time Magazine, Newsweek, and Forbes. He was named the Pearcey Foundation "Entrepreneur of the Year", Business Journal "40 under 40" list of accomplished business leaders, University of North Carolina "Alumnus of the Year", and Ernst and Young "Entrepreneur of the Year" finalist.

Matthew is the author of several books, including "Life in Half a Second", "Winning Credibility", "Puzzle-Based Learning", and "Adaptive Business Intelligence". He is also a Visiting Fellow at the University of Adelaide where he lectures on the subject of technology commercialisation, and an investor and Limited Partner in Blackbird Ventures, an Australian early-stage venture capital fund.

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5 stars
209 (45%)
4 stars
159 (34%)
3 stars
56 (12%)
2 stars
21 (4%)
1 star
11 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 59 reviews
Profile Image for Daniel Taylor.
Author 4 books80 followers
April 10, 2014
For entrepreneur and author Matthew Michaelewicz, the definition of success is simple: success is achieving goals.

More than many other writers on goal-setting, Michaelewicz deserves your ear. He’s a serial entrepreneur, having founded three successful companies. His last was the third fastest growing in Australia when he sold it in 2012 for tens of millions of dollars.

This awe-worthy experience means that the book is based on the exact goal-setting approach he used to achieve those successes.

He maps out his process using a metaphor of five doors: the Door of Clarity, the Door of Desire, the Door of Belief, the Door of Knowledge, and the Door of Action.

One of the biggest strengths of this book is Michaelewicz’s humanity and likeability. You feel like you’re sitting down for a coffee and having a chat with someone who really cares about your success.

Despite the sheer number of goal-setting books I’ve read in seven years reviewing books for personal development magazines, Life in Half a Second stands out for its quality – so much better than I expected.

Do you need to read it? If you’re unsuccessful, lacking goals or failing to achieve them, the answer is absolutely yes.
152 reviews24 followers
October 18, 2020
Life is short! You must REALLY desire things or they will not happen! WHAR ARE YOU DOING? You have free will, do all the things you want!! Now!!! Write it down you moron. What do you want???

That's as far as I got in the book before I had enough.
First of all, there are plenty of people who have a job or two because they need to pay for the roof over their head and have little time to dream about what they really want and have the leisure of going for it. If you are in that position and not facing homelessness, consider yourself lucky.
Also, we have no free will. Things bloody happen and you respond to them as best as you can manage depending on your genes, your current environment and everything that has ever happened to you.
3 reviews
April 17, 2018
Life in Half a Second is a book designed to inspire the audience to take advantage of the current day rather than waiting until tomorrow. Within the intro the author gives an interesting analogy comparing the average human's lifespan to the time since the earth was created. This analogy puts things into perspective for the reader by making them feel that their life is not as long as they previously thought. By helping the reader come to this realization, they are then inspired by the feeling that they may not have as much to time accomplish the things they have always dreamed of. After the author gathers the audiences attention he proceeds to give in depth instructions on making the very best of each day you have. Michalewicz tells many stories within his book that describe the troubles of many different individuals as they rebirth themselves to take full advantage of the half of a second they are given in this world. The tone in this book is extremely supportive as if you were receiving advice from a parent or best-friend rather than a judgmental boss. With this tone the author inspires confidence in the audience by making them aware that change is necessary but without making them feel that they are guaranteed to fail miserably if they do not alter their perspective.
Profile Image for Christine.
67 reviews2 followers
December 29, 2021
While sometimes I found the tone of this book overly black-and-white, a little ego centric, and was annoyed by the mixed messages around the value of wealth, ultimately the psychological lessons largely ring true, and it was a quick and engaging read. I'm not the target audience of this book, but I'd recommend it to any youngster needing a kick in the pants to make something of themself.
Profile Image for Alain Burrese.
Author 16 books45 followers
August 25, 2014
I really enjoyed “Life In Half A Second” by Matthew Michalewicz. Maybe it is because we both think a lot a like, have both learned and been influenced by Arnold Schwarzenegger, or just because the book is full of a lot of practical solid advice, but I feel it is a both a motivational read and a practical how to achieve success formula. And it's not because Michalewicz shared a miraculous new discovery to help people achieve fortunes. In fact, he admits that every success book you read, every motivational speaker you hear, will present a variation of what's in “Life in Half a Second.” It's because Matthew Michalewicz presents the information well, and in a way that anyone reading this book can apply it to their own life and situation and live their life more fully.

After reminding us that we really don't have much time here on earth to do the things we dream of, Michalewicz shares his five doors to success: Clarity, Desire, Belief, Knowledge, and Action. Within these five doors he shares how to figure out what you want, instil the burning desire to see you to the finish line, believe in yourself even when no one else does, gain the knowledge needed to succeed, set goals and overcome the fear that keeps you from acting on them. It's simple, but not easy.

I enjoyed the personal examples, as well as those of others who have succeeded in various areas. I especially liked the times when Arnold Schwarzenegger was mentioned, because he is one of the most goal focused individuals I know of, and this clarity, desire, belief in himself, knowledge and action enabled him to reach many lofty goals that others said he would never achieve. Regardless if you like or dislike his movies, agree with his politics or personal choices in some matters, he's an excellent example of how success principles can help one attain remarkable success in various professions.

The book is a quick read, but a powerful one if you take it to heart and act on the lessons provided. There is that fifth door again, action. It really is a key to success. Pass through all five of these doors and success in your career, business and personal life is not only attainable, but almost guaranteed. And as Michalewicz points out, we don't have much time, so do it now, before it's too late.
Profile Image for Paul Bard.
811 reviews
May 19, 2014
The opening and closing chapters are a superbly argued case for urgently seeking the good life.

The middle five chapters are HOW to seek the good life.

"So what," you say. "I've already heard all about goals, desire, belief, knowledge, action." If you've heard about them but aren't doing them, you haven't really heard about them.

This book gives you ears to hear about them, because it provides logical structures by which to grasp these realities in each chapter. The logical structure of each chapter takes some contemplation and careful comprehension.

As other reviewers have pointed out, it is simple but not easy; it does take some diligent work to grasp the basic laws of success. Luckily, Matthew Michaelewicz has done much of the work for readers in this delightful short evidence-based book; the puzzle of life is clarified here.
Profile Image for Amanda.
115 reviews8 followers
March 30, 2016
OK, so I think this book has changed my life. Big statement I know, but it is the truth.

I have already made my purchase through Book Depository and it is on it's way. I will be rereading this book, and making my way throught he exercises in a conscientious manner.

I have read quite a few self development/business mindset books and I am so glad that I came across this book. Yet another book that caught my eye while I was at work. Shelving it as a request for pick up by a customer.

I believe that these little incidences in life happen for a reason and I am even more pumped to be a life long learner, like forever.

If you are finding a way to push past your current limitation then grab this book from your library and give it a go, at least.

Highly recommended for anyone looking to boost your self belief, to create change in your life, and a how to tool for goal setting.
1 review
June 4, 2016
Michael struck a cord with me initially with his references to space and time and also to Arnie who I respect tremendously. As the book went on I found the science and clarity around the 5 steps simple but amazingly true and I would say this is a life changing book so far if there is such a thing. I have become much more focused on my goals and achieved more in 3 months than I have in 24 months prior. Its the book now that I go to over again as the one I really trust to get me back on track when it comes to achieving my goals. Awesome !
1 review
September 17, 2016
ABSOLUTELY AMAZING. The author elegantly and simply explains success and how we can achieve. He does an amazing job of conveying his points in a simple way of something that usually is and often complex (or often described in a complex manner).

Matthew basically gives us a system to succeed on a silver platter. All in less than 200 pages. He not only labels WHAT, but he elaborates on HOW. Which is the amazing part.

Would highly recommend for anyone looking to succeed in any endeavor. Officially takes the spot as my most favourite book.
Profile Image for Grace Mwaura.
24 reviews6 followers
July 14, 2017
I am not an entrepreneur, neither do i read self-help books. But my friend convinced me to read this short book, which I have thoroughly enjoyed as a pace setter for 2017 and beyond.
Profile Image for pexfa.
30 reviews
March 29, 2020
Do you have big goals? Do you want to achieve them but don’t know how?

Are you frustrated by a lack of clarity in your life? Do you feel like you’re spinning your wheels, forever working, earning, paying but not progressing?

Are you doing what you feel you truly want to with your life? Or are you just coasting waiting for “someday”.

Have you taken hold of life and made your impression upon it, marking it with the imprint of your fingertips? Or is life dictating what happens to you everyday?

If these questions resonate with you, you will probably enjoy Life in Half a Second.

It’s not a scholarly book, the words aren’t sophisticated, the ideas themselves aren’t groundbreaking. But it is inspiring. If inspiration is something you need, you will find it here. But this book is more than inspiration. It presents a method — a way from getting from A to Z. From foggy, hazy, “I don’t know how to achieve my big goals” to “I have a system that I can implement”. Whether or not Michalewicz’s method will work for you, I can’t say, but it appears to have worked for him. If you’re the kind of person who can take a vague method of sorts and put it into action and make it work for you, then you’ll find some benefit in this book.

So those are the two things you can expect here — inspiration to be successful and a brief methodology you can follow.

The first thing Michalewicz does is paint a picture of the brevity of your life — half a second. He then provides a definition of success — the attainment of desired goals.

The rest of the book lays out in sequence the five steps — or doors as Michalewicz calls it — that you must walk through to attain success.

Those doors are:
1. Clarity (To achieve success you must have a clear and precise definition of what success looks like to you)
2. Desire (Your goals must be aligned with your desire; and your desire must be red hot otherwise it will never get you out of the door)
3. Belief (Not only must you believe in yourself, you must be prepared to surround yourself with people and things that align with where you want to be)
4. Knowledge (You must do all you can to close the gap of knowledge between where you are where you want to be)
5. Action (You must conquer your fear and take bold action)

Each chapter expounds on what you must do at each stage in order to ultimately attain your goals.

The prescriptions, although not groundbreaking, are presented forcefully and credibly. Michalewicz has a way of communicating which challenges and yet infuses you with a sense of belief and urgency.

Are the principles worth their salt? Yes, in my opinion. What he presents here is solid and he has enough motivation in his words to inspire you to act. But as with any self-help book, particularly one dealing with how to achieve success, it all depends on how well you execute.

With that said, some people will read this book, put it away, and move on to the next. Others may read it and be inspired enough to take its prescriptions seriously and act on them. For me, this is a book I will definitely go over again with a finer tooth-comb, taking Michalewicz at his word, to be more intentional with my goals and treating them with the fervency and urgency that Michalewicz has clearly treated his.

It’s not a long book — 170 pages; the words are uncomplicated, you can get through it very quickly. Not everything he says is watertight, but overall I do recommend it. Even if you think you might hate it, give it a shot. It might change the way you approach your life, or it might not. Either way it’s worth a read — a little bit of inspiration never hurt nobody.
Profile Image for Agrima Srivastava.
9 reviews3 followers
November 21, 2018
Matthew Michalewicz chooses a very interesting way of telling how our time on this planet earth is limited. If we consider the age of our universe a year long then relatively our life span would be of half a second. The book summarizes everything that a self-help book has to offer. What makes it different is the way the author puts it up. What is important here is how much from the book can we imbibe and incorporate in our daily life. Overall a quick nice read.
Profile Image for Stephanie.
382 reviews
March 7, 2018
4.5 stars. This is probably the best book on achieving success that I have read. It’s tangible, practical, science based and inspires you to take action.
Why 4.5, because to inspire you to take action he starts and ends the book explaining in huge detail just how insignificant your life is in the grand scheme of things. Whilst this may be true it left me feeling a bit unsettled! But maybe the average person needs this wake up call....
Profile Image for Becky.
423 reviews11 followers
December 21, 2019
There is nothing new here. Silly metaphors that would probably look good illustrated on a PowerPoint deck. An author who has achieved success and believes anyone can do the same, regardless of circumstance. A definition of success that, quite frankly, I’ve begun to find tedious and weak. That author expects to achieve a form of immortality through writing. This is not a book people will still be reading in the generations after he is gone.
Profile Image for Jasmine.
130 reviews
June 21, 2020
A good book to start you on your journey towards your goals, nothing particularly new in the content but well presented and articulated.

I really didn’t like how he looks down on workers though (or how the people who inspired him looked down on workers. If you don’t go to college you’ll just end up working at McDonalds? Or the person who referred to his employees as replaceable monkeys? Sheesh!!)
Profile Image for John Maluth.
Author 98 books1 follower
June 25, 2019
I loved it! I was listening to the audio version, and it was good. It was when I was traveling from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to Lagos, Nigeria. It took me bout 10 hours to listen to the book (2 way), and I then wrote to the author afterwards. We then became good friends to date.

Read this if you want to be serious in life and in business.
Profile Image for Fred Mcbreen.
43 reviews
July 15, 2018
Not a lot to this. A simple framework with a narrative of the author's personal experience and observations. It didn't float my boat or teach me anything new. It might be helpful for someone stuck in a rut
Profile Image for Asnabia.
17 reviews
May 18, 2019
Although it doesn’t come up with anything new in the world of self help, the narration is very inspiring with personal experiences and good examples.
The main points:
Have clear goals
Find success paths from successful people
Use a goal map
Stay motivated
Remember that life is short

Profile Image for Vikki Herrett.
94 reviews
July 2, 2019
if your not willing to do the work after reading this book , don't pick it up. in saying that this book is full of useful information that you can put into action in your life based on your values , wants and needs . its invaluable information if you work-on it .
2 reviews
September 13, 2017
I normally never read books like this but I found this one very good. Very actionable. I will read it again.
Profile Image for Sander.
12 reviews2 followers
May 31, 2019
"My life turned out the way it did because I designed it that way." Something we should all aspire to!
5 reviews
June 18, 2019
Wow! What a ride. Energy passion conviction melded with a simple message. You can achieve anything.. but don’t waste your time thinking... act.
2 reviews
November 9, 2019
Great book with so many practical guidelines to achieve goals. Very honest, direct and applicable.
Profile Image for LauraLouReads.
73 reviews
November 19, 2020
Not much of a fan of self help but I loved how this was written and this has really made me want to just get out there and live life!
Profile Image for Zoë.
110 reviews1 follower
May 17, 2021
Really hard to pursue this one. The constant Arnold schwarzenegger references were of no interest to me and i found it really hard to listen to.
Profile Image for Michael.
104 reviews
July 4, 2021
Quintessential and quick self-help.

Decent narrative but nothing truly ground-breaking.

Probably worth a re-read though as hype up idk.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 59 reviews

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