The book I’m reviewing today, Personal Development for Smart People, by Steve Pavlina was one of my most anticipated books lately, since Steve announced it. And I was fortunate to be sent a review copy.
I’ve already written about Steve Pavlina here and there on this site, mostly as related to his and his wife’s experiences with developing psychic abilities, mostly mediumship. I’ve also interviewed Steve’s wife, Erin Pavlina in June 2007. She is a psychic medium. But this book is not about psychic abilities at all.
Steve is one of the most known personal development bloggers today. I’ve known his site for several years now and have found him to be one of the most original and prolific bloggers on the subject. He had many unique ideas and views on many topics and his writing style is very much to my taste.
Steve has published several hundred articles on his site on various topics and it was interesting to see what he could innovate in his book. Steve promised that the book won’t be a rehash of site’s content and I’m glad to say that he delivered.
The book is just about 150 pages but it is so packed with original ideas and concepts that other writers would have smeared it at least on a handful of books. Luckily for the readers, Steve’s ability to present his ideas succinctly, without much repetition packed the book dense with information.
So what is this book about? The book presents a way of how to look at conscious personal development. The book is built from the ground, in a bottoms up approach, which gives it a somewhat philosophical kind of depth. Indeed, Steve has tried, for the purpose of writing the book, to analyze, in his mind, many of the existing successful growth practices. He analyzed them by trying to identify the most basic principles that unite all of them.
His goal was to find a set of basic principles that would be universal, meaning that they should be for everyone and for all areas of personal development and life. They should be timeless – work in the future and should have been working thousands of years ago as well. They should be collectively complete, meaning that all laws of personal growth should be based on them. And the primary principles should be irreducible. Of course, they also shouldn’t conflict with each other.
Steve then introduces the seven principles. Three core principles: Truth, Love and Power. And four secondary principles, oneness, authority, courage and intelligence. These secondary principles are based on the first 3 in different combinations.
So, part I of the book explores these principles. There’s a chapter for each of them. This is the more “dry”, philosophical part of the book, where the reader builds the foundation.
The second part of the book shows how to apply each of these principles in various areas of one’s growth process. There are chapters for habits, career, money, health, relationship and spirituality. Every area is explorer through the lens of the principles.
Some of these chapter include practical advice as to how one should analyze his situation in the given area. Usually this is done by truthfully answering some very difficult questions. Sometimes feelings and emotion are the guide. But everywhere Steve tries to be only the guide, asking the questions and showing the way one should take to analyze his situation and find the correct answer for himself, which might be different for everyone.
Whoever follows Steve’s blog knows that he changed his diet, from regular to vegetarian, then to vegan. In the last year he switched to eating only raw food. One of the positive effects that Steve mentioned from these changes and that his mental clarity improved with each of this changes. His thinking abilities improved since concentration was easier and mental fog dissipated. This book clearly shows that Steve’s mind capable of going into real depths of thought, giving the process of personal development an almost scientific approach.
The book is titled “Personal Development for Smart People”. And it delivers.