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Become Who You Were Born to Be: We All Have a Gift. . . . Have You Discovered Yours? Hardcover – April 10, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Americans are going through a crisis of identity these days, writes Souza, founder of Paragon Holdings LLC, which teaches personal and organizational success worldwide. Clinical depression rates are skyrocketing, he says. And while our living standards have improved in the past century, we have lost our sense of purpose. Souza has his finger on the discontentment epidemic facing many working professionals, since he used to be in the same boat—by age 27 he was a high-powered executive with a six-figure salary, but he finally realized he hated his job and wasn't satisfied with the external trappings of wealth. By finding his own sense of purpose in helping people discover theirs, he found his path. In each chapter, Souza draws lessons from the lives of successful people, some famous, who found their passion early, such as Lance Armstrong, Richard Branson and Oprah Winfrey. But it's the psychological astuteness with which he analyzes the fearful life patterns many Americans fall into that makes this book most valuable. In his view, so-called identity crises are natural and ongoing: we are supposed to change, try new experiences and evolve at every stage of our lives. "There are no shortcuts to success," Souza says, arguing for persistence, hard work and the ability to deal with failure. Not in the least preachy, Souza pushes readers to commit to a goal and follow through. Happiness, he says, is the goal, "but it never comes directly. It comes only as a by-product of living in truth and committing ourselves with everything we've got to discovering our gift and sharing it with the world." Readers looking for inspiration and moral support in following their dreams will find it here. (Apr.)
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"...Brian Souza has cracked the code with BECOME WHO YOU WERE BORN TO BE." -- REV. THEODORE M. HESBURGH, President Emeritus, University of Notre Dame

"...I can't imagine anyone who wouldn't be helped by applying its wisdom to their private life or business." -- DR. ROBERT H. SCHULLER, Founding Pastor, Crystal Cathedral Ministries

"...It is not only a blueprint for succeeding at work; it's a blueprint for succeeding at life." -- DR. STEPHEN R. COVEY, Author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and The 8th Habit

"BECOME WHO YOU WERE BORN TO BE by Brian Souza is a beautiful book... Don't miss it!" -- DR. KEN BLANCHARD, Author of The One-Minute Manager and The Secret

"OUTSTANDING! If there is one book every man, woman, and child should read (this) is definitely it!" -- JACKIE JOYNER KERSEE, Olympic Gold Medalist

"This is a surprisingly well done book that has helped me tremendously, and could help you too." -- Jack Covert, CEO of 800-CEO-READ --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Harmony (April 10, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307346625
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307346629
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 1.1 x 9.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,710,528 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Gaetan Lion on April 10, 2007
Format: Hardcover
There are hundreds of Self-Help books out there. Some are useful. This is not one of them. The book is structured around five supposedly sequential parts: Part I Discover it [your gift], Part II Develop it, etc... But, there is little substance to it. The book is nearly 300 pages long, but each page tells the same thing: find out what you want to do, and do it. It shares tens of biographical examples that have the same pattern: An individual overcame the odds of a miserable childhood to become most successful in life through determination. The profiled characters include Lance Armstrong, Abraham Lincoln, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mother Theresa, and Mahatma Gandhi. That's inspirational but not informational.

I judge a self-help book by its usefulness. Does the author convey practical insights beyond the self-evident? Is the advice original? (Or, has it been stated many times before). Has this book changed my perspective, attitude, and knowledge? The response is no.

Let me recommend other books instead. Unlike Souza who keeps you guessing, Marcus Buckingham allows you to readily identify your talents in "Now Discover Your Strength." While Souza keeps you dreaming, Stephen Covey tells you concretely how to give your life purpose in "The Seven Habits of Effective People."
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By T. Parker on May 17, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Okay, give the one dissenter below some credit for his book bash. I can kind of see his point, especially with the title being what it is. The title is a little lofty, but hey, the author can't share his knowledge unless he sells books. And his knowledge - the stuff after the cheesy cover - is really, really good. David Ogilvy once said, "Great ideas tend to be simple ideas." And this book is not rocket science. It's a lot of insightful common sense, gleaned from many many interviews with a lot of really really successful people, then laid out for the reader in a digestible, useful way. Like the best self-help books (I think Rich Dad, Poor Dad is a good example), Brian simply provides you with a different and yet totally logical way to approach something that we're all so close to - in this case, what we do for a living. He helps you step back, clear your mind a bit, examine what it is you're doing, what you happen to enjoy doing, what you happen to be good at, and then approach it with a fresh perspective. The examples he gives and the people who illustrate his ideas are dead-on. Hell, listening to Lance Armstrong talk about all the sports he SUCKED at (and how badly he sucked at them) before he got into cycling, is reason enough to re-evaluate what you do for a living. This book is good, sound, fundamental advice that a person can actually read and then ACT ON. Granted, the world still needs ditch diggers and cornea-removers, but there's more than enough room for most of us to figure out what our ideal role in life is, and then do it. Give it to a college kid. Give it to a high school kid. Hell, give it to your uncle who's 45 and has been schlepping HP toner cartridges for 20 years. Buy it, read it, then give it away.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Patrick D. Goonan on April 27, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I found Brian Souza's book to be very well-organized, inspirational and full of concrete examples. I know that others have a different orientation in terms of wanting or needing a stronger practical focus. However, I also know that many people need inspiration and a vision that will give them the drive to move toward worthwhile goals. I know this because I am a personal and professional coach and help a lot of people precisely with these types of issues.

I imagine almost everyone who is reading this has heard of the right and left brain split. The left brain is more linear and the right brain more specialized in synthetic type thought. What I find in career counseling and finding a path is that most people neglect the first part, which is a right hemisphere process that looks inward for values and a vision. This is precisely what this book focuses on. There are many books out there on "how to do" the left hemisphere tactical part of executing on a vision. My guess is this book was published because it meets a need in the market for more of this type of information.

Another thing I really enjoyed about this title was that it sticks to a simple formula. Just like in music or sports, mastering fundamentals is the key to high performance. The book also takes the important key concepts and illustrates them through interesting vignettes from the lives of high achievers such as Oprah and Lance Armstrong. This brings the concepts alive and seems to have a lot of value. Culturally, we have been telling stories to each other for 7,500 years and its probably the most natural way for concepts and principles to land deeply.

I get the sense that this author believes in what he says and most likely embodies the principles he is talking about.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ashley Ayres on December 16, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Become Who You Were Born to Be is a truly life-changing and inspirational journey of discovery. The author, Brian Souza tells his real life success story and that of many other inspirational "greats" such as Oprah Winfrey, Lance Armstrong, Sylvester Stallone, Garth Brooks, Amy Tan, and many others. The stories are a touching and empowering look into the lives of truly courageous people on their journey to discovering their life's purpose and how they achieved their goals and used their gift to create extraordinary lives.

Brian Souza's book is a sincere look at discovering your gift by realizing your passion and purpose in life. Brian gives you the skills to figure out what your gift is and how your outlook governs your outcome and that through controlling your thoughts you can control your destiny.

Brian reminds us that dreams are long term, and there are no shortcuts to success, but goals are milestones to our dreams. "Goals are like road signs. They tell us which direction we're heading and how long it should take to get there. To arrive at our destination we must not only be swept up with the excitement of our giant dreams but also committed to the tiny, repetitive intermediate tasks and goals that will lead to its fruition." Patience and perseverance are the keys to discovering your dreams, always remembering that what we focus on tends to happen.

He talks about the 5 steps to achieving our goals: First discovering your gift, then developing your gift, next finding an appreciation for your gift, followed by using your gift, and ultimately giving your gift away.

He tackles how to discover your gift, achieve your goals, face your fears, follow your personal compass by using your values to guide you, and discovering your true happiness.
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