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on March 8, 2002
Brian Tracy is one of the premier motivational/professional development speakers in the U.S. today. He has written several books and given hundreds of seminars (and continues to do so) on the subject(s). FOCAL POINT is his latest offering; a self-proclaimed process previously available only to his private clients who "unhesitatingly" paid thousands of dollars for his private coaching. While I have no doubt about this fact (that clients have paid thousands of dollars), this represents a bit of unnecessary commercial hype. Regardless, Mr. Tracy's reputation and knowledge base command attention.
The Focal Point Process is simplistically defined as self-analysis (introspection) of the actions/areas generating the best results in various aspects of one's life and those actions/areas consuming inordinate amounts of one's time yet generating moderate-to-poor results. After this bit of introspection, Tracy informs the reader to apply "Zero-based Thinking" to each activity: "Knowing what I know now, if I were not doing this now, would I start it up again today?" In other words, even though I perform this task/duty periodically, if I had the choice to start again, would I continue to perform this task/duty? This type of conceptual thinking is truly the poignant theme within the book and, in my opinion, germane and applicable to most.
Tracy leaks in more commercial tripe with the lead-in, "Double your income, double your time off" on page 9. This "claim" is based on the well-publicized yet empirically correct 80/20 rule. The 80/20 rule stipulates that one spends 80% of one's time generating 20% of one's results while 20% of one's time is spent generating 80% of one's results. With a few general exceptions, this rule is accurate, particularly to one's professional life. Tracy then takes this concept a step further and says if one were to 'concentrate' on the 20% activities and eliminate the 80% activities, one will have the capability to "double your income, double your time off." Not an altogether dismissive thought yet, once again, commercial.
The meat of FOCAL POINT is then spent on identifying the various Focal Points ("X" marks the spot is his mantra) in the reader's life, illustrating the concept of Zero-based Thinking to each area and finally proposing application of the 80/20 rule to each. While this is repetitive in nature, it is a reasonable roadmap to develop a personal/professional foundation for future achievement. In many ways, Tracy takes our current day modeling guru, Anthony Robbins, to task by implying that success can be achieved through self-analysis and introspection and modeling the 20% tasks (as opposed to Robbins' theory of modeling other successful individuals). This is a solid concept.
On page 199, Tracy reaches the finality of his coaching by providing the reader with his "Seven Lessons for the 21st Century" as follows [paraphrasing]:
1. Life gets better when you get better,
2. Where you've been doesn't matter; only where you're going,
3. One must fail to succeed,
4. Freedom comes through development of options,
5. See the good out of every problem or difficulty (i.e. learn the lesson),
6. You can learn anything you need for success through proper goal-setting, and
7. The only limits to success are within your mind.
These "lessons" do not cover any new ground in personal/professional development theory. However, Tracy does provide the reader with a backdrop for practical application and, ultimately, realization of one's goals. A fitting summarization to the book's message.
For anyone new to personal/professional development theory, this is an outstanding book for gleaning conceptual foundations. My only warning is don't EXPECT the "Double your..." theory to come to fruition without much trial-and-error. For those learned in the theories, it is a reasonable refresher and provides a new spin for condensed introspection.
Worth the read.
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on February 17, 2004
I have many of Brian Tracy's books and audio programs. And while everything Tracy does is excellent, Focal Point, is in my opinion, his best work. It is Brian Tracy's magnum opus---Focal Point has had the greatest impact in my personal and professional life. I Focal Point, Tracy shows you to identify what your focal point is in each area of your life and then asks you to direct all of your energies with laser like focus. Focus is like a laser beam. Just like a laser beam can cut through steel when properly focused and directed, focus as descibed in Focal Point can help you cut through barriers that have been holding you back to achieving your goals.I have a lot of books that I have read and given away. I keep all of Brian Tracy's book and Focal Point is one that I refer to again and again.Good, no, excellent work Mr. Tracy!
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on December 28, 2001
Personal development, in years past, has been a primary interest among people of all ages. We don't hear as much about the topic today as we used to. Nevertheless, the need is still present . . . perhaps even more than ever before. With so many people today focused on their computers, some have forgotten about the fine art of balanced personal growth.
Brian Tracy is a master in the field of personal and professional development. His speeches, seminars, and consulting around the globe have contributed to Tracy's reputation. He is highly respected and quite influential, particularly among the thousands who attend his presentations each year. As Tracy lived his life, then taught others his system, his approach was continually refined. In Focal Point, it all comes together for anyone who reads the book.
Focal Point explains how users of this tool (you'll do more than just read the words in this book to get its powerful total value) can unlock their full potential. At the same time, using the system will enable you to double your productivity and simplify your life. Of course, this sounds like the makings of a fine motivational speech; Tracy is a motivator. But, this book invests most of its pages in the how-to.
The chapters are filled with the knowledge of the sages in this field. Many teachings will sound familiar-good! In Focal Point, all that advice is pulled together into one place, one system to learn and apply. A listing of the chapter headings will reveal what you will explore in these pages: Tap Your Most Precious Resource, Practice Personal Strategic Planning, Supercharge Your Business and Career, Improve Your Family and Personal Life, Achieve Financial Independence, Enjoy Superb Health and Fitness, Become Everything You Are Capable of Becoming, Make a Difference in Your Community, and Spiritual Development and Inner Peace. Note that these are how-to chapters, filled with things like "Six Steps to Doubling Your Income and Doubling Your Time Off" and "Seven Keys to Higher Productivity." Each chapter includes challenging questions to help you see where you still have some work to do.
Tracy's Focal Point process consists of seven steps to be applied in each area of concern:
values, vision, goals, knowledge and skills, habits, daily activities, and actions. The whole valuable system is explained so you can use the book as a tool to make a substantial difference in yourself, your success, and your personal satisfaction. The book concludes with a chapter on Seven Lessons for the Twenty-First Century, a List of Values, a Recommended Reading list, and an index.
If you want to strengthen your life, your effectiveness, and your happiness, you'll discover a great friend in Focal Point. And you'll probably recommend it to your friends. It's just that kind of a book: it bothers you, makes you uncomfortable, but shows you how to make the improvements you want to need and desire. Go for it!
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on July 10, 2004
This is undoubtably Brian Tracy's best work to date, his magnum opus. In this great book, Brian Tracy shows you how to concentrate (focus) on what is most important and achieve your goals.
With so many things to do, how do you determine where to concentrate your efforts? Brian explains how.
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A direct and practical plan, Focal Point is Brian Tracy's latest guide to how to take control of your life while still achieving all of your goals. The book focuses on one of the things most lacking in many people's lives today.... balance between career and personal life. Instead of spreading yourself thin among all the things that you have to do, the book leads you through techniques to determine the focal points in all areas of your life. Then with this focus you can change your life and achieve more in the areas that are important to you while gaining control and peace.
I really liked the fact that this is a no nonsense book. I have read other books that espouse similar ideas but part of getting control of your time is to use it wisely. I really appreciate that this book is not filled with fluff and motivational stories, but is direct and to the point. This makes it one of the best reference books on the market today for regaining balance in your life while focusing on achieving your most important goals.
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on February 27, 2002
Although Someone who has listened or read many of Brians materials might feel that it tends to become monotinous, I think Focal Point has actually condensed down a lot of Brian's information. Just like Brian Likes to quote the 20/80 rule, and how 80% of one's effectiveness will comes from 20% of their Efforts, this book is close to encompassing 80% of the ideas and principles that Brian Tracy is famous for presenting. At least in this book you will have a condensed version- Only 209 Pages. Althought this book is not that long, in order to really digest it, you will have to invest time in doing the Exercises. If I had never read any of Brian's Materials, I would read this first, and then select more based on my interest in specific areas, like Management, Sales, and Financial Independence. I feel I have always liked his Sales stuff the best. Focal Point is key in helping get the balance, and maintain the balance in your life by sharpening your goals and values in the areas of Business&Career, Family& Personal, Financial, Health& Fitness, Personal Development, Community Involvement, and Spiritual development. This balance is key to overall Peak Success.
Matthew Lee
P.E.A.K. Development Group
Performing Excellence and Achievement throught Knowledge
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on June 9, 2003
More cliches than constructive advice. Reads like the written translation of a coaching or motivational seminar. Chapters include "Unlock your full potential," "Double your productivity," "Simplify your life," "Enjoy superb health and fitness," and "Become everything you are capable of being," among others.
For a book on one's 'focal point', there seems to be a lot of cliches widely dispersed throughout the book, e.g., the 20/80 rule, "commit to excellence," "Work harder at what you do," "Identify your customers," and then "Fire your customers." Tracy includes what he calls "Perhaps the most famous mission statement of the twentieth century," as George Marshall said to Dwight Eisenhower, "Proceed to London. Invade Europe. Defeat the Germans." I prefer the Hollywood version of Marshall, from "Saving Private Ryan": "He's alive. We're going to go in there and get him the he** out of there."
Tracy offers "The Seven Rs of Simplification," which are actually seven "Res": Rethink, reevaluate, reorganize, restructure, etc. All this simplification sees to get pretty repetitive, and complicated. It is good to simplify and to control, but it is not clear that simplification comes from redoing anything and/or everything. And offering "Six steps to doubling your income and doubling your time off" seems like a pretty simple, powerful idea, but it includes steps like "Decide today to take at least one full day each week off work..." Nice work if you can get it.
Tracy tells a story about his dentist who "made a great sacrifice" to attend a seminar in Hong Kong and, as a result of what he learned there, retired five years later a multimillionaire. We should all wish that life and wealth could be that easy. What about all the other people who attended the seminar? When will they offer it again?
To cut to the chase: The focal power of goals does work. Let's face it, if we really want to simplify, control and focus, success comes down to three things: desire, direction and discipline. "Focal Point" is a bit about the first, a lot about the second, and not much about the third. And it is all over the place. If you are looking for focus, look elsewhere.
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on November 20, 2001
Mr. Tracy first got my attention with Maximum Achievement. Focal Point is OUTSTANDING! Yeah, some will say this stuff is repetitive or found in other sources. However, I assure you this information is the very best for getting your life on track. I do need to read repetive information. As I have repeated my mistakes so many times, so must I relace those habits with great material over and over again. Mr. Tracy is a brilliant writer who will hold you, excite you, motivate you, and guide you with his fresh approach to this material. It's all here, in one book.
If you have even the slightest desire for something better in your life, then get this book.
Of all the success authors and speakers out there Brian Tracy has helped me the most and stayed the test of time! He may not be a "household name" in your home, but he is in mine!
Thank you, Brian!
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on November 10, 2001
Of all the books I have read by Brian Tracy, I believe this one is the Best! Mr. Tracy writes this book for the average reader, He has laid out the steps you need to take to turn your life around. Follow the steps in each segment of your life from Business and Career to Family and Personal Life to Social and Community Activities, if you do this you too can improve your life.
Mr. Tracy reminds us to clarify our focal point, put together a blueprint to achieve our goal, and to get started.
While reading this book, I started thinking about and making notes about the focal point in each part of my life, and let me tell you, I am NOW on the right road to success!! Thank you Mr. Tracy, you have done it again!
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on March 22, 2002
Brian Tracy's "Focal Point" is a primer in how to achieve one's goals and
simplify one's life. It is a detailed set of tools to: 1) help you do more
of what works, 2) do less of the things that don't benefit you, 3) do and
learn new things, and 4) eliminate the things that work against you. What
Tracy brings to his book is a high degree of passion for success and for
tapping into unexplored possibilities. One simple point he makes early on
is German philosopher Goethe's idea, "Everything is hard before it is easy."
I think if people just get that, it could transform their lives. Another
point was that observing a behavior tends to change that behavior for the
better. It reminded me of an excellent book by Ariel and Shya Kane called
"Working on Yourself Doesn't Work," which emphasizes the power of awareness
to dramatically improve one's aliveness. I recommend both books for readers
with a hunch that life holds far more possibility than meets the eye.
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