Some people spend their lives reacting to what life hands them, while others craft life to fit their goals. Author Phillip C. McGraw, who is a psychologist but describes himself as a strategist, is determined to make sure that his readers are the creators of
their lives, not created by
their lives. By accepting that you are personally accountable for every element of your life, McGraw says, you can erase the negative "epidemic behaviors" (found in all of American society: denial, false assumptions, inertia, deceptive masking) in your life and reach your goals.
Written in a tough-love, sometimes cantankerous tone, this self-help book is not for those looking to explore their inner child or visualize away negative energy. No, this is pull-yourself-up-by-the- bootstraps advice from someone who's done just that. McGraw opens with a scene describing how he helped Oprah Winfrey survive--and win--the 1998 "Mad Cow" lawsuit in Texas, when she was having difficulty coping with the reality of what was happening to her. He helped her face the facts about the lawsuit, after which she was better able to participate in crafting a strategy to win it.
McGraw first forces you to take a good hard look at who you are by dissecting your personality. It may be painful to realize that you fall into the "Porcupine" or "Perfecto" or any of the other personality types McGraw delineates, but here it's true that there's no gain without pain, because (Life Law No. 4) "You Can't Change What You Don't Acknowledge." He then describes in depth all 10 "Life Laws"--the rules by which the world plays--that he learned the hard way. Laws such as "You Either Get It, or You Don't," "Life Is Managed; It Is Not Cured," and "You Have to Name It to Claim It" make up the bulk of the book and McGraw's realist philosophy.
If you learn and abide by the Life Laws and go on to create a Life Strategy, McGraw claims you will not only know yourself better and eliminate negative behaviors, you will also know how to reach any goal you set for yourself. --Stefanie Durbin
From Publishers Weekly
After advising Oprah Winfrey in her successful defense against accusations of slander by the beef industry, McGraw, a behavior specialist and trial expert, now makes appearances on Oprah's program as a member of her "Change Your Life TV Team," joining such other luminaries of self-help as Suze Orman, John Gray and Iyanla Vanzant. While McGraw's presentation may play well on the small screen, it suffers on the page from lack of focus, awkward writing and a relentlessly hectoring tone. At the outset, McGraw browbeats his readers: "You are either winning or losing in your life, plain and simple. You live in a competitive world." His strategy for winning is built around 10 "Life Laws," which include the following: "You Either Get It or You Don't"; "You Can't Change What You Don't Acknowledge"; and "There Is No Reality; Only Perception." He also gives 16 homework assignments: the first, to list the five things in your life you have failed to acknowledge to yourself; the second, to write "The Story I'll Tell Myself If I Don't Create Meaningful and Lasting Change After Reading and Studying This Book." McGraw does a good job of identifying many self-defeating behaviors, but it will be up to readers to determine for themselves the efficacy of his methods of changing them. 500,000 first printing; major ad/promo.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.