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Life Strategies: Doing What Works, Doing What Matters Paperback – January 19, 2000

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Editorial Reviews Review

Author and reader Phillip McGraw is at the forefront of a group of self-help gurus rethinking Americans' decade-plus-long celebration of victimhood. Calling himself a realist, he outlines 10 ways to take responsibility for and change your life. His reading mirrors the style of the weekend motivational seminars he conducts, designed to spark the listener into action. The lively pace crackles with such gems as, "My dad had taught me there are times in life where you just don't want to miss a good chance to shut up." While tape 1's side A bogs down during an account of Oprah Winfrey's beef-industry battles, side B dives quickly into the meat of the audiobook, featuring anecdotes from McGraw's own life and the 10 "Life Laws"--the rules by which McGraw believes the world plays. (Running time: 5 hours, 4 cassettes) --Kimberly Heinrichs --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Hachette Books; Reprint edition (January 19, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786884592
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786884599
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (359 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #193,857 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Phillip C. McGraw, Ph.D., has worked in the field of human functioning and strategic life planning for over twenty years. Dr. McGraw is co-founder and president of Courtroom Sciences, Inc., America's leading litigation consulting firm, and has been associated with some of the highest-profile cases in the country, including Oprah's highly publicized "Mad Cow" case. A professional psychologist, he appears regularly on Oprah as her resident expert on human functioning. He lives in Dallas.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

138 of 148 people found the following review helpful By Steven K. Szmutko VINE VOICE on June 4, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Each of us has the power to make those decisions which ultimately determine the course of our precious lives.
"Life Strategies" is one of those rare finds, a self-help book that does not wallow in big words or esoteric concepts. Mr. McGraw outlines his steps for success in life in simple, direct, yet engagingly written chapters. The organization of the book is excellent throughout and reflects an author who has had extensive experience in dealing with people from all walks of life. He deals with concepts such as self-reliance, individual responsibility and similar notions often downplayed (or ignored outright) by other authors seeking to play into the culture of victimization. You will find none of that in Mr. McGraw's book; his main theme is that we are responsible for our own lives and we do not have to allow ourselves to be knocked about like a punching bag on a windy day.
Once you pick up the book, it is difficult to put down; you will find yourself nodding your head at what you have always known in your heart, but do not always acknowledge in your daily life. This book is well worth the time.
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50 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Carol Alaniz on October 20, 2000
Format: Paperback
Don't get this book!! Having said that, this book has helped me to understand more things about myself than any other book I've bought. Nothing like the mamby-pamby books that tell you to get in touch with your *inner child*, Dr. Phil comes straight out and tells you if you don't like your life CHANGE IT. He gives you the tools to look at yourself, and if you really DO look at yourself, and are HONEST with yourself, you can work on the parts of you and your life that bug you.
As to the reviewer who commented that Dr. Phil says 'everyone is accountable' and what about rape victims, etc., are you going to tell them they are at fault....NO! You missed the point! On page 65-66, Dr. Phil wrote: (about child victims) "What about things that happened to me as a child? ~~ I realize that certain realities, some of them horribly sick realities, are visited upon us when we are children. I am not suggesting that, as children, we choose all of the events and circumstances in our lives...we are neither RESPONSIBLE (capitals are not Dr. Phils, but mine) or ACCOUNTABLE for being raped, abused, or molested. This is not what I'm saying. What I AM saying to you is that while you may not have had the knowledge or power, as a child, to make certain choices and are therefore not accountable for those events, as an ADULT you DO have the ability to choose your reaction to those childhood events and circumstances...the past is over and the future hasn't happened yet."
Dr. Phil continues: "Is it fair that it happened to you? No. Is it fair that you have to deal with that? No. It is fair that you have to live with it and manage it for the rest of your life? No. Are you nevertheless accountable for how you live with it and manage it? ABSOLUTELY.
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79 of 84 people found the following review helpful By Steven Charnick on January 31, 2001
Format: Paperback
In my review of Cheryl Richardson's 'Life Makeovers' I pointed out that an author's approach and style are what distinguish his or her work from the amazing number of self-help books available.

I would call this book 'a blunter 'Life Makeovers''.

For those who are unfamiliar with Dr. Phil's approach (he has appeared on talk shows, especially 'Oprah!') you will at first probably be turned off as I was. A 'client' will go on stage with him and start explaining the problem he or she has. He frequently interrupts and bluntly gets right to the most important underlying question.

The interesting thing is that this is the approach used by the best psychologists/psychiatrists. When you distill the problems you have down to the basic issue it becomes much easier to face and solve.

This book, by putting you in Dr. Phil's 'office', exposes you to this type of 'therapy'.

Is it a substitute for professional help if needed? No.

Is it an excellent way of trying to control your own destiny and see if you can solve your problems yourself? YES.

You might not be able to solve them - but this book will be your best chance to discover if you can.

I give this book a recommendation without reservation.

At least give it a try - it may change your outlook - it may change your life.
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34 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Obedient Daughter on June 16, 2000
Format: Paperback
I bought this book 3 months ago hoping to finally find a practical guide to living a happy and successful life. I read the best-seller CONVERSATIONS WITH GOD last summer and found myself living in a delusion of what we all wish the world was like, and making tons of excuses for my shortcomings. Dr. Phil's book is full of reality checks instead of dreams.
This is not a feel good book that produces results as soon as you read it. You must do the exercises and implement the ideas into your life in order to see changes. As soon as I started reading it however, I could see the truth in the life laws in everyone and every circumstance I encountered.
As much as I like the approach of the book, I think that one can get too caught up in finding fault in their lives and themselves. It's useful to outline the simple changes you wish to make before you begin the exercises, because it gets depressing when you start questioning the things in your life that are working. The book can also seem a bit too far-reaching at times. We don't all need to have everything and be everything, and noone is perfect. Simple enhancements to my life and a more positive and productive outlook were all I was looking for.
It's easy to read the book and see where other people are not following the life laws, but more difficult when it comes to yourself. Take the book slowly and re-read each chapter before moving on to the next. I've already seen changes in myself since I started reading the book and I feel that my relationships have been enhanced. Buy the book, and good luck!
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