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Life Strategies For Teens (Life Strategies Series) Paperback – December 4, 2000

64 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews Review

"Are you as tired as I am of books constantly telling you the same old Brady Bunch, Beaver Cleaver, goody-two-shoes BS about doing your best to understand your parents, doing your homework, making curfew, getting a haircut, dropping that hemline, and blah blah blah?" So inquires Jay McGraw, son of bestselling author Phillip C. McGraw, in the introduction to the younger, hipper version of his father's Life Strategies. This funny, straightforward guide helps teens steer rather than drift in life, dealing honestly with topics from peer pressure to TV addiction with the underlying mantra, "Don't like it? Change it." Divided into the same 10 "Life Laws" that are in his father's book (from "We teach people how to treat us" to "There is power in forgiveness"), McGraw urges teens to take control of their lives at every turn. That said, he doesn't expect any young person to respond to the way his father's book is written, so he translates "People do what works" to "The truth about why you can act so weird" and "Life rewards action" to "What are you waiting for? Get it in gear!" He demands that his readers ask themselves hard questions about missed opportunities, perceptions, self-sabotage, and personal shortcomings so they can figure out what's not working and fix it. Why? So that they can turn dreams into goals--with specific timelines and strategies. There's no doubt that the book has the enthusiastic pounding zeal of an aerobics instructor. But it makes a lot of sense, and if a teen took even a few of these lessons to heart, he or she would be more in control than most adults. (Ages 13 and older)

About the Author

Jay McGraw is executive producer of The Doctors, as well as president and CEO of Los Angeles-based Stage 29 Productions. He is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Ultimate Weight Solution for Teens: The 7 Keys to Weight Freedom; Life Strategies for Teens; and Closing the Gap: A Strategy for Bringing Parents and Teens Together. McGraw is a regular contributor on the Dr. Phil show and has also been featured as a teen expert on Larry King Live and the Today show. McGraw earned his law degree from Southern Methodist University and is a graduate of the University of Texas, where he received a BS in psychology. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Erica.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 910L (What's this?)
  • Series: Life Strategies Series
  • Paperback: 236 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone; 1st Printing edition (December 4, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 074321546X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743215466
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.7 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #48,604 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

164 of 175 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 17, 2001
Format: Paperback
I read this book after The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens, and though Life Strategies has some good points, I thought 7 Habits was a much better book.
The page layout of both books is shockingly similar...did they get the same graphic designer or what? Both books are similarly organized, though for 7 Habits the organization makes sense while the "life laws" of Life Strategies seem to be in haphazard order. Both books are written by the sons of the authors of the famous adult versions. Both books promise to have the magic formula for success in life, presented so that teens can understand it. Yeah, right.
Life Strategies does have some good points. Its presentation of goal setting is better than the one in 7 Habits, and its section on why you keep doing those problem behaviors is insightful (and reeks of a clinical psychologist father).
More troublesome was the chapter on how "You Tell People How to Treat You". This chapter is about setting boundaries, a very useful "life law". However, it is stated that people who don't obey your boundaries are "sicko freaks who need therapy or worse". In my experience, I have found that there is a gradient between a perfectly healthy relationship and a horribly abusive relationship. People aren't going to treat you well all the time, and even abusive people do something right once in a while. Dividing everything into black and white doesn't work well for describing the nature of life.

But what bothered me most about this book is its relentless promotion of the status quo. It is somehow assumed that your goals in life are to be popular and get good grades in school.
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109 of 117 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 22, 2000
Format: Paperback
"Dad, trust me, when it comes to teens, you don't get it!" Thus, Mr. Jay McGraw told his Dad, Dr. Phil McGraw, that Dr. Phil was violating his own first rule for Life Strategies, You Either Get It or You Don't. Mr. Jay had wanted to use Life Strategies to improve his own life, and found that it took him 6 years (from age 13 to age 19) to translate the lessons into a teen perspective that made sense to Mr. Jay. Mr. Jay was naturally appalled when he found that Dr. Phil had a book contract to do a book on Life Strategies for teens. The project was reborn in Mr. Jay's hands.
By the time Mr. Jay was done, he was no longer a teen, having reached the ripe old age of 20. But his memory of teenage perspectives is strong and salty.
Early in the book, he candidly points out that the teen did not buy this book. It was a gift from an adult, usually a parent. And that's a very good point -- one that I would like to comment on.
I suggest that you read this book before giving it to anyone. That may be its greatest benefit. Mr. Jay does a good job of taking on the key psychological, social, and developmental challenges of the teenage years. As you visit these points of view, you can begin to see how your teenager might see you.
For example, do you ever tell you teen stories about what it was like when you were your teen's age? I know I do. Mr. Jay points out that any self-respecting teen "knows" that those old lessons don't apply now. Times are much different and tougher now. Dad or Mom is just being "boring" again.
Do you ever interrupt your teen? Mr. Jay indicates that that means "that Mom or Dad doesn't ever listen to me." That can cut off the possibility of communication.
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60 of 64 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 19, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book might possibly be helpful if you're a teenager with no real problems. Jay McGraw uses himself as an example of the "average" teenager, trying to forget that he is an OK-looking, athletic son of a rich, famous guy who started the whole "Life Strategies" phenomenon in the first place. Jay's examples of problems (and subsequent triumphs) include when he was injured on the basketball court, felt sorry for himself for a while, and then worked hard at getting back into shape for the next basketball season; another "problem" was being nervous about asking his girlfriend to the prom. Sheesh, if these are your worst problems, do you even need a book like this?
Let's talk about real problems many teenagers face: a variety of physical and emotional abuse, violence, health problems, poverty, coercive school and penal systems, and the reality of sexism, racism, homophobia, and classism that a rich, young, white, male, straight kid like Jay knows nothing about. Having these problems forced upon one is not the equivalent to making a bunch of "excuses" for not getting good grades or being popular or avoiding drugs.
It was also hard to ignore the blatant sexist examples, such as the girl who is a "tease," while the similarly flirtatious boy goes unmentioned. (Why doesn't he just be honest about his double standard by calling her a "(...)" instead of the euphemism "tease"?)
I have respect for Dr. Phil McGraw, partly because he seems to be a self-made person. But his older son is little more than an arrogant, spoiled, sheltered (...) who won't admit to riding his dad's coattails.
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