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Overachievement: The New Science of Working Less to Accomplish More [Paperback]

John Eliot
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 25, 2006 1591841313 978-1591841319
Relax. Set goals. Focus on the outcome. Lose yourself to the Zone. All reasonable, sensible advice when you are facing a big presentation at work, a crucial point in the game, or any kind of career-launching performance. And all utterly, hopelessly, wrong.

According to John Eliot, Ph.D., "Such self-improvement balderdash will do nothing but relegate you to a career in mediocrity."

As Dr. Eliot has discovered through his cutting-edge research and real-world coaching, techniques such as goal-setting, relaxation, visualization, stress management, and flow just don’t work for most people. Relaxing when the pressure is on is the wrong way to go. Instead, to really ratchet up your performance, you’ll need to change the way you think about pressure—and learn how to welcome it, enjoy it, and make it work to your advantage.

Mixing scientific insights with entertaining and inspiring stories, Overachievement will help you achieve spectacular success in any situation that demands you rise above and beyond what you ever thought possible.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Most people have experienced pre-performance jitters, whether they come before a date, an exam or a business presentation. But rather than spend mental energy trying to quash this reaction, Eliot says, they should stay focused on the task at hand, remaining confident in their abilities in order to rise to what the subconscious recognizes as a momentous occasion. Unlike other performance enhancement guides that prescribe specific techniques, Eliot has one broad goal—"getting your mind ready to perform"—and freely admits everyone will need to find an approach to what he calls "the Trusting Mindset" based on their unique passions and commitments. He does present compelling examples from his own career as a performance consultant as well as other tales from the worlds of business and sport. When Eliot encourages readers to think like Yogi Berra, he isn’t talking about embracing paradox but about a tenacious focus on fulfilling your dreams despite "realistic" criticism from peers, and he drives the point home further by comparing Berra to Michael Dell and Virgin CEO Richard Branson. Though the hard-headedness of his approach is at odds with much conventional wisdom, his upfront conversational tone makes his advice not just palatable but convincing. Even if they don’t achieve superstar results right away, readers from all walks of life should find it easier to hone their concentration and work a little harder.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

"The antithesis of every self-improvement guru."
—Jim Pawlak, Chicago Tribune

"[Eliot’s] upfront conversational tone makes his advice not just palatable but convincing. Even if they don’t achieve superstar results right away, readers from all walks of life should find it easier to hone their concentration and work a little harder."
—Publishers Weekly

Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Portfolio Trade (April 25, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591841313
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591841319
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 5.4 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,006,342 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
37 of 40 people found the following review helpful
The reasonable man adapts himself to the world. The unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. All progress depends on the unreasonable man.

This is the message of John Eliot. Basically he says that none of the real champions of sport, business, art, etc ever followed a prescribed success formula as listed by the Steven Covey's, Tony Robbin's, etc. Instead they were just confident people who believed in doing things their own way and were passionate about what they were doing. Pause for thought for all of us trying to incrementally improve ourselves by reading scroes of self improvement books, biographies, paying too much attention to 360 feedback or appraisals listings of our weaknesses.

His key messages are:

1. Don't use your head. Lose yourself to the moment, passion. Don't get calm, get charged. Trust yourself. Don't overanalyse. Put pressure on yourself! Devise a method to get yourself in the right frame. Use it every time.

2. Don't put limits on yourself. Don't set goals. They aren't stretching, they're limiting. Chase a dream that is downright unachievable.

3. Hard work is overrated. The key is to do the right things, not necessarily doing things right

4. Don't try and hedge your risks. Put all your eggs in one basket and WATCH THAT BASKET

5. There is no such thing as too much self assurance. Arrogant SOBs who believe in themselves are the ones who run the world. Don't believe the experts (think Dell, Buffet, Gates, Paige&Brin, Columbus, the earth is flat?, etc). And confidence is not your track record... these guys weren't confident in themselves after they had proved themselves right... no, they proved it before.

6. Being a team player involves conforming and conforming will at the end of the day bring you nothing but mundane results being achieved by all the others conforming
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good insights but reads like a College textbook October 20, 2006
I bought this book due to the overwhelmingly positive reviews so I must say from the outset I was disappointed. The information is thought provoking and I will try the techniques to see if they actually work. The problem I had is with the writing. It again appears to be a case of stretching a 100 page book into 250 pages. John Eliot throws every profession together, (with major emphasis on athletes) so whether you are an athlete or a shoe salesman these techniques are supposed to work. In this regard the book is unfocused, attempting to be all things to all people. As opposed to one size fits all, Eliot should have had chapters on how specific professions could benefit from his techniques. We are instead given anecdotes on how an athlete performed on a given occasion due to a change in approach.

I really wanted to like this book but found it too clinical and yes boring. Halfway through the book I found myself counting the pages to the end. I finally finished and felt I had completed a College textbook written by a sports coach that was just NOT engaging.

I'm sorry if I sound harsh but my expectations were very high and unfortunately not met.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I wish I could give it 5 stars August 17, 2010
By Pnigro
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Can you picture Muhammad Ali taking notes at a Tony Robbins seminar?

Haha, no.

99% of self help books and websites are useless. Why? Because they don't teach you HOW TO THINK. All they do is give you exercises and tactics for accomplishing things. The funny thing is that none of the great achievers ever used any of these tactics, they just think different.

Many self improvement gurus try to come up with theories and philosophies about how to live life and be fulfilled. These are completely useless because 1) they are not based on science, 2) they are not practical, and 3) great people like Michael Jordan and Richard Branson never followed any system or theory like that.

This book tries to explain the way successful people think. These people do not sit down and write a list of goals they want to achieve in 30 days. They do not use NLP techniques. They do not plan ahead. They do not worry about the probability of failure. They are not realistic. They are not results oriented. They do not strive for perfection.

These people are irrationally confident in themselves. Deep down they really believe in themselves and they know that they will accomplish what they want NO MATTER WHAT. They have dreams, not goals, and they enjoy pursuing their dreams. They live in their own little world. Failures and criticism do not affect them.

The main lessons I got from this book are:

- The Trusting Mindset.
- Pressure and stress improve performance.
- Anxiety is a cognitive misinterpretation of stress and the fight/flight response.
- Confidence comes before success.
- Focusing on goals is counterproductive. CHASE A DREAM instead of setting goals.
- Successful people do not follow systems or formulas.
Read more ›
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Packed with Knowledge! August 26, 2005
Anyone who wants to grow and improve can benefit from reading John Eliot's book, which teaches you how to develop the power of focused thinking and, thus, to develop yourself in whatever you do. Eliot explains how to use focus to become an exceptional thinker and performer so you can achieve extraordinary things. He believes in following your passion, learning to live in the moment and incorporating some fun into your life and your job. These concepts can help anyone perform better, but they particularly call to those who want to transcend being "average" and to live with passion and purpose. Eliot explains that the human body is physiologically designed to perform exceptionally well under stress. Therefore, he says, don't focus on eliminating stress from your life. Instead, make good use of it. Although Eliot uses numerous examples from sports to illustrate his fundamental principles, readers without a great interest in athletics will still find his stories very interesting, applicable and helpful. Even if this sensible self-help book contradicts some popular self-perfecting advice, it provides a strategy for putting your passions and mental powers to work. We recommend it to those who lead stressful lives - here's how to make stress work for you.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A must if You mean business
Finaly a book that deals with reality instead of platitudes. Helps You improve Your game on every level. It's a must
Published 7 months ago by Mikael Lornstam
5.0 out of 5 stars Motivational
I really like the way the author uses known business, sports, etc people and their accomplishments to enhance the content. Read more
Published 12 months ago by ND
2.0 out of 5 stars More psychological than practical
Lots of stories about how others had break through overachievement. There was less instruction on how to actually achieve this.
Published 16 months ago by Jamie Pritzl
3.0 out of 5 stars Pure Snake Oil Sold by a Guy Who Could Sell Ice to an Inuit.
TL;DR version. The book isn't terrible, but like any great con, Eliot sells the sizzle and not the steak. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Maurice Webb
2.0 out of 5 stars Five star journal article but only two star book
I am confused when I should evaluate the book. Although the basic assumptions are very interesting and based on sound evidence, they could be summed up in two page summary. Read more
Published on July 10, 2012 by Daneb
5.0 out of 5 stars What a life changer
This book is a life changing book.

I've read so many self-help books in my time. Literally more than a hundred different self-help books. Read more
Published on April 2, 2012 by Megawatt
4.0 out of 5 stars Unsung hero of self-help books
Stumbled across this book and gave it a chance, and what a pleasant surprise. Exceeded my expectations. Read more
Published on January 15, 2012 by EMM
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and Unusual Advice
This book is definitely different from the usual self-help blather. The advice it gives for exceptional achievement is somewhat counter-intuitive and very different from what you... Read more
Published on December 13, 2011 by Book Fanatic
5.0 out of 5 stars awesome book, great seller, and perfect condition. amazing price!!!
the title says it all! lol It was a great buy. and it is an amazing book. I recommend it to anyone who wants to perform better
Published on December 26, 2010 by Gregoreo
I just read the book and I really think it's the only book you need on self-improvement.
Easy, clear and straight to the point.
great job.
Published on February 20, 2010 by Chris X
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