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Personal Development for Smart People: The Conscious Pursuit of Personal Growth Paperback – October 15, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Steve Pavlina is widely recognized as the most successful personal-development blogger on the Internet, attracting more than two million monthly readers who value his unique insights. Instead of posing as a self-help guru with all the answers, Steve encourages people to fearlessly conduct their own personal growth experiments in order to learn through direct experience. He has written more than 700 free articles, often challenging his readers to question what they’ve been taught and to consider alternative perspectives. Blue-eyed, colorblind, and left-handed, Steve is the voice of recessive genes that seek creative expression instead of social conformity.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 266 pages
  • Publisher: Hay House (October 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401922767
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401922764
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (123 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #308,474 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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320 of 354 people found the following review helpful By D. Wong on October 4, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Steve Pavlina has a very popular personal development website, [...] and this is his new book.

In a nutshell

This book takes a new approach to personal development. I've read numerous books on goal-setting, relationships, career, finances, etc. and 99% of them focus on the practical things you can do in order to achieve success in whatever area you'd like to. "Personal Development for Smart People" is unique in that it tries to establish a set of core principles that form a foundation of all personal development, rather than just focusing on what you should try to DO. Steve Pavlina believes that it is acting out of the 7 core principles of Truth, Love, Power, Oneness, Authority, Courage, and Intelligence that guarantees success. Just like how there are universal laws of physics, he believes that he has discovered the universal laws of personal growth.The first half of the book explains the 7 core principles, and the second half of the book discusses how to apply them.

How different is "Personal Development for Smart People" from other personal development books?

It is extremely differernt- sometimes too different for my comfort. Of course, Steve Pavlina is very different from your typical self-help book author. He starts off the book by describing how he was arrested for felony grand theft as a 19 year-old, and subsequently got kicked out of college. He enrolled in another college and graduated in THREE semesters, while double-majoring in computer science and mathematics. Now, he is a vegetarian, and eats only raw food. He is also married to psychic medium/intuitive counselor.

So... you would expect Steve's book to be a little out-of-the-ordinary, yea?

Indeed it is.
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75 of 81 people found the following review helpful By Michael S. Turitzin on October 30, 2008
Format: Hardcover
When I first encountered Steve Pavlina's website "Personal Development for Smart People" a couple years ago, I was immediately impressed with the quality of its content. Steve's articles--which have titles like "The Courage to Live Consciously," "Cultivating Burning Desire," and "Whatever You Fear, You Must Face"--are well-written, insightful, and often motivating. Yes, they can be sappy and melodramatic, but they are far better than the junk usually found in personal development books. Steve's website is a great resource, and its success is well-deserved.

That said, I was a little disappointed by Steve's recent book, which is titled after his site. Steve is ambitious in his book's scope: he wants to define the "core principles" of personal growth, the principles on which all successful growth efforts are based. There exist self-help books on a broad range of topics--personal finance, career choice, relationships, and so on--and Steve wants his book to subsume all of them. His thesis is that all effective personal growth techniques are based on a few core principles. If you apply these principles to your life, he thinks, the more-specific techniques presented in other books will come naturally.

Steve's presentation is clear and well-thought-out. I like his core principles, which are named Truth, Love, and Power. Truth is seeing and accepting things as they are, Love is engaging fully and openly with the world, and Power is consciously effecting change. I also like Steve's scientific approach: he requires that his principles be universal, complete, irreducible, congruent, and practical. And I think Steve is probably right that his principles underlie most, if not all, effective personal growth efforts.

So why did I find PDFSP a little disappointing?
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46 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Sheila Viers on October 10, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Let me start off by saying that I am a avid believer in living each day for fulfillment. I have undergone an awakening over the past year, realizing that living with purpose and awareness is so much more rewarding than going with the flow, living each day just to get by. I love reading books that offer a different perspective and deeper insight into living more meaningfully. So you can imagine that I was thrilled to be fortunate enough to receive an advance copy of the book, "Personal Development for Smart People: The Conscious Pursuit of Personal Growth". I have just finished reading the book and I want to share my review with you.

Steve Pavlina

If you are unfamiliar with Steve Pavlina, I encourage you to check out his personal development website at [...] One could literally spend hours reading through more than 700 free articles of incredibly thought provoking information on that site. In the span of a few years, Steve has risen to the top echelon of personal development aficionados, attracting more than two million monthly readers to his site. When I first stumbled upon Steve and his website, I was amazed at the depth of his knowledge in personal growth. Steve's tag line is to "live life consciously" and in each article of his that I read, I grow more confidant that he truly follows this mantra every single day.


Steve begins the book by taking us back to the pivotal moment in his life when he realized that he was interested in personal development. It was 1991, and he was sitting in a jail cell after being arrested for felony grand theft. It soon becomes clear that he has had his fair share of life experiences to build from.
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