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The Present: The Gift That Makes You Happier and More Successful at Work and in Life, Today! Hardcover – September 23, 2003


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 109 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Business; 1 edition (September 23, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385509308
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385509305
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (83 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #58,260 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Johnson's megaselling Who Moved My Cheese? helped readers cope with changes beyond their control. The author now proffers another easily digestible parable encompassing a related, but broader, topic: how to attain happiness and success in life. In large type that's easy on eyes both old and young (and that stretches this brief book past 100 pages), Johnson lays out a bare-bones tale of a man who learns a valuable lesson about living in the present from a wise old gent. Stuck in a rut in his job and personal life, the younger man learns about The Present, a three-fold way of living and working. Bit by bit, the old man explains how it works: in order to achieve bliss in life, it's important to pay equal attention to the past (learn from mistakes), the present (live in the moment) and the future (plan for it as best as possible, but don't "lose yourself in worry or anxiety"). The common-sense knowledge and concentration on living in the now lend a Zen feel to the story, and while Johnson's approach may border on the corny (everything runs smoothly for his characters, and they share with each other such tidbits as, "The Present is a gift you give to yourself. Only you have the power to discover what it is"), it's undeniably sound. Despite some awkward phrasings, Johnson's latest brims with good ideas for those feeling frustrated, stagnant, depressed or overwhelmed, and is bound to be embraced by the self-help-loving masses.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

“Many of the people I have observed could have been even happier and more successful, in their careers and their lives, had they been given the gift of The Present.”

Norman Augustine, Fmr. Chairman and CEO, Lockheed Martin Corp.,
Fmr. Chairman, American Red Cross, Fmr. Lecturer, Princeton University

More About the Author

Spencer Johnson, M.D., is one of the world's most respected thinkers and beloved authors. Dr. Johnson earned a B.A. degree in Psychology from the University of Southern California, an M.D. degree from the Royal College of Surgeons, and medical clerkships at The Mayo Clinic and Harvard Medical School. More than forty-six million copies of Spencer Johnson's books are in print worldwide in more than forty-seven languages.

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Customer Reviews

This book is a quick and easy read, and I think it's worth while picking up.
Trevor J. Flannigan
It is simple and a bit dull, but the most important thing about this book is not the story but the message.
Diana M. Rodriguez
If you are having trouble in selecting a fine gift for your friends this Christmas, just buy this book.
B.Sudhakar Shenoy

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By LML on December 8, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I'm surprised that no one has noted that this is Spencer Johnson's follow-up to his classic 1984 book "The Precious Present". When I first saw this book in fact, I thought it was just a repackaging and renaming of the original.
But it is a new book that continues and expands the fable of the boy and the old man. I frequently still give "The Precious Present" as a gift to friends and loved-ones. Now I plan on giving those same people this new book, which deepens the message of the original book. I suggest you do the same - if the recipient appreciated the first book they will love this sequel too. There is also a convenient card included in "The Present" that contains a summary of the principles.
Some people complain that the message of this book is too simple. Rather than a negative, I see the simplicity as a powerful positive. Knowing something and actually doing it are two very different things. Who among us could not benefit from a simple reminder of the power of living and focusing in the present? To reinforce the message so that I actually live it rather than just know it, I try to reread the original book once a month (it is very short and takes less than 10 minutes).
I highly recommend both books.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Blaine Greenfield on December 22, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I'm probably in the minority for not having been crazy about Spencer
Johnson's megaselling WHO MOVED MY CHEESE? (though the book he
co-authored with Ken Blanchard, THE ONE MINUTE MANAGER, is
one of my all-time favorites).
Yet that said, I jumped at the opportunity to listen to Johnson's
latest effort, THE PRESENT . . . and I'm glad I did . . . it was
fantastic!
Though the subtitle (THE GIFT THAT MAKES YOU HAPPIER AND
MORE SUCCESSFUL AT WORK AND IN LIFE, TODAY!) is perhaps
just a tad ambitious, I really did feel better after listening . . . it
is short story, told in the parable fashion that Johnson likes
to employ, about a man who learns a valuable lesson about
living in the present from a wise old gent.
The key: In order to achieve bliss in life, it's important to pay
equal attention to the past (learn from mistakes), the present
(live in the moment) and the future (plan for it as best as possible,
but don't "lose yourself in worry or anxiety").
There were so many worthwhile ideas presented that I almost
ran out of paper writing them down; for example:
It is hard to let go of the past if you have not learned from the
past. As soon as you learn and let go, you improve the present.
The more you learn from the past, the fewer regrets you have.
Only two things can rob you from joy of the present: your
negative version of the past or your negative version of the future.
You can't change the past, but you can learn from it.
It is important to plan for the future if you want the future to be better
than the present.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Diana M. Rodriguez on January 12, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I did like the book. You can read it in an hour if you stay focused in The Present. (sorry, I couldn't resist)
The purpose of the book is to let the world know that focusing on the present moment, learning from the past and preparing for the future will improve your life tremendously. That is awesome message everyone should listen to! There is just one problem. The story which is set up to convey this message is overly simple and honestly boring. Having said that, this book can work for people. It is simple and a bit dull, but the most important thing about this book is not the story but the message.
The Present reminded me of that other book, FISH, that was popular a few years ago. It has the same boring, simple story but a powerful message.
I think this book can be useful to many people. Just don't buy it thinking you are going to read a great story.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By GadgetGirl on February 5, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I have previously read and enjoyed "Who Moved My Cheese" by Spencer Johnson, so I was anxious to read his book entitled "The Present". Unfortunately, I was very disappointed. He seemed to take one simple thought-"Just Enjoy Today"-and stretch it into a book, albeit a very quick read. I did not feel the content was inciteful or useful beyond the one simple statement made above, which we've all heard before. Anyone can quote a concept, but few people can make the concept workable. Johnson leaves out the "how" part of living in The Present by giving example after example of how everything will just be wonderful if we would just worry about today. Maybe I'm one of those people he mentions in his book...maybe I just didn't "get it".
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33 of 43 people found the following review helpful By K. Delaney on October 31, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Like "Who Stole My Cheese" this is an extremely light short story couched between a forward that heaps praise on the story and an afterward that lays claims to life altering effects that result from reading the story.
The story itself is fluff about learning from the past, living in the present and preparing for the future...mixed in with a great deal of praise about the story.
It is a very interesting format...the book spends about half of its effort praising itself. It praises you for being so smart as to read and seek wisdom from this totally wise and pure author. This is an interesting format for creating a "feel good" story.
But I am a kurmudgeon who doesn't like marketing hype, and have a history of tossing wrenches in marketing schemes...two stars, and no recommend.
BTW: If you are a CEO planning a major re-engineering...you should consider giving a copy of "Who Stole My Cheese" to all the people you laid off, and a copy of "The Present" to the people you expect to work harder with your reduced workforce. It will make you feel wonderful about yourself. In fact, you might even want to increase your stock options.
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