33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on December 8, 2003
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.
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on December 23, 2003
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
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.
15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on January 12, 2004
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.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on February 5, 2004
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".
33 of 43 people found the following review helpful
on November 1, 2003
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.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
The Precious Present by Dr. Johnson was a particularly effective book published in 1984 presenting a series of meditative thoughts to keep one appropriately focused on the moment. The only thing I didn't like about the book was the overuse of Capitals in the key meditations. That overuse made the meditations seem to scream at me rather than whisper ("Be In The Present" versus "Be in the present").
In The Present, Dr. Johnson has taken The Precious Present and packaged more of a story around the simple tale of an older man helping a younger one to recapture the joy of losing oneself in what one is doing . . . while keeping the choice of one's current perspective in focus. The gift wrapping around the earlier story is to see how one can tell this tale to someone else . . . and help them learn about how to share it with other people. I felt a little like I was reading instructions for how to create a network marketing company for Dr. Johnson's story.
Inexplicably, Dr. Johnson still uses CAPITALS too much for his meditations . . . and has added BOLDING to make the SHOUTING of his text even stronger. I graded the book down one star for moving away from its simple, quiet potential nature.
I recommend you read The Precious Present rather than The Present to learn these important lessons:
Be in the present; learn from the past to do things differently in the present; and envision a better future and act now to create it.
Like many of the fable books, this one has an enormous price per page. I suggest you read it at the library rather than purchasing the book. It won't take you long.
How can you do something you love now that will build a better future for you and those you love?
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
I tend to like self-improvement titles, as picking up one or two good ideas you can implement in your life can make a world of difference. To that end, I picked up a copy of The Present by Spencer Johnson. Johnson, the author of another book I really liked, Who Moved My Cheese?, tells a parable about a young man who is mentored by an older gentleman. The gentleman tells the man about "the present", and he does all he can to figure out what exactly that means. He finally realizes the "present" is not a physical gift, but a concept involving being totally involved in whatever you are currently doing. By learning how to learn from the past and prepare from the future, you can be much happier and productive in the present.
Definitely some interesting concepts, and ones that I can easily see myself working to implement in my own life.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on April 13, 2004
The Present is a classic example of Spencer's writing style that typically portrays a main character facing some sort of dilemma and finding solace and/or information from those around him. In this book, a young man seeks to find the answers to achieving success and happiness in his personal and business life. The book reads like a novel and succeeds in delivering a simple message of learning from the past, living for today, and planning for the future.
In The Present, Johnson extols his readers to live for today by focusing on what is "right now," and responding to what is "important now." He encourages readers to learn from the past by analyzing past events, learning from your mistakes, and making changes to prevent recurrence of mistakes. Finally, he asks readers to visualize an idealistic future, constructing plans to make this future happen, and implementing the plan to secure it.
This is an enjoyable little book, which you can read in a single setting. I highly recommend it as a personal motivation type book.
You may also want to read "Think and Grow Rich" by Napoleon Hill and "The 17 Principles of Creating Wealth" by Phillip Collinsworth.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on February 3, 2004
I concur with other reviewers that The Precious Present by the same author is a better book that conveys the same message. If you read either of them and you like them (or even if you don't), I suggest you check out The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. Where Johnson skims the surface, Tolle plumbs the depths.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 11, 2005
I am quite sure that a majority of readers or potential readers of this book came under the positive influence of the author's worldwide bestseller "Who moved my cheese?" The problem is, though both books carry concepts of similar simplicity, the mice in the maze analogy of "Who moved my cheese?" is so original and animated, relatively more lively and memorable than the continual life long discussions between an old man and a boy, and later a man.
In the rare case you dont know that "The Present" is the present moment/now, below please find some copy and paste for your reference before you made your purchase decision.
"When you are fully engaged in what you are doing your mind doesnt wander and you are happier. You are intent only on what is happening at that moment." Pg 30
Being in the Present means focusing on what is happening right now! It means appreciating the gifts you are offered every day. Pg 32
Even in the most difficult situations, when you focus on what is right in the present moment, it makes you happier, and gives you the needed energy and confidence to deal with what is wrong, today. Pg 37
"Pain is the difference between what is, and what you want to be." Pg 39
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. Pg 50
No one can predict or control the future. However, the more you plan for what you want to see happen, the less anxious you are in the present, and the more the future is known to you. Pg 64