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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 Ways to Great - A Breath of Fresh Air, January 9, 2010
This review is from: 8 Ways to Great: Peak Performance on the Job and in Your Life (Hardcover)
My inbox is awash these days with thoughts on New Year's resolutions. It's either from friends telling me what theirs are, asking me what mine are (here's a hint - I don't make any) or from people promising a mystical way to make New Year's resolutions manifest.

It's all wonderful from the standpoint of tradition.

However, I think many people are once again being set up for their annual disappointment when their quest for the best job ever, the best weight-loss results ever or their "best whatever " initiative fails to manifest for another year.

As a strategy advisor to Fortune 25 companies, I have watched many companies and projects also set out to achieve their best project ever, only to fail for the same reasons.

As human beings, we are more predictable than we would like to believe.

So when I first took a look at Dr. Doug Hirschhorn's book "8 Ways to Great", I thought "uh huh - another self improvement book to go into the pile of books promising me eternal youth, unlimited wealth, dinner with the Queen and the Pope and just about anything else people dream up."

How wrong I was.

Dr. Hirschhorn is a performance coach and executive trainer who works with high achievers in the trading business. He has conducted workshops at financial institutions and corporations across the US and has been a guest on many TV programs, including the Today show, The Big Idea, Fast Money and Power Lunch. His background is as a trader AND a sports psychologist - a powerful combination when it comes to personal improvement. This book is described as "hard hitting and pragmatic".

With my many years on Wall Street, this background and description intrigued me. My ultra-left-brained outlook on personal improvement needed to know more. After all, I like to give others an occasional cranial defibrillation - I was overdue for one myself.

I was not disappointed.

As a matter of fact, it was Dr. Hirschhorn's pragmatism as well as his deep insight that makes this book so powerful.

He opens with a powerful self-exploration of what your life passion is. In other words - "Why do you think you are on this planet?". He doesn't focus on what you think you do well, After all, many of us do things well that we absolutely hate and therefore wouldn't want to be trapped into a lifetime of doing it. If I just inadvertently described you, then you REALLY need this book.

As the author notes:

"There's nothing magical about why why works. It's all a matter of perspective. Knowing why you want to do something shifts your perspective from the negative to the positive. Instead of getting that sinking feeling in your stomach because you're asking "How am I ever going to be able to do this?" you'll be buoyed up by knowing "I have to do this because .....""

In essence, if you can't get passionate about it, how will you ever put the energy and action into it to produce the results you want and what will give you the fuel to persevere when you encounter challenges and obstacles?

All things being equal, your passion will carry you across the goal-line.

Having determined your "why", the author walks you through the steps to translate your "why" into goals that follow the CHAMP® system. Dr. Hirschhorn suggests that your goals must be:


What a breath of fresh air this system is. Most people go about setting goals that are fuzzy, indefinable, immeasurable or rely on some alignment of the stars or their personal connection to the cosmos. No wonder when you meet these people every year, they are still working on manifesting the same goals (and you hear "but this year, it's going to be different").

Dr. Hirschhorn brings us back to reality - a way of defining goals that are within our ability to achieve.

In the rest of the book, he guides you through the steps to bringing your goals alive, to move towards them with unwavering precision and to grow your inner confidence as you achieve your goals and aspire towards greater ones.

As he guides you, he enlightens you on what he believes are The "8 Ways to Great":

1. Let your true passion be your core motivation.

2. Develop self-awareness and use what you know about both your strengths and weaknesses.

3. Set goals and game plans-and learn to love this process, because it is all about the process.

4. Identify your competitive advantage-what sets you apart and what will turn the odds in your favor.

5. Develop inner confidence that keeps you from judging yourself based on other's standards and expectations.

6. Keep your cool-and don't let emotions dictate your decisions.

7. Take risks yet act intelligently with imperfect information.

8. Be accountable.

They are powerful when applied effectively!

Having this book at your side is like having a high-priced, high-performance coach sitting there with you, guiding you through the process of lifting your life to a new level.

What I also appreciate is that Dr. Hirschhorn is not just spouting off some goal-setting mantra that so many authors re-hash and cast off as something new.

He is sharing a process that he has repeated over and over with successful people. His track record is impressive.

Who wouldn't want to have access to a personal coach like this?

After my many years of providing strategic and tactical guidance to corporate leaders, I found much within "8 Ways to Great" that I didn't know.

For that, I am grateful for Dr. Hirschhorn's book.

I think you will be as well once you have read it.

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