Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: The Pledge: Your Master Plan for an Abundant Life
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I have enjoyed Michael Masterson's writing in the "Early to Rise" e-newsletter for a few years now, and I've also enjoyed a couple of his earlier books, including "Seven Years to Seven Figures." So, when I learned a new book he'd written was coming out that focused on his strategies and systems for creating a master plan to live an abundant life, I immediately ordered it from my local bookstore and moved it into my immediate reading list. I was that interested in what Masterson had to say on the topic, and having just finished reading the book this morning, I was not disappointed in the least.

"The Pledge: Your Master Plan For An Abundant Life" by Michael Masterson is and enjoyable, motivating, and informative book that is meant to be used, not just read. Masterson makes a point in one of his chapters, and near the end in the conclusion that information in not the key to success and happiness, but the acting on information is what counts. He essentially shares the strategies he's used to become very successful in most people's definition of success. Not just financially, but in the quality of life lived. (Something he stresses often.) However, he is also one to point out that it does not come easy by just thinking positive or by working only four hours a week. To become financially successful, one must work. And Masterson shares that one must often work hard. But when the hard work pays off, it can often open up areas of quality recreation that success brings.

In the Introduction, there is a short test to help you look at your life and determine how good it really is. If nothing else, this gets you thinking about what your life is like, and if you want to make positive changes, it is good to look at where you are beginning. He also discusses some obstacles to achievement that many face. Next come the eight chapters, which are called "Parts One - Eight."

Part One focuses on your Master Plan and what it takes to change your life. Essentially this part tells you why you need to plan and motivates you to get started doing it. Part Two is about goal setting, and Masterson shares how he does it and why he recommends you do it too. Part Three focuses on living day by day abundantly. Masterson's key? Become an early riser. He explains why and provides some suggestions on how to get up early if you aren't already. I also enjoyed the look into his typical day. It was sort of like Donald Trump did in a couple of his books. This chapter also had suggestions on how to be on top of everything. Definitely some good advice.

Part Four was titled "Creating A Richer, More Enjoyable Life." I liked this chapter and the examples of Golden, Vaporous and Acidic Choices. Reading this chapter should get people looking at the choices they make and what they get from those choices. He also provides some strategies for living a simpler and fuller life that may resonate with many people in this complex world we now live in. Additionally, there are other suggestions for living that if implemented would help you enjoy life better.

Part Five deals with the push you need to succeed, or as Masterson puts it, giving yourself a kick in the pants. The Junkies Secret is not a way I've looked at this topic before, but it made good sense and I think the message here can help people become more motivated to go for their dreams. This chapter also looks at positive thinking, dealing with fear, and taking the big leap. Part Six discusses the skills of the most successful and how you can learn and implement them into your own life. I read a ton, but I still picked up a tip or two that I plan on using to read even more and get more from what I read.

In Part Seven, Masterson shares his ways to defeat obstacles that get in the way of success. Like the other chapters, there are some good strategies here. Topics include e-mail problems, being in a rut, and nine steps to defeating depression. Part Eight focuses on building wealth, and Masterson shares different ways people can accumulate wealth and the ways he's done it. This is not a how to, but rather a look at directions you can look at, and then it will be up to you to pick one and learn how to implement that course to make money.

Masterson then sums up the book with a conclusion that lets you know what you've just learned, but also encourages you to become a better person, and above all, take action now. His final words, "The time to act is now. Seize it!"

I enjoy books in the business and self-help categories. They motivate me to continue to drive forward and if I implement one or two strategies from a book that help me advance in an area of my life, it was well worth the time to read and study. This book is one of the most enjoyable and useful books in this area that I've read in a long time. I have already marked the sections I want to look at again as I try some of Masterson's suggestions in my own planing. I think anyone who reads this book and actually acts on the information provided will undoubtedly advance on their journey toward living an enriched and abundant life.

Reviewed by Alain Burrese, J.D., author of Hard-Won Wisdom From the School of Hard Knocks.
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on January 20, 2011
Being an aspiring copywriter is one of my two business plans in place for the 2011. As such I became of aware of this book since he is considered a guru in the field. Always looking for ways to improve my daily productivity and organization, I had high hopes. The book starts out strong and helps you examine your current life and situation. This is good I thought and he is encouraging that ANYONE can be successful. He first helps you define what success is for you, which is great and so important before defining goals. He then moves on to importance of planning by starting long term and working backwards to daily goals (for some this may be earth shattering..for me not so much). After that, the message is if you want to be successful, emulate me. To me this was where things start to fall apart. The rest of the book is a road map for success according to his beliefs and work systems. Some are certainly worthwhile considering. Others seem far fetched and not practical....though he obviously believes in them I would question their applicability for most. A couple examples of where he lost me:

* Take no more than a two minute shower (it takes me two minutes just to shave). Should one skip the soap?
* Feel tired in the middle of the day? Take a nap wherever you are...like under a table before a meeting. I'm so glad he has the money to tell the rest of the world where to go. There was no mention of what portable alarm clock he recommends.
* Reply to emails only at the end of the day as you need to take care of what is most important to YOU first...otherwise how will you accomplish your personal goals? He also suggests that you will write shorter emails at the end of the day because you want to be done with work. This forces you to truncate anything not absolutely necessary in the email (bet those emails are good for maintaining relationships and explaining things clearly). Yikes. Maybe if you are self-employed, but for those in the corporate world? An appendix on resume writing might be in order.
* He talks specifically about what your office should look and be like in order to be successful. Did you know you need dimmers on the lights in your office? Oh yes for those naps.

All this is not to say the book is not worthwhile. It is good reading with many good take aways....but you kinda need to look for them and figure out what is practical for you and your life. Which is so odd because as I said the book is meant to be a recipe for success and is so specific about so many things. I love to cook and tinker with recipes all the time, but you don't get the feeling tinkering with the recipe much is advocated by Mr. Masterson.
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on December 3, 2010
Michael Masterson has been a long-time favorite. I've enjoyed his newsletter and other books and would recommend them too, but this book is a bit different. It is more of his life and life ideals. An abundant life if more than wealth...and more than just enjoying life more. He helps the reader to figure out what they were meant to do so they can be congruent and therefore have a deeper inner sense of satisfaction.

In "The Pledge," Masterson takes the strategies that he has used and put them forth as a system to follow...almost like a recipe. He also provides tools that can be used to "discover" yourself. It is a way of engaging your mind and heart as you create a better and more fulfilling plan for your life.

I felt "The Pledge" was inspirational as well as motivational. It reminded me that you do have to work and add value to the world around you, but that when you work hard in the right way, the level of success is higher and it comes to you naturally. Your quality of life is much more to your satisfaction all the time, because people were meant to help other people.

I would highly recommend getting this book along with another that I read early this year and has meant a lot to me. It seems that there are a lot of similarities between what Masterson writes here and the concept of Serendipity as described by Madeleine Kay. The book I'm referring to is Serendipitously Rich: How to Get Delightfully, Delectably, Deliciously Rich (or Anything Else You Want) in 7 Ridiculously Easy Steps. It too moves you positively on a path of change in your life and it also gives you practical steps that teach you how to make decisions based on serendipity.
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on May 4, 2011
In the 64 years I've bounced around this planet I have read hundreds of self-help "How-to" books, and I can tell you this is absolutely the ONE! In one week with this book I've learned more than with all the others combined. If you are struggling with who you are, and where you want to go, this is THE book for you. I guarantee it will help you and guide you to the right track for your life. Don't wait!
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on April 11, 2011
See the entire review at [...]

You'll Learn How To

* Set specific and attainable weekly, monthly, and yearly goals
* Prioritize your daily to do list to get things done faster
* Keep a smart and memorable journal
* Optimize your sleep cycle
* Make smart choices on how to spend your time
* Solve disputes between colleagues in the most efficient way
* Mimic the routine and habits of an unconventional, likable, and smart millionaire.

Epic Gems

* When working, keep an egg timer at your side and set it for 33 minutes. Get as much done as possible for 33 minutes with no distractions. When time is up, take a 5 minute break to clear your mind and walk around. Reset the alarm and repeat.
* Write off vacations as a business expense by going on a couple job interviews at your destination.

* Calculate how much you make per hour by taking the total amount of money you made yearly and dividing that by 50. Take that number and divide it by 40.

* Keys to Effective and Efficient Meetings:
1. Focus on a single topic
2. The topic is expressed concisely in a short memo before the meeting
3. The meeting is run by someone who encourages ideas but pushes towards solutions
4. Make sure the right people are there but never more than 7 people.

Author's Resume

* Author of 7 book
* Ex Peace Corps volunteers
* Has run and consulted 18 multi-million dollar businesses
* Founder of Earlytorise.com

[...]
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on August 4, 2014
The initial chapter or two on goal setting is very well written and actually, the best, straight-forward method I have seen on how to set and accomplish goals. The book is worth the money for those chapters alone.

This book had the potential to be an early version of "The Compound Effect" but it veers off on some unexpected tangents. Although I greatly admire the author's accomplishments and would love to emulate his lifestyle some day, he does recommend some time-saving strategies that are not viable for most people, including the 2-minute shower. But overall, the book is good. I especially liked that he wrote about additional topics you don't usually see discussed, such as how to get moving after you find yourself in a funk. That took courage and I think his strategy will work.
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on October 12, 2013
If you are looking to making deep positive changes in your life, here's the book to get you on the path to success. It's an easy book to read, keeps you interested and will energize you to make change for the better.
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on March 2, 2012
A mini-treatise on achieving your goals that reads like a compilation of Napoleon Hill, Brian Tracy, and Joe Vitale all in one easily read volume that you can process and enjoy during a cross-country flight. Are some of the tips simple and intuitively obvious? Yes, but how many times have we read great articles in magazines or newspapers and forget their vital lessons within a few hours. Sometimes, we need to be gently reminded of life's simple lessons. As a fifty year old lawyer who has watched his life savings dwindled while financially assisting several indigent relatives through their last years in assisted living, I am now starting over at ground zero and needed more focus on achieving personal goals for my family and me. This book is a great start. Now the rest is up to me. v/r Jack Gately ([...])
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on December 25, 2010
Well Michael Masterson has done again this book book is full of gems,gold and provide the in and out of how to design and live a more enriching life.
What really got my attention here is to stay focus.He provides the right tools of asking the right questions which which help the reader understand why Peter Drucker once warned"The most serious mistakes are not being made as result wrong answers .The truly dangerous thing is asking the wrong questions."and above and beyond setting strategic boundaries that Steve Jobs coined" People think focus means saying yes to the thing you have to focus on."he later said "But that it is not what it's means at all.It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas.".The Plegde gives you the steps by steps tools to build wealth.I highly recommend it to any executive who is willing to things happen in their life and the customers they serve.
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on January 6, 2011
Having struggled a lot with planning, productivity and motivation in 2010, I could not pass up the opportunity to purchase this book from Michael Masterson. This is what I thought of it...
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