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What Matters Most : The Power of Living Your Values Paperback – October 9, 2001
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From Publishers Weekly
With advice that's more practical than spiritual, this respectable if unoriginal self-help book encourages readers to find greater meaning in life through determining goals and formulating a mission statement. Smith believes that goal setting has value not only for individuals who have lost their moral compass, but for families, organizations (such as his Franklin Covey Company) and even nations. He supplies exercises for gaining self-understanding, evaluating one's roles, assessing their relative importance and determining what he calls "governing values," along with guidance for achieving long-range goals, pithy mantras ("whip the demons by small victories every day") and familiar talk about fear of failure and fear of change. Smith shares some anecdotes about his own development and the efficacy of his program, including a lengthy tale about lecturing to troubled Utah high school kids, along with reflections on Winston Churchill, Michael Jordan and Mother Teresa. With many accomplishments to his credit as a successful family man, the business executive who created the Franklin Planner daybook, a motivational speaker and the author of the bestseller Ten Natural Laws of Time and Life Management, Smith is well qualified to write this book and will attract many readers with his reputation, but some may be disappointed by his occasionally preachy and self-satisfied tone, and that his familiar message lacks the punch of authors like Stephen Covey and the empathy of such others as Laurie Beth Jones.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Jack Canfield coauthor of Chicken Soup for the Unsinkable Soul If you really want to take control of your life and do more of what is really meaningful to you, then read this book written by one of the true masters!
Richard Carlson author of Don't Sweat the Small Stuff...and It's All Small Stuff If you care about what really matters, read this book. Thoughtful and beautifully written. An enormous contribution to ethics, integrity, and the renewal of character.
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Top Customer Reviews
According to page 66, the primary objective of the book is to help readers close the gap between what they really value and what they are doing, which the author describe as the most excruciating kind of pain. Along such, the author "prescribed" : "Burn it into memory. Wake up each morning and ask yourself, "What am I going to do today to close the gap between what I am doing and what really matters most to me?"" In my opinion, the author had been very successful in achieving his goal. This is a very enjoyable book under the author's very good writing skill. I might have rated it a five star if I had not read "The 10 natural laws" before this.
Below please find some passages I love for your reference. Hope you can have a better grasp of the strengths of this book.
Page 64: Why New Year Resolutions don't work? Part of the problem is that we have the cart before the horse. We think that by simply setting out a few vague goals, behavior changes will miraculously happen. Setting goals is important and necessary, but it's not the place to begin. My suggestion is that you delay writing resolutions until you have identified your governing values, those things in life that matter most to you, those things without which you would find life meaningless or unfulfilling, those things that lie at heart of who you are and who you hope to become.
Pg 150: The most effective tool I have discovered in whipping the demons is to have regular victories in my life every single day. When you do something right, take a moment and savor the feeling. Even a little victory does wonders for your confidence and motivation. Make a conscious effort to successfully complete some task each day related to something that really matters to you. That'll help keep the demons at bay.
Pg 151: There are many types of diseases that afflict the human body, and we spend millions and perhaps billions of dollars trying to find cures. But there is one disease of epidemic proportions in our society on which we spend little or no money or effort - the crippling disease called fear of failure.
Pg 153: There is a wonderful story about a very successful entrepreneur who was asked why he was so successful. His response was "Good decisions." The second question was "Well, how do you make good decisions?" The response,: "Experience." And then the final question: "How do you get experience?" And the response:"Bad decisions."
"Be yourself, but be that perfectly" is the theme of this book. The problem is that " . . . too many have lost contact with the deeply held values that matter." As a result, being yourself perfectly " . . . won't necessarily be easy." This argument is based on the observation of the sense of peace and comfort we feel when we act in alignment with our values, and the unease that follows acting out of alignment with those values. Many anecdotes are shared that will ring true in almost everyone's experience to make that point.
The bulk of the book focuses on helping you uncover what those values are and how to act more in alignment with them by using the benefits of more planning, action, and discovery in coordinating your roles with your life's mission and values. Mr. Smith is part of the Franklin Covey Company (for which he helped create the Franklin planner), and much of his thinking on mission and values will seem familiar from reading Dr. Stephen Covey's many books, such as Principle-Centered Leadership. Mr. Smith's treatment here is more practical than Dr. Covey's is in his books, and Mr. Smith provides many more examples. Dr. Covey's writing style is more lyrical, but Mr. Smith information is easier to work with.
One of the great strengths of this book is its discussion of hero qualities. These include self-awareness, confidence, self-worth, a sense of urgency, a personal mission, personal magnetism, awareness of and respect for one's own uniqueness, having consistency in one's life, and having a sense of calmness and serenity. The book is worth buying just for this section, which is chapter one.
One of the book's strengths is that it taps into our emotions very effectively. One of my favorite ways this was done is in describing the common lament "someday I'm going to . . ." and pointing out that today is a good time to get started with all of those important tasks. This is explored in chapter two.
Part one focuses on explaining the clarity and power you can get from knowing who you are. Part two is the heart of the book -- discovering what matters most to you. Part three is a practical exercise in working on something that matters greatly to you. Part four expands your perspective on this process by looking at how it applies to organizations, over a lifetime, and to wider groups (there's a nice discussion of Nelson Mandela and Gary Player here). You are also encouraged to adopt an abundance mentality. This last material is very much like the Tony Robbins work on this same point. In part five, there is additional emotional reinforcement for starting to make the necessary changes.
After you have finished reading and doing the exercises in the three books I have recommended to you, I suggest that you find someone who is in dispair about their own life and offer to help them learn these lessons, too. This will be a good way for you to both reinforce your new learning and to live a life of broader meaning and caring.
Be part of the ever-expanding network of caring heroines and heroes who help others improve!
As the title suggests, if you wish to lead a rich and fulfilling life, (and we're not talking material things here) you must live it in accordance with the values and people that matters most to you. You can't be everything to everyone, and you need to be clear about what matters most in your life, otherwise you will live your life in a fog. Once you are clear about what matters most, by living in accordance with those priorities, your life will be more in harmony with your deeper self.
Rich with personal examples, I found this book reached to me at a deep level. Daring to ask yourself what matters most is the first step, then it's up to you to act on them. I would recommend this book to anyone.
It's unfortunate some people are not happy with the book - especially when they haven't even looked at it! While some of the concepts may have been published elsewhere, this book presents them in a wonderful and easy-to-read format. What Matters Most certainly doesn't rehash The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People - rather it compliments it quite well. In fact, I've started to read The 7 Habits book again and it all makes much more sense now.
I highly recommend this book to everyone.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
EXCELLENT---Mind Blowing summation, received the book yesterday, and I'm already 50%...Read more