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Creating Your Own Destiny:  How to Get Exactly What You Want Out of Life, written by Patrick Snow, is my favorite self-improvement book this year.  Such praise proffered is saying a great deal because my blog, “Helpful Books,” reflects my very choosy appetite.  

As a Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology and Religion, I think I’m able to separate the bogus self-schleppy, New Age fluff from the wisdom of the ages. I can tell when a person is pushing candy and when they’re sharing real life experiences that offer authentic encouragement to the reader. Creating Your Own Destiny is of the latter ilk. 

All 16 chapters of his book are chock-full of wisdom (both ancient and “kitchen-table”)—most of it drawn from Snow’s direct experience as an employee, husband, father, son, and entrepreneur.  He also mines his favorite inspiring quotes from those admirable people he’s tried to emulate (including his own parents).

Snow is a formidable optimist and a transparent truth-teller; he shares what works and the exact techniques he’s used (and still uses) to thrive as an author, speaker, book coach and business consultant.

Like those other “Honest Abe’s” in business—Stephen Covey, Martha Beck, Brian Tracey, Warren Bennis, Oprah and Laurence G. Boldt—Snow isn’t “selling” this idea of “creating your own destiny” as if it’s easy. He testifies to how hard won it is to be diligent in your aim to “follow your heart’s desires.” He humbly describes his own sense of failure and the lessons that came all along the way.

At one point Snow had a paper-route (as a second job!) to make ends meet and he often encourages readers to keep their current job while building up their own business and getting out of any debt. In no way does Snow promote a “wish-based” or “day-dreamer’s” reality. He invites people to dream big and to take action on their dreams or they will be living in a nightmare. 

It is clear to this reader that Snow is a person of integrity, fairness, service and faith. One cannot help but feel his passion for giving away his secrets of success—specific methods from his own past achievements and current dreams.

All of what Snow makes plain throughout this book reiterates these four winning elements:  Let yourself have a vision (dream); Put it down on paper within a realizable time frame (plan); Step up to the plate and live into the dream, (execute); and reap the benefits of your hard work and tenacity (soar)! 

Snow believes in his principled technology because he has been experiencing its benefits ever since he was a young man. His father encouraged him to write down what he wanted to see happen in his life (check back in on them and be grateful for the miracles that follow). This method has been working for Snow ever since.  

Snow clearly believes that his most profound learning has come from clarifying his aspirations, taking bigger risks, overcoming his greatest challenges–including what the naysayers may say–and getting clear on who it’s all for. His ultimate motivator is adding to the wealth of love embodied in all his relationships—especially his immediate family).

Many people gripped by financial fear and psychological insecurity do not think, “family first!” when it comes to creating wealth or insuring happiness. In fact, the pursuit of “abundance” can sometimes be a red herring for the rotting fish in one’s personal life and relationships. In fact, when one looks to Wall Street, popular culture, or even the outgoing administration (in 2008), we can see that principled solutions to most of our current crises are perceived to be a thing of the past. But, there is hope.

My favorite tenets of this book that are like no other, include the following:

1.  Unique questions about your inner-direction, priorities and past practices and plenty of room to fill in your own answers.

2.  A plethora of wonderful quotes to inspire the reader—I’m talking more than 321 of them.

3.  Humor and humility in equal measure.

4.  Honesty about the marketplace and the greed and ignorance that can rule when profit comes before people.

5.  Placing one’s priority on happiness within relationships, not just as a “successful” individual. So many “self-help” books begin and end with the “self” thus fueling the unhappy illusion that we are rocks, Islands, and legitimate narcissists.

6.  Though Snow is a “born again” Christian, he doesn’t push what guides him, in a religious sense. His advice seems to come from an open mind, one committed to leaving readers to find their own understanding to “destiny” and purposeful living.

7.  He urges those who want to make money to look at their spending, saving and investing habits and asks readers what they believe “more money” will do for them. I love the idea that people who make more money often spend more money and feel just as fearful about money-lack as the rest of the middle class. Money smarts doesn’t necessarily come along with a better income.

8.  Though Snow is an optimist, in no way is he naïve. He has clearly suffered many losses:  his childhood home was nearly burnt to the ground, his agility after a back injury at 18, his dream of becoming an NCAA football player for Michigan, his first few jobs after college,  a custom-designed dream home (in order to get out debt); and hearing initial reviewers of his CYOD manuscript tell him, “Don’t quit your day job, you’ll never make it as an author!” I’m sure he’s laughing all the way to the bank after selling more than 125,000 copies of his book (now in its 9th Edition).

9.  His nature as a person comes straight through his inspirational writing. He is clearly a person of great character –  true blue – not just red, white and blue (though he is that, too).

10.  He values loved ones and knows that he would not be here without those special mentors, teachers, leaders who’ve paved the way. Snow is clearly driven to make the world a better place by having more “enlivened-by-their-work” human beings truly living in it.

As you might have guessed, I strongly recommend this book and so do his readers–some from Nairobi, Thailand, Vietnam, Mexico, Pakistan, India and Iraq. This book has been translated into many languages and appreciated by people of all ages.

It seems the perfect time to get inner direction, regardless of your context.

The sweeping changes in North American society would give any conscious person pause when considering positively affecting their future. Yet, the notion of counting on a secure marketplace or reliable employment is even more fanciful. 

Asking ourselves Snow’s important questions could not be more relevant for the 21st century. That his writing speaks to so many people outside the U.S. tells us that these principles are universal, timeless and enduring.

Snow did not invent his recommended methods nor does he take credit for them. He has simply identified, experimented, and organized them into a framework that nine to 109-year olds can test for themselves.

To order his book, go directly to his website.

If you like this book, you’ll like mine too: Check it out for yourself:  Manlowe’s Books!

 

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