Date: January 26, 2012

Author: JT

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What I’ve Read Lately: Why People Fail

“Why People Fail: The 16 Obstacles to Success and How You Can Overcome Them”
by: Siimon Reynolds
ISBN: 978-1-118-10617-4

jtpedersen_Why People Fail_Book_Review

Why People Fail is actually a twist on words.  It could just as easily been titled along the lines of How to Be Successful. Siimon provides an easily read book that highlights 16 key points underlying how people set themselves up to fail.

Step by step, Siimon discusses ways readers can incrementally work to improve themselves, from self-image, through proper health and exercise, to rituals and persistence…to name a few.

The notion of kaizen came to mind shortly after starting into the book.  So it was with a smile, about a quarter of the way in, that I saw this excerpt:

You may be familiar with the Japanese concept of kaizen.  it’s a philosophy that has been central to Japanese manufacturing for over fifty years… The English translation for kaizen is “small and continuous improvements.”  The Japanese believe that if the spirit of kaizen is applied to any area with regularity, that area is sure to get better.

Lest you be concerned, this isn’t some gushy, wishy-washy, make you feel-good book.  Siimon describes how he has spent years studying the topic of success; how he has applied it to himself (personally, not in some abstract fashion); and offers what I feel are fairly pragmatic tools for the reader’s own use.

Many of the suggestions made are also tied to research, surveys, and other scientific studies.  One of my favorites has to do with the 350 year-old music genre, Baroque.  Listening to baroque music while you work has been scientifically proven to increase your concentration, lift your creativity, and make you perform better.  Siimon points out that baroque music’s 4/4 time beat has been proven to relax the mind and improve synaptic connections in the brain.

Normally, I like listening to solo pianists.  Not having my own collection of baroque music<g>, I decided to see what Pandora had available. (Side note, I love using Pandora.) Now, I routinely am including some time for baroque music.  For me, it works quite well.  And, this is one of the many suggestions the book holds for the reader.

Here are the 16 areas discussed:

  • Unclear Purpose
  • Destructive Thinking
  • Low Productivity
  • Fixed Mindset
  • Weak Energy
  • Not Asking the Right Questions
  • Poor Presentation Skills
  • Mistaking IQ for EQ
  • Poor Self-image
  • Not Enough Thinking
  • No Daily Rituals
  • Stress
  • Few Relationships
  • Lack of Persistence
  • Money obsession
  • Not Focusing On Strengths

If you struggle, or seek to improve in any of these key areas, this is a book worth reading.  I really enjoyed how Siimon approaches the topics.  He’s not condescending.  He doesn’t look down his nose at you.  And, he shares how he uses his suggestions personally—conceding that some people find him strange for doing so.  I appreciate his courage in sharing with all of us.

Do I recommend the book? Yes, I do.  Even though his publisher sent me a copy for free, to review, I thought enough of it to buy a copy for myself, for use on my ereader, so I could more easily mark up key areas of interest.

6 Responses to “What I’ve Read Lately: Why People Fail”

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