Personal Development for Smart People: The Conscious Pursuit of Personal Growth

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Despite promises of “fast and easy” results from slick marketers, real personal growth is neither fast nor easy. The truth is that hard work, courage, and self-discipline are required to achieve meaningful resultsa??results that are not attained by those who cling to the fantasy of achievement without effort.

Personal Development for Smart People reveals the unvarnished truth about what it takes to consciously grow as a human being. As you read, you’ll learn the seven universal principles behind all successful growth efforts (truth, love, power, oneness, authority, courage, and intelligence); as well as practical, insightful methods for improving your health, relationships, career, finances, and more.

You’ll see how to become the conscious creator of your life instead of feeling hopelessly adrift, enjoy a fulfilling career that honors your unique self-expression, attract empowering relationships with loving, compatible partners, wake up early feeling motivated, energized, and enthusiastic, achieve inspiring goals with disciplined daily habits and much more!

With its refreshingly honest yet highly motivating style, this fascinating book will help you courageously explore, creatively express, and consciously embrace your extraordinary human journey.

Customer Reviews:

  • Great book on personal development
    This is a nice book about personal development. Insights contained within this book are very refreshing and useful. Those viewponits supply me with another angle to view pervious things and answered many questions those I hadn't found answer before.and this angle is deeper and more fundamental.Steve reveals principles of PDSP to us.This book will give you many "ahas" though you maybe not agree with steve 100%.Recommend this book strongly!!!...more info
  • Will Make You Think, and Then Think Again
    This is a great book for motivation and personal development. I really like how the author builds a framework for personal development and then illustrates how that framework applies to different situations. Being a computer programmer by nature this approach really resonates with me and allows me to see where the author is coming from. At points the author has some extreme points of view and backs them up with a pretty solid belief system but he also states that you should not listen to him blindly and make up your own mind. This book is not a step by step solution but will enlighten you to discover your own path. I highly recommend it....more info
  • The Core Principles Of Personal Development
    Pavliniac (n): Person who is an avid reader of Steve Pavlina's blog ( and participant in his forums (

    Okay, I freely admit it... I'm a Pavliniac, and like many others, I've been eagerly anticipating the release of Steve's book, Personal Development For Smart People, since he announced that he was writing one. Luckily for those of us who are impatient souls, a glitch somewhere along the line resulted in the book being released earlier than the intended date of 15 October. Dare I call this a collective manifestation caused by all Steve's many fans?!

    The reason why I've been a long-term reader of Steve's blog is that I enjoy the blend of logic and intuition in his writing and thought processes. Often, personal development blogs sit at one of the extremes, and while I'm more than happy to read such blogs, I find that my blog reading list as a whole has to find a balance between the two. Steve's blog, however, is one of the few that combine the best of both sides of the brain, and his newly released book follows suit.

    This book presents the results of Steve's search for the universal principles underlying personal development - Love, Truth and Power. These core principles are further expanded to Oneness (Truth + Love), Authority (Truth + Power), and Courage (Love + Power). Finally, Intelligence is defined as the combination of all three core principles.

    This framework synthesises information in what is often a broad and fragmented field, and provides both philosophical and practical applications to a diverse range of life areas, such as career, relationships and health. Although Steve has given examples from his own life throughout the book as well as provided exercises through which readers can utilise the principles in their own development, this is not a prescriptive book. Rather, the book aims to increase readers' awareness of the principles in their lives, so that where these are present they can be further developed, and where these appear to be absent they can be allowed to grow. It is, as the book's tagline says, the conscious pursuit of personal growth.

    In the introduction, Steve states that the principles should be simple and elegant. They are. In fact, at first glance, it may appear that some of the book's content is in fact too simple. Yet, this is not a simplicity born of triteness and self-help clich®¶ that is unfortunately all too common in the personal development arena. Instead, this is the kind of simplicity that emerges from dedicated and conscious exploration and experimentation in the area of personal growth. It is a simplicity that allows us to recognise the overarching structures of life that exist at a deeper level. It is what Oliver Wendell Holmes referred to as the simplicity on the other side of complexity.

    Can things really be this simple? Yes. But, remember that simplicity doesn't necessarily equal easy. As Steve points out, personal development can be very challenging at times. It is at such times that it helps to have a touchstone to return to and which can guide us through to the other side of the complexity. This book is that touchstone.
    ...more info
  • These Are The Fundamentals... everything else stems from this book
    Have you ever found a book that you like so much that you read it, highlighted it, wrote in the margins, put flags on your favorite passages, and reread it over and over? Well, that's how I feel about Steve Pavlina's new book Personal Development for Smart People.

    It's been over a month since I've received my copy of this book, and to tell you the truth I haven't been able to put it down. Half way through the book I promised myself that I would reread the whole thing every 3-6 months, but I already lost track of how many times I've read it.

    The book itself is much different from the hundreds of personal development books that I've read to date. What makes it unique, and worth taking a look at, is that it doesn't try to force feed you the author's idea on how you should be living your life.

    Personal Development for Smart People gently guides you on a path to your own core, by making three very brilliant distinctions on Truth, Love, and Power. These three values prove to be fundamental in living the most fulfilling life that is most suited for you.

    I feel like a lot of other self-help books give you fish. They give you a specific idea, or specific tool, that can help you solve one specific problem. This book is different, because it doesn't just give you tools, but it teaches you how to make tools -- it trains your mind for problem solving, and that's a skill you could take anywhere in life.
    Honesty With Yourself

    In the very first chapter of this book, there is a small self-assessment that asks the reader to honestly evaluate the area of their life. This evaluation isn't based on where you currently stand, but on the path that you're heading on.

    After doing the evaluation, I decided that I needed to jump start my personal health and fitness goals. I'm 23, and I'm pretty healthy, but looking at my path I was just gaining weight by under exercising and overeating on empty calories. I ended up with a 1 rating for my health, and began to take action. Only three weeks into this month and I've already lost 13 pounds, noticeably improved my diet, and ran two official races with New York Road Runners.

    I read personal development books all the time, and I write about it on my site, and despite of this I'm just as capable of getting into a slump as the next guy. Steve Pavlina's book not only motivated me, but refreshed what I already know about commitment to goals, progressive improvement, and persistence.

    While going through this past month, with the knowledge of Steve Pavlina's book stirring inside my mind and my soul, I've noticed several synchronicities. The first thing I've already mentioned is the marked improvement to my overall health. The second thing I noticed is more income opportunities that I'm able to cash in on, such as getting extra work, making more from internet marketing, and disabling certain money spending habits that were not constructive.

    Lastly, I noticed a huge markup in my networking opportunities. I've met several people that are going to be invaluable in my career, and others that will be very instrumental for my friends and inner circle. I've also connected with really interesting people, both online and off, that are going to make tremendous contributions to the flourishing future of this website.

    The Core Message of the Book

    Seek truth with open eyes. Courageously accept your discoveries and their consequences. Rid your life of falsehood, denial, and fear of what is. Make truth your ally, not your enemy. This isn't easy, but it is correct.

    Share your love openly. Connect with yourself and others by tuning in to the connection that already exists. The risk of rejection is overshadowed by the rewards of loving connections. Whenever you feel disconnected, reach out and connect with another human being. Remember that you're always loved.
    ...more info
  • Good ideas for thought
    I first ran across Steve Pavlina when I was researching how people make money blogging. He had a very informative article of how he made money blogging and in addition I found a lot of other interesting posts. While I don't agree with all his posts, I find much of his writing thought provoking. When I was learning about the law of attraction, Steve Pavlina had the only definition that I considered somewhat reasonable from an intellectual standpoint. (Others seemed to describe it as "wish for it and it will happen". Steve Pavlina's definition was closer to the one I decided on, "believe it's possible and you'll work hard and get it.") Recently I really enjoyed his 30 day raw food trial. (Not something I plan to try but I like how he tried and documented a diet for 30 days.)

    Personal Development for Smart People is similar to Steve Pavlina's blog but most of the writing is new. The first half of the book discusses the core principles or values he thinks everyone should work on. They are slightly different than the traditional set you'd find in a personal development book with intelligence in the middle. Here are some of the ideas I captured to think more about later:

    * What do your goals mean to you now? You live in the present (something I often forget) so all of your goals should be doing some thing positive for you now. You should enjoy working on them or enjoy the sense of accomplishment or the dream.
    * Triage your projects not into important and urgent but into three categories: they'll fail no matter what you do, they'll succeed no matter what you do and they'll succeed only if you do something. (You can guess which ones you are supposed to work on.)
    * He did an experiment with polyphasic sleep. Not for me, but once again it made me think about the value of 30 day trials.
    * If you want something, ask for it. Nicely, politely, be ok with being turned down. If you are ok with being turned down, you'll be able to ask for anything.
    * Habits are good and bad. I always seem to be working on getting rid of the bad habits and forgetting I have good ones.
    * Beat bad habits like chess. In the early game, position yourself for success, in the middle game deploy your tactics and in the end game, go for your target.
    * One of his blog posts that I really like was moochers versus contributors and he brought that concept up in his book. Some people make make money by creating things (creating things of value to society) and others make money by mooching (i.e. taking advantage of market changes). I don't think mooching is always as bad as it sounds but I think being conscious of whether you are mooching or contributing is important.
    * Read books written by others whose perspective is different than yours, i.e. athletes, Buddhists, investors, etc. People with different perspectives than you.
    * Instead of thinking about accumulating wealth, think of it more like cash flow. (He didn't say it like that but that's what I got out of it.)

    My review really doesn't capture the tone of his book which I think really shows that I don't think about the world the same way he does. He talks a lot about love for others, trying different lenses on, oneness, etc.

    If you are into personal development books, I recommend Personal Development for Smart People. If you aren't in the personal development mode or you are just looking to learn more about a topic, I wouldn't put this one at the top of your list just yet....more info
  • Interesting and useful, but a little too strange for me!
    Steve Pavlina has a very popular personal development website,, and this is his new book.

    In a nutshell

    This book takes a new approach to personal development. I've read numerous books on goal-setting, relationships, career, finances, etc. and 99% of them focus on the practical things you can do in order to achieve success in whatever area you'd like to. "Personal Development for Smart People" is unique in that it tries to establish a set of core principles that form a foundation of all personal development, rather than just focusing on what you should try to DO. Steve Pavlina believes that it is acting out of the 7 core principles of Truth, Love, Power, Oneness, Authority, Courage, and Intelligence that guarantees success. Just like how there are universal laws of physics, he believes that he has discovered the universal laws of personal growth.The first half of the book explains the 7 core principles, and the second half of the book discusses how to apply them.

    How different is "Personal Development for Smart People" from other personal development books?

    It is extremely differernt- sometimes too different for my comfort. Of course, Steve Pavlina is very different from your typical self-help book author. He starts off the book by describing how he was arrested for felony grand theft as a 19 year-old, and subsequently got kicked out of college. He enrolled in another college and graduated in THREE semesters, while double-majoring in computer science and mathematics. Now, he is a vegetarian, and eats only raw food. He is also married to psychic medium/intuitive counselor.

    So... you would expect Steve's book to be a little out-of-the-ordinary, yea?

    Indeed it is. For example, in illustrating the "connection" principle under his core principle of Love, he asks you to imagine an everday object like a pen. He asks you to feel the connection between you and the object, to imagine that the object is part of you. He asks you to send your love energy toward the object and say "I love you," and "You're beautiful."

    I don't know about you, but I didn't do that exercise, and I don't ever plan to! It's far too strange for me!

    "Personal Development for Smart People" has many other strange exercises, like "Time-Travel Meditation"... I think that the name would tell you that it's another rather unusual exercise?

    How practical is this book?

    Despite the many weird things that Steve writes in his book, there are many insightful things that he mentions, too. In the second half of his book, he discusses how you could apply the 7 core principles in the areas of Habits, Career, Money, Health, Relationships, and Spirituality. He has many interesting views on everyday issues. For instance, he says that the 2 components of career are its Medium and its Message. Its Medium is what it is, eg. you're a doctor, a salesman, a teacher, etc. while its Message is what beliefs/values you communicate through your Medium, eg. compassion, love, curiosity, enthusiasm. He says that often, we focus too much on the Medium, when it is the Message that really brings you fulfillment in career. He says that in order to build an authentic career, you must ask yourself 4 questions: 1) What must I do? 2) What can I do? 3) What do I want to do? 4) What should I do? When you find that the answer to the 4 questions is the same, you're on the right path.

    He mentions a lot of other practical things you can do to improve your relationships, finances, health, etc. - and his advice is all based on his 7 core principles.

    All in all, I would say that "Personal Development for Smart People" is much more belief-centered than action-centered- unlike most other personal development books.


    My personal belief is that being should precede doing. I've heard it said before: "Being precedes doing, that's why we're called human beings, not human doings." Steve Pavlina clearly believes this too, which is why he focuses on principles rather than actions.

    However, there are just some weird things (spritual and philosophical in a strange sort of way?) that Steve writes in this book that just give me goosebumps. I think this will be the case for the average reader... but there are definitely a lot of interesting perspectives and useful information presented in "Personal Development for Smart People". But I could never fully subscribe to his beliefs/core principles, even though everyone could benefit from a lot of the practical applications he suggests.

    ...more info
  • Insightful and Practical
    The book explores seven universal principles that are keys to personal growth. It doesn't tell you what to do, but rather helps you to discover your own truths.

    A philosophy in the book is that exposing you to a wide variety of inputs and resources uncovers patterns that you would otherwise not recognize. This opens your mind to new ways of thinking and doing.

    I'll share a couple of perspectives which I found interesting and valuable:
    About Relationships.
    "People who are too different from you are difficult to bond with, and those who are too similar can't teach you very much. The best relationships provide enough common ground to form a strong bond while also stimulating growth in new directions."

    About Goal Setting.
    "Whenever you consider a new goal, pay attention to the effect it has on your present reality. Set goals that make you feel powerful, motivated and driven when you focus on them."

    Pavlina recommends that we apply a military battlefield triage system to set our priorities and allocate our precious resources. I've read 50 books on time management and never seen this common-sense approach suggested in the way that he explains it.

    About Security.
    On security Pavlina points out that "safe" is both an adjective (free from danger) and a noun (a container with a lock). "If you're living the adjective, you're living the noun...don't trap yourself in a cage of false security."

    "The illusion of security is the primary aim of the false path." And he points you to finding your right path.

    It's a book that I think most people will want to read more than once. Insightful and practical. Highly recommended. ...more info
  • Amazing!!! Must add to your personal development library!
    Steve Pavlina's Personal Development for Smart People is one of those books you can read over and over again.

    This is a must have for your Personal Development library. Steve brings such truth and wisdom to the personal development community. Wherever you are in your life this book will help you grow. He blends many elements together and presents them in easy to understand language.

    Steve has done it with his blog, and now with his book!

    Grab one for your library and more for your team, I am.

    JB Glossinger PhD
    Founder info
  • Practical advice for improving your life.
    I'm a fan of Steve Pavlina's blog and I really enjoyed his exploration of "the seven universal truths behind all successful growth well as practical, insightful methods for improving your health, relationships, career, finances, and more."

    I particularly enjoyed his chapter on Authority in which he discusses the importance of remaining persistent in the face of failure. So many people give up on their dreams when they don't reach their goal immediately. What they fail to realize is that success takes time. None of us are born with all of the abilities and traits we need to succeed in life. We have to learn them as we go.

    Which reminds me of perhaps my favorite line from Steve's book:

    "An expert is a person who's failed enough to succeed."

    When you look at it like that, failure isn't something to be feared at all....more info
  • Worth it's weight in gold.
    I hadn't be as excited to get something in the mail in a long time as I was when Personal Development for Smart People by Steve Pavlina came. I have been reading Steve Pavlina's blog for a few years now and I knew this book had to be pretty special.

    I decided to read it twice. The first time just for me and the second time to pick out highlights for this review. I avoided reading other reviews of the book online so that I could remain uninfluenced by other people's opinions.

    In general, I think this book is what I was expecting from Steve, but better. The content is very clear, well organized, and carefully thought out. I really like the practical tone of the book and what makes it really different from most books in this category is that it leaves out all the extra sensationalism and fluff.

    While reading through it, I had many aha! moments. This book seems to take what you feel to be true subconsciously and put it in common sense terms. It's like it's full of things you always knew, but didn't know you knew. Not to say that there isn't a lot to learn here though!

    Steve has everything categorized into 7 fundamental principles; truth, love, power, oneness, authority, courage, and intelligence. The first three principles; truth, love, and power are the three main principles and oneness, authority, and courage are the sub principles made from connections between the first three. Finally, intelligence is what you get when you combine all of the principles together. This organization makes a lot of sense and really helps you understand the ideas that Steve is presenting.

    The book also has tons of productivity tips, tips for having and making better relationships, dealing with money, and growing spiritually. There are also several exercises and things to try to get you started right away. The first day I started reading the book, I decided to implement Steve's tip on getting your hardest tasks done first thing in the morning so that your day feels progressively easier. I've been implementing that idea for the last few weeks and I have to say, that alone has helped my productivity quite a bit. I'm very much looking forward to implementing more things little by little from here on. There's enough here to keep you occupied for quite awhile, I'm sure.

    I also liked the special focus throughout the book on relationships. The idea that we are each "atoms" connected to a larger "body" is fascinating. I think the last several years in particular, people have managed to distance themselves from each other a lot. If more of us realized that we are connected and live with that idea in mind, the world would certainly change for better.

    I'd wholeheartedly recommend this book for both people just becoming interested in personal development and to people who have more experience with it. I think it could be a useful tool for just about anyone looking for ideas and ways to improve their life and relationships and one of the best books I've read in this field. ...more info
  • smart book written by a smart guy
    I'm still reading Steve Pavlina's new book, but already the flashes of insight have been coming about my own life. That's what I demand of a self-help book, that it stimulates new areas of thought in me. I don't want warmed over ideas. Pavlina's book is thoughtful. It doesn't promise quick fixes, which I appreciate, but it does provide an approach that can be used to improve every area of your life. I liked this book so much that I gave it a more in depth review at my blog, ...more info
  • The "How To" for Learning to Live a Meaningful LIfe
    Let me start off by saying that I am a avid believer in living each day for fulfillment. I have undergone an awakening over the past year, realizing that living with purpose and awareness is so much more rewarding than going with the flow, living each day just to get by. I love reading books that offer a different perspective and deeper insight into living more meaningfully. So you can imagine that I was thrilled to be fortunate enough to receive an advance copy of the book, "Personal Development for Smart People: The Conscious Pursuit of Personal Growth". I have just finished reading the book and I want to share my review with you.

    Steve Pavlina

    If you are unfamiliar with Steve Pavlina, I encourage you to check out his personal development website at One could literally spend hours reading through more than 700 free articles of incredibly thought provoking information on that site. In the span of a few years, Steve has risen to the top echelon of personal development aficionados, attracting more than two million monthly readers to his site. When I first stumbled upon Steve and his website, I was amazed at the depth of his knowledge in personal growth. Steve's tag line is to "live life consciously" and in each article of his that I read, I grow more confidant that he truly follows this mantra every single day.


    Steve begins the book by taking us back to the pivotal moment in his life when he realized that he was interested in personal development. It was 1991, and he was sitting in a jail cell after being arrested for felony grand theft. It soon becomes clear that he has had his fair share of life experiences to build from. We learn that over the course of his life he has had many ups and downs, from bankruptcy to owning his own video game software development business (reaching levels of success far surpassing what many people can imagine), to the birth of Each of these experiences brought him closer to answering the ultimate personal development question:

    What does it mean for us to consciously grow as human beings, and how do we intelligently guide that process?

    Steve believes that the answer to this question lies within three core principles: truth, love, and power. He goes on to explain that four secondary principles are then derived from these first three.

    Oneness - Truth + Love
    Authority - Truth + Power
    Courage - Love + Power
    Intelligence - Truth + Love + Power

    The book is organized into two parts. Part One goes into great detail on the theory behind these universal principles, explaining how to align yourself with each. These principles can and should be applied to every aspect of life. Part Two explores how to apply the seven principles to specific areas of life, such as habits, career, finances, health, relationships, and spirituality. Some examples would be injecting truth into relationships, aligning your career with love, and bringing power to your spiritual practice - things that many of us struggle to do.

    Steve admits that applying what we learn in this book won't be easy and it wasn't even easy for him, but he says that real conscious growth is seldom undemanding, but it's always worthwhile.

    He goes on to explain that if you are dealing with a major problem in your life right now, that dilemma can be redefined as a problem of alignment with one or more of the three primary principles of truth, love, and power. If you change your perspective so that you can see it in that sense, you will be equipped with all the tools to right that situation.

    Also, you may find that you are stronger in one or two of the primary principles, and weaker in the other(s). The details laid out in this book will help you to gain a balance of all three. As you continue to increase that balance, life just starts to fall into place. Things happen that seem as if "destiny" brought them into your life (tying into the law of attraction). If you get off track, you will notice that maybe things aren't so peachy anymore, and that is your cue to realign yourself with these principles again.

    My Thoughts

    I started out reading the introduction of this book wondering if I was in over my head. Steve is sometimes a very analytical writer, and he goes into "technical mode" right off the bat. I got a little nervous at first, thinking I might not be able to connect at this abstract level. I soon realized I was wrong, and by the time I finished the book, I had completely killed a brand new highlighter pen. Steve mixes soul searching type topics with personal stories, real-world examples, and exercises to illustrate the key points and deepen your understanding while keeping an overall easy-reading feel. No need to feel intimidated, we are talking about life here, not biophysics.

    Keep in mind, this book is not for the narrow-minded. In order to fully achieve the personal growth that this book offers, you have to approach it with an open mind. Steve has an almost brilliant way of defining each of the seven principles, but a lot of what he says directly calls into question much of what we currently believe as a society.

    My overall take away from the book is a feeling of true self acceptance. Personal Development for Smart People is a tool that allows us to remove the shell and gain a greater awareness and understanding of the vast amount of social conditioning that surrounds us. Our friends, family, co-workers, and acquaintances contribute heavily to our understanding of reality. We are told that this is the way it has to be because that is what is accepted by our culture, society, religion, etc and we believe it.

    Not to say that social conditioning is always a bad thing, but it is something that many of us rarely question. By aligning ourself with the principles Steve speaks of, it gives a level of clarity and peace that is not easily achieved when we allow ourselves to go through life, ignoring the voice inside that tells us to question something doesn't feel right, but is accepted by society as a whole.

    Following is a list of a few more of my favorite "aha" moments and highlights from the book.

    - The first step on your path of personal growth must be to recognize that your life as it stands right now isn't how you want it to be.

    - Perception is a key component of personal growth because we react to what we perceive to be true.

    - When you fail to release incompatibilities from your life, you settle for mere tolerance and prevent compatible new connections from forming.

    - The purpose of every relationship is to teach you how to love yourself from the inside out.

    - Some belief systems teach us that powerlessness is a desirable trait, but nothing is further from the truth.

    - There is no power in the past or the future, only in the present moment. We should set goals not to control the future, but to empower ourselves and improve our present reality.

    - Exercise your courage to go after the prize of true fulfillment, which is so much greater than the illusion of security.

    - Your greatest regrets in life won't be the mistakes you've made; they'll be the opportunities you let slip through your fingers by failing to act.

    - Being authentic doesn't mean being perfect.

    - Risk taking isn't gambling.

    - Never close your eyes to the truth. If you want to grow beyond your current limitations, you must first learn to stop resisting where you are.

    - Your relationships have a tremendous influence on your self-development. Surround yourself with people who naturally empower you.

    - In a world that isn't fully committed to health, the most natural and beneficial practices are often considered extreme. Average is a slow suicide. Summon the maturity to make intelligent choices for yourself, regardless of what throngs of sick people encourage you to do.

    - Don't wait for a crisis to strike before taking action to improve your health.
    - Fear of rejection is one of the major blocks to aligning one's self with love.

    My Favorite Message

    - Power is a direction, not a position. The best thing you can do to empower others is to empower yourself.

    The message from the book that truly hits home the most for me is that living life purposefully means to live an inspired life, consciously using our potential to its fullest. As we do this, we become more intelligent, because we are truly aligning ourselves with the core principles of truth, love, and power. The closer in alignment that we are to those principles - the more we improve ourselves, and in turn, inspire others to do the same. Then, as those people follow in our footsteps, finding their own path, they inspire others, and the ripples go on and on down the chain. By living a fulfilled life, we are in essence contributing to the greater good. As we improve ourselves, we improve everyone. This point made so much sense to me, because I have found how amazing it feels to follow your passion, and by the same token, I am almost magnetized to people who I encounter that are doing the same.

    Altering Your Perspective

    There is a big difference between working with the flow versus letting go and simply allowing life to happen to you. Why do we just settle? We have power, we just choose not to use it. When we are operating with the flow, things feel good, like there is a powerful energy working through us. We know from the inside out that we are on the right path. I think this is where a lot of people could benefit from reading this book, just as much as I have, because we tend to think that we don't have a choice. In reality we have all kinds of choices, we just tend to narrow our focus too much and we don't see all that life has to offer if if we would let it.

    Tough Stuff

    The chapters on relationships and spirituality were the toughest for me to comprehend due to my own past beliefs. I like that Steve comes right out and says that you may disagree with things that he says and that is fine. His main goal is to get you to challenge your assumptions and make your own conscious choices.

    Religion is a touchy topic, but yes...he goes there, and I am going to go there too. I was raised Catholic, went to 12 years of Catholic school, and as you would expect, certain beliefs have been ingrained in me. Over my life, I have questioned some things regarding my own spirituality, because that is just my personality - I tend to want to know the how's and the why's, and I had trouble coming to grips with the idea of one religion being "right", suggesting then that all others are "wrong".

    As I read through the book, I was pretty excited to see that Steve addressed this very question. I realized that when I take a step back and think about spirituality without social constraints, I see that the more open I am to learning about different cultures and different religions, the more I am able to consider life and reality from multiple perspectives and gain a greater understanding of other people and the world.

    It's Never Too Late

    I know what it's like to work in a job that is unfulfilling. I know what i is like to think, "Man, I want more than this," only to follow that up with thoughts of feeling like I don't know how to fix it or feeling powerless to the situation or contributing factors. Steve puts it so simply when he says, "The longer you follow that path, the more skill you build at something you don't enjoy." You may continue to gain seniority and experience in that line of work, but ultimately if it doesn't fulfill you, you are just digging yourself into a deeper and deeper hole.

    Sometimes it takes courage to withstand some short term sacrifices to get you to a long-term place of true meaning and joy. And then when you find the career that truly drives and empowers you, life becomes a journey, and we are no longer living day by day, striving for the destination of 5 o'clock, or the weekend, or retirement. Life is meant to be lived, not endured.

    In Conclusion

    We are not powerless because we have children to be responsible for, or because we currently do not have the income of our dreams, or because we are 50 years old. Its never too late to start changing your life for the better. And if you are inspired at all by what I have said above, I know without a doubt that this book could have a great impact on your life. I say "could" and not "will", because ultimately, it is up to you to take all the knowledge that Personal Development for Smart People: The Conscious Pursuit of Personal Growth has to offer, and apply it.

    Sheila Viers info
  • Best self help book ever written
    Steve Pavlina takes all the good and positive behaviors and mindsets from the best of the books written there, and puts it into one simple book.

    Great Book!!!...more info
  • A Book I Recommend
    Personal Development for Smart People by Steve Pavlina is a book that I enjoy and recommend to friends and clients. There are many useful tools; some new, some already tried, that can help anyone move through self barriers and succeed in creating the life they want to live.

    From a broad perspective, the books seems like a model Mr. Pavlina created from his vast amounts of information and articles on his website,; an outline both for himself and his audience. My wife first stumbled upon his work on various internet searches and has shared with me some of his articles. Before reading the book, however, I was for the most part not very familiar with his work.

    The foundation of the book is the three pillars Steve labels TRUTH, LOVE and POWER. These three virtues create INTELLIGENCE. I am so moved by this model that I have a created a triangle in my office with Truth, Love and Power written at the three angles and Intelligence in the center. It is a great reminder throughout my day to be true, to love and to harness my power.

    He then weaves the concepts of Oneness, Authority and Courage with this foundation and applies these qualities to habits, career, money, health, relationships and spirituality.

    I really enjoy working with these concepts in my everyday life - it has especially helped me in relations to my career (and challenges me to take my next step as a healer/teacher/storyteller) and my relationship with money. One of his early exercises has the reader rank their career in different ways and it is quite an eye opener when Steve shows you what your rankings really mean. I won't spoil it, but it is quite enlightening!

    In the chapter on Money, it gives me yet another concept of money and its function and I think Steve hits the nail on the head. It has taken me years to unravel old beliefs and feelings surrounding money, and Steve offers a great perspective that helps me connect with money in a simple, non-judgmental, healthy way that I will continue to practice. I also really appreciate the difference he lays out between "personal value" and "social value" and how this relates to earning potential. But most importantly he helps me align with ways to earn more money while staying focused on what I am contributing to the World. This is very important to me and what I have been working on both individually and instilling in my family. "What gifts do I have to share," and "How can I contribute?" are questions I encourage us to ask frequently. Steve's book gives great tools and ideas of how to bring these answers into reality.

    I also enjoyed the section on Health, another area that I am very focused on. Steve and I agree that health starts at the cellular level moving through the individual level which contributes to community and finally onward to universal health. Too many self help leaders forget about the importance of health - in diet, exercise, emotions, beliefs and spirit. It all relates and is all essential to individual and societal evolution.

    What the book lacked, for me, was that strong heartfelt "Aha;" that whole body buzz I get when I really connect to a spiritual truth. The book felt "heady" at times, and Steve definitely focuses contribution in the form of external action. This obviously fits his personality as someone who over-achieved academically and often succeeded in some outrageous action-oriented goals - many of which he shares and some which are not only inspirational but help move me out of old, comfortable patterns and encourages taking on a new challenge - and others that border on insane. (I say that in the kindest way; one of my teachers points out that the line between enlightenment and insanity can be very thin at times.) Steve is big on the "30 day challenge" as a way of finding out your personal truth about a habit or action plan. A great approach in my opinion.

    There is a section that applies his principles to Spirituality, which is exactly the missed point. Spirituality breathes through all the other principles - and could be applied as such. Heart, Love and Presence are all talked about, but it most often takes the back seat to raw action. This works for some, I am sure, and that "action" piece is definitely something I could implement more of personally. But action in and of itself is not necessarily the barometer for contribution.

    All in all, I enjoyed Personal Development for Smart People and will continue to recommend the work. Thank you, Steve, for putting your work out there. We will all benefit from it!

    Bryan Bertsch is a Meditation Coach and Energy Healer. Visit him online at Bryan practices in TRUTH, LOVE and POWER in all that he does.
    ...more info
  • Like the author, insightful and unique
    I'm a long-time reader of the author's blog, There is so much great content there. In fact, I almost wish he'd slow down with the blog posts so I can catch-up.

    This is a valuable book. It's not just a re-hash of what's on the blog, though for someone like me -- who has read so much of Pavlina's work, listened to interviews, etc. -- there was some redudant material. The book doesn't inspire the kind of can't-put-it-down reading, but I'm looking forward to going back and re-reading much of it -- it definitely warrants further study. I'm planning to dwell more on his seven universal principles (love, power, etc.) to see first-hand how I can consciously apply them.

    Pavlina conveys a wholistic approach to personal development, and his worldview is so consistent that this material compliments and never contradicts the stuff I've taken from his blog. So far, the chapter about wealth has been most influential. I especially like his discussion on the connection between wealth and making a societal contribution. Certainly it's been said before in other ways, but there is something about the way he frames it that makes it stick.

    So besides the stuff that feels repetitive to me (I've heard about the shop-lifting story so many times that I practically lived it), I have one gripe: It's full of an impossible number of "should"'s. That is, the amount of instructions telling the reader to do something is immense. If you actually did everything the author instructed, this book would take a year to complete, after all the self-examination, new behaviors, etc.

    This is a pattern of many personal development books -- be they about diet, relationships, etc. -- and it's a pet-peeve of mine. Not all personal development books succumb to this, but this one does (though no worse than is typical). Each page gives you multiple instructions, and for all practical purposes they are too numerous to apply.

    Let me pick up this book on a random page here... Ok, p. 141 -- here are the "should"'s:

    "Consider joining a group of like-minded people..."
    "Learn from others who are farther along..."
    "Find someone has already overcome your addiction, and ask..."
    "...ask yourself if there are any incompatible connections..."
    "Make a habit of intentionally reaching out..."
    "Break the limiting pattern of trying to do..."
    "Join a club or attend social events..."
    "...focus on your desired outcome..."

    Many of the above are similarly themed, but you get the idea. It annoys me when an author throws out instructions so casually -- are we supposed to really do the multiple instructions in each paragraph, or are they just fluff. Obviously, I can decide for myself, but when an author writes like this, I feel like he is phoning it in -- in many cases, it's not the best way to persuade to action. That was truly a random page -- by my calculations, there are...many many instructions in this book.

    It's OK if you're going to do that, but then distill the really important "should"'s" at the end -- this book lacks any re-cap or summary beyond a short afterword. Don't get me wrong -- it's a great book, and I hope Pavlina (ok, "Steve" -- I feel like I know the guy) writes multiple follow-ups. I ordered it from Border's and paid significantly more than it's offered here, but it was definitely worth the price and then some.
    ...more info
  • Challenging and inspiring at the same time.
    Steve Pavlina is a huge inspiration in my life. I am writing this web page because of him. Steve is the creator of the web site His web site is named Personal Development for Smart People and that is also the title of his new book.

    Steve was kind enough to convince his publisher to give away about 420 free review copies of his new book to bloggers and web page owners that could prove they were trying to write something.

    So, I got a free book, that I would have bought anyway, (THANKS!) and I also get to review it on my web page (which I would have done anyways....THANKS again!) and not only that...if Steve feels my review provides value to the world...he will link to my site....(OMG!!! THANKS!)

    The link is a huge boon to a web page like mine, because Steve's site receives about 2 million hits per month, so here is hoping I provide a lot of truth, love and power alignment with this review...but wait...I might be jumping ahead a little.

    Personal Development for Smart People: First impressions

    I was really excited to get this free book to review...and of course excited to read what Steve would put in a book. I read this book in about two weeks, but I was more than half through it in the first two days.

    I was able to read it while riding on the Metro during my that was about two hours of reading for a couple of days. Before I got the book, I was worried that I would have trouble finishing the book before the the end of's the 2nd of October and I finished yesterday.

    I think you can tell by now, that I am a Steve Pavlina fan, so I am doing my best not to sound too "gushy" with praise...but I have to admit the truth...I have a hard time being objective or critical with anyone...and Steve is kind of a hero of mine, so I will probably sound like a Fan Boy during this review...

    ...I will do my best to point out aspects I didn't resonate with or disagreed in the book.

    Personal Development for Smart People: Part I

    The book is divided into two Parts. This page will focus on Part I, and I will cover Part II on a separate page.

    Part I is about the Fundamental Principles of Personal Development which are:


    1. Truth
    2. Love
    3. Power


    4. Oneness (Truth + Love)
    5. Authority (Truth + Power)
    6. Courage (Love + Power)
    7. Intelligence (Truth + Love + Power)

    Now, on the surface, this doesn't seem all that new. Most books of this sort, use some sort of framework to outline and provide structure to the ideas in the book.

    Steve's outline in Part I provides the framework and is echoed (a lot!) through out the whole book...this might sound tedious...but I liked it.

    One of my complaints with other Personal Development books, is that there is so much to remember....with Steve's ideas you can read the book and then remember a couple key questions that will help you in any situation...i.e.:

    "Where is the heart in this?"

    "Am I aligned with truth, love and power?"

    That's cool...I like "easy to remember".

    Steve is working from a highly conscious state all the time. So, he is as close to a "Whole Brain" thinker that I have ever come to know.

    Steve started out his life as a primary left-brain logical type thinker...but over the years, he developed his right-brain intuitive/creative side as well.

    This "blending of the brains" type of thinking, along with a deep knowing and love of himself and others, allows him to happily and lovingly give of himself everyday.

    I don't consider myself a whole brain thinker...I use one brain at a time for the most part...but I am working on it.

    I have said before that one of my goals in life is to wake up and want to enthusiastically jump out of bed and be honestly excited to go to WORK! Steve does this everyday of his life!

    Try to imagine how cool that would be to live like that for ONE day...and then realize you COULD do it everyday...that is real life inspiration right there baby!

    His spirit shines brightly through on all the pages of this book (as it does on his web page) and it is challenging and simultaneously inspiring.

    Personal Development for Smart People: Truth

    I was most challenged by the chapter on truth...the truth about myself. Admitting the truth to myself is not an easy thing to do...but Steve let me know that step one is just to accept the truth even if I don't have the power to change in right now...

    ..I can work on making it better for the rest of your life...but at least look at myself in the mirror and admit the truth...the whole truth about myself and accept it as is.

    Here is short quote from Chapter 1...simple and yet very powerful:

    "Genuine personal growth is honest growth. You can't take shortcuts through the land of make-believe . Your first commitment must be to discover and accept new truths, no matter how difficult or unpleasant the consequences may be. You can't solve problems if you don't admit they exist. How can you achieve a fulfilling career if you won't admit that your current job is wrong for you? How can you improve your relationship situation if you refuse to accept that you've been feeling empty and alone? How can you better your health if you won't accept that your current habits don't serve you?

    I love that reminds me of what this Air Force Colonel who was talking about a person that was going to be discharged from the Air Force for being over weight. He said as if he was the person being discharged,

    "I want to stay in the Air Force...if I could just put down this piece of pizza!"

    I think if the person really wanted to stay in the Air Force, they would have lost the weight...perhaps, they truly wanted to get out.

    I faced some truths about me...I wanted to cut down on my drinking...I want to be an "Event" only drinker for now...not a beer after work guy.

    I don't have problem with beer...I just don't like that habit...I gain too much weight and if I drink more than a couple, it is harder to get out of bed and ride my bike.

    So, if I limit my drinking to event only the I can plan to tend to the hang over on a day off and still try to get a work out in later on in the day...that's not perfect either...but it's better.

    Steve also makes a lot of suggestions for clearing potential "Blocks to Truth".

    My favorite is media fasting.

    "A great way to reduce the impact of media conditioning is to go on a 30-day media fast. For 30 days straight, keep the television turned off and avoid all newspapers, magazines, and online media sources. Unplug yourself completely and see what happens."

    I stopped watching most TV around 2003 when we moved to LA from England. Cable was just to expensive, so we get very basic cable bundled with our internet (local channels ESPN even...or CNN).

    We watch TV via Netflix on DVD and online.

    My life is much better after cleaning out all the advertisements...I just don't need to hear about new products to make my life better...I'm good.

    I never liked newspapers or magazines...I get a ton of them...but I rarely read them...they came from from left over frequent flyer we have stacks of unread magazines in the house...great!

    I read online news, the Motley Fool, and I really like Sirius with no commercials! I also get my NFL radio broadcasts for all the games (that I can take in the car) and Deepak Chopra all day on Saturday.

    Personal Development for Smart People: Love

    The love chapter is awesome...I tried to write a page about love and it is just funny...but Steve does a great job of defining love and recognizing it's fundamental importance in life.

    Here is a small quote to let you sample what I am talking about. This is the opening paragraph of Chapter 2: Love.

    "Love is the second principle of personal development. Obviously love is an emotion, but it is much more than that. One of the fundamental choices you face in every encounter is the choice to approach or avoid. You can try to connect with people, or you can pull away from them. You can immerse yourself in your day's work, or you can procrastinate. You can approach any person, place, or thing with the intention to connect, or you can remain aloof and keep your distance. The decision to connect is the essence of love."

    When I was reading "A course in miracles" I went through a "transitional phase" in my life.

    For a long period time...many months...I loved everything and every moment...I projected love all the time and saw love coming back at me as well.

    This time was a huge amount of fun...I actually performed everyday miracles at work and had a great time doing it.

    One time (...but not a band was at my Former Air Force IT job) I had to swap out a voice mail server. The old server broke...but my predecessor choose not to buy the service contract.

    I needed a new server, so I arranged for the service contract with the voice mail service provider.

    So, while the check was in the mail so to speak...the service provider sent out a new server for us to install, but could not send out a technician to install it until the contract was finalized and paid...but I needed to get the voice mail working again.

    I hard can it be? I don't need to know what to do or what to say to work a miracle...I just need to want what I want and show up and see what happens.

    So, I asked one of my new troops to help me...she had less experience in computers than me...but she was very mature and fun to be around and I figured it would take some time and I wanted some company and a hand to talk on the phone in case I need to call the service provider.

    Right away, I found a CD with documentation which outlined the whole procedure. We would have been done before lunch if I hadn't missed a small step in the procedures and forgot to write down a password. The only way to re-set the password was to do it all over big deal, just took the rest of the day.

    I loved that troop was amazed...and frankly I was to. It was really easy and a lot of fun to just "jump of the cliff" and see what happens.

    Now, I understand that this is not a world class event...but so what?...there was a task in front of me, that in the past world have caused me to be fearful and most likely procrastinate as long as possible...

    ...but because of my love projection miracle mind set...I just accepted and thought..."what's the worst that can happen?

    Really the answer to the question was..."we still won't have voice mail" and since we didn't have voice mail at the time...the downside was the same as doing any success would be great and if we didn't figure it least we would have learned something.

    Steve would say that I aligned with love and immersed myself into the project...I loved it until it was finished...and that is a true statement.

    Reading Steve's book reminded my how fun and exciting life can be when you align with love...I need to do that more often.

    Personal Development for Smart People: Power

    "Power is the third principle of personal development. It is you ability to consciously and deliberately create the world around you. When your power is weak, you can't effectively satisfy your needs and desires, and you become a victim of your own environment. When your power is strong, you successfully cultivate a life of your own choosing, and your environment reflects it."

    This is the first paragraph of Chapter 3, Power...I love that definition. He later lays out a challenge again saying:

    "The triad of truth, love, and power and can serve as an incredible force for good. When honest, compassionate people remain powerless, and only dishonest, uncaring people acquire power, we all suffer for it. The world is well served when those who are aligned with truth and love gain the third element. If you can be such a person, then I encourage you to consciously develop your power, since that decision benefits us all."

    When put in this light, I fell compelled to work more consciously to develop my power...not just for me...but to help my country and the world shift from a fear and dishonesty based system of power to a truth and love-based system of power.

    Steve also describes a person like me. I am a person that is aligned with truth and love but I don't have much power. I have more power than some people, but not much "worldly" power...which Steve is talking about.

    Last night I watched Michael Moore's new film called "The Slacker Uprising" about how Michael "almost" got enough votes in 2004 to get John Kerry elected.

    It's a fun movie to watch...and my wife couldn't believe that Kerry lost...I know he did and the movie was set in the past, but the number of people that Michael Moore inspired to vote (mostly for Kerry) was quiet staggering.

    So, why did he fail?

    Was Michael Moore fully aligned with the truth? Maybe...maybe not. Was he fully aligned with love....maybe...maybe not.

    He definitely aligned with POWER. In 2004, on college campuses...Michael Moore was like a Bob Dylan or a John Lennon...there were girls asking him to sign their boobies (I think I would have...but he!).

    Perhaps, people that are fully aligned with all three of these principles will help successfully turn our country and our world toward truth, love and power (or TLP for short.)

    Personal Development for Smart People: Oneness

    "Oneness is the principle that results from combining truth and love. Whereas love is the ability to connect by choice, oneness is the recognition that being connected is your natural state. Love is choosing to connect. Oneness is knowing you're already connected. Oneness has no specific target; its omnidirectional feeling of connection to everyone and everything at the same time. Oneness is pure unconditional love."

    Oneness is the first of the secondary principles. Steve tells a brief story about his first experience of oneness.

    I had a similar experience again, while I was reading and doing the exercises within the course of miracles.

    Steve says that once you have had an experience of true oneness, you are forever changed...and I agree with him. After I experienced the knowing that I am not contained by my body and am connected to everyone and everything, I have forever transformed into a new entity...

    ...I became a Jed Mckenna might say...or I might say "I am cookies" if I am in a Buffy sorta Joss Weedon kinda of mood.

    I still need to meditate for a few moments to remember oneness...but I don't need to say ahh for 20-30 minutes...I can remember the truth of oneness in a few quite moments sitting at my desk at work.

    When I am tired, hungry, or emotional...or intensely focused on a task...I might tune out of the fact of oneness and act a little less connected, but I have not forgotten the truth of oneness...I have just turned down the volume of the oneness radio station.

    Steve suggests some activities that might help me experience oneness, such as:

    A form of meditation called "Oneness World" where you "...imagine what it would be like to live in a world where everyone lives in alignment with oneness."

    He also suggest that I spend time in nature...which is neat...because I already do that one. I love being out in the world, and in nature. I even love being in the concrete jungle some times...but I really prefer nature.

    The sounds and smells of nature always rejuvenate my spirit and help me turn up the oneness radio dial.

    Steve also suggests physical contact...I have this one down as friends know that I don't need a beer to want to hug someone...but if I have a few beers then the hug monster is really strong and powerful...very few people have the ability to escape the hug monster in full force.

    I also hug my wife as often as possible...hugging and other physical contact...reminds us that we are connected and one...without really being consciousness of why we are making the contact.

    Look at sports teams. Those folks are always touching each other...because touching helps them tune in too each other and increase their performance and their ability to "sync up".

    Just the other night I experienced a little "oneness" in my happens to me quiet a bit, but this was sort of special.

    Steve does Personal Development for Smart People...I might do PD for Drunk people...I have many experiences while meeting people in bars.

    So, I rode my bike to the beach, to get in touch with nature...really...then after listening to the waves crash, I remembered that I was close to a favorite bar of mine that has a lot great microbrew beer (I no Steve doesn't drink...and I do...I'm ok with that.)

    While at the bar, I meet a great couple, and we start jamming out to the blues/rock band and they invite me to their table and we start talking.

    After a while, I need to leave if I am going to make it home on my bike without getting killed on the way I start getting ready to go.

    The couple then offers me a ride in their truck if I I thought...oh what the hell.

    After that, we really started sharing and I found out that he is still feeling a lot of pain from discovering his son after he had committed suicide years ago...I didn't say much...but I said death was an event...not a real state and that he could let him go and he will always be with him.

    We all cried and got another beer...then I got a ride home and we exchanged phone numbers.

    These are the types of experiences I have had since connecting to oneness.

    I had mild hangover they next day...not to bad...but that is the payment for drinking...not really worth it...I know, I'm working on that.

    I was kicked out of the same bar a long time ago, for talking to another dude's girl friend...I honestly don't remember what I said...I had to much to drink...but her boy friend didn't like what I said and the bouncer very kindly asked me to leave... I left...I waited outside for my ride and then had to go back in to close out my tab.

    I vaguely remember that the girl was crying in her beer about the way her boyfriend treated is interesting that drunk people talk to strangers in bars about things they won't share with their best friends...or boyfriends.

    I'm not sure if the booze does this...or a connection to oneness...or both.

    Personal Development for Smart People: Authority

    "Authority is the principle derived from truth and power. Truth without power accomplishes nothing. Power without truth generates wasted action. The principle of authority teaches you to purposefully blend knowledge and action to produce intelligent results.

    When you live without authority, your default behavior is to squander your time. You may acquire some knowledge, but you won't apply it well. You may take some action, but your movements will be chaotic and unfocused. You have the potential to live a powerful, self-directed life of your choosing, but until you step into your true authority, this potential remains a fantasy."

    I really like the How to Increase you authority section of this chapter...there are only three sub-sections: 1) Orchestrate Small Rebellions 2) Triage 3) Experiment.

    "A small rebellion is an act of free will with minimal negative consequences"

    I love doing small when I tell people that I enjoy being in traffic on the freeway after work...because I am alone and it's quiet...which is true...I enjoy the quiet time alone...but most people just HATE traffic.

    I don't watch much TV...or listen to the news. I don't get upset about little things that go wrong...but I do my best to empathize with other people feelings.

    Steve tells a story about how when he was a kid, he turned in math homework done in crayon...that's funny and cute...but a little annoying...his teacher encouraged his creativity.

    Some day, I am going to work without matching my shoes and belt...I'm going to do it...just watch me!!!

    Personal Development for Smart People: Courage

    "...When your mind predicts a positive long-term outcome but a negative short-term outcome from a course of action, courage is required to bridge the gap. If you want to leave an unfulfilling relationship, quit an uninspiring job, or restore an unfit body to a state of health, the long-term outlook may be wonderful, but you can also expect short-term challenges as you transition. Courage is the application of power to break through short-term challenges in order to achieve long-term goals."

    I work in an unfulfilling job. I use truth to accept that. I use courage to get up at 4:00 am most everyday to work on this web page, so I can create my new source of income.

    I have a fulfilling relationship with my wife, but I can use courage to make it better and to be more loving and connected.

    My body is less than optimal (which is a nice way to say "unfit")...but three times a week I use courage to ride my bike 12 miles one way to work and about 7 miles home...that not only takes courage it also takes some Ben Gay sometimes!

    Personal Development for Smart People: Intelligence

    "Our universal principles give rise to the following definition of intelligence: Intelligence is alignment with truth, love and power. There is an elegant simplicity to this definition. In order to behave as a "smart person" in any area of your life, you must bring yourself into alignment with truth, love and power. If you use these principles to guide your life, you will live intelligently. When you violate these principles, you turn your back on intelligence."

    So, the next time things don't go my way, I have a list of questions to ask myself:

    Was I aligned with truth? Was I aligned with love? Was I aligned with Power?

    Personal Development for Smart People: Part II Practical Application

    In Part II, Steve really dives in with suggestions for real world things to experiment with...the inspiration and challenges still abound as well.

    Throughout Part II, Steve applies the principles from Part I to each of the areas of your life in Part II.

    For example, Chapter 8 is Habits, Steve has sub sections for each of the seven principles and how you can align your habits each principle.

    Personal Development for Smart People: Habits

    Steve starts out this chapter describing the benefits of habits, and how we really can't live without them.

    For example, he reminds me that when I was a baby, I had yet to learn how to control my arms and legs...

    ...I'm sure this was a rather difficult endeavor that my little baby-self spent a large amount of time and effort trying to work out. Thankfully my mind saved all that work in habits (or sub-routines in computer lingo).

    Now, I don't have think about moving my arms and legs...and frankly I don't even KNOW HOW to do it...I just do mind-body remembers the sub-routine and I benefit from the habit.

    The system of saving habits can also create some bad habits as well...we label those habits "addictions". I have already talked about my attempts to convert bad I will discuss how I have done with installing new habits.

    For some reason, I don't like shaving in the morning. I think it has to do with me serving in the military for 20 years and being required to take up this habit.

    Now that I am retired, I can skip shaving for a day or two and still go to work and that is acceptable...another thing I can do, is shave before I go to bed instead of part of my morning clean up routine.

    I tried doing this while I was in uniform, but inevitably, five-o'clock shadow would show up after lunch instead of at five o'clock and I would feel "out of uniform"

    This habit was rather easy to install, because I wanted to...but I still had to make a conscious effort to remember to do it before I went to bed...the upside was if I forgot...I went to work scruffy that day. :-)

    Habits and Truth

    "To apply truth to your habits, take a moment to assess the habits you're already running (<---see computer geek!). What are your best habits? What are your worst? Do you have any addictions? Do these habits serve you well or hold you back? Do they help you align with truth, or do you feel compelled to lie about them? What habits are you hiding? What habits are you most proud of?"

    I still have addictions...I am working on ridding myself of tobacco (not very hard really, but I am working on it.)

    I recently stopped drinking beer and wine after work or with dinner. I changed into an "event" drinker.

    One of my favorite habits is getting up at 4:00 am basically everyday. Even if I was up really late the day before...I still get up. If I feel like I need to sleep more, I will stay up for a little while and then go back to least I maintained the "wake up" habit.

    I have also started riding my bike to work, which is a lot of fun, but I am still perfecting that habit.

    I really need to start working on my diet. Even though I am exercising quiet a bit, my weight is off the charts. I weigh more now than I ever had.

    I have just recently (like this weekend) started experimenting not eating's not as difficult as I can usually find a bean burrito in California...I want to see if I feel better without far I do...after just a few days without meat.

    This meatless idea was sort of a spontaneous experiment that I decided to try after feeling EXTRA bloated after eating a hamburger. I thought, "I wonder how I would feel now if that had been a veggie burger?" So the next day, I got the veggie burger...I felt (and feel) a lot better.

    Habits and Power

    "Bringing truth to your habits is an important step, but nothing will change if you don't take action. You must accept the greater truth that if you don't consciously and deliberately alter your habits, you'll continue reinforcing your existing patterns by default, and your predicted outcomes will likely come to pass. If you wish to improve upon those results, you must do whatever it takes to change your habits now, even if you expect the process to be brutally difficult. Facing a significant short-term challenge today is vastly superior to decades of regret."

    Steve uses a metaphor of a chess game for attacking your problems. In chess, there is a early game, a middle game, and end game. You should approach bad habits (or new good habits) the same way. I like this paragraph about the early game of weight loss:

    "...For example if you want to change your eating habits and loss weight, specific methods may include measuring food portions, keeping a food journal, buying extra fruits and vegetables, ridding your house of junk food, learning healthy recipes, keeping the television turned off at mealtimes, finding a diet buddy, joining a weight-loss group, buying a new scale, posting pictures of thin people to motivate you, avoiding situations where you tend to overeat, charting your progress, and so on."

    ...whew! If I did all of those in preparation to loss weight...I think it would be a foregone conclusion that it would happen.

    List of 66 good Habits

    Under "Habits and Authority" Steve lists 66 habits that you might try to install in your life, all of them described in about 3-5 lines of! You already know some of them, but as a small sample of habits:

    (I paraphrased the first two of these and partial quoted the last one)

    Daily Goals - Decide what do to; then do it

    Worst First - Do the thing you dread the most first...everything after that will seem easy

    "Peak Times - Identify your peak cycles of productivity, and schedule your most important tasks for those times..."

    I use Peak Times to write this web page. I am most able and willing to write as soon as I get out of bed (after I make a banana, raw chocolate, flax, cashew butter smoothie...yummies!).

    Personal Development for Smart People: Career

    "The message of your career is at least as important as the medium. Your medium is how you express yourself, but your message is what you express. My message is about consciously growing as a human being, but I can express that same message through different media. I can write about it, speak about it, or even make a movie about it if I wanted to. Someone else could use these same media to express an entirely new message. For example, a doctor's message could about healing, compassion, scientific discovery, education, vitality, or a variety of other possibilities. Just because two people share a similar medium doesn't mean that they share the same message"

    So, for me this web page is my medium, and my message is about shifting your (and my) consciousness.

    My current "job" does allow me to express my message...just only the small amount of folks that work with me or near me get to benefit from my message...that's why I am working on changing my medium to this web page.

    Steve says you should not confuse your medium with your message...your medium is bound to change many times during your life, whereas your message will remain largely unchanged.

    Also, when you change your career, you can expect a significant income drop:

    "The most important element of choosing the right medium is whether it's a good fit for your inner message". It's important to stay true to that message, even if you must endure a substantial pay cut. In order to transition from game development to personal development, I allowed by income to drop significantly, and my family made some sacrifices to support my decision as we cut back on expenses."...

    "...Never allow considerations such as security, money, or fame to get in the way of the truth. Real security doesn't come from your job or position; it can only come from your alignment with truth, love and power. You'll explore money in more detail in Chapter 10, but for now just consider that the best way to optimize your income is to find a career medium that allows you to share your most important message. By sharing your message with others, you provide exactly the kind of value that can generate abundant income. And as for fame, if you do become famous, then let it arise from your alignment with truth, love and power, not because of a false image you've concocted."

    Career and Love

    In order to find your core message Steve suggests the process below:

    "1. Take out a sheet of paper or open a blank word-processing document where you can type. I recommend the latter because its faster.

    2. Write at the top: What is my true purpose in life?

    3. Write an answer (any answer) that pops in your head. I doesn't have to be a complete sentence. A short phrase is fine. If your feeling nihilistic, begin with the answer: "I don't have a purpose," or "Life is meaningless", and to take it from there.

    4. Repeat Step 3 until you write an answer that makes you cry. This is your core message."

    I started doing this exercise, but I ran out time before I cried, so I will have to try again later.

    For now, I am going to ask life what it wants me to do and see what happens.

    My current message that I am working with is I want to help people learn to shift their consciousness and learn to be present in the moment.

    I want to teach everyone that they can be excited to jump out of bed in the morning (whenever that is) and be excited to live the day in service to humanity however they see fit.

    Career and Power

    Steve is more than a little "in the face" of the reader here...I LOVE IT.

    "Reasonable career choices will depend on your knowledge, skills, and talents; and it's up to you to proactively develop those abilities. You may have been born with few advantages, but you're perfectly capable of growing beyond the limits of your upbringing. If you didn't receive a good education, then educate yourself now. If you're starting off broke or in debt, then accept that as your reality, and work your out of it with disciplined effort. If you're surrounded by people who denigrate and criticize you for wanting more, leave them behind and build a new social group that will support you. Stay loyal to truth, love and power and you'll attract others of a similar nature.

    (There is more, but I hit the text limit) Check for the complete 2-part review....more info
  • You'll Love it if you love theory.
    This is the best book written by a blogger that I have ever read. Steve Pavlina is a masterful writer who has developed his own, unique theory of personal development. This book is much more than a compilation of blog posts. However, the writing style is very accessible to someone accustomed to reading blogs. The text is broken up into short sections which are easy to read. Part 1 needs to be read sequentially, but Part 2 can be read in any order depending on which area interests you at the moment. Overall, the book is blog-like in the best possible way.

    Steve is a computer programmer and mathematician by training and he is definitely a left-brained thinker. The theory behind his principles is quite mathematical feeling. It's a strong contrast to a lot of the touchy-feely stuff that tends to be featured in personal development books.

    If you follow Steve's blog and enjoy it, I know that you will enjoy the book and take away many powerful insights. If you don't know Steve's work, but you are interested in personal development in general and especially the theories behind personal development, you will find this book delightful. If you are just looking for practical application and don't have an interest in theoretical models, you are probably best served by reading through the hundreds of pages of Steve's archives.
    ...more info
  • Pit T Full
    This book is written on a fourth grade level. It is very general without key points and NO research work or reports. The hubris author talks about himself too much, which leads to boredom....more info
  • One of the Best Personal Development Books Available
    This is one of the first Personal Development books that focuses on Personal Development as a whole and how to use it to improve your overall life. The book starts with very basic principles that are essential to your happiness and success and then builds upon them. Once you understand these principles you will understand what you really want and will have the power to go after it.

    I have personally used the several of ideas in this book to completely change my life and it is written in a way that anyone can do so. This book is a must have for anyone looking to improve or change their life....more info
  • Pavlina offers his personal story and new insights
    Steve Pavlina has taken the ideas of others and made them his own. Don't get me wrong, that isn't a criticism. There is a central, inarguable truth in the messages of personal responsibility, the power of thought and action and giving to receive. Pavlina does offer his personal story as evidence these theories work. He has gone from felon to published author, helping others while finding fulfillment. Unfortunately we only get brief glimpses of the man behind the curtain.

    The first half of the book introduces and explains Pavlina's seven principles, much like a textbook, it is very structured and analytical. The second part is devoted to the application of these principles and seeing these principles applied to everyday life, in areas of career, relationships, money and health was enlightening. It seemed as though Pavlina sighed a breath of relief, took off his jacket and rolled up his sleeves for this section of the book. I found several fresh and thought provoking exercises, such as the 30 day trials, triage projects giving attention to those that will only survive if you take action and approaching habits with a strategy for victory, much like a game of chess.

    Whether this is the first book you've read on Personal Development or the hundredth, you'll find value.
    ...more info
  • From the Coach's Book Shelf
    As a Professional Coach I am recommending Steve Pavlina's book to any one interested in personal growth and development. If you are going to buy only one Personal Development book this year you'll want that book to be "Personal Development for Smart People: The Conscious Pursuit of Personal Growth," by Steve Pavlina. I'm not just saying that because Pavlina is a fellow blogger. And I wouldn't let the fact that his website has inspired me to blog-on over the years color my judgment.

    No. The plain truth is Pavlina has written a Personal Development Classic, a book that will stand the test of time. The book is broken into two parts. The first part of the book tackles seven principles; the first three core principles being truth, love and power. The remaining four principles are derived from formulas akin to those taught in my messaging class at Coach U. They are:
    Oneness = Truth + Love

    Authority = Truth + Power

    Courage= Love + Power

    Intelligence = Truth + Love+ Power

    Pavlina's distinctions are authentic and true. It is this authenticity that gives value to the book. The first seven chapters create an understanding of these basic foundations of life. They should be read in order. The second half of the book is the practical application portion.

    It focuses on Habits, Career, Money, Health, Relationships and Spirituality. This part of the book is the problem solving how-to portion. As you can see from the topics, Pavlina hasn't taken the easy way out. He confronts heavy topics and does them justice.

    This shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone who has ever ventured into his website. He has done a great job assembling valuable information in an easy to read format. Not that applying what you learn will be easy. As he says,

    "Real conscious growth is seldom undemanding, but it's always worthwhile."

    He challenges the reader to go beyond and find his own answers. The book is upbeat and positive.

    Pavlina offers a wealth of hard earned knowledge and wisdom in his book. He hands you, the reader, the keys to discover your own truth. This is a book that I will utilize as a reference for my coaching clients. Get this book and read it! It will get you out of a rut and back to the basics you need to to change your life!...more info
  • Great Book
    Nice book. Steve Pavlina certainly seems to know his stuff. I'm addicted to self-development and this book was an excellent entry to my collection. Highly recommended.- Dan...more info
  • Achieving Abundance thanks to Steve Pavlina
    Steve Pavlina's book is pretty darn transformational. I put some of the core concepts about reality creation into action. This book motivated me to write out my goals, change my mindset, and take massive action to achieve financial freedom. I'm reaping the rewards already.

    The book takes some of the concepts from those airy new age books and easily grounds them with practicality and ideas that are easily digestible.

    All I know is that when I learned to provide value to others my wallet and self esteem have never been the same....more info
  • First book I have read that outlines Principles of personal development
    This is a very informative book. The first section begins by outlining the 3 main principles of personal development, upon which 4 supporting principles are based. These principles have been vitally important to my own personal growth, and helps clear the clutter I had previously associated with the self-help industry. Now I can use these principles as a kind of standard to benchmark other self-help material to see if it is valid and applicable to my life. These principles have helped shape my belief system to ensure my future success. The second section is filled with TONS of practical ways to apply these principles to your daily life, and should be used more as a reference than a read through. ...more info
  • Awesome Book!
    I am an avid reader, and I have read many books and articles on the matter of personal development. Steve Pavlina's book is one of the few books that have unique and useful messages in it. The principles this book contain are applicable and useful for everyone on everytime at everyplace. I recommend this book for those who seek to improve quality their lives and become more successful. "An eye opener" I would call this!!


    Ak Eedgee...more info
  • Deceptive title
    What I read about the book & author sounded so interesting that I puchased two books. I have to respect the source of information before I can absorb the information. I had planned to give one of the books to my 23 year old grandson. Wrong, Wrong, Wrong choice. I did not know that Steve Pavlina was participating in such an alternative lifestyle & had included this information in the book. No way could I give any attention to anything else. So both of the books went to the garbage the next day. EAvery ...more info
  • Good introduction to Steve's writings if you haven't read his online articles.
    Great starting point and summary of Steve's writing if you don't have time to scan the hundreds of articles and blog entries on his website. If you've read most of the website material there is not much new here.

    On the practical application side, the website material usually goes into more detail and would be a better resource than the book if one has time. The book contains lots of pointers to website articles....more info
  • Destined to be a personal development classic
    For people who read his blog: Buy the book. I'm surprised to see people saying that they really like his blog but they're not sure if they should get the book. This book is probably Steve's greatest work so far, and it contains mostly new content that he hasn't talked about before. If you like his blog, there's no reason you shouldn't like the book. The only negative thing I can say is that he's not as delightfully blunt in the book as on his blog; he apparently toned it down to make it more universally appealing. That's a minus for me, but it could be a plus for you.

    For people who haven't read his blog: First, subscribe to his blog. It's free, and you can quickly get an idea of what he's like. You'll see that he really knows his stuff. What he's done here is taken everything he's learned over the years, and developed a universal framework for personal growth. As he says, everyone (himself included) had been writing about the branches of personal development, but he wanted to write about the roots.

    He includes a lot of exercises to develop your ability to use the 7 principles, but I skipped them on the first pass. I'll be reading it again, paying special attention to the chapters on love and oneness, which I now know are my big weaknesses.

    I haven't had a chance yet to put the book's ideas to the test, but you can bet that the next time I have a problem, I'm going to try to frame it in the context of the 7 principles and see if that tells me how to fix it. Steve says that after thousands of conversations with people, he's noticed certain patterns in everyone's problems, which indicate misalignment with at least one of the principles.

    In time, I expect that this will be considered one of the classic books on personal development....more info
  • This book offers a great foundation for personal growth
    I have read a lot of personal development (i.e. self help) books that focus on specific aspects of my life that need improvement - e.g. personal finance, health, time management, career development, etc. As expected, I have achieved varying results depending on my level of commitment to improvement in each area. Steve Pavlina takes a high-level view of personal development and discusses core principles that apply to every attempt at personal growth.

    Steve Pavlina lays out several principles based on his core principles of truth, love and power. These three core principles provide the foundation for a number of exercises and an exploration of practical applications in the second part of the book. The author has an interesting life story that unfolds along side his ideas about personal development in the book. He illustrates his principles with stories from his own life. It is fascinating to read how he transformed himself from a felon to an internet entrepreneur and author.

    Although the core set of principles are simple, it takes some time and study to wrap your head around the practical implications of Pavlina's framework and the relationship between the principles.

    Throughout the book Steve returns to the principle of truth as the fundamental principle of personal development. His emphasis on the principle of truth resonated with me because I have always struggled with my inability to be honest with myself in many situations.

    I am skeptical of anyone who claims to know the secret to achieving my personal goals, but the principles in this book were consistent with my personal experience. Personal Development for Smart People is an excellent starting point for anyone who seeks to pursue a path of lifelong learning and personal growth. Steve Pavlina provides a framework for looking inward to achieve life's most challenging goals.

    This book does not offer a set of easy steps to achieving your goals, instead it offers the reader an opportunity to live consciously and become someone who has the courage to tackle life's hard problems. This book is for people who want to be more effective at creating the life they want. Also, it is full of specific detailed examples and exercises.

    I highly recommend Steve Pavlina's book Personal Development for Smart People to anyone interested in personal development.

    ...more info
  • A bit disappointing, but still good
    When I first encountered Steve Pavlina's website "Personal Development for Smart People" a couple years ago, I was immediately impressed with the quality of its content. Steve's articles--which have titles like "The Courage to Live Consciously," "Cultivating Burning Desire," and "Whatever You Fear, You Must Face"--are well-written, insightful, and often motivating. Yes, they can be sappy and melodramatic, but they are far better than the junk usually found in personal development books. Steve's website is a great resource, and its success is well-deserved.

    That said, I was a little disappointed by Steve's recent book, which is titled after his site. Steve is ambitious in his book's scope: he wants to define the "core principles" of personal growth, the principles on which all successful growth efforts are based. There exist self-help books on a broad range of topics--personal finance, career choice, relationships, and so on--and Steve wants his book to subsume all of them. His thesis is that all effective personal growth techniques are based on a few core principles. If you apply these principles to your life, he thinks, the more-specific techniques presented in other books will come naturally.

    Steve's presentation is clear and well-thought-out. I like his core principles, which are named Truth, Love, and Power. Truth is seeing and accepting things as they are, Love is engaging fully and openly with the world, and Power is consciously effecting change. I also like Steve's scientific approach: he requires that his principles be universal, complete, irreducible, congruent, and practical. And I think Steve is probably right that his principles underlie most, if not all, effective personal growth efforts.

    So why did I find PDFSP a little disappointing? Maybe I just had high expectations. And, admittedly, I've read enough of Steve's articles that it's hard for me to judge his book on its own merits. But I do think it could have been quite a bit better.

    First there's its organization. PDFSP feels overly-structured and overly-segmented. I suspect this organization came from Steve's desire to be systematic--and perhaps to make writing it straightforward--but the result is often tedious, predictable, and repetitive. The first seven chapters are devoted to the three core principles and four secondary principles that are supposed to derive from them. A chapter is devoted to each principle, and each chapter is further sectioned off into independent discussions of "terms" that Steve associates with that principle. For example, in the Truth chapter, there are sections on "perception," "prediction," "accuracy," "acceptance," and "self-awareness." This kind of structure is tedious. I would have preferred a more-lively take on the principles.

    Worse still is the structure of the later "application" chapters, which apply the principles to the usual self-help topics: money, career choice, relationships, and so on. Each of these chapters is sectioned off into a separate discussion of how its topic relates to each of the primary and secondary principles. So, in the money chapter, we get sections on "Money and Truth," "Money and Love," "Money and Power," and so on. Each of the six application chapters is like this, and they account for almost half of the book. It's not surprising that this repetition of structure leads to repetition of ideas. For example, when discussing Oneness, one of his secondary principles, Steve repeats his view that we are all "individual cells of the same body" over and over again.

    Steve's simple, exuberant, and almost-naive writing style may be off-putting to more-skeptical readers. This style, combined with the general abstractness of PDFSP, makes it a bit hard to relate to him as a person. Though Steve does describe a few painful experiences from his past, his explanations feel detached and overly analytical. I only mention this because, in a personal development book especially, it's nice to feel a personal connection to the author.

    All right, enough of the negative. There's a lot of great advice in PDFSP. I like Steve's suggestion to rate the parts of your life--career, relationships, etc.--numerically from 1 to 10. If you give something a "decent" score like "7," chances are you're more dissatisfied with it than you think. To make his point, Steve says that a "7 score is really a "1."

    I like (love?) Steve's view on love. Steve sees love as a form of connection and as a way of engaging with the world. For example, he suggests that, instead of seeing yourself as inherently separate from the people around you, you assume you're already connected to them. Rather than assuming that connections take a long time to create, he suggests you assume they already exist ("Instead of having to break the ice with someone, assume that there is no ice."). Such an attitude will yield in-kind responses from others and fast friendships, Steve claims. I believe him.

    Steve has good advice on making lifestyle changes. For example, he suggests running "30-day trials" to evaluate new habits. The idea is to try something new without actually committing to it. If a change is good, it shouldn't be difficult to keep going with it after the 30 days are up. Steve himself has done interesting trials of things like polyphasic sleep and a raw food diet and has posted the results on his website.

    In general PDFSP contains a lot of great advice, whether it be on facing fears or on time management. And I love Steve's attempt to break personal development down into a few core principles--he's largely successful, in my opinion. However, I can't offer an unqualified endorsement of his book. Its overly-formal structure is boring and repetitious, and its simplistic exuberance can take some getting used to. If the good stuff I've mentioned sounds interesting to you and the bad stuff doesn't sound too bad, it's worth a look....more info
  • Good Book on Personal Development
    I did not find this book to be a manual. Unlike many self help books, it does not give you what the author thinks are step by step instructions to make money, be happy, or be healthy. What I found the book offered was a very practical foundation in a philosophy of personal development and practical guidance into how to apply that philosophy to your personal life.

    Overall I enjoyed the book. Unlike many self help books, I did not chuck it aside after the first 50 pages. I was able to read it from cover to cover and came away with a new outlook on personal development.

    A very readable book for anyone looking to develop themselves....more info
  • Steve Pavlina made me cry
    There are plenty of reviews of Personal Development for Smart People out there already. If you want to read a straightforward review of the book, look elsewhere.

    I'm only going to review the parts of the book that brought tears to my eyes.

    There are sixteen of them, so this tear-centered focus won't even make the review any shorter. (;

    Before Page 1

    The dedication is the most beautiful dedication I have ever read. It's to his wife, and it reads:

    "For Erin.
    Thank you for teaching me how to love.
    Our souls are dancing."

    Sheesh, I'm crying again as I write this. We'd best get used to it, because we're in for quite a ride.

    Page 22

    "Now look at each area of your life again, and ask yourself, What do I truly want? What is my dream, my grand vision? What is the deep desire I've been longing for, the one I hesitate to admit because I don't think I can have it? What path do I most want to experience? Accept that you want what you want, and stop living in denial of your true desires."

    Wow. These are powerful words. They're similar to the words that moved me to quit my job, to follow my heart's desire and do what I love for a living. In fact, if I hadn't already done it, that paragraph probably would have moved me to do so. But that's not enough for Steve. (; He challenges me to look at each area of my life and ask myself the same powerful question.

    And you know what? Once you ask yourself that question, really ask it, it can never be unasked. You'll feel forever restless if you continue to ignore your deep desire. And that's awesome! Don't rest if you're unhappy! Start poking around and figure out what you can do to improve your life! Don't let your dreams sit on that dusty shelf for one more day! Even if you're not in a situation to make your goals a reality this very day, you're in a situation where you can make the first step. Take your heart's desire off that dusty old shelf, and put it in front of you, where it belongs. See the path from the present to your heart's desire. Take that first step on the path.

    Page 73

    "Oneness makes compassion unconditional. It doesn't matter what race, religion, sexual preference, or lifestyle people have. It doesn't matter if they behave hurtfully toward you. You are connected to everyone. No one is undeserving of love."

    Steve's message of oneness and universal love touches me deeply. I feel my heart and my soul resonate when I listen to these words. There is some part of me that fears I'm undeserving of love. But then Steve reminds me: We are all connected. We are all one. All we need to do to receive love is to give love -- no, not even that, simply to remember love as a part of our connected wholeness.

    Page 80

    Steve talks about "Oneness World", an imaginary world where everyone is aligned with the principle of oneness.

    "In this world of oneness, you can always expect fair treatment, regardless of race, gender, or sexual preference. If you need help with anything, you can approach anyone at any time, and you'll be treated like family. The very notion of individual advancement at the expense of others is completely alien. This world's mantra is: "We're all in this together."

    This new world has no weapons, no prisons, and no national borders. There's no violence or war. People still have differences of opinion, but they settle them by cooperating to discover the truth while treating every individual with compassion and fairness.

    Allow your mind and emotions to roam freely through Oneness World. Think about what it would be like to actually live there. Pay attention to how it makes you feel."

    Steve just put my dream into words. It was my dream. It was in my head. And here it is on this piece of paper, on page 80 of this book. Steve calls this principle "oneness" and we call it the connection paradigm, but it's the same thing. Oneness World is a world aligned with the connection paradigm instead of the control paradigm.

    This vision is what drives us. Kyeli and I are working to make the world a better place, and this is the better place we envision. This is the goal toward which we move, one step at a time. And here it is, lifted right out of our hearts and plopped down as ink on paper.

    Oneness World isn't just our vision, it's our home. It's our expectation. It feels like where we belong. We're constantly surprised when people are mean or hurtful, when people treat us badly because of who we are or what we look like. We feel a wrenching dissonance. In our hearts, we feel like this is the way people are deep down inside, if they wouldn't be too scared to let it out. It's like we're visitors in this world -- it's Oneness World that is our home.

    Page 81

    Steve continues to talk about oneness, and I continue to cry.

    "A very pleasurable way to experience oneness is to put yourself in loving physical contact with another willing person. Snuggle your mate in a spooning position. Hold a child in your lap. Cradle a baby in your arms. Say nothing at all -- just enjoy the silent recognition of the connection between you.

    As you both maintain physical contact, imagine your consciousness expanding to encompass the other person's body. In your mind, hear the words I am you. There is no separation, no boundary between you. You both dissolve into each other and share a singular consciousness. Enjoy this feeling of pure connectedness, free of all thoughts of separation. Don't merely think you're one; know you're one."

    Just... beauty. I have no words.

    Page 82

    "Incidentally, did I mention what a beautiful, brilliant, and loving person you are?"

    I think this is my favorite sentence of the entire book. It moves me to tears every time I read it. Here is Steve, writing a book, and gushing out unconditional love to every single one of his readers. And here's the thing. He means it. He's not just writing that to be cute or encouraging or inspiring. He's writing it because he loves you. He feels connected to you, even if he doesn't know you yet. He takes time out each day to send out love and gratitude and positive vibes to all of his readers. He means it.

    Page 101

    ""Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.""

    Okay, so Steve was quoting Helen Keller here, but every tear counts, so I include it for completeness' sake. (:

    Page 102

    ""Before you embark on [any path] ask the question: Does this path have a heart? If the answer is no, you will know it, and then you must choose another path.""

    This chapter is full of tear-inducing quotes. This one is from Carlos Castaneda, but Steve really makes this one his own. He comes back to the question "Does this path have a heart?" over and over again, and each time it's amazingly powerful and heartwrenching for me.

    Page 146

    "My family and I once did a 30-day trial with no TV. It worked well because we spent time talking to each other, playing games together, and going on family outings."

    This image makes me so happy and joyfully teary. I imagine the Pavlina family with the TV off, with the soft blanket of quiet broken only by their laughter as they play games and enjoy each other's company. Then I imagine hundreds of other families turning off their TVs and turning to each other -- connecting with one another.

    Giving up TV was one of the best things I ever did to help me live an interesting and happy life, so this story connects with me deeply.

    Page 166

    Here he talks about one of my favorite things: how to discover your life purpose in about 20 minutes. Basically, you start with a blank sheet of paper (or an empty text file), and brainstorm answers to the question "What is my true purpose in life?" until you find one that makes you cry.

    It works.

    It works really well.

    And of course, Steve talking about crying makes me cry. (;

    Page 167

    Steve shares his own results from the figure-out-your-life-purpose exercise:

    "To live consciously and courageously;
    To enjoy, increase, and share peace, energy, passion, and abundance;
    To resonate with love and compassion;
    To awaken the great spirits within others;
    And to fully embrace this present moment."

    Wow. Before I read this, I knew Steve Pavlina was a good person and someone I greatly admired. Now I know that he is a kindred spirit. I not only got teary when I read this, but I also felt a chill run up my spine.

    Steve, I feel called to get to know you better. I'm feeling the tingles of a kind of connection that isn't simple admiration or friendship or a sharing of common goals. I'm not sure what it is, but I think it merits exploration.

    Page 168

    "You deserve to have an empowering career, but that won't happen until you fully commit to it. The obstacles and setbacks you encounter aren't intended to keep you from reaching yor ultimate goal. They're merely part of the training course you must complete in order to prove you're strong enough to hold on to your dream once you reach it. Demonstrate by your actions that you're 100 percent committed and the obstacles will tend to recede on their own."

    Whoa! Didn't I just say that myself? Why, I do believe I did, and I may have even quoted Goethe, don't ya know.

    Earlier this week, Kyeli and I had a conversation about fears, roadblocks, stress, and money. At the end of the conversation, we realized something amazing: success is inevitable. Since we are 100% committed to succeeding, since we are ridiculously passionate and tenacious, it's like we've already succeeded. The only question remaining is how long it will take us to reach our goals. Reaching them is no longer up for debate; it's only a matter of time.

    It's always amazing (and sometimes tearworthy) to see words you were just thinking appear on a page written by someone else.

    Page 169

    "Your career is your primary outlet for contribution. Do your current choices honor the fact that we're all connected, or do you live entirely for yourself at the expense of others? It isn't enough to do no harm. You must commit to doing good."

    You must commit to doing good! It isn't enough to do no harm! *mind blows*

    Hey Wiccans! Hey pagans! Hey neopagans! Steve Pavlina is calling you out! "An it harm none, do what thou wilt" ain't gonna cut it any more. It isn't enough to do no harm. You must commit to doing good.

    Hey desk workers! Hey food service employees! Hey IT professionals! Hey marketers! Hey small business owners! I know you're probably doing no harm. But are you committed to doing good?

    This is one of the reasons I needed to change my career. I was doing no harm (well, not a lot) at my old job, but I wasn't doing good. I had a story in my head about how I was doing good, but my head wasn't enough to warm me, wasn't enough to fire me up. I wasn't doing the kind of good that fed my heart.

    Now I am, and let me tell you, it makes all the difference.

    Page 191

    "To sacrifice myself to help others without receiving fair value in return is to enter into an abusive relationship."

    That finger of yours, Steve? It's pointing at me. I've been fighting a case of what Steve calls "lightworker syndrome": the tendency to devalue myself and to try to help everyone without receiving anything in return. It seems kind and altruistic on the surface, but it's actually not, because it's completely unsustainable. If you don't take good care of yourself, you won't be able to help others. But if you set good boundaries for yourself and stick to them fiercely, you will be sustainable, as well as setting a good example for others.

    This comes up for us over and over when we talk about how much of our work we want to give away for free and how much we want to sell. Our #1 goal is helping people, and sometimes we lose sight of the fact that that goal is strengthened, not weakened by our #2 and #3 goals: enjoying the journey and making money. After all, the reason we're making money is to feed it back into more of #1 and #2.

    I'm going to print out Steve's quote and put it on our wall so we can be reminded of it during future business planning conversations.

    Page 221

    Steve says lots of sweet things about Erin. (:

    Page 253

    "Remember that you're always loved."

    What a beautiful way to conclude this review of joyful tears.

    In summary, this book is one of my five favorite, most life-changing books of all time. I highly recommend you buy a copy, or if you're local, I'll be happy to let you borrow one of mine. (:

    -Pace (of Pace and Kyeli)...more info
  • Really makes you think !
    I don't review books very often, but occasionally one comes along that I'm sure others would really appreciate.... and Steve Pavlina's new book titled Personal Development for Smart People: The Conscious Pursuit of Personal Growth definitely falls in that category !

    Attitude is # 1
    Steve has one of the best attitudes toward personal development and growth that I've ever seen. In fact, he has devoted his business (and a good chunk of his life) to the subject of Personal Development.

    In his blog, you can get a feeling for his attitude by how he has documented a wide range of his own personal "30 Day Trials". This is where he tries out things like "PolyPhasic Sleep Schedule", "Raw Food Diet" and most recently, "Juice Feasting Diet" to see if they work for him (and we all get to live vicariously through his experiences). For an introduction to his blog, check out his website's home page at

    Great [but slow] Book
    Of course, his book is outstanding. I got it over a month and a half ago and it has taken me that long to read all of it. To put that in perspective, I can usually I can get through a book in about a week by finding spare minutes in my daily schedule. The "problem" with Steve's book is that it is TOO GOOD !

    There were so many concepts and ideas in the book that I would read for a few pages and then stop to think about how it relates to my life. It was like driving through a beautiful neighborhood... with plenty of speed bumps!

    Speed Bumps
    Some of the "speed bumps" are by Steve's design. He inserts "Exercises" for you to try that help you stretch your thinking and, sometimes, learn more about yourself. Other times it is just the way he phrases or explains a particular concepts that makes you stop and think.

    For example...
    One of the ideas that got me thinking was when he wrote about "taking an hour for yourself every day". I had been looking for a "way of thinking" that would help get me motivated to jump out of bed and really "hit the ground running". Steve's suggestions allowed me to change my thinking (and my habits) so that I've been waking up like a kid at Christmas.... ready to jump out of bed and really enjoy that first hour of the day!

    As you can imagine, with ideas like these that call for immediate action, it took quite a while to read Steve's book... but I certainly enjoyed the process!
    Constructive Suggestions

    An evaluation would not be complete without some ideas for improvement.... so here you go, Steve:

    1) The hardcover book needs a companion audiobook. If I could have listened to the book while I was driving to/from work... I'm sure I could have gotten through it more quickly. (I was also distracted by other audiobooks I DID listen to during the time I was reading Steve's book.)

    2) The next product should be a workshop DVD where Steve takes people through the concepts in the book and it follows them through the changes they make in their life.

    I would definitely recommend Steve Pavlina's book, "Personal Development for Smart People"! ...more info
  • Great Material, but Too Dry for Right-Brained
    **What the Book Is**

    Briefly, the book is divided in two parts: the first is the theory of all theories, Steve's 7 Principles of Truth, Love, Power, Oneness, Authority, Courage and Intelligence. The second part is the application, where he discusses how these principles apply to habits, career, money, health, relationships, and spirituality.

    The writing is pure Steve: thorough, logical, strong and bold without being cocky and condescending. I detected no difference in the voices of blogger Steve and book-author Steve. If you like his blog, that's what you'll get in his book -- except it's even longer (hard to imagine, I know, considering how verbose he is! ;-) )

    **What It Delivers**

    In its introduction, Steve outlined his mandates for the principles he was to identify. He is very well-versed in the personal development/self-improvement (PD/SI) literature, but he rarely references others' works, so by this I suspect it was purely a process of his digging deep into his supreme intelligence to deduce principles based on his observations and logic.

    And he has a lofty list! His principles were to be:

    * universal
    * fundamental (meaning, all other PD/SI concepts would trace back to his principles)
    * irreducible, like prime numbers in math
    * congruent, never contradicting, with each other
    * practical

    Reading through the first half of the book, I couldn't help but conclude that he succeeded in discovering this. Logically, it is impeccable. There's just no room to argue with Steve. I'm sure many of us will be quoting him from here on, to explain why something is the way it is.

    Among the seven principles, the truth of oneness resonated with where I am in my development the most. The idea of us being but individual cells in a larger body is not exactly new, but in Steve's hands it has a profound impact. Because he is able to explain why this is, I can totally accept it, even when what he claims is not scientifically proven (yet) in anyway.

    Similarly, the application section is packed full of vintage Steve. This part contains many episodes that were at least mentioned among his blogs, as it deals with more concrete problems.

    Particularly, I've always felt that his work on habits is among his greatest contributions. The analogy of a chess game to a habit change is so innovating, yet it makes complete sense.

    **What It Didn't Deliver -- to ME**

    However, while I sat and marveled at how everything makes so much sense, I noticed that I wasn't exactly enjoying reading this book. Perhaps it's because the words he chose for the 7 principles are all ordinary, common words? Or maybe because as a PD/SI blogger myself, I'm already familiar with many of theories and claims in this book?

    Upon pondering on this a while, I recognized what was going on. He and I are polar opposites in terms of our personality types.

    First, Steve's writing is intelligent and logical, but almost completely devoid of all emotions or feelings. Oh, he talks about them, all right -- intuition, too. But his writing does absolutely nothing to evoke or connect on that level.

    Second, even when discussing applications, Steve doesn't illustrate his points with real-world or personal stories. He mentions them here and there, but it doesn't dig deep enough to truly illuminate, to really reveal how it applies. The most gripping part for me was the introduction, where he outlined his autobiography of his evolution up to the writing of this book.

    These two traits, as I mentioned, are nothing new if you read his blogs. He writes the book in exactly the same voice. But a blog entry is a different format. However long it is, it is still designed to make a single point. These qualities don't bother me on a blog, as I am picking and choosing entries that solve my specific problems. And I can feel the elation of truth being revealed and explained, not because his writing appeals that way, but simply because I can process what he's saying because I have the real world example to connect it with on my hand.

    Taken as one book, I have to admit that it was one massive, dry reading. It reminded me for forcing myself through a college textbook. Like the books you find in a library's reference section, perhaps the best use of this book is to use it as a reference -- you just skim through it at first to see where everything is, and go back to re-read specific portions when relevant situations come up.

    **Concluding Thoughts**

    If you are a blogger on this topic, I would recommend this book as a reference. Grab it and quote from it to back up your points. If you are primarily left-brain-oriented person, this book will be fabulous. It doesn't contain any sob stories to dull the sharpness of his chain of logic.

    If you are an intuitive/emotional type, looking to shed a light on your specific problems, then I would say there are better books for you.

    I look forward to Steve's next book. Having this theory-explainer out of the way, now he can build on it to solve some great problems.

    Ari Koinuma info
  • An intelligent approach to personal growth
    Steve Pavlina points out the personal development and self-improvement area is not only huge, but often fragmented, varying widely from one expert to another in terms of consistency and value of information.

    Even leaders such as Abraham Maslow can present dynamic ideas about personal growth in a way that is often academic, rather than including practical strategies to help us actually grow.

    In studying the field for many years, Pavlina says he "realized that an intelligent approach to personal development would have to resolve these incongruencies somehow.

    He adds, "Such an approach would have to make logical and intuitive sense, satisfying both head and heart. It would have to appear logically correct in order to satisfy the left brain, and it would have to feel intuitively correct in order to engage the right brain."

    His book succeeds at doing that. This is not a simple or superficial prescription, but rather a clear and well-researched overview of principles he found to be a "common pattern behind all successful growth efforts," followed by a section (about half the book) of practical exercises and applications....more info
  • One of the most original person development books
    Steve is one of the most known personal development bloggers today. I've known his site for several years now and have found him to be one of the most original and prolific bloggers on the subject. He had many unique ideas and views on many topics and his writing style is very much to my taste.

    Steve has published several hundred articles on his site on various topics and it was interesting to see what he could innovate in his book. Steve promised that the book won't be a rehash of site's content and I'm glad to say that he delivered.

    The book is just about 150 pages but it is so packed with original ideas and concepts that other writers would have smeared it at least on a handful of books. Luckily for the readers, Steve's ability to present his ideas succinctly, without much repetition packed the book dense with information.

    So what is this book about? The book presents a way of how to look at conscious personal development. The book is built from the ground, in a bottoms up approach, which gives it a somewhat philosophical kind of depth. Indeed, Steve has tried, for the purpose of writing the book, to analyze, in his mind, many of the existing successful growth practices. He analyzed them by trying to identify the most basic principles that unite all of them.

    His goal was to find a set of basic principles that would be universal, meaning that they should be for everyone and for all areas of personal development and life. They should be timeless - work in the future and should have been working thousands of years ago as well. They should be collectively complete, meaning that all laws of personal growth should be based on them. And the primary principles should be irreducible. Of course, they also shouldn't conflict with each other.

    Steve then introduces the seven principles. Three core principles: Truth, Love and Power. And four secondary principles, oneness, authority, courage and intelligence. These secondary principles are based on the first 3 in different combinations.

    So, part I of the book explores these principles. There's a chapter for each of them. This is the more "dry", philosophical part of the book, where the reader builds the foundation.

    The second part of the book shows how to apply each of these principles in various areas of one's growth process. There are chapters for habits, career, money, health, relationship and spirituality. Every area is explorer through the lens of the principles.

    Some of these chapter include practical advice as to how one should analyze his situation in the given area. Usually this is done by truthfully answering some very difficult questions. Sometimes feelings and emotion are the guide. But everywhere Steve tries to be only the guide, asking the questions and showing the way one should take to analyze his situation and find the correct answer for himself, which might be different for everyone.

    Whoever follows Steve's blog knows that he changed his diet, from regular to vegetarian, then to vegan. In the last year he switched to eating only raw food. One of the positive effects that Steve mentioned from these changes and that his mental clarity improved with each of this changes. His thinking abilities improved since concentration was easier and mental fog dissipated. This book clearly shows that Steve's mind capable of going into real depths of thought, giving the process of personal development an almost scientific approach.

    The book is titled "Personal Development for Smart People". And it delivers.

    Jacob ( info
  • A Fresh Perspective on Things that Matter
    Occasionally an original thinker comes along, and everyone benefits. Steve Pavlina is such a person and his new book is destined to become a classic. It's called "Personal Development for Smart People: The Conscious Pursuit of Personal Growth."

    What I appreciate most about Steve's style is that he has a fresh perspective. He's obviously very intelligent (he earned a Bachelor's degree in 3 semesters), but beyond his keen intellect is a well-balanced student of expanding consciousness. Yes he has a big brain, but his heart is equally well developed. Most personal growth experts are either brainiacs or love gurus. Steve has pioneered a refreshing blend of head and heart based on common sense and direct experience. This is a rare quality.

    "My greatest breakthroughs usually come from personal experimentation..." - Steve Pavlina

    His refreshing approach is obvious at the beginning of the book where he outlines how the book was born and how it is organized. (And yes, it is very organized!)

    "It took me almost two and a half years, but I eventually found the solution I was looking for. It consists of just three core principles: truth, love and power. Four secondary principles are directly derived from the first three: oneness, authority, courage and intelligence. Oneness is truth plus love. Authority is truth plus power. Courage is love plus power. And intelligence is the total combination of truth, love and power . . . these principles are universal; they cannot be successfully compartmentalized without sacrificing something far more important - our true nature as conscious beings." - Steve Pavlina

    The book is organized around these fundamental principles. Personal anecdotes from Steve's life illustrate his points and keep the material easy to grasp. The principles are sometimes obvious and sometimes deep. I found myself occasionally thinking, "Why didn't I think of that?" (Many times, I did think of that, but had never articulated it so succinctly.) I appreciate his honest communication style and his gift of making deep concepts easy to catch.

    "Genuine personal growth is honest growth. You can't take short-cuts through the land of make-believe." - Steve Pavlina


    I resonated deeply with Steve's recommendation for the importance of discovering your own truth and then learning how to live it on a moment-to-moment basis. We have all grown up in an era where we are brainwashed by the media. I know that's a harsh assessment, but my own personal experience convinces me that it's true. It's a matter of degrees - some of us are mildly brainwashed and know it, while others are thoroughly brainwashed and clueless. (I explored this idea in depth in previous articles, "The Trouble with TV" and "Trade TV Time for Habits of Personal Development and Success.")

    "The cumulative effect of mass-media exposure is to condition you to adopt a false view of reality - one that upholds pro-advertiser values. The more you expose yourself to mainstream media such as television, the more skewed your mental model of reality becomes . . . this is a path of long-term laziness, apathy, and decay, not intelligent self-actualization." - Steve Pavlina


    Here's another topic that I have also explored in depth - connecting with other people. Steve explains how his wife, Erin helped him to open up to the fact that deep inside, we are really all one. Once that is experienced, relationships are forever changed. Close relationships become deeper, and new relationships begin to take on new dimensions. (I enjoyed exploring these important ideas in a previous article, "Meaningful Spiritual Relationships - Namaste Matters." )

    "There are few greater joys in life than the experience of conscious communication with another person. No ego games, false fronts, or manipulative tactics are employed. Both individuals simply want to connect with each other for the purpose of learning and growing. Once you've experienced such open, loving communication with another human being, it's hard to settle for anything less." - Steve Pavlina

    Steve explains how Erin is a master of quick connections. She does this easily because she believes, rather she knows in her heart that we are all deeply connected, like individual cells forming one body. It's not necessary for her to labor over creating new connections with people. Instead she just taps into the underlying connection she knows is already there. I've known a few people who can do this - my wife, Janey, for one, and it is a wonder to behold. It feels great, but I must admit, I'm still learning. I believe it, I love the idea of it . . . it's just that I am still breaking through years of social conditioning and erroneous preconceived notions about our separateness.

    "Instead of having to break the ice with someone, assume that there is no ice." - Steve Pavlina


    The idea of exercising your own personal power and deliberately creating your best life is a theme that has run through many of my articles. I have known the value of this for a long time and continually explore new ways to do it better and better. It feels right to take the reins of life firmly in hand and deliberately steer it toward your deepest desires. What could be more important or more satisfying than to manifest the best version of yourself and the best life possible? (See "Your Passion as Your Compass," and "Integrity Through Self-Reliance" and "Goal Setting or Let Go and Let God.")

    "When you set a goal that improves your present reality, what does it matter how long it takes to achieve the final outcome? Whether it takes one week or five years is irrelevant. The whole path is fun and enjoyable. More important, you feel happy and fulfilled this very moment. This drives you to take action from a state of joy, so you're productive too. Instead of going after goals you think will make you happy in the distant future, focus on goals that make you happy right now." - Steve Pavlina


    Successful people usually have it. Unsuccessful people usually don't. That's a good clue about the importance of self-discipline in a successful and fulfilling life. To me, the idea of self-discipline is simply a promise I make to myself based on my current understanding on what's best. It has to be best for me, as well as the good of the whole, for me to be able to get behind it and push when necessary.

    "It's your fail-safe, your motivational backup system . . . motivation starts the race, but self-discipline ultimately crosses the finish line." - Steve Pavlina

    Besides the satisfaction of completing self-appointed tasks as a result of well-functioning personal self-discipline, it feels good while the task is in progress too. It helps you feel good about yourself when you know you are capable of making an important promise to yourself . . . and then keeping it. (See previous article, "Self-Discipline in 3 Easy Steps.")


    Socrates said, "Know thyself." That's a good first step to being authentic. You can't be yourself until you know yourself. Social conditioning has a way of turning us into homogenous drones . . . cogs in the wheel of industry and consumerism. There's more to life that that. Much more. It all begins with our personal authority. Unless you assumne your own authority, don't expect anyone else to simply grant it to you by default. (See previous article, "Know Thyself - Ignore Comparisons and Be Yourself.")

    "When you live without authority, your default behavior is to squander your time. You may acquire some knowledge, but you won't apply it well. You may take some action, but your movements will be chaotic and unfocused. You have the potential to live a powerful, self-directed life of your choosing, but until you step into your true authority, this potential remains a fantasy." - Steve Pavlina

    Each of us have the responsibility and the profound privilege to take the raw materials of our life and turn it into the life of our dreams. It's satisfying beyond measure - easily worth whatever it takes to learn how to do it well. This habit of mental discipline is not done in broad strokes but in the small details of life. It's the little things over a period of time that add up to making a big difference. What are you doing today that has the potential of making a lasting difference in the quality of your life and your personal satisfaction?

    "People of authority focus on what really matters to them. They don't waste time on trivialities . . . What's important to you in life? What's a relative waste of your time? . . . If you can't honestly predict a positive long-term impact from your actions, admit that you're wasting your time, and set some goals that really matter to you. There's no substitute for investing your life in something that has the potential to make a real difference." - Steve Pavlina


    It's easy to give up. Anyone can do that. And most people do. Succesful people, in all areas of life, are simply people who have tried and failed enough times to have gained a good education. They fall down, get up and keep going. They recognize it as part of the journey. The failures are opportunities to learn, so they don't shrink from them. Instead they embrace the new lesson learned and press on. Persistent people are inspired people, and they are inspiring. (See previous article, "Persistence and Perseverance for Winners - Losers Just Quit")

    "I don't get inspired by people who have all the external trappings of success like money and fame. I'm moved by those who I can see are destined for greatness, but no one else knows it yet. The telltale sign is always the same - persistence." - Steve Pavlina


    One of my favorite authors in Carlos Castaneda and the way he described his tutelage by the Yaqui Indian shaman, Don Juan. I've read all his books, some of them several times, so I wasn't surprised when Steve Pavlina quoted Don Juan . . .

    "Before you embark on [any path] ask the question: Does this path have a heart? If the answer is no, you will know it, and then you must choose another path . . . When a man finally realizes that he has taken a path without a heart, the path is ready to kill him." - Carlos Castaneda

    Does this idea hold any special meaning to you? The idea of a path with heart is a very personal idea, and only you can recognize the truth of your answer. It reminds me of the lyrics to one of my songs:

    "And no one but you can find the answer to your quest
    Your answer's for you and not all the rest
    (You know your answer's the best, it's not a contest)
    The question is easy enough, and any honest answer is good enough
    You really gotta know . . . . . what do you love?"
    - From the song, "Do What You Love" by Tupelo Kenyon

    When you are in alignment with what you love, your path has heart. You find it easy, even joyful, to take action. You're commited, and you like it that way. It's not a chore but a thrill to do things when you are on your path with heart. (To honestly explore your personal path with heart, see this previous article, "10 Steps to Discovering Your Life's Purpose.")

    "It's a great idea to consciously intent what you want, and I highly recommend you do that, but if you don't want something badly enough to take direct action, then what does that say about your intention? Doesn't that suggest you aren't really commited to it? When you're really hungry, will you wait patiently for food to arrive, or will you get up and make something to eat? When your intentions are important to you, direct action becomes part of the manifestation process. The best instruments of the Law of Attraction are your own hands and feet." - Steve Pavlina


    There's something deeply satisfying about reading what an intelligent person has to say about intelligence. That's one of the reasons why I have enjoyed reading Einstein's words, who said, "Imagination is more powerful than knowledge."

    Steve is a very imaginative person, plus he has learned how to apply the knowledge he has gained. It takes intelligence to do that. His book allows him to take the next step which is to share what he has learned. He has worked hard on his communication skills because he recognizes the importance of sharing the wealth of his intelligence with others. I love being inspired by articulate, intelligent, big-hearted people . . .

    "Intelligence is the highest form of human expression. Our intelligence is what defines us as human beings. It is our greatest strength, our staunchest ally, and our most noble pursuit. Without it, we are nothingness; we are form without substance and existence without purpose. It is only through the deliberate exercise of intelligence that we give our lives meaning, a meaning that is consciously chosen . . . the most intelligent thing you can possibly do with your life is to grow." - Steve Pavlina


    Personally chosen, deliberately cultivated habits help keep us on track. They are tools that allow us to translate our resolve into our daily lives. They simplify the day-to-day activities that help us get from where we are to where we want to be. Good habits are our friends, and I really appreciated the following jewels of insight Steve offered on the subject of habits . . .

    "How do you know if a habit is positive or negative? Use your mind's predictive powers to imagine what long-term, cumulative effect each one will have if you maintain it for the rest of your life . . .

    "Since habits wield power over your results, you must wield power over your habits . . .

    "Take a moment to consider the social consequences of your actions. Do your habits help others align themselves with truth, love and power, or does your behavior lead people astray? . . . Which habits put you on a path with a heart? . . . When your habits are aligned with truth, love and power, the guy in the glass is your friend." - Steve Pavlina


    It's inspiring to learn from someone who has figured out a way to harness his greatest gifts to experience abundance while helping others at the same time. This paradigm is still rarely manifested in our current society, but examples like Steve can inspire us to our own greatest potential of contribution.

    ". . . the best way to optimize your income is to find a career medium that allows you to share your most important message. By sharing your message with others, you provide exactly the kind of value that can generate abundant income." - Steve Pavlina

    I appreciate Steve's take on contribution vs. mooching. Many of us are taught to get as much as we can for as little as possible. That is, maximize the return while minimizing the input. The natural extension of this mindset is a nation (or a world) of people expecting a handout. It's entitlement mentality run a muck.

    Instead, Steve does a fine job of extolling the virtues (personally and globally) of a mindset based on contribution. When you provide value, it is inevitable that you receive value in return. It's a wonderful idea and a tad sad that such a common sense approach has fallen out of favor in modern society. Imagine what it would be like if everyone dealt with one another with this dedication to contribution, rather than focusing on, "What can I get?"

    "To build an authentic career, you need to find the path that keeps you aligned with truth, love and power. This requires paying attention to the following four questions:

    1. Body (needs): What must I do?
    2. Mind (abilities): What can I do?
    3. Heart (desire): What do I want to do?
    4. Spirit (contribution): What should I do?

    "An authentic career is found in the place where all four of these questions produce the same answer . . . When you have all four areas working synergistically together, the combined effect is truly amazing. Instead of meeting your needs, you experience true abundance. Instead of applying your knowledge to your tasks, you unlock your true genius. Instead of tolerating your daily routine, you work in a state of joy. And instead of just putting in your time, you fill your days with a sense of purpose." - Steve Pavlina


    It's best to learn from those who know. I once had a college instructor who never once demonstrated what he taught. He taught a swimming class, and he never got wet. It was difficult to believe the teacher was much of an authority on the subject when he shouted his instructions from the sidelines. It would have been easier to learn from him if he would have joined us in the game. is one of the world's most popular personal development blogs (if not the most popular). With over two million visitors per month, he knows what he is talking about, whether he is speaking about personal development or financial development.

    ". . . money is a human invention to facilitate the exchange of value. To shun money as something evil or unnecessary is a huge mistake. When properly aligned with truth, love and power, it becomes a valuable tool of conscious living - one that's too important to ignore. If you want to live consciously, you must learn to use money intelligently . . . work within the area of overlap between your personal values and social values. This will enable you to do what you love while creating something that others treasure as well. Don't force yourself to focus between your integrity and your income - demand that both be satisfied." - Steve Pavlina

    The section on money in Steve's book is thorough and thought-provoking. It will challenge you to rethink your assumptions about money and how to get more of it. I feel confident almost everyone will benefit from this enlightened look at money.

    "Do your best to create and share your value with others, and you'll help create a richer and more abundant world for all of us." - Steve Pavlina


    True to his commitment to personal experimentation, many of Steve's major health improvements have been a result of his 30-day trial technique. This is how he proved to himself that his body responded best to vegetarianism. More energy, clearer focus, less sleep required, and other benefits convinced him to adopt it as a lifestyle choice after the 30-day trial period was over.

    I am also interested in diet, nutrition and health and have devoured many books on the subject. I wrote a thorough review on one of my favorites. (See previous article, "Finally the Truth About Diet - The China Study Review.")

    The ideas in Steve's section on health and in "The China Study" are not mainstream. In fact, they are controversial, not because they are so outrageous but because we have drifted so far away from common sense in our dietary choices. Yes, we are the product of insidious social conditioning and are trained to eat, not what is good for us, but what is most profitable for the advertisers to sell. Recognizing this fact is the first step to assuming responsibility for our own health and deliberately choosing what we put in our mouth.

    "In order to be healthy today, you must exercise your self-discipline to overcome the drag of social conditioning. Summon the maturity to make intelligent choices for yourself, regardless of what throngs of sick people encourage you to do . . . the truth is that if the average person wouldn't consider your current health practices extreme, you probably aren't very healthy." - Steve Pavlina

    Diet and nutrition is a science in its infancy. It's easy to find conflicting advice from different experts. (That's one reason why I appreciated "The China Study" so much. It's not based on any fad diet or conjecture or marketing hype. In fact, it's based in emperical scientific evidence gathered during the largest nutritional study ever done on planet earth!)

    Ultimately, each one of us makes the decision of what we eat. That one seemingly simple decision has a major impact on the level of health and vitality we experience throughout our lifetimes.

    "You can delegate control, but never responsibility . . . If I give you any particular advice in this area that doesn't resonate with you, you should reject it and trust your own judgement instead." - Steve Pavlina


    We are all in this together and we are all in this alone. It's an interesting paradox. Our lives are defined and given shape by the other people in our lives. The people we choose to spend time with influence us in many seen and unseen ways. Especially for those of us interested in personal development, we need to pick our companions carefully and deliberately in order to support our chosen direction of personal growth. (These ideas were explored in previous articles, "Choose the Companionship of Positive People Who Inspire You" and "Life Drama as Blockage to Personal Development.")

    "I've learned to place a great deal of trust in my feelings when it comes to relationships. When something feels wrong to me, I know the best thing I can do is to go to the other person and explain that something doesn't seem right so that we can work together to sort it out. When you bring truth to your relationships, you build closeness and trust." - Steve Pavlina

    Some of our most important life lessons and aha moments come as a result of our relationships, so it makes sense to do our best to communicate well and be considerate of others. A little kindness goes a long way . . .

    "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting battles too,
    Cruel wars within themselves, just like it is with you.
    Be kind, because you'll never know just how much good you'll do,
    A heartfelt word or two can soothe a hidden wound.

    "Sometimes the ripples from our deed's a gentle touch, doesn't seem to matter much,
    It's like dropping flowers in the Grand Canyon.
    And though we'll never know just what becomes of them, it's all the same to them,
    So drop them anyway, because you can."
    - from the song, "Be Kind" by Tupelo Kenyon

    One of the things I appreciate most about Steve's book is the way he threads the themes of truth, love and power through all the aspects of personal development, including his very insightful look at relationships.

    "Exchanges that are lacking in truth, love, or power eventually grow stale, but when all three elements are present, the blocks to deeper levels of connection and closeness are removed . . . What mix of truth, love, and power do you use to connect with others? Realize that your weakest channel will be the source of many of your communication problems . . . When you know your dominant connection strategy, you can use it deliberately to regain your closeness whenever you start feeling a little distant from one another." - Steve Pavlina

    Building close relationships involves an element of risk, but a little courage can make a big difference in the quality of your life. You can't always expect other people to initiate the contact. Sometimes it's up to you to extend your hand (and your heart) and invite people in. Imagine what you could miss out on, if you don't.

    "The biggest risks are missing out on laughs you never shared, people you never helped, and the potential partner you sentenced to solitude . . .

    "Since all human relationships are impermanent, live with the awareness that every one of your current connections will eventually end. Take the time to appreciate them while they last, and don't take them for granted. Even when a relationship ends in death, it can still continue in your thoughts. The memories of loving relationships can become your most sacred treasures." - Steve Pavlina

    One of our most popular songs explores this idea. Like love itself, it's a timeless idea. Those we love go right on living in our hearts, long after they've left this world.

    "And even though you're hurting now, the hurting will not last,
    The strength you gain from such a pain remains when it's all past.
    And even this will pass away, like this life itself someday,
    And all that we take with us is the love we gave away."
    - from the song, "All That We Take with Us" by Tupelo Kenyon


    In this section of the book, Steve challenges us to look at our idea of spirituality through the lenses of truth, love and power, rather than the conditioned habits of custom, peer pressure, and heredity. It's an enlightened approach to spirituality, stripped clean of outdated dogma and exclusive ideas designed to keep us loyal to one particular brand. What passes for spirituality has a history of tearing us apart rather than bringing us together.

    I love the way Steve encourages us to consider all things spiritual and take the best of what each has to offer. It assumes the ancient words of Shakespeare were actually true and that we actually care enough to keep an open mind rather than blindly clinging to any one viewpoint . . ."There are more things in heaven and earth than ever dreamed of by your philosophies."

    "Just as your physical senses act as a lens through which you perceive different subsets of reality, your spiritual senses also act as cognitive filtering mechanisms. These filters allow you to focus on bits and pieces of preprocessed information which may or may not be useful to you. The more spiritual sensory data you can access and comprehend, the richer your spiritual life will be, and the more accurately it will model truth . . .

    "When we confront the key spiritual question of our lives, such as Who am I? And What is my purpose in life? . . . we can limit our input to a small subset of these channels. In general, when we limit our input too severely, we end up making things harder than necessary, much like trying to prepare a meal while wearing a blindfold and earplugs. This is what happens when we say, `I'm only going to consider this single spiritual point of view because it's the one and only truth' . . .

    "Even though each channel of input has limited expressiveness, if you can access a diverse enough set of channels, each one compressed and filtered in different ways, you can develop a more accurate and complete picture of reality. Each belief system you consider provides another way of viewing the same underlying data, thus helping you develop a better understanding of the whole . . .

    "By examining your problems from different philosophical viewpoints, you empower yourself. Holistic solutions finally start to emerge. You gain the ability to solve problems you were previously unable to solve . . . most of us are socially conditioned to overlook the simplicity of across-the-board, high-level solutions because we cling to fixed belief systems that prevent us from seeing the big picture." - Steve Pavlina

    These ideas are close to my heart as I look around the planet and see the result of so many people stubornly clinging to some particular brand of spirituality and refusing to see any merit in any other viewpoint. That's got to be the manifestation of ultimate insecurity to not even be able to consider the validity of a different idea. (I explored this idea in previous articles, "Beyond the Brands of Truth" and "Beyond Science, Philosophy and Religion.")

    Clear thinking and honest exploration of truth is a refreshing approach to spirituality, and that's why I appreciate Steve's style of saying what he thinks and feels, even though it's not the mainstream viewpoint. Far from it. But, I recognize that the tide is turning as more and more people worldwide are beginning to take responsibility for their own spirituality and making their own choices, rather than settling for being spoon fed by tradition.

    "A multispectral philosophy of life - that is, one that combines input from multiple perspectives - aligns closely with what's considered common sense . . .

    "The point of spiritual exploration is to help you make conscious, empowering choices . . .

    "Many serious conflicts in the world result from the decision to pass on beliefs that label other human beings as unworthy, damaged, or evil . . .

    "Your beliefs are not merely observations of reality; they also shape and define your experience of reality. Many of the thoughts you hold most sacred may reveal hidden falsehoods once you take the opportunity to consider the alternatives." -Steve Pavlina

    Celebrating an Expansive Viewpoint

    This empowering book, like all great books, performs magic. It allows us to take a peek inside one of the great minds of our time. As a result, it makes the inside of my head (and heart) feel bigger. What more could you ask for in a book?

    These last Steve Pavlina quotes do a fine job of tying it all together . . .

    "The ultimate goal of any sound spiritual path is to be infinitely truthful, infinitely loving, and infinitely powerful. By extension, this also requires infinite oneness, infinite authority, and infinite courage . . .

    "If it were somehow possible for everyone on earth to come together and agree on a single spiritual philosophy, it would be one that incorporates the universal principles of truth, love, and power. These are the ideals that guide us not only as human beings, but also as spiritual beings . . .

    "Invest in creative self-expression, service and contribution, and you will suffer no scarcity. Your greatest gift to the world is to share who you really are . . . No one is served by your refusal to shine." - Steve Pavlina

    Personal Appreciation

    Although I don't personally know Steve and his wife, Erin, they both feel like old friends that Janey and I haven't yet met. Steve's writings have been a source of inspiration and encouragement to me for a couple of years. I first went to his website as a result of a link in an email from Derek Sivers, founder of [...]. Derek was impressed that anyone could graduate from college after only three (very busy) semesters, and recommended an article Steve wrote on how he accomplished that.

    I began exploring his other articles and it soon became clear I had found a kindred spirit. His example inspired me to begin writing again, and [...] was born shortly thereafter. The blog spawned the "Inspired on Purpose" newsletter which provides satisfaction and inspiration for myself as well as others. I have Steve Pavlina to thank for all this.

    Thanks Steve, for all you do . . . and all you are.

    Tupelo Kenyon

    P.S. Get this book, while it's in first edition. It's a classic, and I could only hint at it's empowering breadth and depth in this (rather long) gushing review....more info
  • Deals with the inner person, but somewhat too new-age'ish for me...
    I was recently sent a copy of Steve Pavlina's book Personal Development for Smart People: The Conscious Pursuit of Personal Growth. I'm always game for trying to make myself better. Pavlina's book is quite a bit different than most personal development books that you'll read, in that he deals much more with *who* you are rather than *what* you are doing. I don't know that I would recommend it for everyone, as it's got a number of slants that run contrary to my own personal faith and belief system (but there's a section in there that would explain how that's limiting...) Still, if you want to think beyond the "what do I do next" level, Pavlina will take you there...

    Part 1 - Fundamental Principles: Truth; Love; Power; Oneness; Authority; Courage; Intelligence
    Part 2 - Practical Application: Habits; Career; Money; Health; Relationships; Spirituality
    Afterword; Resources; About the Author

    Steve Pavlina is an interesting person. He was someone who lived a life that was pretty reckless (shoplifting, drinking, generally wild), and came to a realization that this wasn't the type of person he wanted to be. Thus started his search for personal growth and development, focusing mostly on the internal person. This mentality shift allowed him to do a number of rather incredible things, like earning a four year degree from California State University - Northridge in three semesters by tripling the normal class load. He was doing well as a computer game developer, but he didn't feel like this career choice was resonating with him. Instead, he decided to start a website focusing on personal development, which is where we find him now (and he's doing *very* well at it). His life goal now is to seek out truth and share it with others.

    Pavlina has a framework for the inner person. Imagine a triangle with the points labeled Truth, Power, and Love. These are the core principles. There are four secondary principles (labeled on the sides and in the center) that are made up of a combination of the core items: Authority (Truth & Power), Courage (Love & Power), Oneness (Love & Truth), and Intelligence (all three). He explains how each of these principles can affect your life, and how they might manifest if they are out of balance. This part of the book is more "theory" than "practical", as he's laying the groundwork for the second part of the book, which is the practical applications of these principles. Here is where most readers of personal development books will feel more at ease, as there are actual actions to follow. Conversely, if you don't have the fundamental principles down, then these actions will be mostly superficial and short-lived. Taken as a whole, Pavlina presents a methodology that touches on all aspects of your life.

    I did take away a number of concepts to try out. For instance, he's a big proponent of 30 day experiments. For instance, he became a vegetarian based on a 30 day experiment he tried to see how it worked. That eventually lead to becoming a vegan, again based on that 30 day commitment. He also tried unusual things, like adapting to polyphasic sleep (30 minute naps every 4 hours, thereby sleeping only two hours a day). That was actually successful, but he eventually dropped it as it put him out to sync with others that he wanted to spend time with. On the flip side (and where I struggled with the book), there's a heavy emphasis on thinking patterns that would be more new-age or eastern in nature. Imaging yourself to be one with the pencil you're holding isn't something that resonates well with me, nor would I subscribe to the thinking that each person is the final arbitrator of what is right and wrong for themselves.

    There is definite value to be had in this book. I know a number of people who would subscribe wholeheartedly to all of the content here. Others like myself will end up filtering the material through their own values and world view. Based on which one you are will likely determine how well you like the book....more info
  • A practical guide that can start changing your life immediately!
    I've been a big fan and avid reader of Steve Pavlina since I started my blogs three months ago, and I was honored to receive an advance copy of his book Personal Development for Smart People: The Conscious Pursuit of Personal Growth for review. It took me a couple of weeks to read it, because I was just reading a little bit each evening, filling the pages with little PostIt flags, because every page is crammed with great information and I wanted to process and remember it all! This book is not fluff or platitudes. Steve is an extremely intelligent man who started programming computers at age 10 and is a very analytical thinker, and he examines personal development as a field that must obey universal laws just like physics does! After two and a half years of research, he found three core principles, truth, love, and power, and four secondary principles which are combinations of the first three (think of three primary colors then the colors which are made by mixing two or more of them). The secondary principles are oneness (truth + love), authority (truth + power), courage (love + power), and intelligence (truth + love + power). The book devotes one chapter to each of these principles, explaining it fully with many examples, then there are six excellent chapters on how you can apply the principles to your life: "Habits," "Career," "Money," "Health," "Relationships," and "Sprirituality."

    I obviously can't condense or summarize this book, and will not attempt to do that. You really must read this book at least once. I intend to read it several more times. I will tell you about a few of the things I marked with my PostIts:

    In one part of the Truth chapter, Steve urges us to admit to ourselves things we have been trying to bury and deny. Did we take a wrong career path, or did we marry the wrong person? Since we may feel there is no choice left for us, we may not want to admit those things to ourselves. Steve assures us it is better to admit those things to ourselves, even if we don't intend to do anything about them. "Whenever you're faced with a part of reality you don't like, and you feel powerless to change it, the first step is to accept the truth of your situation. Say to yourself: 'This situation is wrong for me, yet I lack the strength to change it right now.'" He examines the reasons we might continue to live in situations we know are wrong for us, and he offers suggestions we can try in order to figure out what the right choices are for us. Somewhere in there we know the answers all along, but we manage to obscure them with denial and distractions.

    In part of the Love chapter, Steve states, "Every day you're compelled to make connection decisions.....If you want to grow consciously, you must decide which connections you'll strengthen and which you'll allow to weaken. Such choices ultimately determine the shape of your life." He talks about connections in this world and how to consciously connect and communicate more deeply.

    In part of the Power chapter, Steve talks to us about our ability to consciously create the world around us. He states, "If you want different results, you must go out and create them yourself......You must actively make your life happen instead of passively letting it play out." He talks about setting goals and when to know if a goal is not right for you. A goal should start improving your present reality, not just be a reward you hope will be at the end of a miserable time of suffering and sacrifice. He also gives many suggestions on how to make sure you start achieving something toward your goal once you know what it is. He shares with us how he launched in October 2004, with the goal of having it be the best personal development website on the internet. He knew he felt tremendously motivated whenever he thought of the goal, even though for the first four months the site didn't have much traffic and the fifth month only earned him $53. Wouldn't most of us "realized" that is was long past time to give up on that "empty dream?" Instead, he kept going, and over the next three years, the site grew to include hundreds of free articles, and traffic grew to two million visitors per month! The site began to earn tens of thousands of dollars per month. His goal was achieved when became acknowledged by many to be the most popular, practical, and down-to-earth personal development website.

    In the Oneness chapter, Steve talks to us about many things, among them empathy, honesty, and contribution. He actually had had a very successful computer games business before launching and was helping game developers, but he saw he could make an even bigger contribution to the world by going full time on personal development.

    In the Authority chapter, we learn that each of us is the one true authority in our own life. We make the decisions and we take the actions. He talks to us about effectiveness and persistence, pointing out that when you fail, the failure wasn't a "waste." Instead, you have learned some valuable things that will allow you to choose more wisely and do better as you go along. In this chapter he urges us to focus on what really matters to us and realize what things are a total waste of our time. He shows us how to "triage" projects and tasks so that we spend our time on the important things that need our time in order to succeed. We are also urged to run some experiments so that we can learn how to make ourselves more effective. Why sit and wonder how things would go if we got up earlier each day? Why not try it and see?

    In the Courage chapter, Steve starts to give us the secrets to getting off that incorrect path we may know we're on but feel helpless to remedy. He tells us ways to prepare ourselves to get on the correct path, whether that means educating ourselves a bit, progressively training ourselves to overcome fears, or just making commitments in advance to do things we'd like to be able to do but are afraid of.

    The Intelligence chapter talks about being authentic and actively seeking growth, and Steve gives us a lot of concrete small questions we can ask ourselves as a self-assessment of where we are on the seven principles, plus seven sets (one set for each principle) of "Growth Blitzing" exercises we can do to increase our alignment with every principle.

    The six final chapters are each crammed with great information about applying the principles to your own life. Since I have run on so long here, I will not try to tell you about the things I marked. :-) I will say that to me the Career chapter alone would be worth the price of the book. For you, it may be the Relationships chapter. Personal Development for Smart People: The Conscious Pursuit of Personal Growth can replace dozens of books you might have bought about one small area of personal development (like a book on marriage or how to eat in a healthy manner). The last sentence is this: "Live consciously."
    ...more info
  • I highly recommend Steve's new book...
    A few days ago I received in the post Steve Pavlinas first book: Personal Development for Smart people - The Conscious Pursuit of Personal Growth.

    Whilst reading it I remembered a breakfast which I was invited to a few years ago in Los Angeles, I sat with a very successful man, a musical creator with a wonderful career of creating music for TV, films and theatre (I "grew up" on some of his music). Opposite me sat an ordinary man, without pretension, who spoke openly and sensitively, seemingly a very ordinary man, with a very slight difference, and in those days this difference seemed unbelievable...

    The small / big difference in my opinion was that the man sitting opposite me became wealthy from doing something that he loves to do.

    And more than this, he became rich from music! Music? I come from an Israeli reality of musicians that try to survive and pay their monthly bills, who play and create music that they don't really like just because that janre is more popular and can pay them a wage.

    And here I am sitting opposite a man that has made a fortune of hundreds of millions of dollars through creating music that he loves.

    Today he is 60 plus and he continues to create everyday with the same enthusiasm which he has had over the past thirty years.

    I asked him, how can a man who creates music become rich, or make such huge amounts of money?

    "Money" he laughed, "I never thought about money, all the years I concentrated on creating excellent music every day, I never dreamt of becoming rich, never thought about money".

    And then he continued to add "know that if you do something just for money, you will not become rich, you will not have to come from a creating place, from a place that where your soul is at one with it, the money is secondary...take advice from me: do not put money ever in first place, first of all do what you love and do it in the best way that you can, from there money will also come".

    I recalled this incident when I read the following in Steve Pavlinas book:

    "Perhaps the best path to wealth is to release your fear of being poor" - page 197

    And this is so true.

    Only when you release your fear of being, of doing and receiving something, you can be, you can do and receive it.

    Steve himself has had to cope with bankruptcy in his first business of developing computer games, afterwards he went through a difficult time where he had only a few dollars to exist on, but nevertheless he continued to create where he is directed towards truth and a desire to grow, to flourish and to share his personal journey with others so that they too can succeed.

    Today Steve Pavlina is the owner of the website / the most popular blog in the world of personal development and over 2 million people enter his website monthly to read his articles.

    He did this without even spending a single cent on advertising and progressed only through word of mouth (or from email to email). People simply loved its content and passed it on to their friends.

    The book that he has written comes from a wide range of experience, from intensive studying and the repetition of the principles of personal growth. His personal success is the best proof to the fact that these principles do work.

    The book is divided into two parts, the first part presents, concludes and then puts in order the seven universal rules by which he manages his life, they are:

    Truth, Love, Power, Oneness, Authority, Courage, Intelligence

    He explains and details the components of each one of the seven rules and the combinations between them.

    In the second part of the book, he shows how to implement each one of these seven rules within daily life:

    Habits, Career, Money, Health, Relationship, Spirituality

    The book is focused, easy to read and understand, well organised and contains practical and unique exercises which Steve has developed himself and succeeded using. For example what is your aim in life? What is your message? How to feel united with everything? And many other exercises that are focused on getting results.

    The most obvious characteristic in Steve is his openness, he is not offering "magical principles" these are tools and techniques that produce results for every person that will act by them.

    Steve is a "practical spiritualist" on the one hand he is very organised and proceeds with both feet firmly on the ground and on the other hand he knows to raise his thinking and take off from within the "box" out, to think in a unique way and to look at things from an unconventional perspective.

    Both these characteristics make this book and Steve's message an efficient tool towards personal growth.

    The seven principles which Steve talks about are present in everything he does in his life, he doesn't only teach them, he lives by them. His success clearly shows this from every possible direction.

    The publishing house is Hay House owned by Louise Hay and they are the ones who sent me this book through Steve, So firstly thank you to them and to Steve Pavlina for an excellent book. I wish for him that this will be one of many books which he will share with the worldwide audience.

    How did I get to know about Steve? It all started with John Assaraf...

    After I finished interviewing John for my website, we started talking freely about various subjects.

    During our conversation John asked me about my website and about my monthly visitors.

    Before I replied I preceded and said (humbly) that by Israeli standards this amount is considered high.

    When I told him the number, he smiled at me and said that the number of surfers who visit my website is considered high even in an international standard...and then he asked me if I know of Steve Pavlinas website.

    I replied that I did not know about it.

    John then said: "this guy is very sharp and his website is very successful" he suggested that I enter his website and gave me the address.

    When I entered the website I was impressed by the number of articles... Steve had written over 700 articles on the subject of Personal Growth.

    I connected to his authentic way of writing and I was especially appreciative of his courage to share every aspect of his life that is connected to personal growth.

    When you read his words you feel as if you are in a personal development reality show where Steve is the main part, there are cameras everywhere and they are reporting on every detail in his life.

    Steve is also not predictable in his writing and it seems that he isn't really bothered by any criticism.

    One day he can write a very well organised article, almost scientific, mathematical and based on facts.

    And the next day he can write about the spirit of his deceased friend, inviting him in the morning to the casino (he lives in Las Vegas) because the spirit felt like playing and together they made "a great win".

    As he explains in his book, Steve is in favour of 30 day experiments. Exactly in the same way that many programming companies allow you to use their programme free for 30 days so that you will see whether it suits you, Steve also uses 30 day experiments in personal development and shares with his readers the "moment of truth" in the process, exactly like a written internet reality show.

    I highly recommend Steve's new book and his website.

    By Alex Ziv - Creating Reality (

    Alex Ziv is the Founder of - the #1 personal development website in Israel.
    ...more info
  • An Oustanding Accessible Practical Integrative Framework
    There are thousands of books published in the personal development field.

    So why should you read this one? Because it's an...

    Accessible. Practical. Integrative Framework.

    Accessible: This book was not written from a Tibetan monastery or Princeton think-tank-- it was written by a transparent, plain spoken guy who is sharing what he has learned from both extensive reading and analysis and the lab of his own life. You won't need to haul out your dictionary or scratch your head and think, "Now what does he mean by that?"

    Practical: This book gives more than just concepts- in each chapter there are practical exercises where you can put the concepts into direct doable action designed to kick-start growth and change in your life. I dare you to read this book and not find a dozen ideas that will REALLY WORK in your life immediately.

    Integrative Framework: I've read other books that helped me with organization or work or approach to life or understanding myself. They were helpful, but they dealt with only one component of my life. One the other hand, Personal Development for Smart People gave me an overall framework that let me see a complete picture of my growth as a person, and allowed me to integrate those other good ideas and books into the framework. This allowed me to utilize all my resources more effectively and see where they fit into my life as a whole.

    What's inside......

    In the introduction, Steve sets out the question,

    "What does it mean for us to grow as conscious human beings, and how do we intelligently guide that process?"

    He answers that there are three universal principles: truth, love & power. The goal of the book is, "to teach you how to bring all areas of your life into alignment with these universal principles." He starts out with chapters on each principle, its components, common blocks to it, and ways to increase it in your life. Each chapter contains clearly written insights, engaging personal experiences, and practical exercises.

    He next devotes chapters to principles he derives from the first three, which include oneness (truth+love), authority (truth+power), and courage (love+power). He caps it off with a chapter on intelligence, which he defines as the integration and mastery of all six principles.

    After a discussion of the principles, he moves to application. There are chapters on how to apply each principle to the areas of habits, career, money, health, relationships, and spirituality.

    What did I like about this book?

    -I love that it is an integrative framework that I can fix in my head and use to structure my insights and actions about personal growth.

    -The three basic principles are solid and I was immediately able to apply them to my own life. They echo the three principles that the Apostle Paul once wrote, "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."

    -The book has given me insight and motivation to make some real, substantial changes in my life. I currently am in week 2 of getting up at 5am every morning (even weekends), exercising a half hour a day, and not eating dessert or red meat. I've lost 7 pounds, crafted an effective life purpose statement and feel greater clarity and productivity.

    What came up short?

    -Steve's principle of "oneness" is not a universally accepted principle in the same category as truth, power, & love. For Steve, this belief serves him because he rejects the idea of a Judeo-Christian Creator God. For me, knowing that I am a loved child of an omnipotent Sovereign works better than thinking I am one with everything else in the world.

    -Some of the application chapters were strong (money was especially helpful to me), but others such as relationships, health and spirituality again strayed more into aspects of Steve's personal worldview than universally accepted principles.

    Overall, Personal Development for Smart People is a great read and a fantastic resource. There are some parts you will likely not agree with, but there's a lot of gold to be mined and effectively used in your life. I've read it twice in two weeks, and already given two copies to friends. Highly recommended...more info
  • A bible for conscious growth
    Steve Pavlina is the real deal. His book is trenchant, deeply thought through, and the system will work for anyone, anywhere, at any time for any issue in life. It's spectacularly elegant and simple. Having been a spiritual counselor for more than 25 years, be assured that I will recommend this book to all my clients! Pure, intelligent wisdom!

    Furthermore, he's not afraid to address the shadow parts of human experience. In fact, like me, he insists that we must! I totally agree....more info
  • Personal Development for Dumb People
    I have been a reader of Steve Pavlina's blog and was really impressed by the quality of some of his articles on the blog. Therefore, I was very excited when I came to know about his book. Unfortunately, the book is an unmitigated disappointment.

    The author has tried hard to tie various component of personal development into three universal principles that can be applied to any situation. Unfortunately human personality is a much more nuanced thing that defies such neat categorizations. The attempt to force fit the 'fundamental principles of personal development(!)' into neat categories can only result in such inanities as love + truth = oneness; truth + power = courage; etc. There is no explanation on why only these categories are considered universal, why not others? After all we have a long list of desirable qualities say virtue, honor, commitment, persistence, discipline etc. etc. On what basis do you pick 3 of them and declare them to be 'fundamental principles'? If truth, love and power are the fundamental principals of personality, then what about the others? The author believes that others are just a combination of these 3. So,

    Oneness= Truth + Love
    Courage= Love + Power
    Authority= Truth + Power
    Intelligence= Truth + Love + Power

    I am not sure if this is an exhaustive list of all desirable personality traits. May be other things can also be derived from fundamental principles in some different combination. May be further research can show that "commitment = 2/5* power + 1/3* love" or something like that. I don't know.

    The point is that there is no scientific basis for claiming that truth, power and love are the basic three principles and others are just a combination of them. There are no hypothesis, no tests, no analysis and no proofs. No reference to any studies in any university of repute. No double blind tests on sample population. Just results. Whatever author says is a revelation that does not require any external validation. His assertion is enough since it is based on his personal experience. Believe it and you will see the results.

    My second complain is that the style is very boring and the book is unnecessarily lengthy. Probably, it is because the author has tried to fit in everything in the same structure: Principles-> components-> blocks to principles and -> how to improve on it. Therefore even when no further elaboration is needed on a point, the author is tempted to add his 'two words' on it. The entire content of the book can be summarized in just couple of pages without loss of any information. In fact the first 5 star review on Amazon has all the information that you will get from the book (except for the equations: love + power = courage etc.)

    Finally, this book proves that a blog and a book are two entirely different mediums. Something that may pass as intelligent and thought provoking on a blog may not necessarily cross the bar in a book form where readers are accustomed to see more rigor.

    Bottom line is that this book is a boring compilation of author's personal opinions on personal development, some of which may be true; others may not, since there is no evidence either way except author's own assertions. If you think that one data point is large enough sample to draw conclusions and put your efforts to see if it works for you, then go ahead and buy this book....more info
  • Personal Development to Save the World
    Personal Development for Smart People

    It's great to achieve goals and and to see my abilities develop over time, but to me, growing for myself isn't enough. I undertake the task of becoming a more powerful, truthful, and loving human being because that's what I need to become in order to create the future I believe we can and should have.

    The thing I love most about the framework for personal growth Steve Pavlina outlines in his new book, Personal Development for Smart People, is that this holistic context is built right in.

    Throughout the book, he uses the metaphor of cells in a body. Each of us is a cell in the body of the universe, he says, with specialized functions to perform but also with undeniably strong connections to all the other cells. As he proceeds through the fundamental principles of personal development, he returns to this image again and again to underscore the idea that personal development is never really taken just for one's own sake; that what benefits each cell also benefits the body as a whole; and that aligning our individual selves with the principles he describes pulls the entire body into closer alignment with them.

    These principles are all related to each other but also distinct, and inevitably lead to development in people who are aligned with them. The three primaries are truth, love, and power; the three secondaries are oneness, courage, and authority; and intelligence stands alone. The system works out neatly: truth + love = oneness, love + power = courage, power + truth = authority, and all of them together add up to intelligence.

    Thinking about this model in terms of our world and the future we want to build, I can definitely see where our current culture could grow by coming into greater alignment with the basic principles, and, most particularly, intelligence:

    Truth--Honestly recognizing that something needs to change is the first step to changing it. Imagine the steps we could take if we could all admit that our way of life is not working in some very important ways.

    Love--Think about what we would create with true understanding that we are all one, and that which benefits the body as a whole also benefits each cell, and vice versa.

    Power--We have much more potential to change things than we think we do. If we each connected with our personal power individually and as communities, we could really achieve anything.

    Intelligence--Such a large percentage of human suffering is caused by accepting the status quo instead of consciously thinking through our problems and possible solutions to them. Looking at the way we live and changing it by applying the best of our traits--intellect, connection, and heart--could utterly transform the world.

    Of course, part of being a fully conscious person is taking responsibility for the state of the world and working to improve it by creating new ways of living and thinking and relating to one another. And so in my examination I also need to look at myself, and how much I am aligned with each principle. I have pushed into many corners in my efforts to grow, but like all of us I have more to push into.

    Steve says that most of us have uneven alignment--we may be stronger in love than in truth or power, or some other combination. I perceive myself to be strong on love and truth but weaker on power (like many women, I think, including Steve's wife Erin Pavlina), so I am focusing my efforts on developing power right now.

    The last few weeks I have taken this on directly, working to eradicate inertia from my life and, instead, to spend every moment I can in the most valuable way. Steve's book provides lots of great methods I can use to challenge myself--right now I'm working with his suggestion to schedule my entire day from beginning to end and, more importantly, stick to it. So far, I give myself an A on this effort, but I'm going for an A plus!

    Steve's book has been both inspirational and educational in my efforts to take my life to the next level--to experience what spiritual teacher Andrew Cohen calls vertical development, where instead of hacking your way through a problem with a machete, you suddenly see it in a new way and rise above it. I can see Steve's book providing this new insight and the possibility of vertical development to a great many people who read it with the desire to improve their lives, and thereby improve the world....more info
  • Inspiring but a bit lengthy in description
    I never think of life-long learning for personal development can be principal based. Steve's book exploring into different area of personal development based on truth, love and power.

    All the answers have been inside ourselves all the while, Steve just help explaining hot to discover these answer and introduce practical ways to do it.

    On the down side, the description and elaborations in the book may a bit lengthy in his book, at some part you may also feel it's repeating same points....more info
  • Get Your Highlighter Out
    It looks like others have covered most of the content in Steve's book but I have to take a second to give it two opposable thumbs up as well.

    A couple of years ago I became aware of an online blogger who really had some interesting ideas. His name is Steve Pavlina. As a matter of fact, his rss feed is still on my home page to this day because there is always something to challenge my current mind set there.

    What makes him interesting is that the ideas he puts out are his own and it's quite fine if you don't agree with them. The thing with the field of personal development and self help is that it's quite a lot like organized religion. The blind lead the blind. Ideas and protocols seem to get regurgitated without any original thought or questioning on the part of the seeker. Actually without much thought or questioning on the part of the teacher for that matter. Now this does not mean the ideas are false or the teachings of no value but without questioning, growth and development can be slow.


    My usual protocol for reading personal development books is to pick my favorite highlighter (pink or yellow depending on the mood) and highlight some of the more outstanding concepts that I run into. That way once I finish the book I can look back and mull the ideas around a bit more to see how they might help enhance the lives of this blogs readers as well as my own.

    It's kind of funny but after a couple of pages I realized that Steve doesn't seem to believe in adding filler to important concepts just to flesh out a page. I ended up with a lot of yellow highlighting and very little white space which is fantastic. It means that Steve Pavlina's "Personal Development For Smart People" is a book that I need to keep on the shelf to use instead of pulling out only a concept or two and throwing the rest away.

    Another thing I appreciated as I read through the book was the fact that his ideas where not full of "intangibles". What I mean is that often times, books from the self help genre have ideas that are so spiritual it seems that unless you own a set of white fluffy wings and have the ability to see auras, then most of the stuff is pretty hard to put into practice for any length of time.

    Steve Pavlina's "Personal Development For Smart People" gives you the principles of growing yourself and explains how to implement them into your life and why you would actually even want to do such a thing in the first place....more info
  • Smartly Organized
    Steve Pavlina is an incredibly smart, organized, driven person who is recognized as perhaps the most successful personal development blogger on the Internet. His first book, Personal Development for Smart People, with the subtitle of The Conscious Pursuit of Personal Growth, reflects all of his outstanding qualities and is drawn from the enormous collection of material he created through his blog site,

    The website is a tremendous resource of free material created by Pavlina. His strategy of providing free articles that reflected his experiences, thinking and articulation of personal growth insights helped him develop an amazing readership. It is from this platform that Pavlina was able to attract the attention of the Hay House publishing company, known for its work with spiritual and personal growth material.

    The book's introduction describes Pavlina's interesting life story including his Catholic upbringing, a period during his late adolescence in which he rebelled by becoming a prolific shoplifter and his subsequent meteoric college career in which, after having been kicked out of UC Berkeley, he completed a double major at California State University Northridge in just three semesters by taking a triple load. The college experience lead him to study time management techniques and set the stage for his foray into personal growth ideas and theories.

    As with pretty much everything he does, Pavlina saw the unique opportunity for developing the book as a chance to organize his accumulated knowledge on the subject matter. Although the website is extremely well-organized - having the necessary technical organization of interwoven links, outline and summary presentations, archiving and a flow of fresh material - it offers an organic network of ideas and threads woven together as a rich, diverse resource. The book, on the other hand, offered the opportunity to develop a conceptual organization that could distill the material down to core principles that would facilitate a deeper understanding and an ability to apply the material across a wider spectrum of people and situations.

    From the introduction of the book: "While studying personal development for many years, I learned that this field is very broad and fragmented. Any area of your life can reasonably slide under the umbrella of self-improvement, including your health, career, finances, relationships, and spiritual beliefs. Each subset of this field has its own purported experts, all of them sharing different ideas, rules, and advice..Unfortunately, these experts often disagree with each other...Some say you can achieve success through hard work and self-discipline; others advise letting go and allowing God or the universe to handle the details. Some experts encourage you to change' others say you should accept yourself as you are. If you try to incorporate all these different ideas into your life... you'll end up with a fragmented, incongruent mess."

    "I soon realized that an intelligent approach to personal development would have to resolve these incongruencies somehow...It would have to make logical and intuitive sense, satisfying both head and heart."

    The result of his efforts to organize the material are what Pavlina calls fundamental principles. These are core concepts that can be considered universal, complete, and basic. They are building blocks that are consistent with each other and can be practically applied to most if not all situations in everyday life.

    What Pavlina did, when he set before himself this problem of finding an organizational solution to describing all of the things he had learned about life and personal growth, was organize the task of writing the book into a process of asking and answering the right question: how can I invent a model that will hold all of these things that I have learned and want to say? As with everything else he does, Pavlina set to solving the problem with his usual intensity. What he came up with is simply elegant.

    The model that Pavlina put together is a triangle of three core principles - Truth, Love and Power. This is the framework of his book and his work.

    The three principles are related to each other through three other 'sub' principles: Truth to Love through Oneness, Truth to Power through Authority, and Love to Power through Courage. Pavlina suggests in addition to these six principles, there is a seventh that comprises all of them. This he calls Intelligence.

    The book is painstakingly organized around the model of seven principles. The first half of the book focuses on the basic principles themselves, elucidating their characteristics and inter-relationships. The second half of the book draws out the application of the model to specific areas of one's life including habits, career, money, health, relationships and spirituality.

    If you want to read a passionate, thoughtful and thorough presentation of personal growth ideas, you will enjoy this book. It certainly offers those of us that want to organize 'spiritual' principles into a rather neat package a way to do so. But it provides tremendous depth as well. Pavlina believes, and lives, the idea of walking the walk. His process involves literally experimenting with different ideas, thoughtfully observing, and writing about his experiences. One interesting example from the blogsite is his work with the idea of changing his sleep pattern from a dirurnal cycle to polyphasic, meaning multiple phases. He has some 36 blog entries describing a five and half month experiment in which he slept about twenty minutes every four hours instead of going to bed (at night) like most every other human being. Constrained by conventional ideas, he is not.

    I strongly recommend this book! It is fresh, thorough and insightful. It offers a framework for thinking about and living your life that reflects Pavlina's motto of 'living consciously'. In fact, that is perhaps its most powerful attribute - on the simplest level. Buy offering an elegant framework into which we can put the challenges, disappointments, successes, highs and lows from any area of our life, with out even trying, we take a huge step towards mindful living that is the essence of a rich, satisfying experience. ...more info
  • Personal Development for Everyone
    Steve Pavlina let it all hang out and we are lucky to have the ability to read it. If you are looking for ways of improving your career, relationships, and overall perspective this is a great book.

    My favorite section was on Spirituality. Steve writes about the different lenses we can use from various religions and creeds. Why not use a little Christianity, Buddhism, and everything else out there to give us more clues into what will help us become smarter, stronger and more loving human beings.

    Go buy this book. You won't regret it....more info
  • This Book Belongs on Your Shelf, and in your hand, too!
    Personal Development for Smart People is aptly named. It is not a book for the apathetic, the oblivious, or the stupid.

    The first part of this book takes you through the core principles of becoming a whole person, and then, in the second section, it walks you through the practical aspects of applying what you have (hopefully) learned in the first part.

    This book revealed to me that while I have enough self-improvement to work to keep me busy (and out of peoples' hair) for a long time, I am on the right track for great many other things, and I need to find people to spend time with, that will encourage me to become a better person.

    This book needs to be on your bookshelf and read at least once a year (preferably more often).

    Think of it like this...

    In ten years, you will be ten years older.

    But, if you read Steve's book, think and apply the principles, in ten years you will be ten years older; but also wiser, more loving, enlightened, and accepting of both yourself and others.

    Which will put you light-years ahead of the pack.

    I say without hysteria or hyperbole, that this is the best, most useful book that I have ever read in the self-development field. (And I have read a lot.)

    An 'instant classic'... one that was decades in the making.

    Well done, Steve....more info
  • An Emerging Star Takes a Big Step Forward
    As a regular reader of author Steve Pavlina's thoughtful postings on his very popular blog, I have been looking forward to his first book and seeing how he would distill his many postings into a cohesive book. Well, the wait is over. Steve's first book is exceptional!

    If like me, you have grown tired of sophomoric pabulum of so many of today's self-help books, you will likely enjoy this thoughtful book. Instead of writing what many would like to hear ("six east steps to..."), the author has conceived a philosophy of peak performance. The result reads more like a philosophy book than a typical self-help book. The organization of the philosophy is very thoughtful, the writing very articulate, and the tone just perfect. I especially liked that the author doesn't see himself as a guru, but instead as someone eager to share his learnings.

    Examples of abound, throughout the book, where the author has taken commonly discussed concepts and taken them to a more thoughtful level. As just one example, he uses a variation of the wheel of life that Zig Ziglar introduced me to many, many years ago. But, what I found powerful was the author's discussion (page 21) of how we often cheat ourselves with our scores when grading ourselves in the different elements of our lives. Throughout the book, the author adds his thoughtful ideas to the basics so as to enrich the power of the basics.

    The timing of this thought provoking book could not be better. I believe millions of people will be re-examining their core beliefs in view of the dramatic economic and societal changes we are seeing. Readers looking to really re-examine their beliefs will find few better, recent books for launching that inquiry.

    I am in awe of the fact that this is the author's first book (although his blog postings demonstrate that he is hardly a novice at writing). The quality of this book portends for great things from Pavlina in the years to come. I predict that he will become a very significant force in raising consciousness, assuming he continues to walk his wisdom. Here is hoping that fame and adulation will not knock him off course as it has done with so many others. The world needs Steve Pavlina, and more like him.

    ...more info
  • Nice book to start with
    I've been a long time follower [...] and I just couldn't stop myself from buying this - even as some kind of tribute. I'm loving it so far - great book for beginning on Personal Development......more info
  • A Personal Development book like no other!
    I had the privilege of hearing Steve Pavlina speak two years ago at a NSA conference and have been following his work every since and invested in one of his services. Steve possesses a rare authentic voice on personal development.

    The two principals that really hit home with me were truth and love. So often we go through life in denial and lying to ourselves about what we really want to extract from life and the success we want to experience. Instead we opt to force ourselves into a box of someone else's perception and plans. The second principal of love also struck an accord with me. So much of our success is limited or never happens because we try to travel this journey alone and down a selfish path. The amazing impossible can be achieved when you align yourself with a truly supportive network of people that you are willing to receive from and give even more. I personally call this group my Branding Board of Advisors. This board of friends and supporters help and challenge me to create my best personal brand, which allows me to maximize my success.

    Personal development for smart people (Steve Pavlina) helped me to further validate a core belief of mine- In order to achieve maximum personal or professional success you must be willing to truly work hard, have a laser focus on your self discipline and the courage to be different, think different, see different, and take risk.

    Be skeptical of any book, person or guru who tells you that you can achieve substantial personal growth and success without some combination of the above. Instead, I would recommend you get a copy of Steve's book Personal development for smart people.

    ...more info
  • Discover The Core Principles of Personal Development
    Personal Development for Smart People by Steve Pavlina is a book that I have read and thoroughly enjoyed. I recommend it to all. After reading Steve's book you will see the big picture with a deeper and broader understanding of the systems and principles underlying personal development. Steve is a phenomenally successful writer and blogger who has been blogging on personal development for over four years at: Along with working on his blog and amassing a huge amount of valuable content, he has read more than 1,000 books on personal development.

    Steve Pavlina is a very smart guy. He completed a dual degree in computer science and mathematics in record time, started and ran a successful computer software business, then in 2004, started his blog on personal development. Steve said that after thousands of interactions with his readers he began to detect recurring patterns and themes and began to suspect that there was a "hidden order" beneath "our seemingly chaotic growth experiences." So he set about ferreting out the core principles of personal development that are behind all conscious human development. He decided that these principles would have to be universally acceptable and identified several criteria that would have to be applicable:

    1. universality
    2. completeness
    3. irreducibility
    4. congruency
    5. practicality

    His logic is impeccable. However, as you might expect from a book that is so packed with wisdom, reading it isn't like reading a popular novel. You need to read a little, then stop and think about it. I suggest reading through the entire book this way, then go back and go through the book again for deeper understanding.

    This book is reminiscent of Stephen Covey's The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Steve Pavlina, though, has gone deeper to examine the hidden order beneath the ebb and flow of personal growth and effectiveness. Most of us are very busy people. With the distractions of modern day life many of us seldom take time for deep thinking about personal growth. Steve has done much of that for us as he worked for three years on his new book: Personal Development for Smart People - The Conscious Pursuit of Personal Growth.

    Not yet another "how-to" guide, this book is much more than that. Steve has applied his considerable experience and intellect to identifying the basic core principles that govern our actions and our relationships. Presented in two parts - The first part covers the theory of Steve's 7 fundamental Core Principles of Personal Development; The second part covers application - he shows how the 7 core principles apply to habits, career, money, health, relationships and spirituality.

    Just as in physics which has basic principles that apply across the board and are unchangeable, Steve shows us that there are also universal core principles of human behavior.

    The three basic universal core principles that he identified are Truth, Power and Love. Combinations of these three principles give us three more principles: Courage, Authority and Oneness. All six of these principles together give us: Intelligence. Taken altogether, these are the seven universal principles underlying our lives and personal growth. These principles apply across the board in our relationships, activities, health, habits, etc:

    * Oneness = Truth + Love
    * Authority = Truth + Power
    * Courage = Love + Power
    * Intelligence = Truth + Love + Power

    Although this book is very effective as a stand alone book (it has very little content from his website), it is actually a capstone to his personal development blog and discussion forums at and is written in Steve's style: thorough, logical, strong and bold.

    The deep thinking that comes from reading this book is preparation for effective personal development and improvement. Once you learn about the seven core principles, study them and observe them you will be well on your way to conscious personal development.

    We all are looking to maximize the return on our investment of time and effort. Reading this book will be one of the best investments you have made with regard to your personal development and your own future. You will think about this book a lot and reference it often. It should have a permanent spot on your bookshelf so that when you reach for it you find it quickly. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

    by Kent Beatty (
    ...more info
  • Succeeds in specifics, off-course with spiritual
    Certainly the best book yet that I have read which originated from a blogging concept. Maybe that seems like a misperception, but most people will know Steve Pavlina from his blogging and will have been led to this book from that arena.
    It is refreshing that this self-help is written for smart people and the language is intelligent and educated. For all that, the author drifts occasionally in the spiritual discussion and the intangibles that he believes are the core of good habits and purpose. I think that area deviates from the theme which is development for smart people.
    I like when the book focuses on specifics and good analogies for growth, did not favor the spiritual and metaphysical pieces. But I could be wrong....more info
  • Powerful Idea's for Living Smart
    If you are ready to take full responsibility for your life then this book can be a powerful foundation and starting point. Steve Pavlina states that if you desire more financial abundance, a more intimate relationship, a fulfilling career, or better health then it is up to you to do what is necessary in order to create a life that works for you. Steve provides a number of ways to help you get clear on what you want and then provides practical ways to help you achieve your goals. In his words Life is constantly asking: What do you want? You have the freedom to answer that question however you wish. Aligning yourself with truth and love will help you evaluate the possibilities, but there are no compulsory right or wrong answers. There's only your freedom to choose. Will you answer with silence, or will you exercise your power of conscious choice?
    The book is divided into two parts, part one explores the seven fundamental principles of personal development, beginning with three primary principles of Truth, Love and Power.
    Part two emphasizes the importance of applying the seven principles to your life and offers practical suggestions. He makes it simple to incorporate the principles into your lifestyle without searching for answers in an array of different books.
    Steve states "I wanted to answer a really tough question: what does it mean for us to grow as conscious human beings, and how do we intelligently guide that process?"
    He teaches that when you align with Truth, Love and Power the long term results bring about a sense of peace and spiritual wisdom. Truth, Love and Power are universal principles and resonate with each and every living thing. These 3 principles reach the heart of humanity and they are not limited by space and time. These are the threads of humanity where we can connect with the Oneness of life. If each one of us can implement these principles into our daily lives, we can help shift the world's consciousness, one person at a time. Again it is our responsibility as individuals to take action.
    The three key principles in the book, Truth, Love and Power, can then be used to derive the four secondary principles which are Oneness, Authority, Courage and Intelligence.
    Steve Pavlina writes "If you forget everything else from this book and remember only one piece of advice, it is simply this: The most intelligent thing you can possibly do with your life is to grow."
    There is tons of advice offered here on how to use the principles in your life. Pavlina stresses the importance of creating new positive habits and one suggestion is that you commit to a 30 day trial period. The book states that it's important to find out what works best for you and a trial period is an excellent way to find out what changes you need to make in order to start living your dream.
    One last piece of wise advice offered by Pavlina is to always follow a path with a heart. He suggests that following a path with a heart will lead you in the right direction and will help you to stay aligned with Truth, Love and Power.
    Although I give this book five stars, I offer one word of warning to those of you who are right brain oriented. The book is very logical and structured. It's packed with useful content but at times can feel a bit mechanical.
    Thank you Steve for your important is a wonderful gift of wisdom and love.
    ...more info
  • The Book That ConnectsThe Dots
    Steve Pavlina gets to the core of Personal Growth, not just the surface. His book oughts to be an award.

    I'm honored to be review this book, and although it is a little late, I wanted to make sure that I'm absolutely fair with what I'd write. I have read the book "Personal Development For Smart People" by Steve Pavlina, twice. The first time to learn as much as I could, the second time to check for anything I may have missed. It took me longer than I expected. As you will learn when you buy this book, it is necessary to stop, clear your mind, absorb the concepts, and then continue to fully grasp the philosophy of this book. So much is cramped on it, that is hard not to miss something at first sight. Not to praise Steve, but credit should be given where it's deserved.

    As a young man fascinated by personal development, I can tell you that this book has exceeded my expectations by far. In order to make things easier for you, I will not describe the principles of the book in this blog (although they will later be discussed in the forum), but rather I'll give you a different perspective and why I believe this book is a must in every library. Not just a self-improvement one, but in all Universities, High Schools, and maybe even Middle Schools. Although I believe this book is not for everyone, I will urge every single person who a) Has a minimum curiosity of living a fulfilling, conscious life; b) Has been into Personal Development for some time now; c) Doesn't believe in Personal Development, to read this book. Although Steve does an genius work in bringing the seven principles of conscious growth (truth, love, power, oneness, authority, courage, and intelligence), I think that he excels furthermore in connecting all of them. And even beyond that in connecting all the Personal Development philosophies out there.

    I can not think of it in any other way, his book is what connects the dots. It really makes sense as you read it. Yes, it is packed with helpful information about self-growth, journaling, goal setting, life purpose, and so on; but what is amazing about this book - in my opinion - is that it connects everything together in such a beautiful way. It connects things not just within the book, but with everything that I've read before. I furiously wrote ideas, realizations on my journal (which hopefully should soon be switched to a software journal ) as I read the book, and I assure you that if you find a quiet, peaceful place to read this book, your experience will be similar to mine.

    As Steve puts it on his book's cover. The book is a guide for conscious pursuit of personal growth. I'm almost sure that you will be inspired by the book's content, but realize that inspiration comes from realizing your possible greatness, and Steve Pavlina's book does that magical thing - it enables you to realize your greatness. I have personally been more than inspired to keep blogging more actively, to keep reading Personal Development books to the kids I mentor (even if the staff wants me to read them fairy tales), to work on my speaking skills, to contribute to others by living - by really LIVING. As I read the book, I realized that conscious growth is harder than what I thought. It surely takes some serious self-discipline and guts to passionately do the things you love (at least for me). It is very easy to get distracted when so many things are available to you, but with the guide of a great book, things can be done much easily.

    The two chapters that really hit home for me were "Chapter 12: Relationships" and "Chapter 13: Spirituality". If you're a pick up artist, social skills master (or whatever you ought to call yourself), you shall read these two chapters - they will change your life. As a former Atheist, and now possibly becoming a Christian (not sure yet), the chapter on Spirituality has made it clear to me that no matter what religion I stand on, I'm still me. Furthermore, it has confirmed that spirituality is on giving, loving, and thanking. I'm very thankful for that. As a social skills blogger and coach, I tell you that I knew little to nothing before reading this book. Yes, sure enough I have skills, but it all makes much more sense once you learn how relationships align with Truth, Love, and Power.

    Just for the note, I would like to repeat that I honestly believe this book is not for everyone. In a nutshell, it IS for smart people. And by smart I obviously don't mean 4.0 GPA in school, but rather an open mind, and willingness to experiment. This book can enfuriate some people who are afraid to face their fears in one way or another, so be aware when you read those reviews from other people.

    Also, Steve's book is not just empowering, it's also humorous. If not, just ask him about the time he did Calculus with crayon on a card box. Or you could also ask him about training to run the LA Marathon so hard just to find out that the marathon was the same he was supposed to get married (an evil eye is enough to make a smart decision) :). I had a good laugh at those particular stories.

    "Personal Development For Smart People" will have a special place on my tiny book shelf and the phrase "Awesome - 5 out of 5 will be written on a Sticky Note attached to it. I recommend you read his book description, as this review is for it has done for me (it can do the same or more for you), not for its content (too many bloggers have done that already).

    (To steal the words of Steve Pavlina) Live Consciously,

    - Daniel...more info
  • A self development classic
    This is a great book if you like self development.

    Some sections will apply to most people but some people will not need to go indepth on all secitions.

    Part 1 deals with 7 fundamental principles - Truth, Love, Power, Oneness, Authority, Courage and Intelligence.

    I had a negative reaction to a paragraph he wrote in the section on Truth about habits. The gist of his message was - to become more intelligent, do things differently. "Excessive routine is the enemy of intelligence". Of course I am a big believer in having success habits. Later in the book he devotes a full chapter to success habits though so he does understand the power of habits.

    I liked and agree with what he said about media conditioning. We can become over influenced by traditional media. And much of media has a conflict. They want to "sell" you that something is not good for you - EG alcohol will make you feel popular or sexy. He even suggests a media fast for 30 days.

    I liked what he said about momentum. The key is to get started and get moving. I will write an article on this in the coming days. I am adding articles to my resources section with fair frequency now. I just added one on Be a Life Long Learner (I am sure Pavlina would agree with that one) and another on Leadership vs. Management.

    Part 2 talks about practical application - Habits, Career, Money, Health, Relationships and Spirituality.

    I found a lot of practical tips in the first section (like start with the worst thing first thing and master the first hour of the day) so really looked forward to more practical application.

    From the Habits chapter:

    "Habits are your Mind's approach to time management. It would be extremely inefficient for you to decide how to spend every minute of every day. Your conscious mind has better things to do than solve the same problems over and over, so it delegates known problems to your subconscious"

    The book is well written and easy to read. And it is inspirational.

    The book is full of ideas. It is one of those books that you can take only 2 or 3 ideas and incorporate them into your life to make a big change. Definitely worth reading if you are interested in self development.

    ...more info
  • Action, not all airy fairy fluff - breath of fresh air
    One of the things that sets Steve apart is the fact that, unlike so many other authors and experts in the field of personal growth, he focuses on the value of hard work and (gasp!) discipline, two things that are practically dirty words these days. That resonates with me.

    All the wishing, hoping and visualizing in the world doesn't do much good if you're not willing to get off your butt and create some value in the world. That's a refreshing stance, and one of the reasons I keep reading Steve's blog. His voice is a refreshing change in the sea of nonsense surrounding the "Law of Attraction".

    More of my review of Steve Pavlina's book is here: info
  • Refreshing and intelligent
    Steve describes his unique set of principles and guidelines as a "universal growth compass". This sums up the broad application of the seven laws which most of us fail to recognize in day-to-day life - until now, that is.

    Steve has a very grounded view of reality, and yet he is not afraid to tackle abstract concepts from different walks of life. His writing is compelling; it always leaves me with that "aha!" feeling which inspires me to implement his advice right away. In fact, I've no doubt that once you read Personal Development for Smart People, you will adopt a different life strategy altogether.

    For instance, you might suddenly wonder why you go about the same mundane day job - when you COULD pursue your life purpose; something that really gives you reason to evolve as a person. Steve offers intelligent ways to identify which career path is right for you, and that, it seems, is the main problem people face. Armed with this new drive or life purpose, you will seek out new ways to earn a living and fulfil your basic needs as a creative human being.

    Or perhaps you find it hard to connect with strangers. In this case, a single adjustment in your perception can turn anyone into a friend who you feel you have known your whole life. I understand this is not an easy step - but it is manageable with time, and Steve offers constructive ways to adjust your outlook accordingly, with powerful techniques like The Time Travel Meditation.

    In fact, Steve Pavlina argues that any specific problem can be corrected when armed with this principle-centered approach to personal growth. So if you are feeling unfulfilled in one or more areas of your life, or just want an intelligent read that may make you think twice, take a look at Personal Development for Smart People - I don't think you will be disappointed....more info
  • A powerful approach to growth
    In my view, this book puts "growth" on a very solid footing. It combines many fragmented approaches to self-growth into one coherent picture. The principles of truth, love and power indeed (now) seem to be recurring themes in any part of (my and other people's) life.

    The book is very sound in its statements and conclusions. It has a wonderful blend of logic and emotions, head and heart, left and right brain. I think it is a very good book in that it is a step in the direction of coming up with principle-centered approach to personal growth.

    Even though it is a great book, I won't call it "complete" (in the sense of "complete" in logic). That is, I don't think this is the final word and it covers all aspects of personal growth. At times, some situations ring in my head, which seem to defy all three principles stated in the book, but that feeling is very hazy and vague right now. I think there is more work to be done, and I think there might be something missing, although I don't know what it is. I have come up with a few different qualities (at least a couple) which seemed to be excluded by three principle, but after some thinking, I came to the conclusion that they were indeed included. That is why, the feeling that this book is not "complete" and there is more work to be done; this feeling is vague. This is more like research, research with oneself. Unless I do that research, I would never know.

    But please don't take the last paragraph to mean that this is a book not worth reading. If you did take it to mean that, it will be like saying that Newtonian mechanics is not worth reading (and understanding), because Einstein showed that it is not universally correct, but correct only in certain situations.

    I highly recommend this book to anybody who is genuinely interested in the difficult but worthwhile (and fun) path of conscious growth.
    ...more info
  • Brace yourself!
    This is one book that you can definitely judge by its cover! Let me explain.

    First, "personal development" is just that - personal - development - read each word separately. Personal development is not motivation: this book will not, in and of itself, motivate you. Steve is not a cheerleader. I'm not saying this to be negative, I just know that a lot of people buy "personal development" books because they want to be motivated, uplifted, inspired to take action, etc. This is not one of those books.

    Did I grow on a personal level? Yes. Was I motivated to take action while reading this book? No. Has this book changed my life? Absolutely. (I can hear a collective **sigh** coming from you, so let me explain further.)

    Secondly, the book is titled, "Personal Development for Smart People." As a business educator for over 18 years, I have had to personally change my writing style for the sake of communicating with the common public many times. On my last corporate project, I was told to write on a seventh-grade level. I could not help but wonder if Steve was told the same, because the writing style itself reminded me of how we were forced to write when we were in the seventh grade - you know - state your point and then back it up with an average of seven paragraphs! It just seemed strange to me that a book for "smart people" would be so daunting to read.

    On the other hand, my husband, who's a dentist, loved the writing style as he is used to that manner, and he would certainly qualify as a smart person. Maybe I just missed the witty, unpredictable style I've grown accustomed to in Steve's blog. Or maybe after 22 years of reading and writing in the personal development industry, there were just a lot of topics I was already familiar with and had to "wade through."

    With that said, I did have two major breakthroughs while reading the book, which you can read about in detail at

    Overall I say the book is a must-read if you're into personal development and one you will definitely want to add to your library. It is chock full of good ideas, in fact, never before have I found so many examples and honest methods for self-development in one book. If you're new to personal development, expect to be camping out with this book for a few months, and it will serve as a good reference for several years.

    If you're truly a smart person, you'll be able to skip past the superfluous material and hone in on the gems that will truly help you grow.
    Personal Development for Smart People: The Conscious Pursuit of Personal Growth...more info
  • Steve! Why did you do this to me?
    Steve Pavlina is the author of "Personal Development for Smart People (the Conscious Pursuit of Personal Growth, and the author of the website There's even a brief Wiki article on him at I don't know about you, but the book title scared me to death. I had visions of Mensa International members sipping tea, and playing the Chinese game GO. Or equally as bad visions of Ivy League members drinking espresso, playing chess, and discussing the latest articles in the magazines Scientific American, and The Economist. But Steve laid my mind to rest, when he said that "intelligence is alignment with the principles of truth, love, and power."

    Steve's book is divided into twelve chapters, centered on the themes Truth, Love, Power, Oneness, Authority, Courage, Intelligence, Habits, Career, Money, Health, Relationships, and Spirituality. Now this also scared me. Will I be reading some philosopher talking like Aristotle and Plato? Will I be reading a book that's as difficult to read as Immanuel Kant's Critique of Pure Reason, or James Joyce's Finnegan's Wake? Actually no! This is where Steve surprised me. His writing style is very easy to read, and reminds me of the simplistic - yet lovable style - of Nobel prizewinner Ernest Hemingway.

    Here is the biggest surprise of all! Steve bares his soul in this book, and you actually develop a liking for him. You think of him as a long lost friend, whom you haven't seen in years. He has much to share, starting with his early teen years, where he was arrested for theft - yet the judge was wise, and gave him a chance to perform community service. Steve shares his triumph over academic hurdles, where he triples his college course load, and ended up with majors in math and computer science. We live through his entrepreneurship in the computer gaming industry, where he loved the field, but failed miserably financially. Then we realize his career switch to personal growth, with no background in psychology, or career coaching. Yet despite his early failure to generate income - he "kept on Truckin" as a Grateful Dead song reminds us - and became very successful.

    There are a lot of wonderful quotes in this book, and folks I can relate to. I like him sharing quotes by Swami Vivekananda (see and Carlos Castaneda (see Carlos - like Steve - overcame hurdles in his academic discipline to obtain a PhD in anthropology, and write about a magic man, that "has a path with a heart." And this becomes a guiding point for Steve as well. But what makes this book special is the interjection of practical exercises. This is something missing from classical self-help books, like Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, or How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. One of my favorite exercises is the one where I envision myself five years from now, coaching my present self - I think it was the time travel exercise. And there are exercises to envision everyone as one. Now these exercises are NOT pie-in-the-sky - far from practical - exercises in frustration. They are real, down-to-earth, but practical endeavors. I sometimes have pictures of Sam Walton, driving his own pick up truck, and shopping in his own Wal-Mart, when I think of Steve. Even his experiment with vegetarianism I could relate to, and even embrace.

    If I had to rate this book on a scale of one to five, I couldn't do it. It would be above the five rating. Nor could I compare him to other growth artists, like Eckhart Tolle (see, who has more of the "oneness message" in his writings. But unlike Tolle, Steve is grounded in the real world. Both the spiritual and the practical are bridged, in a cohesive whole - akin to the Zen saying that the "mountains are once again mountains." I'm already looking forward to a sequel! You can order this book at - I do this all the time, and take advantage of free shipping, on orders over $25. You can find out more about this book at The only point that Steve and I disagree is the role of organized religion. I believe you can embrace both organized religion and the principles Steve writes about. But Steve isn't really a radical here, and this is a minor difference between us. Thanks again, Steve, for putting my mind at rest, giving me a great book to read, and getting to know more about the "real you."
    Randy Kemp
    ...more info
  • Great Tool for Personal Growth
    I first heard of Steve Pavlina when a friend referred me to his blog during his polyphasic sleep experiment. For over 150 days, Steve abandoned sleeping nights, and instead took six, twenty minute naps a day. I was immediately intrigued. And the more of his writing I read, the more I liked the message.

    There are hundreds of articles on his website, all about how to grow as a person. His approach is an intriguing mix of hippie, mainstream American, and strait-up crazy person, and from my perspective, the best of each. His thinking and writing is decidedly left-brained, and he doesn't shy away from financial or career growth issues. At the same time he eats a 100% raw-vegan diet and talks with dead people.

    From no other author have I found such accessible, intelligent, practicable personal development advice, and rarely such a warm and inviting tone. So when Steve announced he was publishing a book and would offer free advance copies to bloggers who would review it, I immediatly wanted to participate. That was the original impetus to start and grow this blog, and this review is the result.

    The aims of the book - Personal Development for Smart People: The Conscious Pursuit of Personal Growth - are ambitious on at least two counts:

    To be sufficiently different from and superior to the hundreds of articles on his website to satisfy his massive readership (he claims two million visitors a month).

    To lay out the fundamental principles of personal development.

    The book is highly structured, and will probably work better for "thinkers" than for "feelers" on the MTBI T/F spectrum, which may be what Steve alludes to with his tag line "Personal Development for Smart People."

    The book is divided in two parts. The first is the seven fundamental principles of personal growth. Truth, love and power are the three primary principles. From those are derived oneness (truth + love), courage (love + power), and authority (power + truth). And the seventh is intelligence, which is defined as alignment with truth, love and power, and is the "highest form of human expression."

    I'm not convinced that these principles represent any sort of underlying order to personal growth, mostly because I'm unconvinced there is any such order. The three primary principles seem right to me, but the secondary ones feel forced. I'm not sure, for example, that courage is a combination of love and power. In the section on how to build courage, one of the suggestions is to educate yourself, which I agree is a great way to overcome timidity, but seems to come from the primary principle of truth, not love or power. I can also think of no compelling reason why personal growth should rest on such a neat foundation.

    As a tool though, a way of thinking about and planning growth and handling life's problems, I think this scaffolding will be valuable. Perhaps it is the neatest possible representation of an inherantly complex, chaotic pursuit.

    Each of the seven principles is broken down into its key components. Truth, for example, breaks down to perception, prediction, accuracy, acceptance, and self-awareness. Each component is explained and described, and sometimes a how-to improve this component is given. On prediction, for example, he says, we grow from exposure to new patterns: when our expectations are met it reinforces our beliefs; when they are not, it forces us to build new ideas about how the world works. Thus we should seek stability and routine only as a launching pad for exploring new areas. In order to side-step denial we can bring the process into the conscious part of the mind by making conscious predictions and comparing our expectations to how reality turns out to operate. He also says that emotions are predictions: when we have negative expectations we feel bad and when we have positive expectations, we feel good. That's just one component of one of the seven fundamental principles. I wanted to detail it to illustrate the depths the book reaches.

    For each principle, he also lays out some common blocks to alignment with the principle. For truth, for example: media conditioning, social conditioning, false beliefs, emotional interference, addictions, immaturity, and secondary gain. And each block is described and explained with similar detail. As I read these, many of the obstacles to growth that I face, some of which I've been struggling for years to elucidate, become immediately clear.

    Finally, for each principle, he provides several techniques for coming into better alignment. For truth, he suggests a quantitative self-evaluation in various aspects of life (the process is described in detail), journaling on a regular basis, and forgoing all media, at least for a trial period of time.

    In the intelligence chapter, there are extensive quizzes and evaluative material to determine where and how you can best serve your personal growth.

    The second part of the book details six primary areas of life: habits, career, money, health, relationships, and spirituality. Suggestions are offered for how to improve congruency in each area with each of the seven principles. If that sounds overwhelming, it reads as detailed and useful.

    For example, in the section on habits and oneness, there is a discussion of how our habits influence others and how we might be role models to the world with them, and also how we can use habits to develop congruency with the principle of oneness, like going for long walks in nature, smiling at strangers on the street, or offering hugs instead of handshakes.

    I thought there was more value in the first part of the book, and it was more fun to read than the second. When I return to the book to do the exercises suggested -- which I will begin this weekend -- I plan to spend more time in the first section. On the other hand, if I ever feel in need of help in a certain area of life, the organization of the second section would be of great value.

    In sum, this is an excellent book and one that I will use for years to come. I fully recommend it to everyone, and especially those who prefer a rational/logical approach to complex issues (which can be hard to find in the "self help" section of a bookstore). I'm not sure that it succeeds in its most ambitious task, but it is still immensely valuable, even to someone who has read almost all of Steve Pavlina's website....more info
  • Steve Rocks!!!
    Very well thought out book. I have been a long time proponent of conscious living and this book hits all the major points right on the head. Great read for any one seriously interested in personal development and growth. ...more info
  • No one can Beat this book in the Personal Development Domain
    Steve Pavlina has done a really wonderful job. I highly recommend this book for those seriously interested in Personal Growth. Steve has kept the text precise & crisp. The best part is whatever is written in the book directly comes from his own personal experience. His experiments, thoughts & ideas can also be read on his blog
    The book has 2 parts, the first is Theory & the second one plain application of what one has internalized. I suggest that the readers grasp the concept while reading & make a diary entry for the concept which applies to their areas of life. The book speaks about the Fundamental Principles of Truth,Love & Power (3 core values) and Oneness,Courage, Authority & Intelligence(secondary values derived from the first three). The core principles remain unchanged & all the 7 Principles can be applied to our different areas of life like - Career, Finance, Family, Physical-Spiritual-Mental Health & Social life.
    A must read....more info