Posts Tagged ‘literature’


by @anarchyroll

Personal development and self-help books by their nature tend to be happy, optimistic, and positive. If people wanted something to make them feel bad, scared, or hopeless they could simply turn on local evening news.

I have personally read/listened to around 200 non fiction books/audio books with more than half being personal development books. Many of them have overlapping principles, paradigms, tactics, advice, themes, and tones. The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene is by far the most unique personal development book I have ever read. If personal development books are pop music, then The 48 Laws of Power is Nirvana and Robert Greene is Kurt Cobain.

A summary of the 48 Laws can be found here.

Looking over just the first few laws, you’ll notice a striking difference between the advice offered and the content of books by the likes of Deepak Chopra, Eckhart Tolle, and Stephen Covey. I would say that it is the opposite which is a good thing. Variety is the spice of life. Human beings, especially those living in urban environments, need to be aware of the concepts that The 48 Laws of Power presents.

Positive thinking is important. Treating other people the way you want to be treated is worthy of being called the golden rule. Honesty is the best policy.

Over reliance on rah-rah self-help material can lead to naïvety. It did for me. We must know how the world, outside of our circle of influence, operates. We must see the best in people but also be aware of and prepared for dealing with the worst in and worst kind of people. The 48 Laws of Power will prepare its reader for the types of people, situations, and aspects of life we wish didn’t exist and choose not to acknowledge, but are there, and affecting our lives nonetheless.

As someone who actively studies/reads up on politics, economics, and environmental news, I see those in power utilizing concepts in The 48 Laws of Power in order to get what they want at the expense of those beneath them on the social, political, and economics pyramids of society. One need not put anything from The 48 Laws of Power into practice, but all the concepts are important to be aware of.

Awareness is one of the key concepts of personal development and self-help. Often, personal development books for all the right reasons, want us to be hyper aware of the positive, the light, and beauty of life. Those are all good things to be aware of, happy, and grateful for in every present moment of every day of one’s life. At the same time, on the opposite end of the spectrum, we must also be aware of the negative, darkness, and ugliness of the world we live in. Maybe keep the awareness of the latter towards the back of your mind, with awareness of the good things at the forefront.

Naivety is the fuel for manipulation. I recommend every adult human being read The 48 Laws of Power because it will make you less naïve and less prone to being manipulated. In a world of Ponzi schemes and political scandals, con artists and corruption, wolves and takers; one need not become a bitter, distrusting, paranoid, zealot simply by reading a book about methods of manipulation used by those in power to maintain and expand it. But awareness of the principles to balance with the power of positive thinking can help a person become more well-rounded and more capable of navigating the outside world that is full of things outside of their ability to control or influence. That is at the heart of what personal development literature is all about and that is why The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene is a personal development book, just an alt rock version.


by @anarchyroll

Very few things have happened to me that I consider genuinely life changing. Listening to the audio book for A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle is one of them.

There was immediate change as well in terms of how I viewed my own life, as well as the lives of others. That wore off after a few months, but the seeds for long lasting permanent change had been planted.  Present moment awareness, resistance as an emotion, the ego, reading the sign posts of the universe, letting go, and mental noise are concepts taught in this book that I am eternally grateful and better for learning.

I know I would be lost without this book. It is no magic pill, because there is no such thing. It did fill in huge pieces of the puzzle of life for me.  This book brought me to year zero in terms of being who I wanted to be and living the life I wanted to live. This book is the salt of the Earth. This book allowed me to feel calm, ready, and willing to accept I had to tear it down and start from scratch.

How I came by this book? It was thanks to The Game by Neil Strauss.  The villain of that nonfiction book is a man named Owen Cook, who was going by Tyler Durden at that time (yes named after Fight Club Tyler Durden.) When Owen’s life came crashing down around him after The Game came out and painted him in a very negative light, and the negative financial repercussions that came with it, he started getting into spirituality.  A New Earth turned his life around and his most successful piece of self help material he personally created The Blueprint Decoded was built on a foundation of the concepts in A New Earth.

A vast majority of the Blueprint stuff was deep level stuff.  Well below the surface layer of pick up lines and traditional social dynamics material.  An audience member at the four day seminar where Blueprint was recorded talked about changing his college major after reading A New Earth. I was in college at the time and figured I would check it out.  Wow am I glad I did. My major didn’t change.  But the way I perceived basically everything that happened to me did.  How I looked at other human beings changed. How I looked at the world changed.  How I looked at concepts like coincidence, serendipity, chance, luck, reaction, interpretation, breathing, the thought process all changed forever.

In the future I will detail those changes more specifically.  The greatest gifts were a gift of calmness both in the face of adversity and good times.  An awareness of where my thoughts come from.  Better clarity on the human condition.  The struggle of the ego versus the soul that is waged inside of all of us, all day, every day.  A New Earth started the remodel by tearing it all down including knowing a new foundation had to be engineered.  The Game by Neil Strauss gave me the idea change was needed.  The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey was what would serve as the new foundation. More to come on those next time.


by @anarchyroll

You’ve probably heard of the Law of Attraction by now.  The Secret by Rhonda Byrne as publicized by Oprah has made it almost impossible to not know what the Law of Attraction is.

Think of The Secret as Tumblr of self help/personal development books. The is essentially reblogging of material that is hundreds if not thousands of years old. However, she mostly just reblogged (in book and movie form) the works of Charles Haanel.

To me, personally, The Secret came off as naive, pretentious, and new age selfish.  Another famous Law of Attraction book by Jerry and Ester Hicks came across as to me as borderline deranged.  Tapping the Source is put in plain language. It is explained thoroughly and simply. The main points are repeated throughout the book to hammer them home.  It is one of the few books I recommend to every human being to read.

The main points of the book involve thinking positively, visualizing specific goals as if they have been achieved, AND feeling positive emotions while thinking/visualizing the positive thoughts.  Attaching the feeling(s) to the thought(s) is what most people miss/forget about the Law of Attraction. Without the specific visualization and physical emotional state attached to it, thinking positive is essentially useless.

The other principle the book is centered upon is saying specific “focus phrases” while meditating.  A person should get into a meditative/prayer state (which is more than just sitting down with your eyes closed) and say each of the following in order:

  1. I choose to focus enjoyably inward
  2. My mind is quiet, I am now in the silence
  3. I am open to receive guidance from my source
  4. I know what I want
  5. I feel connected with creative power
  6. My vision is right now perfect and complete
  7. Each new moment is manifesting my dream

The book offers very detailed and specific guidance for why each focus phrase individually and collectively are important to say.  Tapping the Source is essentially an update of Haanel’s own 1912 book The Master Key System.  If you are looking to turn your life around or fine tune your success this book is what you’re looking for. It is a great starting point because it has been a starting point for every self help author for the last century.  Napoleon Hill, Stephen Covey, Tony Robbins, etc all use Haanel’s work as primary source material. That is what initially attracted me to the book. I wanted to know what the self help guru’s were reading and using to create their material.  If it is good enough for them, it’s good enough for you and me. This book will help to create a solid foundation for which you can build a palace of personal development upon.