Most helpful critical review
Long on truisms and rhetoric but short on practical advice
on 10 January 2014
If you're looking for a book that will persuade or even cajole you into changing your attitude then this is a worthwhile read. The author clearly and strongly advocates the benefits of adopting a positive attitude in life. His message is that if you want to be successful at anything worth achieving that you have to start with a positive attitude and stay positive in the face of numerous setbacks. I agree with everything he says.
The book is well written and quick to read. The author uses anecdotes and examples from his own life and those of his friends and acquaintances to illustrate his points. However the book falls down for me in two respects. Firstly, I would have liked to see some real evidence from research in psychology and neuro-science to fully back-up why and how positive attitude leads people to be more successful. Readers are expected to take the author's assertions at face value, and without proper evidence to support his arguments I suspect the readers that most need to be convinced to change their attitude are also the most likely to stay doubters.
For example, we're told that "we become what we think about" e.g. someone wanting to earn £1m needs to start by believing that he/she can achieve it. This is perfectly true - believing you can do it is a pre-requisite to achieving it, but just believing it doesn't make it so.
Which leads me to my second criticism. Because the author doesn't give an explanation of why some people are more positive than others he lacks any real, practical advice that would benefit those who could most use it. His message basically boils down to: be positive and associate with positive people because it will do you good; be resolute in the face of setbacks and never give up.
While this is all well and good and very true, unless you're looking for a brief motivational caffeine shot to get you moving the book lacks any substance that will really help pessimists systematically get out of the cycle of negative thinking. For a far more practical and helpful book I on the subject I recommend Learned Optimism by Martin Seligman.