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4.6 out of 5 stars
Taming Tigers: Do things you never thought you could
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
The last self-help guide book I read was almost 20 years ago. I got sick and tired of the same old things being said in slightly different ways. So, I was a little apprehensive when asked to review Taming Tigers by Jim Lawless. Always up for a challenge, I accepted.

My apprehensions were soon dispelled as I was gripped by his story of becoming a jockey at the age of 30 as a result of a bet.

Lawless uses his experience of changing careers from an International Legal Counsel to an International Motivational Speaker, to illustrate what can be achieved by following his "10 Rules for Taming Tigers". It was at one of his early presentations to a group of salespeople that a member of the audience challenged him to a £1 bet that he could not use his rules to become a jockey within 12 months. Lawless' subsequent jockey experience is the storyline throughout the book to show how the 10 rules (for self development) can be applied.

As Lawless points out, these rules are not new. Nor did he invent them. But he has put them together in an eminently practical way and in a very entertaining book.

I liked the book. It was easy to read. The rules were easy to follow and there were plenty of practical examples and suggestions. Many chapters were followed by an invited story from someone who had applied one or more of the rules after attending one of Lawless' presentations.

The only small criticism I have is that at times some paragraphs were a bit wordy and repetitive. I occasionally found myself skipping ahead to get to the next bit of the "jockey story". As a visual person, I would have also liked to see some visual representations of the 10 rules. For me, it meant that I had to go back to check which rule was being referred to. Perhaps a fold out page with the rules illustrated would assist people like me.

Overall, I would highly recommend this book for two reasons. One, it's a good read. And secondly, the 10 rules are put in a very practical way that would make it easy for anyone to apply.

Bob Selden, author What To Do When You Become The Boss: How New Managers Become Successful Managers
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 21 July 2009
If, like me, you're cycnical about books by so-called motivational speakers, then you might approach this book with some suspicion - I certainly did. Within one chapter, all such doubts are dispelled and this book really does make you focus on what you really can achieve. What is most appealing to me is its simplicity, bringing into focus what you really knew all along, but needing to be shown that you really can overcome those nagging doubts and believe in what you're doing.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 13 May 2010
Since this issue is the subject of much debate in Amazon forums, I will get this out of the way: yes, I know Jim Lawless. However, this is not the reason that I have given his book a five star review. Let me explain. Jim and I went out together for about 18 months longer towards the end of our teens. The whole thing ended badly, as these things usually do, but Jim did one very important thing for me - he took me to climb my first mountain (some might say 'made me'): Snowdon. I took one look at it and said, "there's no way that I'm going all of the way up there," at which point he laughed, as I recall. His only complaint was that my first mountain had been too easy (My complaints were many). If it hadn't such a beautiful day, or if it had been very difficult, I probably wouldn't have repeated the experience, but I have, many times, and it has been one of the greatest pleasures in life to stand on top of a mountain and realise that my problems are actually very small. I digress (apologies, I do this quite often). I had not seen Jim for over twenty years when, browsing through the 'recommended' section in my local Waterstones, I saw his name on the front cover of a book. I didn't have to look further than the centre pages to realise that yes, this was the very same Jim Lawless. After demanding to know why my own book was only filed under the 'D's' in fiction (Half-truths and White Lies, available from all good bookshops), the red-faced member of staff (Anthony) told me that Jim's book was actually very good. Not relishing the implication of this, I didn't buy it. However, through the magic of modern technology, I did decide to track down Jim and congratulate him (through the email equivalent of gritted teeth). The long and short of it was that we met up for lunch and found that, despite a gap of twenty years, neither of us have changed terribly much. (Jim now looks far more like his younger self than the pictures in his book. I haven't changed at all.)I admitted to him up front that I was a sceptic of self-help books. I had already changed my life. Rather than read a book, I had written one. (It has won an award and everything.)His reaction was to give me a copy of Taming Tigers. This did not necessarily enamour me to the book, as I then felt under an obligation to read it - and be nice about it. So I buried it at the back of a shelf where I didn't have to keep looking at it and feeling guilty. Until recently. In need of inspiration, I thought I would give it a go. And, darn it, if it wasn't quite compelling. And well-written (It is in the style of a talk, complete with anecdotes, so if you have seen Jim talk, I would imagine you will have the benefit of instant recall). I will say this: love it or hate it, you will find yourself inspired, you will find yourself challenged, if you have already changed your life you may find yourself agreeing,or arguing, or wondering how the devil he managed to put that bit quite so succinctly. And you will wake up thinking, 'What scary thing am I going to do before the day is out that will change my life?' (I can't make myself use the world 'boldly, because I'm then left with the image of Captain Kirk, who I, personally, don't find quite so inspiring.)My only criticism it that I didn't find constant reference to the rules by their numbers, rather than a reminder of what they actually are, very useful. But even this is clever. Jim is tryinging to make you memorise them. And if they find their way into your head, the chances are that you will not be able to ignore them. You will no option but to act. And there is every possibility that something good may happen.
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on 1 October 2012
Morning ladies and gentleman,

I look out at the view from my City of London office and it is definitely uninspiring - the rain is coming down as if God himself has decided to empty His bathtub over London. But I don't care cause I am working towards a goal that will change the way my life is lived. This last weekend, and for the second time, I re-read Taming Tigers and watched the videos and was moved to write this review.

For those looking for answers but having the usual doubts let me explain why I think "Taming Tigers" works.

1, Jim has managed to distil age old wisdom and bring it into the 21st Century through 10 "simple to understand but difficult to execute lessons" ( difficult - as the onus is on you to take responsibility)

2, He has illustrated the lessons with case studies of ordinary people who have done extraordinary things. These real life examples serve to inspire the reader to do something themselves.

3, Never once does Jim fall back into some pseudo-scientific mumbo jumbo. He keeps it on message and down to earth so "ordinary" people who have to take the train into work, have to pay the bills at the end of the month and have to stand for the bus in the pouring rain can understand.

4, So why am I so inspired?

6 months ago I was at a dead end - I work in the City of London as a "Headhunter" sitting on my tail for 15 hrs working recruiting into the Financial Markets. I don't have a "bad life" but I realised that I could do so much more. My grandest dream was to direct a film that will hopefully win an award at Cannes.

Now you must realise apart from a bit of personal writing I did not have any skills nor did I have money or connections within the film world.

But what I did have was this dream and Jim's Taming Tigers.

Using Jim's Ten lessons - especially "Rule One - Act Boldy"; "Rule 2 - Re-Write you Rule Book (who said I couldn't direct a film??), Rule 4 "It's all in the mind", Rule 7 "Do something scary every day" and Rule 10 "Never ever give up"

I have managed to, from a standing start:

Write the screenplay for the film
Have met with professional actors/actresses and cast the film
Worked with a cinematographer and production designer to create the look of the film
Talked to Japanese Embassy to create a version to be shot in Tokyo (the original is to be shot in London)

and now I am on my way to raising the finance and hunt for locations in London to shoot the film in November (oh dear that is only 30 days away - I can hear the Tiger roar as I write this but I will ignore it)

Now I may win or not at Cannes but I know for one thing I will have directed a film by May next year.

5, So what? I hear you say? and your right "So what?" My dream is not yours but you will have a dream that is running around your mind, that you (or more importantly your tiger) pushs down each time it comes up for air. It could be to pay off your mortgage or even get on the property ladder, it could be to find that certain someone it could even be the first person from London to go into space - I don't know but what I do know is that if you buy this book and read it and study it you will think differently.

All achievements start in the mind and if you think differently then you will take different actions and by taking different actions you will get a place you never thought you would.

Screw the "tiger and its roar" life is too short and if you don't think it is just go down to one of the old people's home and look at the occupants.

What dreams did the majority have did not follow through because of their own self created limitations.

Look at the sad, lined faces staring into space thinking "I wish I could have...."

and then think

Do I want to end up like this or do I want to tame my tiger and do something "Freaking Amazing"

my best

The Salesman
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on 10 October 2012
This book has special meaning for me. It was the one that shook me out of avoiding the blatant truth - that I needed to stop thinking about running my own business and get on with it. Jim Lawless doesn't pull his punches - he asked whether I was writing the book of my life, or if I was letting my fears do the writing. I even put down the book for a few weeks it made me so uncomfortable. But I knew that I needed to get back to it and 'tame my tiger'.

The book focuses on four key areas;

1. Integrity.
The need to act boldly because time is limited - life is ticking away. Challenge the rules, the voices that tell you what is possible and what is not possible. Do something every day that takes you down the road you want to follow.

2. Leadership
Your mind is the key, decide on the voices you are going to listen to. There are people and resources all around you that can help. Doing the same as everyone else isn't going to help, you need to forge your own path.

3. Change
And the best one - do something scary every day - stretch that comfort zone. Understand how you use your valuable time, and use time to create change. Work out your disciplines - the basic things you are going to do consistently.

4. Growth
Never, never give up!

How will reading this book make you feel? Happy you are doing everything you can to make things happen, or aware that you need to take action to tame that tiger?
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on 29 August 2013
A very readable book which inspires you to act, not just be. It reminds us that our life stories are ours to write, something we often fail to appreciate. It is easy to identify the 'tiger' in so many day-to-day situations, roaring in the shadows, justifying the don't, can't, shouldn't, couldn't possibly, what would others think?, better not, what if'' trains of thought. Even if the tiger has its desired effect sometimes, and I listen to its warning roar, I am at least aware of its presence and my choice not to act, not to write my own next chapter. As a family, we often refer to the tiger and by simply identifying it, we are able to confront it and take some of those scary big decisions in life, which are often the most exciting and enriching.

Once read, even if at times it makes for uncomfortable reflections on our life's course to date, Taming Tigers forces you to 'own' your life story - your script. The tiger is ever-present, but our belief in our own ability to disempower it grows each time we decide to face it.
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on 11 October 2013
I have read many books to do with changing the way you think, dealing with depression and how to deal with problems. This book is very honest and pragmatic and does not promise the world. It teaches you how to deal with your fears (those tigers) and how to get out of the mental rut that so many of us are in. This book explains that even if you do not achieve your dreams, by following its ten rules, you will have moved on and will be able to deal with life in a much more positive and effective way. I feel as if a 'cranial cataract' has been removed from my brain. I thoroughly recommend it.
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on 21 November 2013
I love those personal observations, failures and successes from Jim. After listening to his speech, I decided to try the book as well and I'm not disappointed.

One drawback is that there are too many advertisements in the book. I think it's ok to have advertisements there but there shouldn't be too many.

I also like the summary at the end of each chapter. It's really good for me to go back, to take note and to act on them because I think it's the purpose of all his works. Well done.
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on 5 June 2014
Jim Lawless has been there and done it. He's tested his principles in 2 major challenges. I've read tons of so called inspirational books but this one goes the extra mile (if not 1000 miles). Sometimes, I have read a good book and thought that I'd like to re-read it again a few years later. With this one, as soon as I finished it, I went right back to page 1 and started again as there was so much great stuff to take in. This book should be compulsory reading in every high school.
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on 24 September 2014
I saw Jim speak at a conference a few years ago. This book provides even more insight than would have been possible during a 60 minute keynote.

What he shares is a no nonsense and grounded assessment without pretending that it is easy. It is hugely refreshing and so different from a lot of other books.

The 10 rules are presented in a highly engaging and entertaining way. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is or aspires to be successful.
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