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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Real life lessons for success
This book is an interesting companion to `Screw it, Let's do it.' by Richard Branson in the same Quick Reads series.

In many ways it deals with the same issue of helping people to recognise that they can achieve more with their lives. The differences in approach reflect the different starting points of Richard's and James' lives. Whereas Richard Branson's...
Published on 14 Feb. 2009 by Steven Unwin

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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Simple and Direct
I like the Author's key message that it is better to "act small" when striving to achieve goals. He describes this as 'doing the next 3%'. This 'bottom-up' approach (for example filling in a draft application form for a new job) seems to offer a more realsitic assessment of where you currently are and promotes enthusiasm to act rather than sitting around worrying about...
Published on 24 Jan. 2007 by Leon


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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Real life lessons for success, 14 Feb. 2009
By 
Steven Unwin "Steve Unwin" (Preston, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This book is an interesting companion to `Screw it, Let's do it.' by Richard Branson in the same Quick Reads series.

In many ways it deals with the same issue of helping people to recognise that they can achieve more with their lives. The differences in approach reflect the different starting points of Richard's and James' lives. Whereas Richard Branson's childhood provides a host of positive role models in his parents, grandparents and relatives that included Sir Peter Scott the naturalist and descendants such as Scott of the Antarctic, John's role models more often provided examples of what not to do. In particular he speaks of his abusive father's attacks on his mother.

What is interesting is that given their quite different start points, each describes a very similar set of required characteristics, though they arrived at them by quite different routes.

John speaks quite candidly about his early life much of it spent homeless and being offensive, violent and distinctly un-likeable. He talks of his clashes with the law and reflects on key decision points that changed his life. His journey is no less remarkable than that of Richard Branson having climbed from the position of self confessed victim, homeless and on the streets, to creating `The Big Issue' magazine to be sold by the homeless as a way of helping them improve their lives.
The idea of the magazine and the use of what he describes as `the most unreliable workforce on the planet' is so preposterous that Richard Branson would be proud of it. He would be equally proud of its remarkable success and the impact it has had on helping the homeless in ways that the experts said were impossible. His achievements have been recognised through awards by the United Nations and many others.

In describing the 7 steps of the title John candidly draws on his background, the successes and the mistakes he has made in his early life and in creating `The Big Issue.' It is a true display of his commitment to Step 3, `Be truthful to yourself and others.'

For those who see Richard Branson's account describing something they couldn't dream of emulating, John's description is much more down to earth. He describes his seven steps, not to climb up to the boardroom, but to climb out of the gutter.

The steps themselves are not rocket science, nor are they different at heart from those described by Richard, but like many simple things, they are most easily overlooked.
- Take a first step, however small
- Stop thinking like a victim
- Be true to yourself and others
- Stop knocking everyone else
- Think for yourself
- Make mistakes
- Be your own leader

This is an accessible book that won't spend its time sitting unread on your bookshelf as you will probably read it in an evening. I'm sure it will give you at least one useful new thought, and perhaps inspire you to action. What more can you ask of a book.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A superb read, 25 Nov. 2006
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This is a great read, small in size (as you would expect from Quick Reads) and quite brutally honest. Written by Big Issue founder John Bird, this is someone who definitely knows a thing or two about changing one's life. Although perhaps not comprehensive and may not totally change your life, it is an excellent starter for people who need inspiration.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Read, 17 May 2010
By 
Ms. Gaynor M. Montgomery "Gaynor" (S.e. England) - See all my reviews
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I BOUGHT THIS BOOK AS A GIFT FOR MY DAUGHTER, AFTER BORROWING IT FROM THE LIBRARY AND READING IT IN AN AFTERNOON. IT REALLY IS VERY WELL WRITTEN, SIMPLE, STRAIGHTFORWARD AND TO THE POINT.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good little book, 22 Jun. 2011
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I first borrowed this book from the library and liked it very much. It is written by the guy who rose from his own ashes of a bad start from childrens home, criminality, drink etc, to founder of the Big Issue and success and realisation that when you cheat and lie you are a victim of yourself too. He focuses on success through the idea of 3%, ie, breaking any task down into small manageable units, and most importantly to keep going and be honest. I liked it because it made change seem possible but didn't say it was easy, and highlights things in your life which might get in your way like negative people and 'knockers' who are people who are just looking to criticise. These are the big building blocks, not some corporate lingo or american guru. If it all seems too difficult and the world is against you, read this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars When You Need A Kick in the Backside!!!! :), 21 Dec. 2009
I read this last night and, yes, it is a quick read.

It gets straight to the point. No psychobabble and no need to wonder if the author really knows what it's like to have a tough life. He was homeless, a criminal, bad start in life, the whole lot but he still turned his life around and managed to help many others in the process (the Big Issue, for instance). He is helping us through this book too.

I would thoroughly recommend it. Mine came from the library, but I will buy my own copy now and dip into it (can easily be kept in my handbag) whenever I feel the need for an attitude adjustment. There are several people in my circle I also wish to purchase a copy for.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thanks, 15 Jan. 2011
I tried to look for an e-mail address of John Bird but I did not find it. Therefore I write here that I thank him for his book. I think it could be a book about 800 pages but it is enough how it is.
I think it is worth to read it.
Ivana
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Simple and Direct, 24 Jan. 2007
I like the Author's key message that it is better to "act small" when striving to achieve goals. He describes this as 'doing the next 3%'. This 'bottom-up' approach (for example filling in a draft application form for a new job) seems to offer a more realsitic assessment of where you currently are and promotes enthusiasm to act rather than sitting around worrying about the big picture. I have an issue with Self - Help books that are 'top-down' in their approach (for example stating where you will be in life in 5 years time) because, for me at least, this sort of thinking tends to overwhelm me and is not flexible in the real world.

On the negative side, I feel that the book doesn't offer 'steps' as such, like you might expect in a system. The ideas seem very much common sense thoughts that could just as easily be presented as random essays / thoughts. I also feel that the phrasing is often negative and somehow critical - don't do this, don't do that etc. wich does not come across positively in my view.

It's good value for the money but I don't think you need to own a copy to get the key message.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Judge this book by it's cover, 12 April 2012
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How to Change Your Life in 7 Steps (Quick Read)
The best ever self help book I've read thus far. Straight forward honest advice from some-one who has lived and turned his life around.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life changing, 18 Mar. 2013
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I recommended this book to a student who was going through a bad patch. He was very reluctant and informed me he had not picked up a book since leaving school and even then had only 'pretended to read'.
He started reading the book to me, discovered that he was able to read it and then, to his surprise, actually finished it. Since then, he has highly recommended the book to the rest of the class and asked for other titles. Success!!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thank you, an inspirational book, 26 Mar. 2007
I enjoyed this small book, which is one of the quick read series, of self help books on sale. I found it to be very inspirational. The author writes about the changes you can make to turn your life around, starting with a 3% improvement. How you can handle various hurdles, that you might come across in life, by changing your attitude, an example being, to stop thinking like a victim. John Bird, explains how putting yourself around people who want to improve themselves is a good thing. Realising that life does not owe you something and by stopping lying to yourself and others, can actually set you free, is one of his messages.

A good example being the `it a broken egg? or an omelette?' paragraph, this is the part of the book where John tells how he believes, that if you knock people and complain about things, it will not get you very far towards your goals. Stop complaining about what doesn't work he writes, do something rather than blow hot air at everybody else, look at yourself before you judge others.

`Think for yourself, does your mind belong to you?' a question he asks you to think about.

There are many real life stories in this book. For instance how Richard Branson, started off small, and went on to build an empire. John explains that Branson, didn't start out by thinking `I'm going to build an empire,` and tells how Branson started out selling magazines in a basement and now today, he has his own empire.

The attitude he believes in is `start by thinking small, and build big mind improvements.'

This book has clear open print making it very easy to read. As the bright cover suggests, a positive attitude such as 'the future is bright, you can climb the ladder of success` is a belief of the thinking, that the book is trying to pass onto the reader.

The author, John Bird is well qualified, through his very own life experiences to write about how to turn your life around.

In 2004 the public voted John Bird one of London's living legends and he was the founder of the Big Issue magazine which celebrates its 15th anniversary this year.

If you want to explore ways of making improvements in you way of approaching life then I can recommend this book.
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