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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Secret Sauce, 26 Jan. 2014
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This review is from: Self-confidence: The Remarkable Truth of Why a Small Change Can Make a Big Difference (Paperback)
Confidence. It's the secret elixir that so many of us longingly desire, the fire in the blood that can help us to be, do and achieve all that we are truly capable of. For every popinjay who is burdened by delusions of grandeur, who believe they have the voice of an angel and deserve instant fame, there are probably half a dozen toiling with a shoulder-full of negative baggage, failing to achieve their full potential.

Paul McGee is a quintessentially Mancunian motivator, the frank northern antidote to the starry-eyed stereotype of the slick motivational guru. He's never afraid to be honest, down-to-earth and practical. Some may hope for cosmic rays to transform their lives in a blink of an eye, but Paul uses his psychological training and practical insights to deliver a far more realistic tonic. He offers concrete tools, laced with real life anecdotes, to help readers recognise and overcome negative programming, which can sometimes poison their environment at an insidious and unrecognised level. At the same time, he pulls no punches - confidence without ability and effort is mere folly. Self-confidence is the secret sauce, never the steak.

Paul McGee is a compelling and engaging real-life speaker. Few who have seen him at a corporate event will forget the humour, spontaneity and clarity he uses to woo a sometimes recalcitrant audience. Some reviewers have commented that his verbal delivery doesn't translate so effectively when rendered into the single sentences and widely spaced paragraphs typical of the the book. I'll admit the style takes some getting used to. Yet the clarity of his clear, punchy lines actually showcases the true value of his messages. Less, quite simply, is more. We don't need feel-good sermons draped in dense paragraphs, but rather punchy truths that can actually "Make A Difference". Two staggering insights of this ilk reveal themselves in the opening pages of the book.

The first is that a tiny, barely perceptible, course correction - of just 10% - will make the difference between a ship leaving Southampton that arrives in New York, and one that docks in the Caribbean. That's the cumulative power of a small initial change. Think about that when you're at a decision point in your life. The second revelation is a simple diagram, of seven human figures on a page, each one named after a day of the week. When you realise that each figure represents a decade of your life, and you start to calculate which corresponding day of the week you are currently on - well, the shock will speak for itself.

In short, Self-Confidence isn't the kind of fantastical, over-engineered self-help book which sets you up with an adrenalin rush of possibility and then leaves you deflated and disillusioned. It's pithy, fundamentally focused and honest. If your aim is not merely to be entertained for a few hours but actually initiate positive improvements in your life, then what more do you really need? It's all about nurturing the courage, self-awareness and realism to begin "Making a Difference" - and Self-Confidence delivers this in spades.

Now I'm setting sail for the Caribbean. Bon voyage!
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