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Customer Review

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars He read all those self-help books, so you don't have to, 19 Oct. 2012
This review is from: What's Stopping You?: Why Smart People Don't Always Reach Their Potential and How You Can (Paperback)
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When you pick this book up for the first time, go to the back and look at the bibliography. There are well over 100 books listed there. Luke Johnson read all of them - many of them books you'll have heard of, if not already read - and distilled from them the key message and put them into an overall framework for people who have a fear of failure.

Read this book, and you're saving yourself the time of reading 100 other self-help books. But what about that "fear of failure" twist? Is it applicable to you?

If you're a doctor, a solicitor, a chartered accountant or any other career that is well-paid and takes a substantial amount of professional qualification to practice, you probably don't have a fear of failure. If you're an entrepreneur, an artist, a shop worker with dreams, somebody who just feels unfulfilled but there's always an excuse for why you don't take action, you probably suffer from fear of failure.

I have consistently over-achieved in my career to date, and so I was sceptical as to whether this would apply to me, until Johnson pointed to a study of people throwing hoops over a stick: those with fear of failure either stand so close it becomes trivial to make the shot (what I always thought fear of failure types did), or so far away that they could use the excuse it was "impossible anyway" - bingo, that's me. Doing the absurd, because who can blame me when it doesn't work out? That's the exact attitude I've taken to my career. And the "standing too close" is what I've done in other parts of my life. Suddenly I realise why I've gone down the paths I have, and why I've sometimes felt I've lacked the focus to follow through and really work towards my strengths. That insight alone makes this book worth the read.

Suddenly finding myself engaged by these thoughts, I read the rest of the book in a few sittings. Some of the ideas I'm familiar with (because I'd read some of the books Johnson draws on), but many of the ideas were new to me. I've struggled a little to apply it because I've stumbled over the creation of my "personal constitution", but that's not the fault of this book: it's the fact I've never thought about the question in detail before! Lots of ideas from the book I'm already putting into action and suddenly finding myself feeling a little more focused and I'm moving forward.

I felt as though towards the end the direction wandered a little, but the appendix that sets out a clear action plan brings it back together again. As such, I can't really fault it. Johnson deserves the 5 stars for the reading he's done on our behalf and condensed alone, but the framework he's put it in has also helped me re-analyse key parts of my life. Highly recommended.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 3 Jan 2013 13:04:48 GMT
The author's called Robert Kelsey! only the foreword is by Luke Johnson. :-)

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Jan 2013 13:10:49 GMT
You are of course absolutely right. I knew that, and meant that, but somehow it ended up getting messed up in my draft I pasted over into Amazon. Thanks for the pointer!
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