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Wellbeing

Life in Half a Second – Matthew Michalewicz (2013, Hybrid Publishers)

The Score

There are a couple of metrics I use to judge the value of a book.

  1. To what degree does it change the way I think or live? (5/5)
  2. How likely am I to immediately buy copies for friends? (4/5)
  3. What is the quality level of the book (author’s credibility, quality of writing, reliability of research and information)? (3/5)

Based on those questions, I have scored this book with marks out of 5 and taken an average as the final score of its value. (i.e. 12/3 = 4)

For Life in Half a Second, I value it as a 4/5 book.

My Thoughts

Do you have big goals? Do you want to achieve them but don’t know how?

Are you frustrated by a lack of clarity in your life? Do you feel like you’re spinning your wheels, forever working, earning, paying but not progressing?

Are you doing what you feel you truly want to with your life? Or are you just coasting waiting for “someday”.

Have you taken hold of life and made your impression upon it, marking it with the imprint of your fingertips? Or is life dictating what happens to you everyday?

If these questions resonate with you, you will probably enjoy Life in Half a Second.

It’s not a scholarly book, the words aren’t sophisticated, the ideas themselves aren’t groundbreaking. But it is inspiring. If inspiration is something you need, you will find it here. But this book is more than inspiration. It presents a method — a way from getting from A to Z. From foggy, hazy, “I don’t know how to achieve my big goals” to “I have a system that I can implement”. Whether or not Michalewicz’s method will work for you, I can’t say, but it appears to have worked for him. If you’re the kind of person who can take a vague method of sorts and put it into action and make it work for you, then you’ll find some benefit in this book.

So those are the two things you can expect here — inspiration to be successful and a brief methodology you can follow.

The first thing Michalewicz does is paint a picture of the brevity of your life — half a second. He then provides a definition of success, — the attainment of desired goals.

The rest of the book lays out in sequence the five steps — or doors as Michalewicz calls it — that you must walk through to attain success.

Those doors are:

  1. Clarity (To achieve success you must have a clear and precise definition of what success looks like to you)
  2. Desire (Your goals must be aligned with your desire; and your desire must be red hot otherwise it will never get you out of the door)
  3. Belief (Not only must you believe in yourself, you must be prepared to surround yourself with people and things that align with where you want to be)
  4. Knowledge (You must do all you can to close the gap of knowledge between where you are where you want to be)
  5. Action (You must conquer your fear and take bold action)

Each chapter expounds on what you must do at each stage in order to ultimately attain your goals.

The prescriptions, although not groundbreaking, are presented forcefully and credibly. Michalewicz has a way of communicating which challenges and yet infuses you with a sense of belief and urgency.

Are the principles worth their salt? Yes, in my opinion. What he presents here is solid and he has enough motivation in his words to inspire you to act. But as with any self-help book, particularly one dealing with how to achieve success, it all depends on how well you execute.

With that said, some people will read this book, put it away, and move on to the next. Others may read it and be inspired enough to take its prescriptions seriously and act on them. For me, this is a book I will definitely go over again with a finer tooth-comb, taking Michalewicz at his word, to be more intentional with my goals and treating them with the fervency and urgency that Michalewicz has clearly treated his.

It’s not a long book — 170 pages; the words are uncomplicated, you can get through it very quickly. Not everything he says is watertight, but overall I do recommend it. Even if you think you might hate it, give it a shot. It might change the way you approach your life, or it might not. Either way it’s worth a read — a little bit of inspiration never hurt nobody.

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