Three Simple Steps, by Author (Softcover, 2013)|
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Reviewer: Mark Lamendola, author of over 6,000 articles.
The title of this book intrigued me. But the book falls short of what it
promises. It's still worth reading, and for some people it could be
life-changing. Mostly, those would be people whose days are consumed by fighting
one problem after another. If you're such a person, get this book.
For everyone else, this book is probably not going to be very helpful.
Though I had originally expected it to be a source of great insight, it
wasn't. Perhaps my expectations were unduly raised when I read the
well-written introduction. Speaking of which, I found it odd that the author
stated later in the book that people generally don't read introductions and
then went on to reiterate some points from the introduction. If he really
felt this way, he should have made those points in the text and not in the
Where I found the value in this book was in Part One of the three parts.
The other two parts didn't seem grounded in reality, nor did they provide
anything that struck me as substantive.
A key concept Mr. Blake makes clear is that you need to adjust your
thinking such that you are for something rather than against something. One
of his examples is "weight loss," by which most users of the term actually
mean "fat loss." This is no minor difference. People who focus on weight
necessarily do not focus on body composition. So they follow Covey's example
of doing the wrong things.
But why focus on loss at all? Focusing on "losing" the fat puts you in a
mindset of restricting your diet rather than optimizing it. During the
winter, my body fat is usually around 6%. In summer, it's at 5%. This isn't
because I "lose fat" but because I make positive optimization decisions that
result in a slightly higher ratio of lean mass to fat. For someone with a
bothersomely big belly, I suggest you stop thinking about "losing the gut"
and start thinking about chiseling those abs.
This same mental alignment works for any endeavor I can think of, yet I
find that people tend to prefer fighting something than building something.
Do you want to "quit smoking" or do you want nice skin, pleasant breath, and
good stamina? Which way is more motivating?
So getting the reader to understand the power of that alignment and
providing some insight on how to make it standard operating procedure is
what I see as the thrust of Part One. I like the way Mr. Blake gets this
It's different from the mindless "think positive" advice that has you
writing affirmations (lies) on little slips of paper or lying to yourself in
the mirror at the start of every day. Self-deception can make you feel
better, but it brings you no closer to solution. The caveat to that is if
you're in a negative state such as depression, then this gambit can help you
proceed more confidently. However, Mr. Blake's approach strikes me as really
the one to use. It's the approach I typically use. After reading the first
three chapters, I decided to use this approach consistently.
I also like his tips on keeping your mind from being sabotaged by others.
In particular, he was spot on regarding watching the news. I don't do the
news, period. The content is typically wrong, nearly always negative, and
seldom relevant to the life of the viewer, listener, or reader. By not
exposing your mind to this pollution, you are already a leg up.
Finished with Part One, I turned to Part Two. This is where the
disappointment began. The premise here is you need to have a daily period
set aside for what amounts to tapping into "the force." Mr. Blake wrongly
ties this into Einstein's formula for mass and energy, a mistake that simple
calculations will show to be a mistake. But even without the calculations,
the causation he assumes just does not arise from this equation.
He also goes on the redefine terms used in completely different contexts.
For example, he says the Cohen brothers have it backwards in their portrayal
of the matrix. In saying such a thing, Mr. Blake completely misses the point
of the movie and completely misses the underlying problem with the Great
Lies we are told by those in power.
If Mr. Blake wants to say he's tapping into the matrix of nature or the
universe or whatever, that's fine. But just because the word matrix is used
in other contexts does not mean it's used incorrectly or that everyone is
talking about the same thing. Mr. Blake's matrix and the one in the Matrix
movies can co-exist without any conflict. Simply choose a different word to
describe one or the other.
When I finished Part Two, the author had not convinced me that I need to
set aside 20 minutes a day to zone out, chill out, connect with nature, etc.
Mr. Blake provided no evidence for the effectiveness of this, other than
anecdote and a reliance on the idea that correlation equals causation. So it
was with "you let this reader down" that I embarked upon Part Three.
The title of Part Three is "Transforming Ideas into Achievements." I
finished Part III not having found this subject addressed in any meaningful
way. The basic concept is "wish for it, and it will come." So much
serendipity here, and yet again a reliance on idea that correlation
Upon finishing the book, I went back to the cover. What immediately
struck me was the subtitle is not accurate. Pick up any map, and what do you
see? Detail! This book, as its title states, is about three steps. It is not
about the entire journey. The gap between thinking of an idea and making it
happen is often filled with thousands of steps. Those are not discussed in
the book. In no way is this a map to anything.
I don't think Mr. Blake provided three simple steps. I think he provided
one not so simple step, and that is the step of getting your head on
straight. Does anybody not struggle with this, other than those who simply
don't do it? Getting this right on a consistent basis is surely beneficial.
But look at all of the famous and successful people who are nowhere close to
this. If you think a little, you can probably work up a list of people who
have this down pat but are struggling financially. I think it is one tool in
a larger toolbox.
Part One was about getting the correct mentality. Maybe the other two
parts were about keeping that mentality in place. If you have a ritual for
that purpose, whether it be spitting over your shoulder or communing with
nature for 20 minutes a day, there's what I got out of part Two. In Part
Three, the anecdotes seemed to point all toward recognizing opportunity when
it comes a knockin'.
This book runs 239 pages, including the introduction and the conclusion.