Book Review – No Excuses!

Book Review – No Excuses!

It’s January a new year is well underway.  I don’t know about you, but those resolutions (well, resolution) I was so intent on completing are proving harder than I expected.  (Or at least, harder than I had hoped.)  It’s tough to stick to our goals, however much we may want to achieve them.  What can we do to finish our resolutions and everything else we hope to accomplish?

No Excuses! maintains that the key to completing our goals, and indeed, to achieving ‘lasting happiness and success’, is to be self-disciplined.  Brian Tracy covers several different areas of personal and professional life, and provides ways of applying self-discipline in order to be successful.  As he has in other books (such as Eat That Frog!), he attempts to motivate and encourage the reader to become more accomplished.  Does he do the job well?  As always, we’ll read on to find out!

Summary of No Excuses!

No Excuses!No Excuses! starts with an Introduction introducing the main conceit of the book, that self-discipline in all the areas of your life will serve to improve your life and make things better for you.  It discusses some of Tracy’s own successes in the past, and the continued emphasis he and other successful people place on self-discipline, before getting into the areas in which to develop self-discipline, which make up the rest of the book:

Part I: Self-Discipline and Personal Success

Chapter 1 – Self-Discipline and Success

The first chapter focuses on setting targets for success.  It stresses the importance of continuous hard work, noting that the goals will not be achieved without hard work and that it will be only through continuing effort that such success will be ongoing.  The chapter ends, as all the chapters do, with ‘action steps’ to take towards self-improvement.

Chapter 2 – Self-Discipline and Character

Here the issues of values and how you are perceived by others is covered.  This chapter covers how self-discipline can develop the traits that you want to possess and how you can follow the actions of people who possess your desired traits in order to learn those skills yourself.

Chapter 3 – Self-Discipline and Responsibility

This section is about gaining responsibility for your life as you move through life.  It discusses how to eliminate unhappy emotions by taking responsibility for the things that go wrong, and how doing so can increase the amount of satisfaction in your life.

Chapter 4 – Self-Discipline and Goals

Here’s where goals and goal achievement is covered, including how to create goals, set deadlines, and for particularly large goal, how to set and achieve assorted sub-goals.  Methods of ‘mind-storming’ to create goals and then build a multi-step plan for reaching those goals are noted.

Chapter 5 – Self-Discipline and Personal Excellence

Chapter five looks at how to use self-discipline to improve yourself, and as a result, your work and life.  It stresses the need to follow the advice of successful people, and suggests putting 3% of your income towards self-improvement.  It ends with a seven step method towards improving yourself and your life.

Chapter 6 – Self-Discipline and Courage

The sixth chapter focuses on building up self-discipline to overcome your fears.  It encourages continually facing those fears, and writing out ‘Disaster Reports’ looking at the worst things to happen should your plans go wrong in order to see that such events would not be so bad.

Chapter 7 – Self-Discipline and Persistence

The last chapter in this section looks at self-discipline and persistence.  It stresses that being persistent is simply a matter of continually applying self-discipline to your life and situation, and emphasizes the need to do so in order to succeed.

Part II: Self-Discipline in Business, Sales, and Finances

Chapter 8 – Self-Discipline and Work

This part of the book looks at the effects of self-discipline on success in business, and this chapter in particular focuses on succeeding in work.  It looks at building up a reputation for being focused and working hard, mainly by focused at work and ensuring that you are working on the most profitable projects for your company.

Chapter 9 – Self-Discipline and Leadership

Chapter nine looks at leadership and methods of becoming a good leader, with seven principles of leadership and advice on how you can learn to be a great leader and rise to the top in your company.

Chapter 10 – Self-Discipline and Business

This tenth chapter extends the leadership concept, discussing some methods of how to apply self-discipline to businesses, noting the importance of being better than the competition and having the discipline to continue doing so.

Chapter 11 – Self-Discipline and Sales

Sales are a major part of any business, and this chapter stresses the need to focus on salespeople, marketing, and other methods of sales.  It mentions the need for much time and effort to generate sales, in order to make a business succeed.

Chapter 12 – Self-Discipline and Money

Chapter twelve is right up this blog’s alley, focusing on how to improve your financial situation through self-discipline.  It focuses on the importance of saving and using compound interest, if you’re hoping to have a sizable net worth in the future.

Chapter 13 – Self-Discipline and Time Management

In the same method, this chapter looks at how to manage your time and organizing the tasks you need to perform throughout the day, providing a method for ranking them on importance, and stressing the need to focus on only task at a time.

Chapter 14 – Self-Discipline and Problem Solving

This part of the book looks at the general process of solving problems.  The major part of the chapter is a nine-step process to use when approaching problems in order to successfully solve them.  It also stresses that in many cases, as you successfully solve problems, you’ll find yourself facing more difficult problems that require more self-discipline to solve.

Part III: Self-Discipline and The Good Life

Chapter 15 – Self-Discipline and Happiness

The final part of the book looks at how self-discipline affects your personal life.  This chapter looks at the importance of gaining control of your life in order to achieve happiness, and also provides five types of ingredients that are needed in order for people to happy, most of which are covered to some degree in the following chapters.

Chapter 16 – Self-Discipline and Personal Health

Chapter sixteen provides a guide to how to stay healthy, giving information on methods of keeping your health in order, discussing health habits and how to keep healthy through proper behavior and actions.

Chapter 17 – Self-Discipline and Physical Fitness

Continuing along the same train of thought, chapter seventeen discusses how to build up a reasonable fitness routine, mainly the importance of exercising early in the morning and making it a regular part of your daily routine.

Chapter 18 – Self-Discipline and Marriage

The next chapter looks at how to apply self-discipline to marriage and being married.  It covers the need to be disciplined when communicating with your spouse, being willing to work together, and being totally committed to each other and the marriage.

Chapter 19 – Self-Discipline and Children

Chapter nineteen covers how to maintain your self-discipline while you are raising your children, stressing the need to discipline yourself to spend time with them and think long-term, as well as building the right skills and traits in said children.

Chapter 20 – Self-Discipline and Friendship

Continuing along along similar lines, the twentieth chapter looks at how to have better friendships.  Its major suggestions are to have better self-esteem and to boost the self-esteem of the others around you, particularly by being concerned about their well-being.

Chapter 21 – Self-Discipline and Peace of Mind

The book finishes off by suggesting some methods of increasing your peace of mind.  It mainly focuses on accepting responsibility for everything that happens in your life and forgiving others around you, with the ultimate goal of developing peace of mind.

Pros

  • Encouraging: There’s lots of uplifting writing throughout the book, providing encouragement as you attempt to build self-discipline.
  • Provides Other Collected Advice: Numerous times throughout the book, Tracy shares quotations and commentary from other authors and self-discipline advisors.
  • Shares Specific Actions: Each chapter ends with action steps that provide advice on how to proceed with the given suggestions and advice within the chapter.

Cons

  • Not Much New Advice: There’s little in these pages that can’t be found through other sources (including within Tracy’s other books).
  • Very Little Depth: When covering everything from business life to personal life, there’s not possible to provide much detail (particularly in the latter area; the last section is rather sparse).
  • Highly Self-Promotional: There are numerous references to Tracy’s other books and seminars, lending some portions of the book an advertisement-like feel.

Overall

No Excuses! is very encouraging and does provide some good advice on how to stay disciplined and thus improve your life.  If you haven’t read any of Tracy’s books, you might want to read through it and get an idea of Tracy’s self-improvement methods.  If you have read his works, though, there may not be enough here to justify another purchase.

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