In my lifetime, I think I might have read over 100 personal development books. They all promise to lead the road to success. How To Become A Total Failure - The Ten Rules of Highly Unsuccessful People (written by Bill Guillory and Phil Davis) stood out, purely because it didn’t make such claim.
The book describes in detail the habits and attitudes of unsuccessful people. It gives appropriate examples to highlight how such habits and attitudes, negatively effect their environment.
A Deeper Look At How To Become A Total FailureRule #1: Resist learning anything new that could lead to more responsibility
The more you learn, the more people will expect.
This chapter states the case by providing some funny yet educational examples of day-to-day life. Amongst these, is the story of how one author made French toast for breakfast! Not all examples are family related. There are a couple of stories from the corporate world as well.
All in all, these examples highlight that
- New learning, one way or the other, is unavoidable.
- We let our fear of new learning (and possibly more responsibility), lead us down a road to failure.
Knowledge is power; don’t give away your power.
Reading this chapter I realized, as long as I am creative, I never have to worry about running out of knowledge. It also draws attention to the importance of understanding the difference between information and knowledge.
Rule #3: Be a jerk!
Jerks get what they want because decent behaviors are not expected.
Reminds us that the advantages of being a jerk are short-lived. We should focus on quality relationships; it is the interpersonal glue that holds any human endeavor together through difficulties and trying times.
Rule #4: Always look out for Number One
It’s a zero-sum game.
Sooner or later we all realize that being self-centered and looking out for number one, doesn’t take us far. Joint effort based on honesty, integrity and trust will result in value and success for everyone involved.
Rule #5: It’s all about the money
Money equals success.
All too often people let money and other perks of their position corrupt their ethical judgment. This chapter talks of Warren Buffet, Bill Gates and Oprah Winfrey and what distinguishes them from all other rich and famous people.
Rule #6: Promise things you have no intention of doing
The more you promise, the more responsible you look.
Gives several examples to highlight that if you don’t keep your promises others will perceive you as unreliable and less credible.
Rule #7: It’s always someone else’s fault
Success is dependent on your ability to CYA!
We need to be willing to own the results that occur in our life; irrespective of reasons or excuses.
Rule #8: Truth is in the mind of the beholder
The truth is what benefits you most.
Being true to yourself and others, includes both honesty and truth in not only what you say but also in what you do.
Rule #9: Do the least that’s necessary for success
Be all you can be but do as little as possible.
Go beyond what’s expected to be successful in life.
Rule #10: The customer is someone you have to put up with
Customers are never satisfied no matter what you do.
Employees exist because of customers. Keeping that in mind, they need to put needs of someone else first.
My favorite excerpt
Have you every thought of the number of promises you make on a daily or weekly basis? For example, if you meet a friend you haven’t seen in months or even years, you promise to give him or her a call to set a date for lunch or a drink, when you know you have absolutely no intention of doing so. And you don’t! Why? It takes time, energy and effort, particularly, with someone who has not recently been on your radar screen. Somehow, we feel guilty about the long absence and the best way to assuage our guilt is to promise some form of follow-up contact.
The same is true for people you go to school with, worth with or, are forced to be around (like relatives). After all, you have a busy schedule; places to go, things to do, and people to see. Just think what life would be like without your cell phone. And with text messaging it makes it easy to get out of obligations you made without any telephone or direct contact.
Overall*I like the technique of using stories to elaborate a point. In this case, the message the authors were trying to get across came through with the example stories.
* Each chapter was headed with a bold and blunt heading. I loved it! It gave me a feeling that the book had an attitude, of its own. However, the book title doesn't entice me to gift it to someone else. What would you think if someone gave you a book titled, How To Become A Total Failure as a birthday gift!
*The simplicity of the book makes it appealing to a wider audience.
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