Personal Development for Smart People – Book Review

Bonjour! I just got back yesterday after having a lovely short break in Paris with a dear friend of mine. We had a bundles of fun, the weather was gorgeous, and we managed to see all the amazing sites that Paris has to offer! We also managed to meet up with another close friend that lives in Paris and she took us on a tour of the more cultural and authentic parts of the city. We went by Eurostar train and as It usally takes about 2.5 hours each way so I wanted to use that opportunity to catch up on my reading.

Hay House publishing kindly sent me a copy of Steve Pavlina’s new book ‘Personal Development for Smart People’, and since I was going to have plenty of time during the journey, I thought I would take it with me to read on the train. There’s something I find really relaxing and soothing about long train journey’s and so reading for me, on a train, is the ideal activity!

As a fellow blogger and an avid personal development book reader I naturally have my own flavour of what I like to see in the personal development books that I read so without further ado…lets jump right in!

Firstly I wanted to talk about the asthetics of the book. It’s not normally something that matters to me but one of my friends mentioned to me she’s very cautious about which books she reads on the tube or train; the reason being because she works for a big firm in the city and worries about the type of the image it gives off. Well, according to my friends criteria, Steve’s book scores highly in the asthetics area. There are no pictures on the cover, only wording, and of the title the words ‘Smart People’ are in larger writing than the rest. I asked my friend if she would be comfortable reading this on the tube and the woman from they city…she say yes!

This is Steve’s first book and is just over 250 pages long. One of the core themes in the book is his personal philosophy of self experimentation. Sounds more painful than it is! Rather than just listening to what you’ve been told about a particular subject or about particular lifestyle choices, Steve recommends that you try for yourself and judge by your own results. He suggests doing 30 day trials. From his own experience two 30 day trials he has done are switching to a vegan diet and polyphasic sleep. He goes into some detail about the results of those experiments in the book and you can also find out more information on his blog.

I can speed read up to 1500 words and minute which can vary greatly depending on the book I’m reading. If the book is well written and is easy to follow then the faster I can read it. If it is not then the harder it is to read at spead. I found this book exceptionally easy to speed read and even on a moving train. There is something I love about his style of writing which has a natural flow and an almost hypnotic and trance enducing feel. Once I got going I couldn’t put the book down. His message was unconsciously persuasive and I found myself putting into practise some things from the book while I was in Paris without even thinking about it.

The book itself is divided up into two parts: 1) Fundamental Principles and 2) Practical application. Steve has come up with 7 fundamental principles of personal growth with the 3 core principles being truth, love and power. The second part of the book is all about applying those principles to the areas of life that we can all relate to such as health, relationships and money. The principles are universal to all the areas of life that you may consider important and he has created and included some very simple methods and strategies of incorporating them as part of your life including a list of 66 productive habits! Steve also touches on familiar subjects like the law of attraction and also gives his veiw on how to apply them properley rather than just waiting for things to happen.

For anyone who’s not familiar with Steve’s blog and his style of writing he has a very, no nonsense, honest and to the point style of writing and he has maintained this approach for the book. His ethos is a common sense approach to living a life with purpose and doing it consciously. Throughout the book, a strong point that comes across, which is also in line with the message that I put out through this blog, and that is you have the power of choice. It is up to you to build your own awareness that at each moment you have a choice as to what step you take next and how you take it.

One thing in particular I like about this book is that Steve is very honest about his past failures. Sometimes when you read personal development books the author can often over look the process of how they got to where they are now. When reading other books in the past, I’ve felt like that the author didn’t go through the same struggles as I was having, they made it sound easy which in turn led me to feel bad about myself. That’s something that Steve does differently. He is very open about his past and his failures and he puts and entertaining spin on them which helped me and it’s something I feel will help most readers to feel a deeper connection with Steve and in turn you also won’t feel badly about your failures.

There are some great quotes throughout the book; some familiar, for example, there were quotes from ‘The Prophet’ by Khalil Gibran and some quotes which I have never heard before. There was a poem that Steve included in the book which I had never come across but I can understand why it was one of his favorites from when he was younger!

Another thing you might find with some personal development books is that they can sometimes be a bit fluffy in nature and so, unless you’re a bit of a spiritual, mantra chanting nut, it won’t necessarily always appeal to everyone. This book may finally crack that and bridge the gap between those who are self help junkies and those people who would normally never pick up a book of this genre.

There was very little that I can say as a downside to the book although being completely honest I could tell that that this was a first book. From a personal development stand point there was nothing new to me in this book but there were different ways of applying what I already know. While reading I found it hard to put the book down and I did very much enjoy the heart warming stories stories that he shares from applying one of his principles of oneness especially when it comes to relationships. Anyone who has struggled with relationships in the past, in whatever capacity, will definitely benefit from this book.


The book gets my double thumbs up. I can relate to Steve a lot as I feel our journey has been very similiar in many ways and I feel we share a very similar view of life and how to live. I think you will relate to Steve’s journey and message especially if you have dismissed your dreams because a lack of self worth or lack of qualifications. If you have then this book will be definitely be inspiring to you! I’m sure once you’ve read the book you’ll also agree with me about Steve’s brutal beautiful honesty and his passion for what he does will most certainly bring that out in you too.

For more information about Steve Pavlina and the book visit

The book is availabe to buy from Amazon now!

5 Responses

  1. john says:

    Hey, you have a great, informative and thoughtful blog here! I’m definitely going to bookmark you!

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